Santa Cruz Active Transportation Plan outreach

The city of Santa Cruz invites the public to participate in workshops to develop a new Active Transportation Plan. Development of this plan will prioritize active transportation and help the city win funding grants from outside sources to pay for this stuff.

Santa Cruz traffic

What is active transportation?

Active transportation is mobility beyond walking from the couch to your driveway. Cycling, walking to the bus stop, skating, and wheeling a non-powered wheelchair are examples of active transportation. Active transportation automatically builds physical activity into your daily schedule, expands your social circle, reduces road congestion and pollution of all kinds.

To increase non-motorized travel, you need a plan to improve safety, mobility, connectivity and access for all roadway users.

The single Active Transportation Plan will replace the city’s separate bicycle and pedestrian plans, allowing the planning process to strategically consider the needs of all non-motorized users at the same time, while identifying a set of local improvements and implementation strategies that will encourage more people to walk and bicycle.

Merging the bike and pedestrian plans into one Santa Cruz Active Transportation Plan mirrors the change in Caltrans transportation funding. In 2013, state bicycle and pedestrian grant programs were consolidated into one umbrella funding program called the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The goal of ATP is to create “Complete Streets” projects that serve all active transportation users.

What happens at these Active Transportation Plan workshops?

The Active Transportation Plan outreach takes place within the larger context of the “Santa Cruz Corridors” Zoning and Planning Update process. Look for the Active Transportation Plan station at these workshops, where Transportation Planner Claire Fliesler will ask for your input on the city’s strategic vision for walk and bike access. Claire is a long-time bike commuter, transit-user, and friend to Cyclelicious and she really gets this stuff.

Santa Cruz Active Transportation Plan workshops

Ecology Action in Santa Cruz makes these recommendations:

  • Make big streets safe: Add protected bike lanes to major corridors such as Soquel, Water, Ocean and Bay .
  • Neighborhood greenways: Create bike-friendly neighborhood streets by adding bike lanes, green lane treatments, and traffic calming features. This includes streets like King, Broadway, Laurel, Cayuga and connections to the future Rail Trail.
  • Fill the gaps: Complete the bike network by filling gaps, such as the missing lanes of Soquel and Delaware and the steep and hard-to find access ramps to the levee paths.
  • Address difficult intersections: Create dedicated space for bikes and install bike-specific signals at intersections that are currently difficult for cyclists.
  • Signage and Bike Parking: Implement the Countywide Bike Signage Program within the city to guide people on bikes to the best routes; work with existing businesses to provide short- and long-term bike parking; include a Bike Station in the redesign of the Pacific Avenue Transit Center.
  • Youth Safety Education: Ensure funding is allocated for ongoing youth bike and pedestrian safety education and encouragement to complement the infrastructure projects.
  • Data collection: Install bike and pedestrian counters at key locations such as Arana Gulch, King Street, Beach Street, on the River Levee and so forth.

Look at a preview of previous discussion and contribute your own suggestions at this interactive map. For more information and the workshop schedule, click here.

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San Jose: Last chance for the west bank gravel trap

Those who ride the Guadalupe River Trail north of downtown San Jose, CA likely have at least tried the short stretch of gravel on the west bank side of the trail between Julian Street and Coleman Avenue where the trail crosses the Union Pacific railroad tracks.

Autumn Street Gravel Trap

Love it or hate it, this stretch will be closed and replaced with pavement beginning near the middle of September. The trail here will be rebuilt as part of the larger Autumn Parkway project, which connects San Jose Market Center (i.e. the Target store plus other retail and dining) to the Diridon Station area via a new connection to Julian Street.

My best time for this part of the trail, per Strava, is 13 seconds for both northbound and southbound directions. A sometimes riding buddy of mine, Antony Wilson, owns the KOM at 11 seconds. He rides a mountain bike more than road and it shows in his handling on this gravel section. Opportunity for crashing abounds here so please don’t kill yourself.

This is our usual route for San Jose Bike Train, but we’ll detour to the east bank for the duration of this construction project. The west bank of the trail is supposed to open again after Christmas 2015 2016.

Trail closure announcement here. Thank you to Roger for the heads up about this.

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Everyone in Charleston: please read….

Everyone in Charleston: please read.

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7am: Can you send a photographer this morning? Rolls out of bed…

7am: Can you send a photographer this morning?

Rolls out of bed and grabs camera.

Thanks to the boy for letting me borrow his Fuji indefinitely.

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A bike train for the Silicon Valley Bike Summit

The 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26 2015 in Palo Alto, CA beginning at 9 AM. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition will lead a Bike Pool from the California Avenue Caltrain station at 8:35 AM. I’ll join this ride and post the real-time location to Glympse/!SanJoseBikeTrain so you can find us on the way. The bike summit takes place at the Oshman Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303.

When did Los Gatos get these shiny new green bike lanes on Blossom Hill Road?    #losgatos #Cycling

What is your Plan B?

Northbound Caltrain 227 arrives at the Bike Pool start on Cal Ave at 8:31; Southbound 220 arrives at 8:32. The bike cars on both of these trains fill up quickly, so have a Plan B. You can try, for example, NB 329, which stops at Palo Alto University Avenue, and hoof it to Cal Ave.

Travel time from downtown San Jose to California Avenue on VTA 522 is a little over an hour during the morning rush hour, which is probably about the same time it takes to bike the 18 miles. From ECR, you still have a couple of miles of travel to the venue.

Buses serving the Oshman Jewish Community Center include VTA 88, 104 (with very limited service and unuseful times for this event), and the 824 ACE Shuttle.

Bike Parking

Ample bike parking is available inside the parking garage at the Jewish Community Center, but bring a good lock. No valet bike parking is available as far as I know.

What do we do when we get there?

The focus for the 2015 Bike Summit will be Vision Zero efforts on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. SVBC and Walk California will introduce their Vision Zero Toolkit, a reference for city and county staff and policymakers on how to implement this timely policy and prevent serious traffic collisions in our communities. The Public Health departments from San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties will discuss how their methodologies can be used to evaluate and improve bicycle safety.

Input from previous bike summits indicated participants want to see discussion on technology and bikes, so I’m participating in a panel discussion on how technology can be used to improve bike safety and entice more people to enjoy cycling. I’ll have a valuable door prize for this afternoon bike discussion; I haven’t figure out what I’ll do to give this away, yet. Maybe I’ll give this to whoever asks the best question?

Paid registration is required to attend.

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What’s in your bicycle plan?

Somebody in an online forum was invited to participate in a stakeholder group to develop a new bike plan for his city. I have other things going on today so this will be a cut-and-paste quicky as I copy elements from the municipal code from the city of Longmont, Colorado, which came about from its own multimodal transportation plan that was developed about 15 years ago.

Longmont, with a population of under 100,000, can be considered a car-dependent Anytown USA. Although it’s widely considered an exurban bedroom community for Denver and Boulder, Longmont has one of the highest “capture rates” — the ratio of people who live and work in the same city — along the Colorado Front Range.

These snippets from the municipal code are not a comprehensive bike plan, and there are missing elements that are now considered important, but I hope this serves as a starting point for discussion.

Longmont Colorado trail master plan

Look for these principals below:

  • For new developments and improvements, bicycle, transit and pedestrian access is not an afterthought, but is as important as motor vehicle access.
  • Just as developers are required to build streets and driveways to their new development, they’re required to build bike and pedestrian access.
  • Design standards for sidewalks, bikeways and bike parking are as important as those for streets and car storage.
  • Just as with the street network, pedestrian and bike facilities are 24-hour, not just “dawn-to-dusk” recreational parkways.

15.05.060. – Pedestrian and bicycle access and connectivity.

A. Purpose. These standards are intended to implement the city’s multi-modal transportation plan and to provide for a safe and convenient system of well-connected pedestrian ways and bikeways that link developments with shopping, employment centers, recreational facilities, open space, parks, transit stops, and schools. Within individual developments, these standards require safe and convenient pedestrian and bikeway systems that directly link buildings, parking areas, open space, transit stops, services, and other areas of interest. In addition, these standards encourage convenient access to transit services, including linking transit access to on-site pedestrian and bicycle systems.

C. Detached sidewalks.
1. Detached sidewalks meeting city standards shall be installed along all streets, except where attached walks are allowed or required in the CBD and MU districts (see subsection 15.03.150.F for the MU district).
2. Sidewalks shall be detached from the curb at least eight feet to allow for a landscaped planting strip between the edge of the right-of-way and sidewalk, except for transitioning at street intersections where sidewalks shall be attached.
3. Landscaped tree lawns along local streets that meet city standards shall be credited toward the common open space requirements in subsection 15.05.040.C, “Common open space,” above. Sixty-three percent of the tree lawn area shall be credited toward meeting common open space requirements, provided that all other common open space standards (pocket parks, landscape buffers, etc.) have been satisfied.

D. On-site pedestrian and bicycle access.
1. General standards. All new development shall provide on-site pedestrian and bicycle systems that comply with the following standards:

    a. On-site bicycle systems shall connect to the city’s existing and planned concrete path and bike lane network. Safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access from the site shall be provided to designated concrete paths or greenways located adjacent to the development.
    b. On-site connections shall be made at points necessary to provide direct pedestrian and bicycle travel from the development to major pedestrian destinations located within the adjacent neighborhood(s). In order to provide direct pedestrian connections to these adjacent destinations, the city may require additional on-site and off-site sidewalks, walkways, or concrete paths not associated with a street, or the extension of a sidewalk from the end of a cul-de-sac to another street or walkway.
    c. The city may require, when necessary to assure public safety, pedestrian and bicycle facilities (i.e., overpasses, underpasses, or traffic signalization) in the vicinity of parks, shopping areas, or other uses that may generate considerable pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

2. Pedestrian connections. All primary entrances of principal structures containing nonresidential uses, and each entryway serving dwelling units in a multi-family structure, shall have direct access (i.e., access without having to cross a street) to a sidewalk, pedestrian walkway, or trail that leads to a sidewalk adjacent to a public street. Each such sidewalk, pedestrian walkway, or trail shall be a minimum of five feet wide, or a minimum of seven feet wide where it is adjacent to areas where parked cars may overhang the walk or trail. See also section 15.05.120, “Nonresidential design standards,” for additional pedestrian connection requirements.

3. Bicycle connections. In developments containing nonresidential uses or multi-family uses, bicycle access routes shall be provided between public bikeways and on-site bicycle parking areas. Sites should be designed to avoid or minimize all conflicting bicycle/motor vehicle and bicycle/pedestrian movements. All bicycle access routes connecting to the city park, open space, and greenway system shall be constructed of concrete, shall be at least eight feet wide, and shall comply with applicable city standards.

4. Bicycle parking.

    a. Amount. Commercial, industrial, civic, employment, and multi-family residential uses shall provide bicycle facilities to meet the following standard:
    i. A minimum number of bicycle parking spaces shall be provided, equal to five percent of the total number of automobile parking spaces provided by the development, but not less than one space.

b. Bicycle parking location. For convenience and security, bicycle parking facilities shall be located near building entrances (and no further than 100 feet away from such entrance), shall be visible from the land uses they serve, and shall not be located in remote automobile parking areas. For multi-family developments, at least one bicycle rack shall be located at each building with eight or more dwelling units, as applicable. Such facilities shall not, however, be located in places that impede pedestrian or automobile traffic flow or that would cause damage to plant material.
c. Design. Spaces for short-term bicycle parking shall provide a means for the bicycle frame and one wheel to be attached to a permanent fixture (designed for securing bicycles) by means of a lock. The required design is the “inverted U” rack (as indicated in the city design standards), unless the decision-making body approves an alternative design. The inverted U rack is equivalent to two bicycle spaces.
d. Off-street parking credit for bicycle parking. In commercial and industrial zoning districts, provision of bicycle parking spaces that meet the requirements of this subsection may reduce the off-street vehicle parking requirements of section 15.05.080 by one parking space for each four bicycle parking spaces up to a maximum of ten percent of the total off-street vehicle parking requirement. In order to qualify for this credit, the total off-street parking requirement shall be no less than ten spaces.

5. Concrete paths. Concrete paths not located in greenways shall be at least eight feet wide if detached from the street, or ten feet wide if attached to the street.

6. Transit access circulation. Nonresidential and multi-family residential developments shall incorporate bus stop locations within their site plan if requested by the Regional Transit District (“RTD”) or other transit provider. Bus stop locations shall accommodate a bus shelter and passenger-loading apron complying with RTD (or other transit provider) design criteria. All existing and proposed bus stops and park-n-ride facilities shall be linked by paved walkways to at least one sidewalk and to at least one internal walkway within each adjacent nonresidential and multi-family development that contains more than one building. Applicants are responsible for contacting and coordinating with RTD or any other transit provider to assure compliance with this provision.

7. Pedestrian street crossings. Pedestrian access and safety shall be emphasized when a pedestrian walkway crosses drive aisles or internal roadways. The material and layout of the pedestrian access shall be continuous as it crosses the driveway, with a break in continuity of the driveway paving and not in the pedestrian access way. The pedestrian crossings shall be well-marked using pavement treatments, signs, striping, signals, lighting, traffic calming techniques, median refuge areas, and/or landscaping.

8. Security, lighting, and visibility. On-site pedestrian walkways, bicycle routes, and transit stops shall be illuminated to ensure personal safety. Lighting fixtures shall be compatible with the architectural character of the principal structures. Clear and direct lines of sight shall be provided to the maximum extent practicable in pedestrian settings to increase visibility and security. Any service areas (loading docks or storage areas) adjacent to pedestrian walkways or bicycle routes shall be fully screened from view.

15.05.050. – Streets and vehicle access and circulation.
A. Purpose. Within each development, the vehicle access and circulation system shall accommodate the safe, efficient, and convenient movement of vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and transit through the development and to and from adjacent properties and land uses.

a. The “local street system” for a proposed development shall be designed to be safe, efficient, convenient, and attractive for multi-modal use (including, without limitation, cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles).
b. The local street system shall provide multiple direct connections to and between local destinations such as parks, schools, and shopping. Local streets shall provide for both intra- and inter-neighborhood connections to connect separate developments together, rather than forming barriers between them. The street configuration within each individual development shall contribute to the street system of the neighborhood.
i. For purposes of this section, the “local street system” shall mean the interconnected system of collector and local streets providing access to development from an arterial street.
c. Where rights-of-way for arterial, collector, or local streets exist or are designated on property adjacent to a proposed development, and those rights-of-way extend to the property or boundary line of the proposed development, the city may require the proposed development to designate rights-of-way to connect those adjacent rights-of-way into or through the land contained in the proposed development.
d. Gated developments are prohibited where access to a public street would be restricted.

Pedestrian and bicycle connections.
i. All cul-de-sacs greater than 250 feet shall provide pedestrian ways and bicycle access routes at the bulb-end of the cul-de-sac to connect the cul-de-sac to an appropriate street to provide pedestrian/bicyclist circulation and access unless the decision-making body approves an alternative pedestrian access plan with the subdivision that provides adequate access.
ii. On all other cul-de-sacs, the decision-making body may require pedestrian ways and bicycle access routes connecting the cul-de-sac to an appropriate street when necessary to permit easy pedestrian/bicyclist circulation and access to adjacent transit service, community facilities such as parks or schools, or employment centers.

Vehicle access and circulation.
1. Access design—General. Primary vehicle access points to a development shall be designed to provide smooth traffic flow with controlled turning movements and minimum hazards to vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Vehicle access to any property shall be controlled to protect the traffic-carrying capacity of the abutting street. Vehicle access shall generally be directed to lower volume streets first, and then to higher volume streets.

General parking lot layout.
1. Circulation routes. Parking lots shall provide well-defined circulation routes for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Parking lots of over 100 spaces shall include walkways to maximize connectivity.

Parking Lot User needs. Layout and design shall consider user needs and provide continuity between vehicular circulation, parking needs, pedestrian and bicycle circulation. Pedestrian drop-off areas shall be provided where needed, especially for land uses that serve children or seniors.

13.36.050. – Rights-of-way or easements for certain roadways, greenways and access and transportation corridors.

The city may require the dedication of rights-of-way or an agreed-upon easement in order to provide for:

A. Adequate land for the development of roadways or primary greenways indicated on the land use map of the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan. When the roadway or primary greenway is totally included in the parcel of land affected by the request, the entire required right-of-way shall be dedicated; when it is adjacent to the property, one-half the required right-of-way shall be dedicated;
B. Local access corridors and pedestrian/bicycle corridors (secondary greenways) in accord with city standards, with special consideration given to safety, capacity, alignment with existing or planned rights-of-way and pedestrian and bicycle movement to and from schools, public/semi-public facilities and existing or planned bikeways.

Access. All new site development shall address … Promotion of alternatives to vehicle travel, including pedestrian and bicycle modes of travel (e.g., adequate bicycle parking and storage).

15.04.040. – Temporary uses.

Mobile retail food establishments and pushcarts must not obstruct pedestrian or bicycle access or passage, or parking lot circulation nor impede traffic flow.

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Creek trail litter anticipated six years ago

Stanley Roberts of KRON brings his camera to the South Bay, where he finds evidence of People Behaving Badly as they litter the San Tomas Aquino Trail adjacent to Levi’s Stadium in the city of Santa Clara, CA.

This trail litter was anticipated six years ago during the environmental review process.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which manages and monitors water quality in this and other South Bay creeks and rivers, submitted public comment to the city of Santa Clara warning that trail litter is inevitable at large public venues. The Water District asked the city to monitor trash in and around the creek and to create “pre-established mitigation measures.”

Selections from 49ers Stadium Final EIR

The city of Santa Clara Bicycle Advisory Commitee (BAC) also expressed concern about trail litter.

Selections from 49ers Stadium Final EIR

The city’s response was underwhelming.

Selections from 49ers Stadium Final EIR

This same Final Environmental Impact Review, incidentally, also made no mention of trail closures.

Selections from 49ers Stadium Final EIR

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Locker room shower etiquette?


I was showering in the locker room at my office the other week when I hear the guy in the next stall over hack what sounded like a huge loogie. After my neighbor loudly cleared another lung booger, I let him know how I felt about his rudeness.

That’s so freakin’ gross, man!

After a moment of silence, Aqualung responds, “Excuse me?”

That’s nasty. Don’t spit your slimy globs in the shower!

His clever retort: “Mind your own business,” which he defiantly punctuates with a series of more loud expectorations.

Seriously, who spits phlegm in the shower? I can’t even picture doing this at home, let alone in a public shower.

Since rudeness and crudeness apparently aren’t universally known attributes, here are a few things you shouldn’t do in the shower: urinate, defecate, masturbate, stare, shoot snot rockets, and for goodness sake don’t SPIT big green tuberculoic wads of mucous.

Photos of occupied showers are also rude, for whatever that’s worth.

That is all. Please enjoy the rest of your day.

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San Jose Bike Train tomorrow, and a roundup

Welcome to that time of year when back-to-school traffic picks up. You can beat that traffic on Highway 87 and North First Street by riding with San Jose Bike Train Wednesday morning, August 19. We depart Diridon Station in San Jose at 8 AM for destinations north along the Guadalupe River Trail.

More bikey and transpo-y stuff below the typical view of the trail we travel on for Bike Train.

Happy Hump Day bike commuters in San Jose California on the Guadalupe River Trail  @guadaluperiverparkconservancy  #sanjose #grt #bikesj #Cycling #Bicycle

I’m a panelist at the Silicon Valley Bicycle Summit next week, where we’ll talk about how technology can be used to entice more people to ride bikes. I’ll bring a door prize.

Did you know of this project to track roadkill in California? They like to recruit cyclists and walkers to report roadkill, since we’re a little more likely to spot flat meat on our journeys.

Carlton is invited to explain why cyclists often don’t use cycle paths at a British motoring website.

Do you ride carbon? Read Jim Langley’s latest tech talk on things you should watch for with your frame.

Bicycle and pedestrian counters will aid transportation planning in Southwest Idaho.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) plans to pilot a dynamic response transit system in Sunnyvale and the North First area of San Jose to connect the “last mile” from transit centers to your destination. Think of the old “dial-a-ride” systems, except using a smart phone app and without the requirement for a 24-hour reservation (I hope). This program was briefly discussed at the VTA BPAC meeting last week, with public comment asking that VTA ensure bikes are allowed on this connector service.

Centers for Diseases Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report focuses on cyclist deaths associated with motor vehicle traffic this week. On a population basis, Florida, Delaware and Louisiana are the deadliest states. Nationwide, cyclist fatalities decreased 44% between 1975 and 2012. Just from the year 2000, though, the number of people who report riding a bike at least six times a year has dropped by 37%. Reduced exposure by itself can likely explain most of this reduced fatality rate.

Ciclovias in Salinas, CA coming up on October 25, 2015.

Enjoy Karl’s overnight bike camping trip to Half Moon Bay, CA.

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Haze and heat, and a bike train

It’s not the heat that gets you; it’s the haze. Here’s why I didn’t ride this past weekend.

Calfire smoke 2015

Smoke from Northern California fires blow hundreds of miles down the coast and into Bay Area. This smoke conspires with high ground-level ozone to create a nasty soup that’s difficult to breath for what the Bay Area Air Quality Management District calls “sensitive individuals.” This includes people like me with asthma. Even moderate activity triggered wheezing in spite of my medication.

Ozone is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide in the presence of sunshine and heat. High ozone levels combined with high particulate matter (i.e. “smoke”) triggered weekend “Spare the Air” alerts, in which our regional air quality district asked people to limit their driving. The unusually high heat just before the end of summer break also motivated people to hit the beaches, which means hundreds of thousands of cars jammed our highways to the coast. Isn’t that a wonderful Catch 22?

The city of Santa Cruz, California is normally significantly cooler than inland areas, but this beach town unusually hit 101°F (38°C) on Saturday, smashing the previous record high for the day by an astounding 13°F (7°C). Sunday’s high was “only” 91°F (33°C), but that still beat the previous record for the day by 10°F (6°C). I’m sure the water felt wonderful on both days.

A Spare the Air Alert continues through today for the San Francisco Bay Area. I still biked to the office, but I kept my speed and exertion low.

What about San Jose Bike Train on Wednesday?

Temperatures should begin to cool by this evening, with air quality improving through the week. Ozone will drop to “Good” levels by Wednesday, when I have a San Jose Bike Train scheduled, but PM 2.5. (the fine soot smaller than 2.5 micrometers that passes the blood-brain barrier and may contribute to neurological decline) will still be at moderate levels as forest fires continue to burn throughout the state.

Bike Train runs rain or shine, and I will continue to ride daily, but I’m thinking about cancelling this week’s bike train because of the air pollution. What are your thoughts?

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