A buffered bikeway on Wabash Avenue in Chicago

URGENT Call to Action: Rightsizing on California Street

An article (subscription required) in Saturday’s Record-Searchlight makes it clear that there is still discussion about whether 2 lanes for auto traffic with the addition of a Better Bikeway would better serve downtown businesses and local families than the current configuration of three lanes for auto traffic only.

As Caltrans talks bikes lanes in downtown Redding, push to reduce lanes on California St. emerges. … “discussion on Wednesday is shaping up to be over whether the less-congested California Street should be reduced from three lanes to two.”   Your voice is necessary to make a difference.  Please send your input—it’s easy!  Here’s why we feel these improvements are so essential:

  • This is a rare opportunity to improve the flow of movement in downtown Redding in the immediate future.
  • It would be the first step to replacing the aging highway conditions in downtown Redding and building an urban avenue featuring better bikeways, greenways, and improved crosswalks.
  • It would improve the movement and connections between the Westside neighborhoods (and important upcoming improvements there) and the Promenade and Pine Street areas.
  • It would provide the opportunity for a Better Bikeway connecting the popular Sacramento River Trail to downtown businesses. This would keep bicycle travel out of the dangerous “door zone” and separated from auto traffic.
  • It will make downtown walking safer and more convenient and improve the foot traffic that is essential for healthy businesses.
  • It will calm traffic moving through downtown without causing congestion.
  • It aligns to improvements that are planned in the longer term.
  • It is the type of improvement called for in the current General Plan.
  • Its a great opportunity to do more with less:  Less cost to the taxpayer and bigger benefits to businesses and families.

This is exactly the kind of real change that will boost the viability of downtown by helping make downtown Redding a place people want to be.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We need you to email the Caltrans District 2 Public Information Office at d2pio@dot.ca.gov RIGHT NOW and tell them you support rightsizing California Street to two lanes and adding a buffered bikeway.  Get your friends and family to email as well!  We don’t have much time, Caltrans will be making their decision this Wednesday, May 28.  Make no mistake –  this improvement will not happen without strong public support.

Caltrans and the City of Redding have been tremendous supporters of our cause and have been eager to listen to our suggestions; that’s why it’s absolutely critical that we show there is a demand for this kind of quality downtown boulevard and bicycling facility in Redding.

Here’s a suggestion for what you can say:

I support rightsizing of California Street with two lanes for auto traffic and a Better Bikeway on California Street.  I think this is a good idea for downtown business and local families because [choose any of the benefits outlined above and add your own].  I am a [business owner, parent, professional ....] and I thank Caltrans and the City of Redding for your willingness to make these improvements in the near team to support the health and vitality of downtown Redding which will benefit local businesses, families and our regional economy.”

This is our chance to make a huge difference in the walkability and bikeability of downtown Redding in the near term.  We need your help!

What might California Street look like?

The proposed restriping of California Street.
The potential restriping of California Street.

Caltrans will be making a pavement overlay on California Street in downtown Redding this summer as part of $3 million dollar project.  There is potential to rightsize California Street to two lanes and add a Better Bikeway with buffers along the bike lane—providing safer movement for all users of the roadway.

Our Analysis

Why should we rightsize the lanes on California Street?

Road diets result in safer streets for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Researchers have found that road diets can be expected to reduce overall crash frequency by anywhere from 19% to 43%, with the higher crash reductions occurring in small urban areas than in metropolitan areas. A recent rightsizing of a one-way NYC street from three lanes to two resulted in a reduction of the percentage of vehicles on the street breaking the speed limit from 74% to 20% and the percentage of cyclists riding on the sidewalk decreased from 46% to 3%.

If California Street were rightsized, pedestrians would have one less lane of motor traffic to cross, motorists would be less prone to switch from lane to lane erratically, and there would be more room for cyclists.

The difference a road diet will make in the street life of California Street is incalculable. Peak traffic might exist for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week or less, but people move on these streets for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Won’t going from three lanes to two increase congestion?

No. The FHA has determined that road diets do not cause congestion on roads that carry under 20,000 ADTS (Average Daily Trips). California Street carried an estimated 9,200 ADTS in 2012.  That’s maybe 1/3 more than Parkview Avenue carried that year.  Parkview Avenue recently rightsized to 1 lane in each direction—noticed any congestion on Parkview lately? Neither have we.

In discussing road diets, the FHA states:   “It has been shown that roads with 15,000 ADT or less had very good results in the areas of safety, operations, and livability.”

Furthermore, the data shows automobile traffic for California Street has been trending downwards over recent years, reflecting the national trend for less driving overall.

Shouldn’t we just leave the streets alone? They’ve been fine like this for a long time.

No, they haven’t been fine.

The streets are currently designed to move the maximum amount of traffic through downtown at a high amount of speed.  This makes downtown more unpleasant and uncomfortable for pedestrians and bicyclists, and is bad for business.

The current general plan, in place for many years, makes clear that this type of goal has drawbacks for local business and calls for changes like the one now being discussed: “moving traffic through Downtown without delay detracts from efforts to establish an active, pedestrian-friendly area” and the plan allows for “‘tolerable delays’ for the Downtown area where vitality, activity, and pedestrian and transit use are primary goals.” The plan has a stated policy to “restrict speed limits in residential neighborhoods, Downtown, and other areas of the City where pedestrian activities are strongly encouraged to reduce the potential for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.”

If we rightsized California Street, what would we do with all that space?

Glad you asked! We’re like to see a buffered bikeway! After all, the City of Redding 2000-2020 General Plan has a stated goal of making it easier and safer for people to travel by bicycle, to be effected by “incorporat[ing] facilities suitable for bicycle use in the design of interchanges, intersections, and other street-improvement/maintenance projects. ”  This type of Better Bikeway can easily be implemented within the limited scope of the current overlay project.

What’s a buffered bikeway?

NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) defines a buffered bikeway as “conventional bicycle lanes paired with a designated buffer space separating the bicycle lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane.” Simply put, it’s a normal bike lane with a little extra space just like the image at the top of this post.

Is a buffered bikeway on California Street a good idea?

YES. Yes, yes, unequivocally, yes!

It’s good for business: 

    • Portland State University researchers found that customers who arrive by bike spend 24% more per month than those who arrive by car.

    • Traveling by bike encourages more frequent stops than a car. In a study of Toronto merchants, patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month.

    • New York City found that protected green lanes had a significant positive impact on local business strength. After the construction of a protected bike lane on 9th Avenue, local businesses saw a 49 percent increase in retail sales. In comparison, local businesses throughout Manhattan only saw a 3 percent increase in retail sales.

It’s good for everyone:

    • Even drivers who never ride bikes themselves overwhelmingly report greater comfort around physically separated bike lanes.

    • After Chicago’s Kinzie Street green lane was installed, a travel time study found little to no effect on automobile traffic: – Eastbound morning rush hour travel time from Milwaukee Avenue to Wells Street increased by less than one minute. – Westbound morning rush hour travel times from Wells Street to Milwaukee Avenue slightly improved. – Evening rush hour travel time in both directions slightly improved.

    • After New York City installed a protected green bike lane on Columbus Avenue, bicycling increased 56% on weekdays, crashes decreased 34%, speeding decreased, sidewalk riding decreased, traffic flow remained similar, and commercial loading hours/space increased 475%

If you build it, people will ride:

    • After buffered green lanes were installed on Philadelphia’s Spruce and Pine streets, bike traffic increased 95% and the number of bicyclists riding on the sidewalks decreased by up to 75%
    • After a green lane was installed on Chicago’s Kinzie Street: Bicycle ridership on increased 55 percent, according to morning rush hour counts; Forty-one percent of respondents changed their usual route to take advantage of the new protected green lane.

    • NYC’s Prospect Park West protected green lane saw a 190 percent increase in weekday ridership, with 32 percent of those biking under age 12.

It’s what people want:

    • 94% of respondents to a recent Shasta Living Streets survey agreed or strongly agreed that if there were better bicycle (like buffered or protected bike lanes) facilities and pedestrian facilities in town, they would ride their bicycle or walk more often.
    • 93% of respondents to a recent Shasta Living Streets survey agreed or strongly agreed that a buffered or protected bike lane would make them feel more comfortable riding their bicycle on city streets.
    • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans who don’t bicycle say they would like to ride more often.

Citations for these and many more statistics can be found at People for Bikes’ website.

Why should my tax money be used on a bicycle lane?

  • Most bicyclists also own a car and pay taxes and registration like everyone else.
  • In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation that requires cities and counties, when updating the part of a local general plan that addresses roadways and traffic flows, to ensure that those plans account for the needs of all roadway users—not just motorists.
  • More people on bicycles means less auto traffic for the remaining motorists on the road, and it reduces city costs for maintaining roads since bicycles do not cause the same wear and tear on road surfaces as heavier cars and trucks.

Is this an ambitious enough proposal?

This is just an overlay project and has a very limited budget and scope. A buffered bikeway can be put into place with just a few gallons of paint. Any more significant changes to downtown circulation would be more expensive and would have to wait for a future project. In this case, the perfect is the enemy of the good and we should applaud Caltrans and the City of Redding for attempting to do more with less!

 

CRW_6908_wp

Walkability: How To Revitalize Redding One Step At At Time – Part One

Before you start to say it can never happen here, it’s already begun. 

{Part One of a Series On Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time, originally published on A News Cafe.]

Shasta Living Streets sometimes gets described as a bicycling group. While we advocate cycling, it’s just a portion of our platform.  Our full platform can be found in our name—living streets.  Streets that are lively and accessible to everyone in our community: bicyclists, pedestrians, young, old, abled, differently abled, and yes, motorists too.Carnegies_wide

The City of Redding has been attempting to revitalize downtown for fifty years now, to various degrees of success. In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time, author and city planner Jeff Speck posits the key to making a vibrant city is walkability.  His book, clocking in at a breezy 312 pages, is an engaging and easy read that encapsulates the Shasta Living Streets agenda as well as anything we’ve seen.  We urge you to buy it, read it, share it with your friends, and join us to discuss it.

Characteristics that make streets truly walkable:  useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting

WalkableCityIn Walkable City, Speck argues walkability is more than just pedestrian safety. “If walking was just about creating safe pedestrian zones,” Speck asks, “then why did more than 150 Main Streets pedestrianized in the sixties and seventies fail almost immediately?” (Sound familiar?)  Speck puts forth what he calls the General Theory of Walkability, which asserts that a walkable city, town, or district must meet four criteria to be considered truly walkable: useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting:

Useful means that most aspects of daily life (work, school, groceries, etc.) are located close at hand and organized in a way that walking serves them well.  Safe means that the street has been designed to give pedestrians a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles; they must not only be safe but feel safe, which is even tougher to satisfy.  Comfortable means that buildings and landscape shape urban streets into “outdoor living rooms,” in contract to wide-open spaces, which usually fail to attract pedestrians.  Interesting means that sidewalks are lined by unique buildings with friendly faces and that signs of humanity abound.”

So why should our cities and towns be walkable?

Demographic Demand

Speck observes, “surveys show creative-class citizens, especially millennials, favor communities with street life.”  While Boomers and Gen-Xers grew up on TV portraying cities as dangerous dens of crime and the suburbs as pastoral ideals, millennials grew up on shows portraying cities as exciting and benevolent places full of life.  This preference for urban living is becoming dominant and is expected to last for decades.

Will they want to live in Redding or will they want to live somewhere else?

As they age, Baby Boomers (25% of the U.S. population) are downsizing their large, isolated, suburban empty nests and seeking more compact neighborhoods where they can walk instead of drive as part of their daily lives.  It makes sense; how many of us know an elder who has had to give up driving?  What happens when they are stuck in their suburban home miles from stores and services? How alienating must that be?

Between the millennials and boomers (the two largest demographic groups in America), the demand for walkable urban living has the potential be a large economic windfall;  Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institute theorizes it will take 20 to 30 years to meet the pent-up demand.  Will they want to live in Redding or will they want to live somewhere else?

It Makes Economic Sense

Living a walkable life means less spending on cars and more disposable income for local businesses.

In cities from New York to Seattle to Detroit, housing in walkable urban areas fetches a 40-200% premium over comparable housing in suburban neighborhoods.  The same principle can be found at work with commercial properties—during the recession, suburban office vacancies increased while downtown vacancies stayed put.

Living a walkable life means less spending on cars and more disposable income for local businesses.  Studies have shown that the average American family now spends more on transportation than housing—“about $14,000 per family per year driving multiple cars,” according to Speck, and “almost 85% of money spent on gas and cars leaves the local economy.”  If we made Redding walkable enough that only 1% of our families decided to go car-free, that could mean over 12 million dollars a year would be freed up for more discretionary—and local—spending.

Healthier Cities, Healthier Families

By now, everybody should know by now we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is making a tremendous negative impact on medical expenditures, lifespans, and the quality of life.  Many studies are beginning to link this epidemic “directly to the automotive lifestyle.”

According to Speck, “one effort found for every additional five minutes Atlanta-area residents drove a day, they were 3% more likely to be obese.”  The automobile also impacts public health through pollution, car crashes, and even higher blood pressure caused by sitting in traffic.

It Can Happen Here

Before you start to say it can never happen here, it’s already begun. More and more young professionals are moving downtown, citing its proximity to activities, events, businesses, and the river trail as its best features.  Christine Stokes, Executive Director of the Shasta Historical Society, moved downtown to be closer to work and friends and quickly fell in love with the architecture and greenery.  “I love being able to sit outside at a local restaurant for dinner and then take a stroll home,” says Stokes.

“I see so much more when not driving through; businesses I didn’t know existed, places I’ve never visited, in a town in which I was born and raised.”

Brandi Greene of E2 Consultant Engineers and Catalyst bought a house downtown to make a daily impact in an area she would like to see evolve.  “I have enjoyed the look on other’s faces when I say I walked,” she smiles. “I see so much more when not driving through; businesses I didn’t know existed, places I’ve never visited, in a town in which I was born and raised.”

Both Greene and Stokes still see a need for changes downtown—we’ll discuss these changes in a future article—but it’s becoming clear that with a little work, we can turn this kind of interest and commitment into a thriving downtown for everyone.

###

Michael Kuker contributes policy analysis and communications strategies to help create more livable communities in our region.

bb-7

Better Bikeways and Walkable Cities

Bicycling is growing as more people discover the joys and convenience of bicycling.   Businesses want more people to walk and bicycle because more foot traffic means more spending and social energy in local business districts.  

People want to  walk or bicycle more in their daily lives to reduce transportation costs, stay healthy, and have more active lifestyles.

At the same time too many people are still hurt or killed while bicycling.   The average person  will not join those of us who already bicycle and walk unless we overhaul our streets with safe streets and bikeways that connect our destinations and protect us from speeding car traffic.   

better bikeways2

 See all the people in our community standing-    up and smiling big in order to support Better Bikeways and Walkable Cities, visit our Instagram.

 Read the blog post on Walkable Cities:  Here

 

HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE?

Support.  Shasta Living Streets works to share the broad support by individuals, families and businesses in our community for Better Bikeways and more Walkable Cities.    Funding.  We help local agencies secure more funding for implementation of changes on the streets and development of greenways and trails.     Best Practice.  We share information and facilitating conversation about best practice and innovations in street and neighborhood design so we can all better support improvements.     Better Design.   We help local agencies and cities plan for improved local standards and street design that meets the needs of individuals, families and businesses in our community.

GET INVOLVED

Become a Member of Shasta Living Streets.  Build the movement for excellence and active living in our community.   It’s easy:  Here

Add your smile to our set of photos.  Come to one of our events and have your photo taken, or contact Anne at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org

Read Walkable Cities with us.  Join our community-wide book club or one of our conversations about what makes towns and cities thrive.    Information:  Here   1st Blog Post Review:  Here

Collaborate.   Shasta Living Streets is a collaborative effort by people like you.  Add a little of your time and energy to make a difference.   More information:  Here

betterbikeways_carnegies_profile

Bike To Happy Hour For A Bike Commute Festival

Do you sometimes enjoy biking to work?  Thinking about it but need some encouragement?

Join us for Happy Hour and the Bike Commute Festival on Friday. Please join us whether you ride on this day or not ….  Come meet people who ride locally and swap ideas, tips and stories.  Learn about programs and how you can get involved in the movement to create better bikeways and walkable cities and towns in our region.

THANK YOU to our sponsors – Realtor, Rick PhillipsCarnegie’s, and Redding Distributing Company.

biketohappy_coverimage

And enjoy Shasta Living Streets Better Bikeway Brew, a blond ale from Deschutes Brewery!

betterbikeways3

Our beer celebrates the Better Bikeways Campaign for Shasta County.  Photos available on Instagram:  Better Bikeways Photos

Then – Later that evening, head over to the  Bike-In Movie in the Downtown Promenade.  At about 8:30pm.    More information:  FREE Bike-in Movie Night

Klunkerz: A Film About Mountain Bikes – documents mountain bike history during its formative years in Northern California and examines the relationships of the Marin County teens, athletes, and entrepreneurs who were directly responsible for popularizing off-road cycling. The film includes many interviews with those present during the embryonic stages of the sport, including Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Mike Sinyard, and Otis Guy, and covers “the treacherous old Repack races.”

The film was written, produced, and directed by independent California filmmaker Billy Savage and released on October 8, 2006.

movie trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sjRCzRrPac

009ReddingRodeoParade_hvu_t607

Wear your ten gallon hat and ride your zero gallon bike! We ride too!

Extroverts welcome.   

Join friends from Shasta Living Streets and The Shasta Wheelman as we ride in the parade to help our community understand that we ride too!   Help spread the word about people on bicycles in our community and enjoy the beautiful day and riding in the parade – it’s really fun!

Yep, We ride too!  

Jack as DodgeCarr

Saturday, May 17th, 2014.  Meet on California Street between Shasta and Eureka Way at 8:30 am.

We are Parade # 126, Staging 09.

bull on a bike

009ReddingRodeoParade_hvu_t607

More information about the parade:  Parade Map,  Asphalt Cowboys

Family Bicycling Day 2014

What a Great Day! —A Redding Event Like No Other

Family Bicycling Day

Love Your Family. Love Your Neighborhood. Love Your Bike

Thank you Everyone!  We have many photos and stories to share from the activities on Sunday May 4, 2014.

Photos and Video

Articles

  • Ciclovia event will turn Parkview Avenue into giant bike lane.  

    By Jenny Espino Thursday, May 1, 2014   Article Here

  • Family Bicycling Day triggers discussion of transportation issues in Redding   By Alayna Shulman May 4, 2014   Article Here

    Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors:

 

test

Downtown Can Save America

What makes towns and cities thrive:  walkability.

People in the Parkview and Garden tract neighborhoods can walk to downtown Redding in 15 minutes, but today they rarely do.   The River Trail hosts many tourists looking for a place to eat lunch, but they have a hard time getting to local restaurants ten minutes away.

People in our community regularly report they want to walk or ride a bicycle to local destinations but they do not feel safe because of traffic.   Why is that?   And what can we do about it?

What is a walkable, bicycle-friendly downtown – and how do we get one?

We are asking that question, sharing methods and examples about how towns can and do change, and hosting conversations across the community to build understanding and develop ideas about how to support improvements in our community.

Would you like to join one of our discussions?

Contact Anne at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org to plan a  time to talk with your group.

WalkableCity

Walkable City:  How Downtown Can Save America One Step at A Time.  by Jeff Speck.

Jeff Speck is an urban planner who has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive.  And he has boiled it down to one key factor:  walkability.    His book does not describe a new approach, rather it is a readable overview of what has been known for over thirty years.   What’s needed is:  understanding, decision-making, and action to put good ideas into place.

 

shs_cyclists

Women on Bicycles: Rich Local History, Exciting Future

The North State has a rich local history of cycling that starts in the 1880s and continues until today.

Research and photos from the turn of the century and since are being collected, curated and written about by Shasta Living Streets volunteers, in  a collaborative effort with the Shasta Historical Society, the Shasta Wheelman and local bicycling shops.

Learn about North State Cycling History

  • Visit the ongoing exhibit of cycling history at the Historical Society offices in the downtown Redding Promenade.
  • Request a presentation for your local group by Shasta Living Streets.   Learn about the past – and the exciting future of cycling in our area and how you can get involved.

Penny-farthing

meta

A New Look For A New Year

Welcome to our new website! We thought a new year deserved a new look, so we borrowed some of Santa’s more technically-gifted elves after Christmas and plied them with oatmeal cookies and Christmas leftovers.

Our new website should be more legible on your tablet and phone, and features more images to show off our beautiful region. Let us know what you think!

SusanBissel_Vol

Add your voice, work together virtually, minimize meetings and maximize impact

Volunteer with Shasta Living Streets

keith

You have energy, expertise, a desire to learn more and contribute to your community in a real and meaningful way.

We have a strong, local organization with a great reputation and an ever-growing list of opportunities to make a difference in this community.  We have a group of talented people who contribute time and expertise to provide tangible products, services and events.

_DSC6420

We need your help.   We are already making a difference – but the opportunity is great.  Let us help you find a way to connect to this movement.   Our goal is to have powerful impact with what we do – and have fun while we do it.

Upcoming opportunities include:

    • Be a part of the hackathon to develop and launch our new website
    • Join the team putting together our first BIKE WALK SHASTA COMMUTER GUIDE
    • Help us gather sponsorships for the next Cascade Theatre event
    • and more!

 

Contact us today to find out how your skills and expertise can make a difference.  Volunteer a little of your time:  add your voice, work together virtually, minimize meetings and maximize impact.

Thank you!

ANCAnne044c-420x278

Anne Wallach Thomas

I look forward to talking with you.  Contact me at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org

 

Shasta Living Streets is evolving to function as the grassroots backbone support organization to facilitate collective impact by a number of individuals and groups in our community who want to see our region become a more livable place.  It’s about business, families and health.  And brings more joy to everyone’s lives.

 

SusanBissel_Vol