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.

CVHS Bike to School & Work Day 18

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.

CV Bike Happy Hour 2016 5

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.

CV Bike Happy Hour 2016 1

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!

Bike to School & Work Day May 12

Join the fun on Thursday, May 12 for the biggest bike day of the year!

Thousands of people all around the Bay Area will be riding their bikes, scooters or skateboards on Bike to Work & School Day – to work, to school, or around town. If you ride, we hope you’ll ride on May 12! If you haven’t ridden in awhile, here’s your excuse to get a healthy habit started again – and get some free stuff!

Visit one or all three Castro Valley Energizer Stations 7-9am to pick up your free goodie bag full of bike-friendly swag:

  • In front of Castro Valley High School, at the corner of Redwood Road and Heyer Avenue (co-hosted by BikeWalkCV and CVHS Leadership) – snacks, coffee and Eden Bicycles‘ friendly bike mechanic service also provided
  • On the corner of Center Street and Castro Valley Blvd. (hosted by Creekside Middle School), and
  • At the Castro Valley BART station (hosted by Alameda County Public Works Agency)

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And, stop by the family friendly Bike Happy Hour 4-8pm at Endless Cycles, 20825 Nunes Avenue, co-sponsored by Cherry City Cyclists, for music, food and a chance to meet the folks from BikeWalkCV and Bike Walk San Leandro. Whether you’re bicycling to work, school, or even just around our community, we look forward to seeing you.

For additional information, email us at bikewalkcv@gmail.com. Also, visit this link for details on these and other Bike to Work Day events around the bay area: BikeEastBay.org/BTWD.

Updates from the Castro Valley BPAC – Spring 2016

The Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) met on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, and covered the following topics:

  • Public comment: parking on “unimproved” sidewalks: The BPAC and other members of the public discussed the problem of cars parking in the pedestrian right-of-way, forcing pedestrians into the street. This is particularly a problem near Proctor Elementary, along Somerset Avenue, and along Anita Avenue. While some of those streets are getting sidewalks in the long term, the BPAC and Public Works discussed some temporary options, including asphalt curbs.
  • Bike to Work Day: The BPAC and Public Works looked at suggested items to give away at the “energizer stations” (such as at the Castro Valley BART station) on Bike to Work Day (May 12, 2016). Mini repair kits and small towelettes were among the suggested items.
  • Active Transportation Program Cycle 3 Funding Grants: Public Works is preparing to apply for grants in this cycle of the Active Transportation Program (ATP) for pedestrian and bike projects in Castro Valley. (In Cycle 2, Castro Valley was awarded grants for sidewalk projects in Castro Valley.) The BPAC reviewed the draft guidelines for this cycle and noted the changes from last year.
  • Updating the Alameda County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for Unincorporated Areas: The master plan will be updated this year, and the BPAC and Public Works need to set out the scope of work for this update. The BPAC was asked to look at other community plans for best practices, such as:
    • Data collection needed
    • Bike rack programs
    • Bike boulevards
    • Connectivity with neighboring communities
    • Number of community meetings

The BPAC next meets on Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Castro Valley Library. All are welcome to join as the BPAC begins working on developing the ATP grant proposals.

Golden Sneaker Contest at Proctor Elementary School: A Great Success!


From Feb 22 to March 4 Proctor Elementary School participated in the Golden Sneaker Contest for the first time. The Golden Sneaker Contest is part of the Safe Routes to School program. The winning class received the Golden Sneaker Trophy.

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It was a great success! The participation was amazing. The kids had a lot of fun. There was a noticeable reduction in traffic around the school during drop-off time. And most amazingly: there were three times as many kids walking or biking to school than usual.

One big concern remains: Safety! During these two weeks, most kids were walking with their parents. Neither Proctor Rd nor Seaview Ave have concrete sidewalks, and both these streets are used by many kids for walking to school. The unimproved sidewalks along Proctor Rd are still partially blocked by illegal overgrowth and by cars parking illegally on the sidewalk. In too many places, kids are forced to walk in the street. The tragic accident near Marshall Elementary School in the week after the Golden Sneaker Contest, where two kids have been seriously injured by a driver (see also How can you help the Templeton family), has been a stark reminder of how vulnerable pedestrians are when walking in a car dominated environment. Therefore many parents do not feel safe allowing their kids to walk to school alone.

Despite these challenges, we can see that more kids (with their parents’ support) would choose to walk or ride to school. We look forward to more improvements in engineering, enforcement, education and engagement over the coming months and years to make this happen.

“Share the Road!”

Have you ever misread traffic signs? Like “Down Slow” instead of “Slow Down”?  What about the following signs?

sharetheroadsignThis sign is used to explain that bikes and cars need to share the same lane. Lately, these signs were installed around Lake Tahoe. When I drove around the lake, space was tight as usual. Cars were parked on the shoulder, the road was narrow with bicycles and pedestrians on it, and the going was slow. Each time we passed one of these signs, I could not help but want to read it the wrong way: “Bike riders: you have to share the road with cars. Cars cannot move into the opposite lane due to the oncoming traffic, because there is a double yellow line, and because of the curvy road. So, bikes, you have to drive on the shoulder and make enough space for car drivers so they can stay within their lane! Bicycles: Share the road and get out of my lane!” I just wonder: how many other drivers read the sign the wrong way as well, completely missing the point of respecting the bike riders and giving them the space the law provides them?

Obviously, this sign is not working. It’s too easy to misinterpret.

“Bike Route” sign 

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Does anyone know what a “Bike Route” sign means? It means a preferred route for bikes and signals to cars to prepare to see bikes on the road. But isn’t this true for every road? Even if there isn’t a bike lane or sharrow markings on the road, cars need to expect and respect bikes on every road. This sign isn’t helping.

“Bikes May Use Full Lane”

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This is the sign I like! No way to misread it. It makes it clear to everybody! Not every driver may like the sign, but it is hard to misunderstand and it states the law – bikes may legally use the full lane at any time to ensure they have sufficient space to ride safely on our roads. Bikes have the right to safe passage to avoid the “door zone” near parked cars and reduce the risk of unsafe passing by cars when there is not enough space for the car and bicycle in the same lane. The picture above has been taken in Dublin.  See this article in PLOS ONE about these signs.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.05.47 AM“Bikes on Roadway”

We are not the only ones who dislike the “Share the Road” signs and prefer alternatives. Oregon has decided to phase out these signs and to replace them with “Bikes on Roadway” signs.  The main reason: too many drivers misread the signs, and it is too ambiguous.

 

BikeWalkCV has asked Alameda County Public Works Agency to install “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs in Castro Valley to better educate drivers on the law and to keep the common sense practice of keeping bicyclists and all residents safe in our community top of mind.

Thanks for keeping an eye out for people riding bicycles and giving them the space they need.