All posts by Michael Kuker

Michael Kuker is a graduate of California State University, Chico, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration. Kuker was raised in the Redding area and has been riding a bicycle for as long as he can remember. He's only been hit by a car once. His other interests include history, photography, cinema, music, fitness, and the great outdoors. He was prominently featured in a 2005 New York Times article on digital photography. Michael Kuker currently resides in Redding, California with his ferocious Bengal cat, Neko.

More Hidden History of the Bicycle in the North State

Construction Workers Ride Bikes in Clear Creek Tunnel
Construction Workers Ride Bikes in Clear Creek Tunnel

Sometimes we come across little tidbits of our the bicycle’s place in the history of the North State that are too good not to share. We recently came across this photo and article from the December 20, 1961 Redding Record-Searchlight:

LEWISTON— It was one of the strangest bicycle rides in the world.

Marvin Higday and Bob Day were clipping along on their lightweight bicycles thousands of feet inside the $36 million Clear Creek tunnel.

Higday and Day were just part of the crews that were winding up the big tunnel job last week. They work for Continental Drilling company, which is drilling test cores from the tunnel’s concrete lining for the U.S. bureau of reclamation.”

The 11-mile long, 17 1/2-foot diameter tunnel would have been quite an interesting bicycle commute, especially without today’s high-lumen bicycle headlights!
from the December 20, 1971 Redding Record-Searchlight

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

Yesterday, a person on bicycle was killed in Redding.

At Shasta Living Streets, we believe that most collisions are preventable by reducing dangerous behaviors and building streets that work for everyone.

In America, over 30,000 people die every year on our streets and highways; somehow, we have become inured to these daily tragedies and accept them as inevitable. Programs like Vision Zero say, “Wait a minute, these deaths are preventable. We don’t have to accept this—better infrastructure and better policies can stop the slaughter.” What’s more, Vision Zero programs have been shown to work.

Better infrastructure like protected bike lanes are the cornerstone of any Vision Zero program. Make no mistake, protected bike lanes work:

And better infrastructure doesn’t benefit just people on bikes:

  • When protected bike lanes are installed in New York City, injury crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists) typically drop by 40 percent and by more than 50 percent in some locations. [source: Memorandum on Bike Lanes, City of New York, Office of the Mayor, 21 March 2011]

Better bicycle infrastructure also has many proven economic benefits, but we will discuss that another time. The fact is that we can do better. We should do better.

Let’s not shy away from excellence. Let’s not turn our back on the deaths. Let’s work together to built streets that work better for people who walk, bike, and drive.

Bicycles & the Fourth of July of 1899

Redding has long history with the bicycle that we are just starting to rediscover through careful research.  For this Independence Day, we thought we would take a look at at the bicycle parade that was part of Redding’s Fourth of July celebration of 1899.

The Morning Searchlight [a predecessor of today’s Record Searchlight] of that day had an item alerting the public to changes in that day’s parade as follows:

The line of march for the illuminated bicycle parade this evening has been arranged as follows:

From North [Street, now Eureka Way]–down California street to Placer  across Placer to Market, up Market to Trinity, across Trinity to Pine, down Pine to Butte, across Butte to Market, down Market to Yuba, across Yuba to California, down California to North.

The Morning Searchlight ofJuly 6, in an article titled “The Greatest Celebration recapped the bicycle parade thusly:

The bicycle parade in the evening was a thing of beauty. The possibilities of wheel decoration and illumination are almost unlimited. As the procession of silent but fantastic bicycles rolled by the crowd cheered its delight. The first prize of $25 [over $700 in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. T.L. Price. A Chinese umbrella formed a canopy above her and the rim of this was hung with glowing lanterns. The wheel was otherwise beautified. The second prize of $15 [over $400 dollars in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. J.E. Pollock and G.W. Schafer of Red Bluff. They rode a companion wheel [an early form of a tandem bicycle where the riders rode side-by-side] which was completely hidden by its decorations. Their canopy was lighted with small incandescent lamps. The third prize went to Harry Bush and George Lawry for their battleship Oregon which they had constructed about a tandem.

Today, this tradition is carried on by Shasta Living Streets and friends, who ride in the Redding Rodeo Parade. Stay tuned for more fascinating bits of Redding’s lost cycling history, and have a Happy Fourth of July!

Further Refinements to California Street

When the California Street right-sizing was initially completed,  a large empty area was left on the east side of California Street to the left of the yellow line. We felt this was a less than optimal choice, because we were concerned the wide, empty area would be used as a travel lane or encourage speeding.

Happily. Caltrans recently returned and striped about a dozen on-street parking spaces along the east side of California Street. In addition to adding to downtown Redding’s already generous parking capacity, this has the effect of calming traffic: parked vehicles prevent motorists from using the area as an additional travel lane, the parked vehicles act as a buffer between traveling vehicles and pedestrians on the sidewalk, and the act of on-street parking discourages other motorists from speeding.

This is a win-win: more parking for motorists and safer streets for everyone!

More Refinements on the Way

A process is currently underway to develop a plan for Parking, Circulation, and Transportation in Downtown Redding.   Share your thoughts on these important community development issues:  contact information here –  Downtown Redding Transportation Plan

Mark your Calendar!  The first Community Workshop will be Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Atrium at the south end of the Market Street Promenade.   We hope you can attend this workshop to learn more about planning activities – and ways you can provide your input and ideas for improvements to downtown transportation.  Your voice counts.

Want to learn a little more about the history and development of Downtown Redding?   From the beginning of Redding’s history until today, it’s fascinating!  View it here:  Downtown Redding: A Timeline

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!

 

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.

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

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:

 

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!

A Visit to Downtown Chico: Is There Inspiration To Be Found?

It’s always fun to take the occasional trip to your old college town to see how things have changed. The past Friday I took trip down to Chico to see how the old alma mater has fared over the years. I was surprised to see a major change to one of downtown Chico’s busiest thoroughfares.

Second Street, a major east-west artery that skirts the CSU, Chico campus and goes through the heart of downtown has been turned into a one-way eastbound street for several blocks, from Broadway (a southbound arterial), past Main Street (a northbound arterial) and east to a new traffic circle at the bridge across Big Chico Creek. The block between Broadway and Main Street used to be particularly congested in both directions because of cars stacking up to make left turns.

The one-way section of Second Street now features angle-in parking on the north side, two lanes of eastbound traffic, a well-marked bike lane, and parallel parking on the south side.

Many of the businesses expanded their sidewalk dining, venturing closer to the street into areas that previously would have been too unpleasant because of exhaust fumes and traffic noise. The well-defined and wide bike lane is a particularly welcome addition for Chico’s many cyclists, since the arterial previously lacked bike lanes—lionhearted cyclists previously had to navigate the extremely narrow and unmarked space between on-street parking and traffic lanes.

The City of Chico should be commended for its willingness to experiment with new ideas and seeking to refine its streets to make them more inviting and livable for all its citizens. Although downtown Redding is often criticized for its confusing one-way streets, downtown Chico has just as many—if not more! What changes do you think Redding could make to make its downtown streets as inviting as those of Chico?

Parkview Road Rightsizing Complete!

Some of you may have noticed there’s been a lot of roadwork going on Parkview Avenue, just south of the Redding Civic Center.  The City of Redding has resurfaced the street with a nice, fresh overlay and taken the opportunity to put Parkview Avenue on what’s commonly known as a “road diet.”

The term road diet can be misleading, conjuring images of sacrifice, frustration, and scarcity. We prefer the term “rightsizing.” The goal is to reallocate resources in a more useful way that reflects the current needs of the community and to make streets more livable for everyone.

Rightsizing is typically applied to streets with excess capacity, most commonly two-way streets with two lanes in each direction. Rightsizing usually reconfigures the street to one lane in either direction, and the freed-up space is then used to improve the street’s facilities.

Rightsizing Changes To Parkview Avenue

In Parkview Avenue’s case, a well-marked bike lane has been added in either direction along with a center turn lane. Parkview Avenue has actually gained a lane—going from four lanes to five—one in each direction for motorists, one in each direction for cyclists, and a center turn lane for safer turns!

Bulbouts make Parkview Avenue's sidewalks safer for children and others (Photo courtesy of Heather Phillips.)
Bulbouts make Parkview Avenue’s sidewalks safer for children and others (Photo courtesy of Heather Phillips.)

The city has also added bulb-outs at several intersections. Bulb-outs are features where the sidewalk is extended into the street at corners, making a bulblike shape. Bulb-outs make streets much more pedestrian friendly because they shorten the distance to cross from sidewalk to sidewalk—which is great for families with small children, the elderly, and the differently abled. Bulb-outs also encourage cars to slow down in order to safely navigate the turn onto the cross street.

Benefits of a Rightsizing a Street

  • Decreases vehicle travel lanes for pedestrians to cross, therefore reducing the multiple‐threat crash (when one vehicle stops for a pedestrian in a travel lane on a multi‐lane road, but the motorist in the next lane does not, resulting in a crash) for pedestrians.
  • Improves safety for bicyclists when bike lanes are added (such lanes also create a buffer space between pedestrians and vehicles).
  • Provides the opportunity for on-street parking (also a buffer between pedestrians and vehicles).
  • Reduces rear-end and side-swipe crashes.
  • Improves speed limit compliance and decreases crash severity when crashes do occur.
  • When modified from four travel lanes to two travel lanes with a two-way left-turn lane, roadways have experienced a 29 percent reduction in all roadway crashes.

Numerous rigorous studies show that rightsizing significantly decreases the number of accidents on a street and does not affect the volume of traffic a street can handle. Rightsized streets have been successfully implemented in numerous cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Palo Alto.

Why Parkview Has Been Rightsized

Rightsizing is endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration as a proven safety countermeasure that benefits motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

A 2007 City of Redding speed study (the most current posted to the City of Redding website) indicates Parkview Avenue carries an average daily traffic of 4,600 vehicles. The FHA notes that “it has been shown that roads with 15,000 ADT or less had very good results in the areas of safety, operations, and livability [when rightsizing has been applied.]”

Furthermore, The 2000-2020 City of Redding General Plan designated Parkview as a focus area and called for the city to “establish public open-space and pedestrian/bicycle links between the river and parks, activity centers, schools, and other major open-space areas such as stream corridors” and to “provide for a pattern of development that encourages walking, bicycling, and transit use.” Parkview Avenue was also named as proposed Class II bikeway facility in the transportation element of the general plan.

Community Response

The residents of Parkview are thrilled with the rightsizing. In a recent email to our organization, Heather Phillips, president of Parkview Neighborhood
Association, writes, “I am so thrilled with the Parkview Avenue project currently underway… and I want to assure everyone that it is noticed and LOVED and welcomed.”

Citizens are already enjoying the rightsized Parkview Avenue! (Photo courtesy of Heather Phillips.)
Citizens are already enjoying the rightsized Parkview Avenue! (Photo courtesy of Heather Phillips.)

A Minor Quibble

There are still some areas for improvement and issues brought up by local residents that have not yet been addressed. For example, there is a section of sidewalk that was not completed and crucial improvements are still needed to help people walk and bicycle safely cross the A.C.I.D. canal. We encourage the city to address these as soon as is possible so that Parkview Avenue can truly be considered a complete street.

That said, the improvements that have been made terrific. It’s great to see the City of Redding focus on Redding’s core and impressive to see how far Parkview Avenue has come in the past decade!