Caltrans Asking for Input on Bikeway Design

popuplane
Oakland hosted a pop-up protected bike lane at last year’s Bike to Work Day. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

Last year’s Protected Bikeways Act from Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) created a new officially designated bike lane type, the Class IV bikeway, variously known as a “protected bikeway” “protected bike lane,” “separated bike lane,” or “cycletrack.” The bill also required Caltrans to create and publish design criteria for the new bikeways by January 2016.

To do so, the department is doing things “inside out,” according to Caltrans Design Division Chief Tim Craggs. Instead of huddling with its engineers and designers, writing up design criteria, and submitting them for public comment, the department is asking for input from the public before it writes anything.

A survey went out about two weeks ago through the department to various stakeholders around the state. It “went viral,” according to Craggs, and has already garnered over 600 replies–which is a lot for a government survey. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, April 27, so there are only a few days left to weigh in.

The purpose of the survey is to gather very general information about where people have concerns or special knowledge about bikeway design, and to gauge interest in a workshop Caltrans is planning for May. At that workshop, people from a wide range of interest groups will be invited to discuss design ideas and concerns about separated bike facilities.

The high number of responses already received show that there are plenty of strong opinions about protected bike lanes.

The survey, which can be found here, is a very general series of questions, asking not so much for specific opinions or ideas as for interest areas to be further explored later.

Craggs says the point of both the survey and the workshop is “for [Caltrans] to listen. We’re providing a forum for a broad spectrum of stakeholders to provide us input—and for them to listen to each other as well.”

People taking the survey are invited to express their interest in attending the workshop, which will be limited to a manageable number of attendees. Craggs said Caltrans will ensure that attendees represent “a good cross section of stakeholders.”

That broad spectrum will include members of its various bike and pedestrian advisory committees, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Caltrans engineers, and city and county planners, in addition to advocacy groups for active transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, and disability concerns.

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