According to the newly published Napa Countywide Bicycle Plan, the Californian county could soon add over 450 miles of bike-friendly routes that would connect the county’s cities and towns. Local authorities hope this proposal will increase bicyclist safety throughout the county.
One key focus of this over 200-page draft is the city of Napa. City leaders say their goal is to increase Napa’s biking lanes to 116.9 miles. Currently, Napa has just under 50 miles of bike-friendly lanes.
These goals are extremely ambitious, especially considering the fact that Napa’s infrastructure was built around automobiles. This means local officials will have to modify existing street designs to accommodate bicyclists.
For this reason, many Napa Valley leaders have suggested starting off slow by analyzing whether certain streets have the potential to be bike-friendly. For instance, one area set aside as a “corridor study” zone is an 11-mile stretch in the center of Jefferson Street.
Yet another area Napa Valley leaders are interested in building a new bike path is below Lincoln Avenue next to the Napa River. A few other streets that might soon get bike lanes include Trancas Street and Big Ranch Road.
Although all of these streets are slated to get bike lanes in the future, proposal writers aren’t sure where to begin on this massive undertaking. People working on this project say it’s far more important they create a smooth network of biking routes rather than focusing on just a few areas.
To better understand what roads in Napa Valley need the most attention, petition writers published crash data from Napa between 2006 and 2013. There were about 230 bicyclist accidents in Napa Valley within this time frame. Thankfully, nobody was killed, but a few crash victims suffered serious injuries.
Interestingly, researchers found that only ten streets in Napa accounted for over half of these collisions. A few of the worst streets for bicyclists include some that were mentioned earlier: Jefferson Street, Trancas Street, and Lincoln Avenue.
Although the Napa Countywide Bicycle Plan isn’t finalized yet, the public can view a sample of the plan by clicking on this website. It’s expected the NVTA Board of Directors will formally release this draft on February 20, 2019.