Fremont planning $750,000 spend to improve miles of bikeways
FREMONT — As a part of its aim to cut back roadway fatalities and main collisions between drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, the town plans to spend $750,000 to enhance bike lanes on 10 miles of streets beginning subsequent month.
The Fremont Metropolis Council is predicted to approve the funding request — which might be paid for out of native, regional, and state transportation coffers on Sept. 1 because it pushes forward with a significant tenet of Fremont’s “Imaginative and prescient Zero” plan.
Biking advocates and metropolis officers say the adjustments are a fast and comparatively cheap technique to shield folks’s security, and lengthen Fremont’s bikeway community so extra folks really feel comfy utilizing bikes as an alternative of vehicles.
“All the pieces in the entire metropolis was designed beforehand for autos, and the people who find themselves biking need to be protected,” Susie Hufstader, the advocacy supervisor for Bike East Bay stated Friday in an interview.
Matthew Bomberg, a senior transportation engineer for Fremont, stated this challenge will start in late September, and crews can be changing at the moment striped buffered bike lanes to “protected” bike lanes, by putting in vertical plastic bollards with reflective tape, to assist separate vehicles and bikes.
The town at the moment has 35 miles of buffered bike lanes, which use solely paint to create area between the tip of automotive site visitors lanes and the start of motorbike lanes, and gradual site visitors to make roads safer, however solely 3.2 miles of protected bike lanes, which advocates say save lives.
“Fremont is lucky to have had restricted main bike crashes, that are bike crashes leading to a extreme damage or a fatality, in recent times, however our aim is in fact zero,” Bomberg stated.
“Most of our latest main bike crashes have been on streets which have both lacked bike services completely, or the place it’s an ordinary bike line on a high-speed roadway with no separation or protections.”
Between 2013 and 2015, the town had an annual common of 34 main crashes of all transportation varieties, and that dropped to a 23 per 12 months common after the town’s imaginative and prescient zero packages have been in place between 2016 and 2019, Bomberg stated.
Between 2013 and 2015, there have been 4.3 main crashes on common yearly involving bicyclists and vehicles, and in 2016-2018, it was right down to 2.75 yearly, Bomberg stated.
The upcoming challenge will take a few month to finish, Bomberg stated, and can cowl 10.3 miles throughout sections of a number of roads together with Driscoll Street, Grimmer Boulevard, a number of sections of Paseo Padre Parkway, Stevenson Boulevard, and Walnut Avenue.
Some residents have bristled on the many adjustments the town has made to its streets, claiming they clamp down an excessive amount of on drivers’ capacity to get round.
Bicyclists and transportation blogs, nonetheless, heaped praise on the latest revamp of Walnut Avenue, the place a stretch of roadway was accomplished with a significant renovation together with elevated, paved bike lanes, redesigned intersections with protecting islands that gradual automotive turning, and new sign expertise.
Noe Veloso, the town’s principal site visitors engineer, stated the town has heard the complaints, and tries to concentrate on making protected bike lane enhancements, or extra intense renovations like Walnut, solely in areas the place they’re essentially the most helpful.
“We’re being very focused. We perceive that we’re going to be impacting motorist actions and behaviors, however that’s a part of the aim. However we’re additionally attempting to do that in areas the place we do see excessive ranges of biking and excessive ranges of pedestrian exercise,” Veloso stated.
“We’re not going to be doing these enhancements citywide, however in areas the place we now have high-density housing, we now have individuals who stroll and bike to transit facilities.”.
Although these highway adjustments are based mostly on a 2018 bicycle grasp plan and have been within the works lengthy earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, metropolis officers and advocates say there was a significant uptick in bike driving curiosity, with bike outlets being hit arduous by folks searching for methods to get exterior and be lively.
“It’s a extremely huge increase in the intervening time. And it’s essential that if persons are attempting out a brand new interest or choosing up biking for transportation, that they’ll achieve this safely,” Hufstader stated. “People who find themselves new to driving or who possibly are choosing up a scooter share for the primary time, they’re not going to really feel protected driving down Stevenson with out some sort of safety.”
Fremont additionally has extra plans within the works, Bomberg stated, corresponding to revamping intersections at Mowry Avenue and Stevenson Boulevard at Fremont Boulevard, to make it simpler for pedestrians and cyclists to be seen by drivers, and get by way of safely.
Andreas Kadavanich, a longtime Fremont resident and bike-riding fanatic, stated he’s inspired by Fremont’s management in taking up very car-centric metropolis design and bettering bikeways within the title of security.
“We actually want extra protected bike lanes and we want them quickly. We’ve had three bicyclists killed on Fremont roads within the final 5 years,” he stated. “I do want extra cities would comply with that lead and comply with it sooner.”
Street sections included in upcoming bikeway enhancements
Driscoll Street from Washington Boulevard to Mission Boulevard; Grimmer Boulevard from Irvington Avenue to South Fremont Boulevard; a number of sections of Paseo Padre Parkway from Fremont Boulevard to Warwick Avenue, Peralta Boulevard to Driscoll Street, and South Grimmer Boulevard to Mission Boulevard; Stevenson Boulevard from Davis Road to Paseo Padre Parkway; and Walnut Avenue from Argonaut Option to Paseo Padre Parkway.