Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 12, 2016

If a biker uses Shoreline when no one is around to see her

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 9:02 am

Tonight the Planning Board will be taking a first look on the strategies for the Citywide Transit and Transportation Demand (TDM) Plan.

I read through most of the packet, but I was particularly interested in the conflicting opinions in the public comments.   One glaring omission that City Staff didn’t appear to take the community pulse on or even consider was a congestion tax on all of the cross estuary crossings during peak commuting hours.  One of the biggest complaints always seems to be around how difficult it is to get on and off the island during commute hours.  For some reason, I feel like the complaint is probably more directed to the off the island in the morning.  Since there was some mention of either a sales or property tax to help fund transit and transportation improvements, I would think that taxing users that impact the system the most at the most impactful times — single occupant vehicles during morning commute hours — would be the most equitable solution.  Perhaps one of the Planning Board members (nudge, nudge) can ask why that wasn’t surveyed.

Also considering all the people who claim that the Shoreline project was a failure because those individuals never see bikes there, I think it’s time for the City to invest in visual bike counting totems.  That way it tracks the number of users even when those individuals aren’t around to witness the existence of users.

Any way, some of the comments.  The opposition of some of the comments are amusing, but a good reminder that whatever the TDM plan ends up being it will be an abject failure for some parts of the populace because it doesn’t address their particular needs whatever that may be.  It’s clear that a lot of people do not want their ability to drive unfettered by pesky things like pedestrian and bicycle safety improvement or even transit improvements.  But in the end it’s important that the City do it’s best to accommodate the most number of people and, personally, those modes that will reduce the greatest impact on what is frequently cited as our most pressing problem: commute hour congestion.








  1. At least three times now, I have experienced slowing of traffic on Shoreline down to 10 MPH or less, due to the presence of a cyclist in the westbound auto lane between Broadway and Grand. The cyclist simply refused to cross the lanes of traffic to use the bike lanes on the beach side provided for their use. Since I was going so slow, it was easy enough to roll down my passenger side window and verbally remind them to use the bike lanes provided for their use. Mostly I was ignored, probably because it isn’t illegal for cyclists NOT to use the bike lanes. The cyclists did not care whether or not they were interfering with auto traffic.

    Until cyclists are legally required to use the cycle track where it is provided, and that requirement is backed up by law enforcement citations, motorists will continue to regard these “pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements” as laughable.,

    Comment by vigi — December 12, 2016 @ 10:39 am

  2. The other item that every point in the process shows is that parking requirements are causing home prices to be less affordable, cause more traffic, and make transit less effective.
    This plan is supposed to be giving options for the city to consider that would reduce congestion. Along with your point of studying congestion pricing (sooner rather than shoving it in the “long term” box, which we have seen often means “don’t address it”), providing City Council with recommendations for adjusting our parking minimums and what benefits it would have on future traffic growth. It is not the consultant and staff’s job to make the determination that an incredibly cheap and effective traffic mitigation strategy should be left off the menu because they assume it will create some angry people. They should be presenting all options based on their effectiveness, cost, and ease of implementation.

    Comment by BMac — December 12, 2016 @ 10:45 am

  3. Congestion-charging on the bridges and tunnels is very sensible. Traffic jams exist because a scarce resource isn’t priced.

    The comments about cyclists are the as expected as they are depressing. On the one hand, you have drivers annoyed that cyclists are in the road and, on the other, that they don’t behave like road users. When you ride a bike, you see very close up just how many car-drivers break the law in very dangerous ways. But the sense of entitlement among drivers is deep-seated.

    Comment by BC — December 12, 2016 @ 10:55 am

    • Congestion-charging on the bridges and tunnels is very sensible. Traffic jams exist because a scarce resource isn’t priced.


      That is correct. What is also correct is that ANY council member who votes for that will be ending their political career.

      As a daily bike commuter (and I run many local errands by bike as well) I agree completely with your other points.

      Comment by dave — December 12, 2016 @ 11:04 am

  4. Congestion pricing on the bridges and tunnel, using fast trak is doable and effective. There is already congestion pricing on other roadways in California, maybe the state needs to take the lead on developing regulations for this. After all, it is more of a regional issue than a local issue.

    Comment by notadave — December 12, 2016 @ 11:22 am

  5. The City probably does not have authority to set tolls for the tunnel/bridges by itself.

    Comment by MP — December 12, 2016 @ 11:29 am

  6. “The city was designed for automobile transportation over 80 years ago.” Not true, the city was designed for all road users and included a network of rails for public transportation. Our narrow streets were certainly not designed for 100% private automobile use. Until we improve our public transportation and bicycling infrastructure, and incentive usage of those modes over private cars, automobile congestion will continue.

    Comment by alexstar — December 12, 2016 @ 11:56 am

    • Alexstar–When Alameda was first “discovered” and populated by Caucasians, people moved around on the water, on foot, and on horseback. Rather like the original inhabitants they displaced. The reason for Alameda’s wide major streets (Lincoln, Central, Encinal, Webster, Park, etc.) is the island’s first mass transit–railroad lines carrying passengers. (Lincoln Avenue was once called Railroad Avenue.)

      Has the commenter on the Citywide Transit and TDM Plan ever wondered why there are so many “stations” around Alameda? It was not because they all had “gas” stations–they were railway stations!

      Comment by Jon Spangler — December 16, 2016 @ 11:25 pm

  7. There are always comments about how the change to Shoreline Drive has made that street more dangerous. However, I haven’t seen any accidents along that street when I’m on it. I’m wondering if there any statistics comparing the number of accidents on Shoreline Drive before and after the bike lane was put in.

    Comment by JohnB — December 12, 2016 @ 1:14 pm

    • and that would have to be put in context with bike usage numbers before and after, and even more so the pedestrian numbers. When Shoreline comes up, it is always framed as “bikes vs. cars.” The biggest winners of the Shoreline redesign were pedestrians. Crossing the street is a much safer now. Walking along the beach is safer and more enjoyable now that bikes are off the path. If there were pedestrian counters before and after, those would be the most dramatic.

      Comment by BMac — December 12, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

  8. I use the Shoreline bike lanes several times a week, and I almost always see other bikers. The lanes are very welcome improvement and far safer for bikers and pedestrians. Those complaining about the lack of use can certainly join the party.

    Regarding public transit- I would love to see Alameda return to light rail on the island and connect it to BART. Two lines going across the island would make Park, Webster and Southshore much more accessible and cut down on the need for driving.

    Comment by Brian K — December 14, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

    • There is really no way to connect to BART without Millions to either go over or under the UP Tracks. Lite Rail requires either overhead wires or a hot third rail that is isolated from human interaction. You need crossing gates with bells and trains whistles a crossings. BRT is a much better solution.

      Comment by frank — December 20, 2016 @ 9:26 am

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