To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Friday, August 29, 2014

Protected Bike Lane Bill Approved By Legislature, Awaiting Governor


By Melanie Curry, August 29, 2014

 Protected bike lanes like these ones on Market Street in San Francisco will be easier for cities to build. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

 Under A.B. 1193, protected bike lanes, like these ones on Market Street in San Francisco, will be easier for cities to build.

A bill that would make it easier for California cities to build protected bike lanes passed both houses of the legislature this week and has been sent on for Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.

The bill, A.B. 1193, was authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition.

The bill serves several purposes. First and foremost, it requires Caltrans to create or adopt standards for a new category of bike lanes: protected, separated bike lanes or “cycletracks.” These standards can be used by communities that want to build protected lanes and want to refer to a set of engineer-approved guidelines to help design them safely.

At the same time, it removes a provision in the law that requires that any bike lane built in California adhere to Caltrans specifications, even if it is built on a local street that is not under Caltrans’ jurisdiction. This frees up local jurisdictions to choose other guidelines, such as the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide, if the Caltrans standards do not adequately address local conditions.

Caltrans endorsed the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide earlier this year but has not adopted it, meaning that currently communities that want to build separated bike lanes still must go through an official process to get an exception.

Last-minute negotiations on the bill addressed concerns about liability by adding several conditions that have to be met before non-Caltrans criteria can be used. A “qualified engineer” must review and sign off on a protected bike lane project, the public must be duly notified, and alternative criteria must “adhere to guidelines established by a national association of public agency transportation official,” which means the NACTO guidelines would could be used whether Caltrans has officially adopted them or not.

And unfortunately for lay people, Caltrans balked at removing its bike lane naming convention, saying it is just too embedded in its documents. So the new protected bike lanes category would be officially named “Class IV Bikeways” under the law. Other categories remain Class I Bikeways (bike paths or shared use paths), Class II bikeways (bike lanes), and Class III bikeways (bike routes). Memorize that.

Dave Snyder of the California Bicycle Coalition, said, “We’re very excited to have gotten to this point after months of harder-than-expected negotiations and stalwart support from Phil Ting. He really wants to see protected bikeways get more popular.”