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Currently viewing the tag: "Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition"

This post, by our partners at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With this blog post, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is wrapping up our work on the Focus Cities project for the 2017 federal fiscal year. We were proud to be approached by California Walks to be the local San José bike advocates in a program funded by the Office of Traffic Safety and spearheaded by UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks.

San Jose is one of seven California “focus cities” identified by the Federal Highway Administration as having disproportionately high walking and biking injuries and traffic fatalities. The program seeks to support events and activities that would counter that worrying state of affairs and build a culture of safety. Local organizations have been tasked with implementing projects that support those goals.

As part of our project, SVBC has been able to spend time educating decision makers and the public on protected bike lanesopen streets events, and Vision Zero. We’ve had the opportunity to sync up with colleagues in Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Ana to share best practices and look for solutions to common problems. This peer-to-peer outreach is all too rare in our world and generated some very helpful insight and strategies.

The program also gave us the opportunity to participate more fully in the August visit from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to San José. We were able to organize a tour of the city’s pop-up protected bike lane that got some media coverage via Streetsblog California.

To cap off the experience, I traveled to San Diego last week to finally meet my Focus Cities compatriots in person. Our last session together was a deep-dive on Vision Zero programs in our respective cities. We learned a lot: all Vision Zero programs are having trouble dealing with (and sometimes just acknowledging) the equity challenges inherent to the initiative; conducting meaningful community outreach requires both hard work and creativity; and most of us have at least one element of our Vision Zero efforts to be proud of. In San José, we’ve received praise for our police department’s desire to help with Vision Zero while bringing in outside experts to study potential bias in the department. Chief Eddie Garcia has noted that, “The first step in any effort to improve is self-assessment, and this report provides a critical benchmark of existing stop practices that will help us make more progress.”

Our thanks to the Office of Traffic Safety for funding this endeavor. We look forward to continuing our work with them, California Walks, and UC Berkeley SafeTREC.

This post, by our partners at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

SVBC is proud to once again work with the City of San José’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) on Viva CalleSJ, the City’s open streets program. Our organization has been part of the planning and outreach team for the last two events, in 2015 and 2016, and we’re looking forward to this year’s event, on Sunday, September 17, featuring the longest Viva CalleSJ route yet, Downtown and Eastbound: El Corazón.

El Corazón will appropriately run through the heart of San José. Beginning in Japantown, participants will be able to bike, walk, skate, scoot, hop, jog, shimmy, or dance south to Santa Clara Street. Then, heading east, Santa Clara becomes Alum Rock Avenue. Once the route reaches Alum Rock Village, it turns south again and heads all the way to Lake Cunningham Park. The total length: 7.2 miles!

SVBC has been a big fan of open streets events for years. We like them for their health benefits, the way they connect communities, and the fact that they show residents that distances they once thought could only be conquered by a car are, in fact, totally bikeable. And we’re not alone in our love of using streets as a giant park. Turnout for the first event, in 2015, was a respectable 30,000. The next year, that amount tripled! In 2017, we expect to see well over 100,000 participants take to the streets to play, mingle, and celebrate San José.

Head to the Viva CalleSJ website for details about the route, the planned activities, and transportation to the event. Remember, this is a community event that can’t happen without the help of hundreds of volunteers. If you’d like to get involved, visit the volunteer page and sign up to be part of the team!


This post, by our partners at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, we’ve known for a long time that most people feel most comfortable riding bikes on trails. And what’s not to like? Trails are dedicated spaces for walking and biking, rarely have intersections, virtually eliminate the risk of colliding with a car, and are usually picturesque. We know you love trails, and we do too.

But when it comes to biking for transportation, trails have their downsides, too. They’re usually the jurisdiction of parks departments, which means they often close after dark. Many of our local trails are on or near riparian corridors (next to creeks or streams) with sensitive habitats, so they’re also not lighted at night. And the same separation from the roadway network that makes them feel so safe also means trails can be less direct routes when we’re trying to get to work, shopping, school, or dining. All this poses the question: How can we preserve the safety and comfort people experience on a trail when we integrate bike facilities into our cities’ street networks?

The answer is the protected bike lane, also known as a cycle track or Class IV bikeway. These types of bike lanes are located on a street, like a traditional bike lane, but utilize a physical barrier to increase both comfort and safety for bicyclists. The physical barrier can consist of flexible or rigid bollards, a raised curb, planters, or parked cars. Often, these barriers also provide a traffic calming effect to a street.

Because of the added elements, the cost of protected bike lanes is higher than traditional facilities. But the impact on ridership numbers and safety is impressive. In Oakland, Telegraph Avenue saw a 78% increase in people biking after protected bike lanes were installed. Meanwhile, overall collisions on the corridor decreased 40%. On the other side of the country, New York City’s protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56% reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57% reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29% reduction in injuries to people walking. The benefits extend to pedestrians as well: New York’s 9th Avenue project led to an 84% reduction in sidewalk riding.

In San José, bike lanes and sharrows are being added at a whirlwind pace. The City installed 26 miles of new bikeways in 2016 and is projected to install approximately 81 miles of bikeways in 2017. But ridership is not keeping pace; San José’s mode share, the number of work commute trips taken by bike, is stuck at a frustratingly low 1.2%.

We know from surveys and anecdotal evidence that there is a large portion of the population that would like to ride a bike more often, and for greater distances, but they are afraid of getting hit by a car. Even with wide painted buffers, as used on many bike lanes in downtown San José, people can’t shake their unease about riding, unprotected, next to fast-moving traffic. Clearly, if we’re going to get more people riding bikes safely, protected lanes are the next step for San José’s growing bikeway network.

The City agrees with our assessment, and has begun work to make the vision of protected bike lanes a reality. With support from The Knight Foundation, San José’s Department of Transportation (DOT) recently welcomed a contingent from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to begin a round of technical assistance that will ultimately result in a toolkit of best practices from around the country, a proposal for a protected bike lane network, and conceptual plans for one or more new downtown protected lanes.

SVBC is actively involved with this process. We participated in the first NACTO visit, in April, and are working with that group to plan an August follow-up trip, which will also involve experts from other American cities that have begun implementing protected bike lane networks. Through our work with California Walks on the Focus Cities project, we’ll be putting together a bike tour that will feature a pop-up protected bike lane to introduce the experience to residents and policy makers.

If you share our vision that protected bike lanes are the future of pedal-powered transportation in San Jose, join the mailing list for this effort below!

Sign up to learn more about San José protected bike lanes.

Cross-posted at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s site.