Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brockton Road Diet

A quick note-- at the last Transportation Board meeting, the public works department notified us that a grant had been approved for the Brockton Road Diet. Brockton will be narrowed from two lanes in each direction to one, and will have bicycle lanes installed, from Mission Inn to at least Jurupa. (I seem to have misplaced my notes, but the project will go a long way.) I'm currently trying to press for a parking-buffered bike lane, with bikes between the curb and parking. The design has not yet been finalized.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Car ownership is still the default assumption

I just wanted to share a quick anecdote. I'm trying to arrange a carpool up to a union meeting in Berkeley this weekend, and one of our organizers mentioned that only one other person would be making the drive, and his wife would be in San Diego with his car. Therefore, I'd "have to be okay with taking [my] car."

This is from a person who always sees me on my bicycle on campus, and who, to my knowledge, has never seen me behind a steering wheel of any sort. It is simply assumed that, being a productive member of society who makes a decent living, I own a car.

I had a similar experience at Altura credit union not too long ago. The woman who helped me open an account told me that her credit card printing machine was down, but that the branch on Central would be happy to help me. When I asked how to get to that branch, she said "Oh, you just get on the 91 and..." This is after we'd had a conversation about the fact that I am car-free, and had arrived on my bicycle. She also seemed rather skeptical of the fact that I could ride a bicycle all the way to the Riverside Plaza.

The point here is that automobiles have woven their way into our psychology. We simply assume that everyone who can afford one has access to one, and will naturally use it during the course of their daily lives. This is an assumption that we need to correct.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Progress on University Ave.

I posted a while ago about the disappearing bike lane on University between Iowa and I-215/CA-60. The "improvements" that Caltrans made to the road put in two right-hand turn lanes on to the eastbound freeway ramp, and thus there were three eastbound lanes and nowhere to put a bike lane. (Even if we had the space in the right-of-way, which we don't, to avoid right hooks, the bike lane would have to be between the innermost lane and the first right-hand turn lane.)

Well, back in late August I was riding the street and I saw some progress on the street. No bike lane yet, unfortunately, but the two right-hand turn lanes are back down to one. There are still three lanes there-- and that's entirely unnecessary, we don't need two through lanes past University in that area. But I recognize this as an acknowledgement that we don't need two lanes of freeway traffic on to that ramp, and that is necessary if we are going to see better bike infrastructure on this, one of the most bike-trafficked stretches of street in Riverside.

(I still, of course, think we could get rid of the damn ramp entirely...)