Expanding the Bicycle Network and Making New Connections

Author: Benjamin Barnett

With the challenges we all have faced over the past six months, we wanted to take a minute to shine some light on the accomplishments we made this summer in improving our ever-expanding bicycle network. Our crews worked all over the city making improvements, adding infrastructure and creating a more robust network.

Biking is more important than ever, both as a means of transportation with Muni service limited and as a way to get some exercise while sheltering-in-place. Where people feel safe and comfortable bicycling, more people ride bicycles. When these bike rides replace car trips, it creates more room on our crowded roadways, reducing traffic congestion. As such, expanding the bicycle network where people can travel comfortably has been a key priority of the SFMTA’s Transportation Recovery Plan.

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Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Crossings on the Rise During Pandemic

Author Noah Berger

Newly released data indicate the popularity of the pedestrian and bicycle paths on five of the Bay Area’s state-owned toll bridges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cyclist and pedestrian counter data(link is external) are now publicly available on the MTC website for the paths across the Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton and Richmond-San Rafael bridges, as well as the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Bay Area Toll Authority is maintaining a system of automatic counters to detect and record bicycle and pedestrian volumes around the clock at select locations on these bridges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many Bay Area residents seeking new ways to get around and enjoy socially distant activities that can be done close to home. Bike shops are reporting record business, and those who already own bicycles and scooters are joining walkers and runners on the region’s many bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths, including the Bay Trail.

How many people are using active transportation modes on the shared-use paths on Bay Area’s five state-owned bridges? (Because the Golden Gate Bridge is not a state-owned bridge, its pathway data are not included on the MTC website.) The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge had a high of nearly 12,000 bicycle crossings in May 2020, double the nearly 6,000 crossings in January 2020. The Bay Bridge registered  a 77% increase in bike trips (18,600 total) in May 2020 over the previous high of 10,500 trips in July 2017.

Walkers and runners are getting in on the action, too. The Benicia-Martinez Bridge had a high of 36,000 pedestrian crossings in May 2020, 80% higher than the previous high of 20,000 crossings in April 2018. There was a 38% increase in crossings (7,600) on the Carquinez Bridge in May 2020, with the pre-pandemic high of 5,500 crossings set in May 2016.

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U.S. Bicycle Route System

Why doesn’t Sonoma County participate in the The U.S. Bicycle Route System?  Time to ask our Supervisors.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of bicycle routes connecting urban and rural communities via signed roads and trails. Created with public input, U.S. Bicycle Routes direct bicyclists to a preferred route through a city, county, or state – creating opportunities for people everywhere to bicycle for travel, transportation, and recreation.

Over 14,000 miles are currently established in 27 states and Washington DC – and many routes are signed.

Since 2005, Adventure Cycling has been proud to shepherd the growth of the USBRS. We provide free technical assistance, coordination, and resources to assist stakeholder groups in their designation efforts.

Together, we’re building the largest public bike route network in the world!

SMART was voted Best Transportation Agency

SMART was voted Best Transportation Agency by readers of the Bohemian and the Pacific Sun in Marin and Sonoma counties. The following ad will run in the next edition of each publication, thanking our communities for their support. The ad also features the 2x daily cleaning protocols performed by our operations staff that keep our trains clean…….RCoates



NACTO urges shift from ‘outdated’ speed-limit planning

One major reason that tourists don’t choose to travel by bicycle is that city streets are not safe.  Its lack of bike paths but also cars traveling at unsafe speeds…  Rick Coates

Author : 

  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) last week released a guide urging local leaders to rethink how they set speed limits on city streets in a bid to prevent pedestrian deaths.
  • The guide, entitled “City Limits,” says cities should consider setting default speed limits on many streets at once, designate slow zones in what they deem “sensitive areas” and set speed limits on major corridors by using studies that take into account density and activity level.
  • Those changes would represent a major shift from the traditional way of setting speed limits, which involves measuring 100 drivers traveling without traffic and setting the speed limit based on the 15th-fastest driver. That practice is known as the 85th percentile, which NACTO Program Manager Jenny O’Connell described in a statement as “an oversimplified and outdated method.”
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