On November 17th, 2015, Mountain View City Council adopted an updated Bicycle Transportation Plan. Alta Planning + Design did a great job gathering and incorporating feedback from the community into the plan. They identified gaps and put together a lengthy list of recommended improvements. They highlighted the best improvement recommendations in a list of top ten priority projects. These are big, expensive projects that will have huge impats to the bike network long-term. They also identified a list of projects that can be implemented quickly and at relatively low cost which will dramatically improve bikeability in the city. These are called the fast five.
While the above recommendations are fabulous, there were two things Safe Mountain View lobbied hard to get into the Bike Transportation Plan Update:
1) an extension of the Permanente Creek Trail Feasibility Study all the way to the Teen Center, with a bike/ped crossing of Central Expressway and the train tracks
2) a policy favoring protected bike lanes on any road with a posted speed of 30 mph or greater
We are happy to report that the final version includes both of these items!!
The original version of the plan recommended studying an extension of the Permanente Creek Trail to Central Expressway, and stopping there. We feel that a trail crossing here is a vital bike/ped connection. The other alternatives for residents who live in that area are to cross Central Expressway via Shoreline Boulevard or Rengstorff Avenue. Both options are very stressful. The two crossings are a mile apart, which is out of the way for someone on foot.
With a crossing here, two neighborhoods would be connected. On either side of the connection lies a choice school, with students who live on the other side of the tracks. This connection would allow those students to safely cross the tracks. This connection would allow people to walk from the Senior Home in Rex Manor to the Senior Center on Escuela if they'd rather forgo the shuttle and get a little exercise. This connection would allow teens from north of the tracks to get to the Teen Center. This connection would bridge two sides of our beautiful city.
We are very pleased that the city will be looking at extending this trail all the way to the Teen Center (page 108), including the connection over the expressway and tracks. We hope the feasibility study finds the connection feasible!
Just as exciting is the new policy regarding protected bike lanes. Here is a snippet of it:
As the City plans new or improved bicycle facilities on, or major improvements to, City streets with vehicle speeds at or above 30 MPH, the City should give priority consideration to the installation of Class IV protected/ separated bike lanes/cycle tracks.
See page 88 for the full text of the policy (4.5.6. BIKEWAY FACILITIES ON CITY STREET).
These two additions make an already great plan a truly fabulous one.
The only thing lacking in the plan were goals on bicycle trips. I'm happy to report that City Council recognized that hole, and voted on a plan of action to address it in the future.