The City of Pasadena has released a formal report on the potential cost and impact of implementing the City's first protected bike lanes. Developed by the same firm that assisted the cities of Long Beach and Temple City construct their first Class I, on-street bike lanes - KOA Corporation - the study examines 7 potential major thoroughfares to receive the gold standard in safety: Washington, Orange Grove, Villa, Colorado, Union, Green, and Del Mar.
The report is in part the result of a process set off by local residents galvanized by the death of Phillip O'Neill, who was struck and killed by a motorist while bicycling west on Del Mar Blvd. in June 2013. Phillip's tragic death was the third fatal collision in the City in three years, following the deaths of Alan Deane who was killed by a driver that failed to yield while making a left turn on Colorado Blvd and Jocelyn Young, the victim of a fatal DUI hit-and-run on Los Robles Ave.
Collision data from the CA Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) indicates that such incidents are far too common in Pasadena. In fact, the most recent safety data reveals that the City has one of the worst safety records insofar as pedestrians and bicyclists are concerned in the entire state of California. Pasadena had the 4th highest number of collisions involving pedestrians and automobiles, and 5th highest involving bicyclists and automobiles, among 55 similarly sized California cities.
A Protected East-West Passage
In August 2013 this realization and a draft bicycle plan that relied heavily on Class III bicycle routes on high-speed arterials prompted the City's Municipal Services Committee to direct Department of Transportation staff to identify an east-west corridor that would be well-suited for a protected bike lane. KOA subsequently studied 7 potential east-west streets, from north to south, Washington, Orange Grove, Villa, Union, Colorado, Green, and Del Mar.
The resulting report includes data on existing traffic volumes, parking spaces, traffic lanes, and street widths, and then estimated the cost and impact to automobile vehicular capacity of different types of bicycle infrastructure (e.g., buffered bike lane, protected bike lane - aka "cycle track"). However, it is largely informational, with no specific recommendations being made insofar as which roadway would be best suited for a protected bikeway.
North-South Neighborhood Greenways
The City's report also examines the feasibilty for neighborhood greenways along several relatively low traffic north-south streets, including Craig, El Molino, Sierra Bonita and Wilson. While BikeSGV prefers the term "Neighborhood Greenway" given the many co-benefits of suggested traffic calming, traffic diversion, storm water capture, and other measures for other road users (e.g., children, pedestrians) and local residents (e.g., less cut through traffic; increased property values), KOA and the City of Pasadena refer to these neighborhood priority streets as "Bike Boulevards". A cursory review of this section of the report reveals that each of the four would complement the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition's PasCSC Greenway Plan, which aims to create a network of comfortable, low- and slow traffic neighborhood streets providing vulnerable road users like bicyclists safe alternative routes across town.
So what next? The City is planning to host a series of public meetings to receive community input regarding the options to help prioritize projects. The results of this process will then be included in the City's draft bicycle master plan and presented to City Council for formal consideration. If you'd like to weigh in on this process, please be sure to sign up for the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition's mailing list and/or follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter.
A more thorough review and link to the full report can be found on the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition's website here.
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab