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?
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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!
We are very happy to announce Keith Williams has been chosen to serve on the statewide California Bicycle Advisory Committee, representing Shasta Living Streets and the issues and opportunities of our region. Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition says “Keith plays an important role on the committee and has already had an impact in helping achieve a victory in the recent meeting clarifying standards for bicycle facility design.”
The committee serves to inform Caltrans on state-wide policy, infrastructure standards and implementation, providing input on bicycle facility design issues. Keith has an academic background in transportation planning, and an understanding of on-the-ground bicycle experience, issues and advocacy from Central California and now from his home and work in the North State. Keith lives in Redding and currently works at Shasta Regional Transportation Agency as a part-time Transportation Planner.
While the cities and counties of the North State are not the most populous areas in the state, we represent the “other” California, outside of metropolitan-urban areas – with perspectives and issues that are important to include in order to get buy-in and to design comprehensive solutions to drive improvements across the state.
People living in cities and counties like ours are especially dependent on statewide transportation direction, policies and programs. And the need is great – for example, current context and road conditions across the North State mean that despite strong interest from local families – very few children can walk or bicycle to school or to a friendʼs house or the local business district. Few of these children have transit options, and we have a high rate of death and injury when people walk and bicycle despite dangers. It is ironic that in this more rural place children and families generally have less opportunity to walk and bicycle than in metropolitan areas. We want to share the perspective and need from these types of communities, and help to identify solutions and approaches that work broadly across California.
Shasta Living Streets is very interested in advancing the work of this advisory committee. We congratulate Keith and look forward to supporting him in this role.
“If your city doesn’t have a protected bike lane yet, it’s being left behind”
“It is no longer just reserved for the Portlands and the Boulders of the world”
“The protected bike lane can make a huge difference, in particular for the average person who maybe doesn’t ride every day,” Klein said. “It will make them feel like ‘I can get on a bike too,’ or ‘I wouldn’t mind if my child rode a bike to school.’”
Impact of a protected bike lane in New York:
Reduced speeding rates from 74 percent to 20 percent
Crashes and injuries of all kinds have dropped by 63 percent
Travel times for motorists did not increase
Congestion did not increase
More than 70 percent of neighborhood residents support the improvement
Please come out and bring a bicycle and a friend or two —– we need to show support for safe bicycling and walking infrastructure in our area. It was not long ago we heard a Redding city council member say there were only “200 people who ride bicycles” – his thinking was we should not fund such projects as it was a waste of money.
This crucial new section of bicycle lanes will be extended next year, with connections going to Columbia Elementary School and Big League Dreams. These lanes also have greatly improved connections between Palo Cedro and Redding by improving safety on one of the most dangerous sections on Old Alturas Road.
Redding trails and walking, bicycling and travel opportunities are featured in the current issue of Rails to Trails Magazine.
The wonderful article describes an amazing collaborative effort of groups and individuals across the community to create this valuable local resource. And it providesan account of how use of the trails is driving increased demand for better bikeways and pedestrian access for getting around on the streets in our cities.
The theme is western and fun! Wear your ten gallon hat and ride your zero gallon bike! Extroverts welcome. We ride too!
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 bicycle safety and enjoy the beautiful day and riding in the parade – it’s really fun!
Saturday, May 18th. Meet on the corner of California and Trinity Streets at 8:30 am.
Dash and WIN on Park Marina – $175 prize winner, Deborah Weis is very happy indeed.
It was really a great day. Wow. We loved it!
My family and I were in the Knarly Neon race and then we walked all along the open street which was So Great. We went the full way and had so much fun, and stopped and shopped at the Beadman and Sublime and went to all the shops that I had never seen before. I had never been to that part of town. And all the way to City Hall for all the exhibitors and to the Farmers Market. — And then I had to call my husband to come pick us up! I’m really excited to win this.