Set to GO Into Effect in April
As our streets become increasingly dangerous, overflowing with a never-ceasing barrage of four-wheeled beasts (cars), Berkeley is taking a step in the right direction and responding with a network of Bicycle Boulevards—streets which will be specially engineered to make biking safer, faster and more attractive to residents! (See Map.) The Bike Boulevard network will help get ordinary people, out of their cars and on to their bikes. Safety concerns are a principle reason more people don’t bike. The City Council is expected to approve the Bike Boulevard Plan in April and implementation will start soon after.
Bicycle Boulevards are the premier part of Berkeley’s Bicycle Plan, and when implemented will be the first such network in the country. Last fall over 200 residents and cyclists attended a series of public workshops to define how Berkeley’s Bicycle Boulevards will be built. After pouring over packets of sketches, viewing slides of designs implemented in other cities, and much discussion—public input was compiled to form the Bicycle Boulevard Tools and Guidelines Report.
In the report, a slew of traffic-calming ideas are referred to as “tools” in the Bike Boulevard toolbox. Each Bicycle Boulevard will be developed gradually over the next dozen years using a variety of the “tools” appropriate to each particular street.
Stop signs at some Bike Boulevard intersections will be removed and replaced by traffic circles (like the one at Woolsey and Regent and the new circles along Parker and Ellsworth) which slow car traffic, but permit bicyclists to glide along with ease. Stop signs will only be removed after neighborhood input, and when a more-effective traffic-calming device is put in their place, to prevent speedways for motorists. Where the Boulevards cross major arterial roads, special bike sensing traffic lights and/or median refuge sections will be installed.
Another tool is red colored pavement along the lengths of the Bicycle Boulevards. This visually striking design will be used in order to distinguish the Bike Boulevards from other streets, conveying the message to all users that these streets are different. Signage and stenciling will also be utilized along the Boulevards in order to alert users that these are bicycle-priority streets.
Berkeley dedicates $170,000 each year to implementing the Bike Plan, and for several years city staff has saved much of the funding to use it to implement the Bicycle Boulevards. Contact Sarah Syed, Bicycle Boulevard Coordinator of the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition at (510) 549-RIDE to get involved in the Bike Boulevard process!