Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bike Progress is Coming for UCR

Two projects are currently making their way through the morass of transportation bureaucracy that will hopefully make life better for UCR-area cyclists. One is a two-way cycletrack on the north side of Canyon Crest from Linden to University. For cyclists coming from the huge swathes of apartments on the north side of campus, there really isn't much of a way to get from along Canyon Crest on to the UCR campus. (Personally, I stay on the southbound Canyon Crest bike lane until University, move over to the median, and cross University at the corner, but that's me...) That will change when this cycletrack goes in- just cross at Linden or Bannockburn and ride down the two-way cycletrack.

Another project is on deck to reconfigure University Ave. between campus and the University Village. Currently, the idea is to remove a lane from the westbound side of University and build a sidewalk on that side. I think this is a much less useful design-- a sidewalk on the west of University would put pedestrians in more conflict with cars (crossing two freeway ramps, one with both exiting and entering traffic, instead of one) and be further away from campus and the natural flow of traffic.

And, at the same time, every day I ride back from getting lunch in the surrounding neighborhood, I find myself dodging skateboards, kick scooters, joggers, and more than anything wrong-way cyclists. Cyclists rode down the eastbound bike lane on University when it was complete; they continue now, even after Caltrans put them in further danger.

What we really need is the extension of the future Canyon Crest cycletrack all the way down to at least the University Village intersection, where cyclists could cross at the signal and continue west on University. And, since this section isn't designed yet, we could still get it! The city is in talks with Caltrans about how to configure the street and associated on-ramp, which means that you can make your voice heard on the project. Call your councilman today and tell them that you want a two-way cycletrack to the UV.

By the way, the city will be bidding both of these projects simultaneously, according to the city's bike coordinator. So, as soon as Caltrans and Public Works settle on a design, the project will be put in the pipeline. They expect to start working on it over the summer, while school traffic will be reduced.

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