Anaheim Bike Plan Aims to Add 120 Miles for Bikes: Open for Comments

The Anaheim draft Bike Master Plan can be found on the City's website at anaheim.net/bike.
Anaheim’s draft Bicycle Master Plan can be found on the City’s website at anaheim.net/bike.

The City of Anaheim released its draft Bicycle Master Plan on August 1 and is looking for public feedback. The plan proposes to add 120 miles of additional bike facilities to the city, which would triple currently existing infrastructure.

“We’re trying to make the most complete bike network,” said Jaime Lai, transit manager for Anaheim. 

The city will hold a workshop for planning commissioners at 5 p.m. TODAY, Monday, August 8, at Anaheim City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

The plan, with interactive maps, can be found at anaheim.net/bike. Comments on the plan can be sent to bike@anaheim.net until August 31.

The Bicycle Master Plan would be adopted as an amendment to the city’s General Plan Circulation Element and is expected to be carried out over the next twenty years.

Planners estimates it would cost more than $68 million to realize the entirety of the plan. Since 2004, Anaheim has only spent around $6 million on bicycle infrastructure projects.

While there is a lot to like about the plan—it addresses first/last mile access as well as integrating road maintenance with bike facility installation and maintenance—there remain a few concerns.

The City of Anaheim is currently proposing to widen four blocks of Lincoln Avenue between West Street and Harbor Boulevard from four travel lanes to six travel lanes. The recently released draft Bike Master Plan does not propose any bike projects along Lincoln Avenue. Credit: City of Anaheim
The City of Anaheim is currently proposing to widen four blocks of Lincoln Avenue between West Street and Harbor Boulevard from four travel lanes to six travel lanes. The recently released draft Bicycle Master Plan does not propose any bike projects along Lincoln Avenue. Credit: City of Anaheim

No Road Diets

The increase in bike facilities is a good sign, but it’s discouraging to see that the city isn’t recommending using the full set of design tools to create the safest possible network.

From the draft:

The Plan identifies a network of existing and proposed bicycle facilities that will improve multimodal connectivity and increase bicycle mode share, especially for short trips. This is achieved through a system of on-street bike lanes and routes and off-street bike paths to connect residents, visitors, and workers to their destinations. The Plan does not propose to remove any vehicle travel lanes in favor of bicycle lanes.

I can’t quite say for certain what’s the average or median road size in the city, but I know that the county has a culture of widening roads—see Measure M, Master Plan of Arterial Highways.

Within the city, the Lincoln Avenue “Improvement” Project proposes widening four blocks of Lincoln Avenue from four lanes to six-all of them for automobile traffic only—and part of this widening is adjacent to Anaheim High School.

Rudy Emami, a City Engineer at Anaheim Public Works, defended the widening at a presentation to high school students during the Active Transportation Leadership Program. Emami said that its purpose was to increase the flow of auto travel and to decrease fender benders from congested roads.

But, the engineer said, the lanes would be narrowed from 13 feet to 12 and 11 feet! *side eye*

Credit: City of Anaheim

Limited Community Outreach

From 2014 to the present, the City of Anaheim held four separate meetings with four neighborhood associations. It also hosted a citywide open house for the project on October 18, 2014. The plan and the appendices don’t say what the turnout of these meetings or the open house were.

The city also gathered feedback from residents through an online survey, with more than 200 respondents.

The number of residents engaged in the project is tiny in proportion to the city’s total population of 342,973. But there were some notable findings:

  • 83 percent of those who did respond said the lack of bike paths, bike lanes, and bike routes prevented them from bicycling more.
  • 75 percent said more buffered bike lanes (on-street lanes for bikes separated by a four-foot buffer) would encourage them to bike more often—more on that later.
  • 87 percent said there are too few neighborhood bike lanes and trails.
Proposed bicycle infrastructure mileage. Credit: Anaheim's draft Bicycle Master Plan.
Proposed bicycle infrastructure mileage. From Anaheim’s draft Bicycle Master Plan.

Exclusion of Protected Bike Lanes

Protected bike lanes, defined in state law as “Class IV” bike lanes, are not considered in the bike plan. It devotes the majority of its attention to Class II bike lanes, which are simply on-street striped lanes. More than 70 miles of Class II lanes are proposed. The plan doesn’t go into detail on its reasoning for excluding protected bike lanes on some of its major roads, but as for now the only way to get protected bike lanes would be if people pushed for them on a case-by-case basis.

Closing the Gaps

The plan spends a considerable amount of time on making connections with neighboring cities, with county plans, and with the existing network. Only a handful of cities currently have or are proposing updated bike or active streets plans in Central Santa Ana North Orange County, so it’s encouraging to see the City entering those ranks.

The plan also addresses the placement of bike parking throughout the City. The total amount sounds nice, but according to the maps on proposed locations, the majority of the parking is clustered near Disneyland and in downtown Anaheim.

What do you think of the plan? Comment below with your thoughts.

  • Marcotico

    “Only a handful of cities currently have or are proposing updated bike or active streets plans in Central Santa Ana, so it’s encouraging to see the City entering those ranks.” I think you mean Central Orange County. Probably thinking about the fact that Santa Ana is strongly leading that group.

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