Where did my bike lane go?

Bike Lanes Removed

Bike Lanes Removed

Today, a UBSJ cyclists posted the photo you see above on our Facebook page. The photo was taken on Almaden Blvd. looking northward just north of Balbach St. in front of the PWC tower.

Well we immediately asked the city “What’s the story?”, and this was their fast reply.

That one block of Almaden Blvd bike lanes south of Woz/Balbach was
installed in error.

San Jose plans to provide a bikeway connection south under Hwy 280 via 2nd and 3rd Streets since they do not have a freeway interchange.

Almaden Blvd at 280 does have a freeway interchange and one-way loop that is very challenging to bikes. In addition, adding bike lanes on Vine and Almaden south of Hwy 280 are not currently funded.

To avoid the Almaden/280 interchange, Almaden Blvd bicyclists will be able to use the Woz/Balbach/San Salvador bikeway (to be implemented this fiscal year) to planned bike lanes southward on 2nd and 3rd street under 280 (planned for next year). This will be a more bike-friendly route without an interchange.

What are your thoughts on this?

More importantly we have reached the point were the San Jose cyclists need to see the benefits of innovation in communication with a more immediate way. Cyclists must be informed of all bike projects, news, and changes such as these.

Imagine if the city closed a roadway overnight without public notification. We can do better. At the very least the city could have a twitter account to inform the cycling public.

Phone or email your councilperson. Tell them want better communication comming from city hall. In the case of this downtown mishap you council person is Sam Liccardo.

Contact his office at (408) 535-4903 or email at district3@sanjoseca.gov

Dia de los Muertos Sixth Anniversary Ride

San Jose Bike Party - Dia de los MuertosOctober is upon us! This month’s ride marks our 6th Anniversary! That’s right, San Jose Bike Party is finally old enough for grade school. This month is the Dia de los Muertos Ride.

We celebrate each October by having 3 separate official starts points. One from the South, East, and West (pdf links below). They all roll at 8p and they’ll unite at the 1st Regroup to create one HUGE BIKE PARTY RIDE!

This month’s theme is Dia De Los Muertos as we celebrate some merging of cultures that is unique to San Jose. Come celebrate the Day of the Dead with us!

Be safe, legal, and courteous (see How We Ride!). We share the road with other traffic. Helping cars move through smoothly makes the ride more enjoyable for everyone. Do your part to encourage good behavior! Also, please remember to turn down the volume when riding through residential areas late at night.

New this month we will have the new Raven Garbage bikes! That will be circling through the regroups and riding with us to gather up our trash. Please be respectful to them and help them keep bike party clean.

West Start – Winchester Mystery House(pdf)
South Start – Cathedral of Faith (pdf)
East Start – Eastside Target Lot (pdf)

A look back at bicycle friendly improvements in downtown San Jose

On Thursday we ran a post on the upcoming bicycle friendly improvements coming to San Fernando St. in downtown San Jose. Work on re-stripping this east west corridor is set to begin shortly from the eastern edge of the San Jose State University campus to Caltrain’s Diridon Station.

Just last November, San Jose Mercury News Columnist Scott Herhold wrote a column highlighting what was then planned changes in the downtown area to make cycling more convenient and safer for residents and visitors. In looking back, it is pretty amazing to see the changes that the city has made. Some of those changes include:

  • Road Diet and Green Bike Lanes on Hedding Street north of downtown
  • Buffered bike lanes on 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th streets
  • Bay Area Bikeshare
  • On street bike corral on South First St.
  • and the previously mentioned Green Bike Lanes on San Fernando St.

Wrapping up the article Scott Herhold comments on cycling in San Jose.

I know: This talk does not endear a politician to the masses. Less than 1 percent of the commutes in San Jose occur by bicycle. It’s precisely for that reason that I admire Liccardo. And it’s not just because I ride a bike. It’s because he’s willing to incur political risk for long-term reward.

Although he claims that less than 1 percent of commutes in San Jose occur by bicycle he is using a stardard but unflattering statistic for cyclists. Herhold doesn’t provide a date for his numbers but anyone who has stepped out of their car and walked downtown recently knows that bicycle usage in the downtown core has increased dramatically. Here are some other ways to look at that statistic.

Those commute numbers count only bicycle commutes as those commutes that are spent on a bike for the full length of the trip. Cycling trips to and from buses, light rail, and trains don’t count as bicycle commutes in these scenarios. Also, of the 30,000 students attending San Jose State University who commute by bike are not counted since they are not commuting to “jobs”.

Fewer workers in this valley commute in the traditional sense by car but cycling has seen tremendous growth in trips to the store, trips taking children to school, trips to the college campus, and recreational rides. San Jose Bike Party, one of many organized rides in the city hosts as many as 5,000 riders a month.

Given the long distances involved in the average commute this would be the trip least likely to be done on a bicycle. A family may use a bicycle for just about every trip, but chances are the trip to one’s workplace would be the most likely to be performed by automobile.

Lastly, if you use his 1% figure this number represents all of San Jose, from the shoreline of Alviso in the north to the sprawling Almaden Valley in the south. In the southern expanses of the Santa Clara Valley, sprawling suburbs make for not only extremely boring rides of countless arterial roadways and cul-du-sacs but the sheer distance alone to stores, schools, and train stops make cycling very unattractive mode of transportation. However if you look in the more central (and more traditional) districts of the city such as the east side, downtown, Japantown, Willow Glen, and the Alameda, bicycle use has boomed. Especially in Council District 3 (map); Sam Liccardo’s own district which is centered in the downtown area, cycling usage is substantial. With the number of students living in the downtown area and the number of younger residents choosing downtown as home the rate of cycling is notable.

What UBSJ finds more amazing than the “less than 1%” number given is the fact that this number is still more than the number of votes that Sam Liccardo’s supporters cast in his last election. That number was only 6,305.

Cyclocross and food trucks this weekend

San Jose is going to have its first taste of organized cyclocross racing this weekend. Also on tap is Battledish Beta Tasting in San Mateo on Saturday.

“Battledish: Beta Tasting” comes to San Mateo in a big way this fall with 15 food trucks showcasing 30+ brand new dishes for this international chef competition. Join a few thousand Peninsula foodies at this family-friendly event packed with live music, face painting, cocktails, and of course, food. Stop by San Jose’s own Bike Valet who will be making an appearance out of county this weekend. Here’s the calendar link.

The San Jose Cougar Cyclocross races will be held on this Saturday, October 5th at Montgomery Park, in the Evergreen area of San Jose. Joe Carpenter, the local promoter of this event has stated “We are stoked to finally bring CX racing to the largest city in the bay area! We are kicking off the season right with a test of your physical endurance with some punchy hilly segments followed by the technical twisties, and a fun fast descent. Lots of open space and an epic hill allow the spectators to take it all…” Let’s cheer them on and bring more events like this to San Jose.

Find out more »

San Jose DOT ready to paint the town green – well at least San Fernando Street

Jess Tanciangco from San Jose’s Department of Transportation has given UBSJ folks a peek at the new striping plans for San Fernando Street linking Caltrain Diridon Station to the eastern edge of the San Jose State University campus. You should start to see bike lanes appear as a wide green stripe similar to the work that was done on Hedding Street earlier this year. Weather permitting the project should be done by late January or mid February 2014 probably including “punch list” items.

The to list below includes tasks and activities that are weather sensitive:

    Slurry seal should be done by mid or late before thanksgiving November 2013
    Striping afterwards
    Green Bike color afterwards

So folks be patient if you ride is slowed just a bit by all the construction work on San Fernando; you’ll love the end results.

San Fernando St. Striping Plans (pdf)

Supervisor Dave Cortese supports cycling to Day at the Bay event

Email blast encourages event goers to go by bike.

San Jose Bike Valet will be providing free parking at this event. A ride will also be leaving downtown for a leisurely 10 mile ride to the bay. Check here for details.

Gov. Brown signs 3 foot passing bill!

Gov Brown sign 3 foot passing bill

California Gov. Jerry Brown today signed Assembly Bill 1371 requiring a 3 foot passing distance from bicycles

AB 1371 which was brought to the floor by Assembly Member Steven Bradford requires a minimum three feet of clearance when a motor vehicle passes a cyclist.

The law will take effect September 16, 2014. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states currently have a minimum passing distance law on the books.

The legislation although a win for cyclists only requires a token fine for infractions; even when the motor vehicle strikes a cyclist. The bill reads:

“A violation is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty-five dollars ($35). If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation, a two-hundred-twenty-dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that driver.”

All in all in was a great day for cyclists and cycling in our city and our state!

Busy weekend for Bikes in San Jose

San Jose Bike Party

Tomorrow is the 3rd Friday of the month and that means San Jose Bike Party. The theme this month is the 80′s dig into your closet or your parents closet and find the best from the 80′s.

Don’t forget Guerillaz in Da Mixx will be on hand to provide the synchronized beats for the ride. As always wheels hit the street at 8:00 pm. Please note that as of 9:30 pm the San Jose Bike Party website was experiencing heavy traffic and the route was unavailable.

Luna Park Chalk Art Festival

Luna Park Chalk FestivalThis Saturday, we will be valet parking bikes at the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival. We will be bringing out the camera again, so if you want one of those awesome MyBike photos from UBSJ, pedal on out! http://www.lunaparkchalkart.org/
San Jose Bike Valet