Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ATP Grant Projects Coming

I'm running a bit behind on my posting schedule-- this PowerPoint presentation was given to the Transportation Board in November-- but this way, y'all won't have to wait too long for all of these goodies to actually appear on the street. Once you take a look, you're going to want them to be implemented ASAP. I'm going to follow along in the PowerPoint, so you might want to download it and see what I'm talking about as you read this post.

The long and short of it is that Riverside received a grant from the Active Transportation Program for bicycle facilities in and around downtown. (The study area is bounded by the 91, the 60, the river, and just southwest of Jurupa Ave.) The City has decided to split that money up on several projects, many of which have a "demonstration project" feel to them-- but which nevertheless are going to improve the experience for cyclists downtown.

First off, we're getting some significant improvements in the network of Class II bike lanes around the area. Probably most notable is the new lane on Jurupa from RCC down to Martha Mclean Park, a route that I have advocated for for a while and one that will provide better connections between the Wood Streets/Plaza area and the Santa Ana River Trail. Beyond that, there's a lot of little gap-filling lanes-- projects that aren't terribly significant in and of themselves, but which play a role in connecting the larger network together. See particularly the lanes on and around Rubidoux Ave., connecting a little-known SART access point to the Wood Streets neighborhood.

We are getting some extra sidewalk along Palm Ave., so that's cool.

They're putting in a BikeStation at the Metrolink, which will have showers, lockers, and secure bicycle storage. The last time somebody brought this up, I kind of thought the thing was a bit of a waste of money, but if it gets people to bike to the train more often, that's fantastic. I'm also glad to hear that the BikeStation will have repair facilities, as downtown is currently lacking a bike shop.

In a first for Riverside, the City will be installing bike-network map kiosks throughout the downtown area. Cyclists will have the information they need to get to/from the SART, UCR, and various other destinations via the bicycle route network.

Some of the money will be used to help develop a bike-share network-- which I hope will be properly dense. Many small cities make the mistake of trying to install too few stations, or to install stations in widely-dispersed neighborhoods. The presentation suggests that the ATP grant will pay for two bike-share stations; I hope that these aren't the only two the City is installing.

The ATP grant will include Riverside's first two bike corrals-- one in front of Back to the Grind on University, and one at the pedestrian mall and Mission Inn. It should go without saying that this is an awesome development.

Redwood Drive, a one-way street at the west end of downtown, will be converted into a bicycle boulevard. The City isn't calling it that, but the treatment is familiar-- traffic circles will replace stop signs, while concrete berms will allow cyclists to ride through along the top of T intersections, rather than stopping. It's a beautiful project, and it's a pilot project-- if it is successful, plans are to implement these treatments elsewhere in downtown. The only real failing is that similar treatments are not being added to Pine St., so only southwest-bound cyclists will enjoy the improvements.

Several improvements are going to be made to the area around Bonaminio Park, adding crosswalks and a new bicycle staging area to the point where the SART crosses the dead-end of Tequesquite Ave.

And finally, because we can't have an ATP grant without a giveaway to cars, we can look at crosswalk improvements planed for 10th and 12th street. These crosswalks currently have flashing lights to warn drivers of pedestrians crossing. The City is planning on installing two new HAWK signals. These signals would stop traffic-- in sync with existing traffic lights-- and would allow pedestrians to cross the street only when traffic was stopped. Which means that, after this "upgrade," pedestrians will have to wait longer to cross Market St., so that drivers are inconvenienced less. While pedestrian safety is an admirable goal, especially with all of the pedestrian- and cyclist-involved traffic accidents we had last year, signals that slow down pedestrian movements in order to speed traffic through are antithetical to the goals of a vibrant downtown.