New Paved Pathway Below Canyon Middle School

A big thank you to Alameda County Public Works Agency (PWA) for installing a new paved pathway along Heyer Avenue at the base of Canyon Middle School, just in time for the school year to begin! Now students have a safe path from where the sidewalk ends on Heyer Avenue to the Cull Canyon intersection.

We appreciate the improvements and hope to keep them coming!

Let your voice be heard about what you want to see improved, by coming to the Bike/Ped plan Open House on Thursday, 8/24 at the CV Library, or by emailing Paul Keener, Sr. Planner at PWA at paulk@acpwa.org.

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Video Evidence for Cycling Safety

Another way people riding bikes can help protect themselves and other ridersfrom inattentive and reckless drivers, as well as gather important data to help win grants for infrastructure, is to record video evidence of egregious near-miss incidents they encounter.

The Cyclist Video Evidence folks have created a place to do just that, as well as to track repeat offenders and map trouble spots in every community. This helps law enforcement target problem areas. In addition, we’ll be able to use this data for our next round of sidewalk grants to supplement years-old, collision-only data.

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If you are looking for an easy-to-use, inexpensive, rear-facing camera, the Fly 6 is a great choice. And right now, Eden Bicycles of Castro Valley in The Village is discounting them to support the community effort.

Help keep yourself safe, help keep your community safe, help local law enforcement, and help Alameda County traffic planners. That’s a win X 4! I can tell you from personal experience that it feels safer just knowing that now I have eyes behind me – and a recording of everything I see. Ride safe out there!

New Bike/Pedestrian Plans Need New Input

Advocating for more sidewalks and bike lanes in Castro Valley has often felt like a long slog. One of the walls we keep hitting is the current Alameda County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for Unincorporated Areas, which was last updated in 2012. However, next week, you have the opportunity to help us all see another spot of light at the end of the tunnel!

The current bike plan for Castro Valley mostly calls for sharrows, even on busy roads and major corridors.

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Map of Castro Valley from the 2012 bike/pedestrian master plan; note that the red dotted lines merely indicate sharrows.

Since 2012 there’s been an explosion in creative designs around the country for bike lanes and pedestrian pathways, as well as a steady increase in demand in Castro Valley for safer infrastructure for walking and biking. And now we have a chance to set a vision for the future of our community. Alameda County Public Works is updating the bike/pedestrian master plan, and we need input from the community to create a vision for a safer, walkable, bikeable Castro Valley.

There will be several community open houses in the next few months; the first two are in Dublin on Wednesday, August 23, and at the Castro Valley Library in Castro Valley on Thursday, August 24, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Bring yourself! Bring your kids! Bring your neighbors! And most importantly, bring your opinions. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

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Safe Routes to School Wants Your Input!

As part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programming in unincorporated Alameda County, the County has contracted a consultant to do an audit of the current bicycle and pedestrian issues around each school. There is an interactive map of Alameda County on which you can register your feedback about safety needs of each school — ranging from sidewalks and crossing guards to bicycle corridors to general safety concerns. The consultant needs this feedback by July 15, 2017, in order to begin analysis and planning for the upcoming school year.

If you’ve never used a GIS interactive map before, we can walk you through it.

First, go to the interactive map.

Second, after closing the welcome message, select the school you want to center on the map. Once you start typing in the box in the lower left-hand corner it will start suggesting schools:

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Once you select a school it will zoom into that part of the map. Now it’s time to start leaving feedback! There are two ways to leave feedback:

  1. At a point, which is a good way to identify a dangerous intersection, a spot needing a crossing guard or crosswalk, or some other general concern.
  2. Along a line, which is the best way to identify a length of road that needs a sidewalk or bike lane.

We’ll start with dropping a pin. Click once on the type of pin you want to use to indicate a problem:
SR2S_choose_type_of_pin
Then, click on the point on the map where you want to drop the pin and make a comment. Once you click on the point, a box will pop up with the option for you to leave a comment. Leave a comment in the box, select the relevant school, and click “close” to submit the comment.
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Next, let’s mark a road where we might need some sidewalks. Click once on the type of line you want to draw:
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Then click once at your starting point along the map. If the route has a bend or a turn in it, click once at each corner or turn, double-clicking only at the end of the route.
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And that’s it! Please mark every safety concern that you encounter near a Castro Valley school (and, in fact near any other school in unincorporated Alameda County) — the more feedback, the better. Let us know in the comments if you have any trouble with the site!

Join the Fun on Bike to Work & School Day, Thursday, May 11th

Join family, friends, neighbors and co-workers in riding your bike, scooter or skateboard to work or school this Thursday, May 11th! It’s the biggest rolling day of the year across the nation, when hundreds of thousands jump on their bikes or other people-powered vehicles for their daily commute.

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In Castro Valley, you’ll have three options to pick up your free canvas commuter bag filled with cycling related items and treats at “Energizer Stations” between 7am and 9am in the following three locations:

  • In front of Castro Valley High School, under the marquee on Redwood Rd. at Heyer Ave.
  • In front of Creekside Middle School on Center St. at Omega Ave.
  • In front of the Castro Valley BART station

At CVHS, we’ll also have lots of goodies and a bike mechanic offering free repairs provided by BikeWalkCV’s proud sponsor, Eden Bicycles of Castro Valley.

There are more Energizer Stations across the Bay Area, including in these East Bay Locations, if you’d like to find one closer to your destinations that day. There are also several Bike Happy Hours, including one in San Leandro by our friends at Bike Walk San Leandro.

Enjoy your day and ride safe out there!

Crosswalk Improvements Coming to Castro Valley

At the September 2016 Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting, in addition to learning about specific process improvements coming to the Castro Valley BPAC, we got a list of upcoming crosswalk improvements.

There are two different types of improvements coming. Some streets will get a bulb-out and a high visibility crosswalk: bulbouts shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, while also providing them with a better and safer vantage point from which to see the oncoming traffic.

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The list of intersections getting bulb-outs and a high-visibility crosswalk are:

  • Redwood Road and Alma Avenue
  • Redwood Road and Buti Park Drive (also with flashing beacons)
  • Kent Street and Santa Ana Road (bulb-out only)
  • Lake Chabot Road and Carlton and Arcadian (also with flashing beacons)
  • Miramar and Crest Avenue

Several other intersections are getting flashing beacons and a high visibility crosswalk:

  • A Street and Ruby Street
  • Center Street (mid-block)
  • Center Street and Gem Avenue
  • Grove Way and Queen Street
  • Heyer Avenue and Alana Road
  • Lake Chabot Road and Lake Chabot Marina Entrance
  • Miramar Avenue and Saratoga Street

There are still more intersections in sore need of a better crosswalk — which ones would you like to see upgraded? Let us (BikeWalkCV@gmail.com) and Alameda County Public Works (paulk@acpwa.org) know what you need!

New Steps for Sidewalk Advocacy

We have spent the last two years advocating for sidewalks in Castro Valley, and while we’ve made some progress — most notably in the form of successful ATP grants — we haven’t seen any substantial new construction yet. Nor have we identified any sources of funding for sidewalks other than the Active Transportation Program.

Public Works received funding for design work on Stanton Avenue through the ATP process in 2015. However, at this point there has been no progress reported on the design, and no source of funding for the construction has been identified (other than another future round of ATP applications). Stanton Avenue is a key north-south corridor on the western edge of Castro Valley, and is also the backbone of Stanton Elementary’s catchment area.

Parents at Stanton Elementary are tired of walking through the mud and in the streets just to get to and from school every day. Paying for the second, much-needed crossing guard is also a strain on the budget of the Title I school’s parent association. (Alameda County pays for only one crossing guard.) At the Castro Valley MAC meeting on Monday, November 21, 2016, these parents — and the students, teachers, staff, and neighbors of Stanton Elementary — will be asking the MAC for help prioritizing these sidewalk projects. They will be asking for Public Works to pursue Measure BB funding, and to look for discretionary funds that could be spent on sidewalks.

While this agenda item is specifically about Stanton Avenue, it is also a chance for the community to show up and ask for more investment into sidewalks in Castro Valley. The Measure BB money is out there, and is being spent elsewhere in Alameda County. Public Works has discretionary funds, and there is no reason that they cannot be spent on sidewalks in Castro Valley. But we will only make progress if we show up in person at the MAC meeting and demand this investment.

Please join us at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 21, at the Castro Valley Library!

Big Gains at Castro Valley BPAC

We are very pleased to share that the Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) has finally been granted the ability to review Alameda County Public Works Agency’s (PWA’s) project plans & designs prior to them being finalized and implemented in Castro Valley! This is just part of the good news! 

Supervisor Nate Miley attended the entire BPAC meeting on September 23 to complete his review of the committee’s roles and responsibilities. We have asked that the BPAC and our community have the opportunity to provide input into what projects are planned for Castro Valley and how they are designed. Supervisor Miley agreed and outlined the following revised roles/process for the BPAC:

1. Meet bi-monthly with a published schedule at the beginning of the year for the entire year.

2. Review all upcoming project plans/designs and provide input/feedback at BPAC meetings with a PWA engineer in attendance.

3. Review PWA’s annual workplan for Castro Valley to provide input/feedback on PWA’s set of projects and priorities for the year.

4. BikeWalkCV is invited to submit agenda items for each BPAC meeting. Please email us any topics you’d like to see on the agenda at BikeWalkCV@gmail.com

In addition, a few other important topics were covered:

  • 12 crosswalk improvement projects will be carried out the first part of next year in Castro Valley!
  • Improved bike lanes will be installed along East CV Blvd., between Five Canyons Pkwy and Villareal, in the next few months!
  • ATP sidewalk grant decisions are expected by mid-November on 4 new projects

Next actions: The planned update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for unincorporated Alameda county will begin early next year and the CV BPAC will be heavily involved. We will let you know when the public meetings are scheduled. We hope you will attend and give your valuable input into this plan that will be the primary driver for pedestrian and bicycle improvements in Castro Valley over the next 5+ years. 

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Existing and proposed bicycle network from 2012 Bike & Ped Master Plan

Better Biking to Lake Chabot!

We are delighted to see that the bike lanes on Lake Chabot Road, between Fairmont Drive and Seven Hills Road, have been painted! This has long been in the works — the Alameda County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan created in 2012 calls for bike lanes on Lake Chabot Road [p. 56], and the Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) ranked bike lanes on Lake Chabot Road as a high priority among the bike lanes proposed in the master plan.

There is still plenty of work to be done — Lake Chabot Road still needs bike lanes that extend south to Castro Valley Boulevard, the Boulevard itself still needs a bike lane that spans Castro Valley, and there are many other key bicycling corridors in our community that need safer engineering — particularly around our schools. But implementing the bike and pedestrian master plan as other road improvements (e.g. repaving) are made is key progress.

These bike lanes will make it significantly safer for people of all ages to bike to Lake Chabot — while there is not a physical barrier between bikes and vehicular traffic, there is a buffer on either side of the bike lane for most of the distance. In addition, the bike lanes will be painted green, to increase their visibility. These changes are expected to be completed by August. Public Works is also looking at improving safety for pedestrians on the same stretch by installing flashing beacons at the crosswalks, both at the entrance to Lake Chabot Park and the intersection with Arcadian Drive (pending additional separate funding). Stay tuned for more updates and ways that you can help us help our community become a safer place for everyone.

Biggest Bike Day of the Year!

Bike to School & Work Day 2016 is in the books as another great benefit of being part of the Castro Valley community. “Energizer Stations” were busy near Creekside Middle School and at the CV BART station. In front of Castro Valley High School, waves and laughter beckoned students and commuters on bikes to pull in and grab a free commuter bag full of bike swag, homemade breads and treats, coffee and hot chocolate.

Chris Padavana, owner of Eden Bicycles, kept busy with free bike adjustments and repairs.

A table filled with maps and information helped fuel conversations about grant proposals for sidewalks, where bike lanes are most needed, stories of near misses and hope that the efforts of the community will result in improvements in engineering, education, enforcement and engagement in these areas. Lots of VIPs joined BikeWalkCV and CVHS Leadership for the morning festivities.

Later in the afternoon, the celebration and conversation moved to Endless Cycles‘ new location on Nunes Avenue for Castro Valley’s first Bike Happy Hour.

Three of our local groups came together to talk about how to join forces in creating events for the whole family to bring more awareness to what is needed, including BikeWalkCV, Bike Walk San Leandro, and Cherry City Cyclists.

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JoAnne Lauer of BikeWalkCV, Donna Chang of   Bike Walk San Leandro, Vicky Ma of Cherry City Cyclists

Endless Cycles made several bike items available in the free raffle.

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We heard from many community members that this was the first time they’d gotten out their bike in a long time. Big thanks to Bike East Bay for all the support in helping us make this happen! Here’s to making it a healthy new habit, and to creating an infrastructure that makes it safe and easy!