January 10, 2010
Walnut Creek mobility gripe no. 4: Where the bike lane ends on California Boulevard
The bike lane along California Boulevard ends at Mt. Diablo Boulevard. If the bicyclist is determined to push to Newell Avenue on south to the end of California Boulevard, well good luck to the bicyclist. He or she has to compete with motorists for space, especially in those two blocks between Olympic Boulevard and Newell Avenue.
According to the draft Bicycle Plan, which the city council has begun discussing, creating a “Class III” bike route in both directions from Olympic Boulevard to Newell Avenue is a high priority. A Class III bike route can basically be any city street, and doesn’t require a special bike lane. It is “usually established on low-volume local neighborhood streets,” which we know California Boulevard, leading to Plaza Escuela, Trader Joe’s, and Kaiser medical center, is not. It is recommended that Class III bike routes that serve as routes to school, for younger bicyclists, have “wider outside lane widths (fourteen to sixteen feet)."
With the current state of sidewalks and retail space on California Boulevard, between Oympic and Newell, I'm not sure how they would squeeze in any extra space in the right lanes for bicyclists.
As I wrote earlier, the city has begun discussing ways to make Walnut Creek more bike-friendly. The city has to work on this effort. It is mandated to do so by the General Plan 2025 and if it wants to become eligible to receive special state funds. Unfortunately, the draft Bicycle Plan says that many roads are not currently bicycle friendly (could we be talking this stretch of California Boulevard?), and connections to downtown, transit, and work centers are not clearly established.