San Jose Implementing New Bike Lanes in 2018

After more than a year in the planning phase, San Jose, California, is ready to move forward on implementing new bike paths in their downtown area. While some residents are still not happy about losing 80 parking spaces in the area with those living or working near San Jose colleges expressing the most concern, the city hopes the new plan called Better Bikeways will shorten the distance bikers have to cross to move across intersections and separate bike lanes from traffic lanes will improve safety for everyone. Most work is expected to be completed by the end of September 2018.

The plan calls for three changes to be made while the streets are being paved. First, on wide streets, the parking will move to the left with bike lanes positioned between the sidewalk and the parked cars. On narrower streets, traffic diverters will be used to separate lanes. Finally, the width of intersections will be narrowed with drivers turning out of a driving lane without needing to enter the bike lane to make a right turn. Only one lane of traffic for a couple of blocks is being totally eliminated under this new plan.

The plan is similar to one implemented in Long Beach, California, which reduced accidents by 50 percent in the first year after they were put in place and in New York City where they are credited with reducing ‘ injuries and fatalities to people walking or biking by 40 percent.

It is estimated that the entire project will cost $1.5 million during 2018. While the work is being done while the streets are being repaved, the money will not come out of maintenance funds. Grants from the state, One Bay Area and Downtown Area Streetscape Improvement Fund are being used to pay for the project.

While all costs remain estimates, American with Disabilities Accessible boarding stations for the bus will cost about $566,000 to install. The traffic-safe bollards will cost about $200,000 and the modifications to nine intersections will cost $600,000. Finally, beige paint will be applied to the roads where no one should go with an estimated cost of $196,000.

The city has held six meetings to discuss the plan with those affected by the plan and other interested parties. The last one was held on August 15, 2018, to discuss installing special loading zones. Therefore, the public comment period has been closed and the plan will be proceeding.

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