Share Your Views at MAC Town Hall 10/18

Supervisor Miley is holding a Town Hall regarding local MACs on Thursday, October 18th at 7pm at the Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Avenue. This is your opportunity to share your concerns about the Castro Valley MAC.

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The Castro Valley MAC has made it clear in two meetings earlier this year (March 19 and May 21) that they do not support improvements to safety for students, commuters, or anyone else who wants to ride bikes in Castro Valley. Even more alarming, they have shown themselves to be ignorant of the current infrastructure available to cyclists in Castro Valley.

In March, when Public Works brought the vision of greatly improved protections for people riding bikes in Castro Valley (including protected bike lanes) and the entire unincorporated Alameda County, as part of the proposed Updated Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan, Marc Crawford (the MAC chair) and the rest of the MAC said they opposed any cycling improvements, especially if they come at the cost of even one parking space. Even though the updated plan is only a vision – and every project would be vetted through the community, the MAC refused to share the vision that Public Works and the consultants developed through an extended public process of over 50 public meetings and over 1,000 public comments.

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In May, the MAC continued to push back on Public Works’ revised proposed Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Update, despite the fact that Public Works heavily reduced the extent of bicycling improvements. Although 25 speakers spoke in favor of cycling improvements and 2 spoke against, Chair Marc Crawford stated that the MAC gets to determine what is good for the community — and that doesn’t include bicycling improvements. The MAC also refused to accept a proposed design for Stanton Avenue, which was also developed by Public Works and agreed to by the residents on and around Stanton in their own public meeting. That plan included a “climbing” buffered bike lane on the uphill side only, due to the limited width of Stanton Avenue, and would have included removal of only 9 parking spaces in exchange for this buffered bike lane for a full mile along Stanton Avenue. According to Crawford, the loss of one parking space is too high, no matter the benefit for students and others in the community who want to safely ride a bike.

Please come to the Town Hall on October 18th and let Supervisor Miley know that you want a MAC that genuinely represents all the interests in Castro Valley, including people who ride bikes. Riding bikes is good for health, it’s good for business, and it’s great for the environment. And we need a MAC that understands, protects and even promotes bicyclists, whether they are students, commuters, leisure or recreational riders. Hope to see you there!

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In Memory of Paul Keener

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From the very early days of BikeWalkCV four years ago, we felt the support and compassion from Paul Keener, Sr. Planner at Alameda County Public Works Agency.

Paul was there to coordinate Castro Valley’s ATP grant proposals: for sidewalks, bike treatments, crosswalks, and pedestrian ramps. The grant proposals were gigantic, filled with statistics, photos, letters of support, and other evidence of need. Yet, Paul powered through, with the help of several of our team, to submit over a dozen proposals in the last four years – five of which have been granted so far. Five sidewalks that would not have happened without his passion and efforts. Yesterday, his assistant, Diana, submitted four more that we again helped out with. Paul is up there somewhere, smiling down, proud of the efforts we carried on in his honor.

Paul was also an unwavering fixture at every Bike to Work/School day, supplying us with flashing bike lights and reflectors, and staffing his station – ready to make every effort to ensure the safety of our community received all the support he could give.

Paul lead our Castro Valley Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee through years of gathering community input and spirited exchange on various projects. Paul listened with his compassionate ear to the well-intentioned yet occasionally frustrated community members who always wanted more – more sidewalks, more bike lanes, more everything. Paul was always the diplomat, making note of every request, whether he would be able to convince the powers that be at the county to grant them or not. And although the wheels of PWA turn slowly, turn they have. And we owe a lot of our forward progress to Paul’s diligence and dedicated efforts.

Paul also attended and spoke at countless other community meetings and events where he could support the many safety projects or proposed projects in our area – Safe Routes to School programs, parent meetings, county meetings, etc. No matter the situation, Paul always had a smile and a positive outlook that never wavered. His personal life was filled similarly to overflowing, always giving, always a smile, always a positive attitude.

On July 21st, Paul was setting up “Bike Day” at Castro Valley BART in the early morning. He was working yet another weekend, giving generously of his time, to further the cause of safety. Paul suffered a heart attack and tragically passed away that evening. Castro Valley, Alameda County, and the many good friends he made in our community and many communities have lost not only an incredibly valuable resource, but a steadfast and supportive friend and a good man.

Our sincerest condolences go out to Paul’s family, friends, co-workers, and the countless communities he touched. He left the world a better, safer place. He will be greatly missed.

Raise your hand for bike infrastructure!

The Castro Valley community has spent the last 18 months working closely with the Alameda County Public Works Agency (PWA) on updating the local bike & pedestrian plan (full name “Alameda County Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan for Unincorporated Areas”). This plan is a wish list for infrastructure improvements to improve safety and accessibility for people to walk and bike in Castro Valley – and the rest of unincorporated Alameda County – and is a key guiding factor in decision-making for the County.

The old master plan was created in 2012, and gathered input at only one community meeting in Castro Valley. This plan reflects the then-lack of interest in making our community a thriving, walkable, bikable place to live. Six years later, we’ve awakened to wanting a more active, thriving, environmentally friendly place to live that is not 100% dependent on driving. We have the opportunity to make a plan that holds the vision for what we’d like to see, limited only by funding.

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Over the last 18 months, PWA has facilitated or presented at no less than 30 community meetings, 11 of which were held in Castro Valley, as well as offered an online tool, to gather input from the community on what it wants to see as far as improvements for walking and cycling infrastructure. We helped promote the online tools and open houses in Castro Valley. Dozens of people attended the meetings, and the online tool received input from hundreds of residents about where they want to safely bike and walk in Castro Valley.

This process was due to result in an updated plan by June 30th. This process was interrupted on March 19th when PWA presented the draft updated plan to the MAC. At that meeting, the MAC responded saying that infrastructure for cars was far more important than infrastructure for bikes, that they were sure this is what Castro Valley wants, and asked that bike infrastructure improvements be stricken from the updated plan.

What the MAC hasn’t heard enough yet:

  • Our community values safe walking AND cycling
  • Our kids want to ride to school – except it isn’t safe
  • We want to ride to the village and the new marketplace – except it isn’t safe
  • Despite the fancy new shared parking, the answer to getting more people to downtown isn’t in more cars – it’s on foot and on bikes
  • We want to ride a bike to BART for our commutes (since we can’t fit any more cars into the parking lot) – but it isn’t safe
  • More people biking downtown is good for business – it’s been proven!

How can we help inform the MAC? Next Monday, May 21st, at 6pm at the CV Library, PWA will return to the MAC to try to better explain the purpose of the updated plan – that it’s a wish list, and no infrastructure changes will be made without community meetings for each project, and that the source of the update – the wish list – is our community. And we need YOU to come to the meeting and let the MAC know that you support bike infrastructure improvements. Please come to the meeting, bring your kids, your neighbors, your friends. Help us educate the MAC on what the community wants – safer cycling infrastructure that is good for everyone in our community. Thank you.

Eden Area BPAC?

On October 25th, Alameda County Supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan entertained the idea of asking the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to form an official commission that would advise the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on matters of bicycle and pedestrian safety in the unincorporated Eden Area (Castro Valley, Cherryland, Ashland, San Lorenzo, Fairview).

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This would be an “upgrade” of the current Castro Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee in several ways:

  1. The official commission would report to the Board of Supervisors, not the Director of Public Works
  2. The commission would be given the opportunity to review and provide feedback on all Public Works’ designs for infrastructure changes that affect bike/ped safety and comfort, rather than a cursory review that does not affect design outcomes, as is currently, occasionally provided
  3. Commission members would be appointed by the Supervisors rather than chosen by Public Works

For the reasons above, the official commission would have more “teeth” to positively impact safety improvements in Castro Valley and all of the unincorporated Eden Area.

Stay tuned for the date of the next Alameda County Unincorporated Services Committee meeting in early 2018 where this topic will be discussed again, and hopefully approved for presentation to the entire Board of Supervisors.

 

Bike/Ped Plan Needs Your Valuable Input

We are looking for a few minutes of your time to provide your valuable input — your wish list for pedestrian & cyclist safety — using a cool design tool. Public works wants to know what you are concerned about and what you’d like to see in Castro Valley, and/or anywhere in unincorporated Alameda County, for walking and biking safety. Please click on this link now to give your input.

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Every tiny entry you make will be considered in updating the Alameda County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for Unincorporated Areas by mid-2018. If your suggestions/concerns are in the plan, we’ll have a better chance of making the needed changes happen.

Thanks for your time in helping us make Castro Valley and our neighboring unincorporated Alameda County areas safer for all of us.

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.

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!

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!

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

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!