Redwood Road is a major corridor for everyone in Castro Valley — major destinations along a 2.5-mile stretch* of this road include a highway interchange, a BART station, two grocery stores, a high school, and an elementary school. There are bike lanes on Redwood Road between Castro Valley Boulevard and Grove Way, but venturing north of the boulevard on a bike is daunting.
As much of Redwood Road has two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction, but no dedicated turning lane, it is an excellent candidate for a “road diet”. With a road diet, Redwood Road could be reconfigured to have one lane of vehicular traffic and one bike lane in each direction, plus a central turning lane. An example of this configuration is Grove Way, which has similar traffic volumes as Redwood Road. This could result in reduced traffic as more people make local trips by bicycle instead of by car, increased safety of cyclists on Redwood Road, and reduced back-ups from cars turning left during busy hours.
Some specific benefits of a road diet for Redwood Road:
Between Seven Hills Road and Mabel Avenue:
In low traffic conditions, all the traffic would easily fit into one moving lane. During high traffic conditions, the second moving lane is of little help anyway as wherever people want to turn left, they cause a back-up in the left moving lane. A driver often has the choice between getting stuck behind left-turning cars in the left lane, or potentially getting stuck behind a bike in the right lane. Having a left-turn lane in the middle and a bike lane to the right would solve both problems, and prevent the risks associated with the constant changing of lanes. (Thankfully, Alameda County Public Works Agency has begun conducting a feasibility study on a road diet on this section of Redwood Road; BikeWalkCV has requested they continue the study to at least Jamison Road and then to Castro Valley Blvd.)
The Intersection of Heyer Avenue and (Southbound) Redwood Road:
The new center lane could become a far longer left turn lane at the traffic light with Heyer. Currently, cars waiting to turn left often block the left moving lane because the left turn lane is far too short.
The Intersection of Seven Hills Road and (Northbound) Redwood Road:
Few cars driving north on Redwood are turning right at Seven Hills, and thus few use the right-hand lane when it turns into a turning lane. Everyone has to change lanes at some point prior to the intersection into the left moving lane. The right turn lanes could be easily removed, without any effect on car traffic, and the road diet continues!
Alameda County Public Works Agency is studying the feasibility of a road diet on Redwood between Seven Hills and Heyer — that’s a start, and our next step is to advocate for a road diet all the way to the boulevard!
* Note that the Active Transportation Program (ATP) guidelines consider distances less than 3 miles to be a reasonable biking distance.
Dorothea Beringer also contributed to this post.