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San Jose Pushes Separated Bikeway Network

Temporary “pop-up” separated bike lane on Fourth Street in early August 2017. Photo: City of San Jose

San Jose city officials announced a plan to construct separated bike lanes on a slew of streets in and beyond the downtown by 2019, in a major transformation of the city’s bicycle infrastructure dubbed “Better Bikeways“. The plan was presented by San Jose Bike & Pedestrian Program Director Peter Bennett at the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting on Monday November 13 and at SPUR San Jose on November 14.

“Rapidly implementing a network of better bikeways will be transformative for San Jose’s streets, elevating their role as public spaces and allowing hundreds of thousands of residents to bike for their daily transportation needs,” states the city’s Better Bikeways promotional brochure. “Over the next two years, building a better bikeway network that connects downtown with its surrounding neighborhoods, on both sides of the freeway ring, will provide the basis for a citywide network of all-ages bikeways.”

Streets proposed for the installation of separated bikeways. Image: City of San Jose

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) experimented with a “pop-up” temporary separated bike lane on Fourth Street for one week in August 2017, and apparently pleased with the results, now proposes the extensive network shown in the map above for separated bikeways. Notably, the network excludes Santa Clara Street. Also, city staff make no proposal to revert the hazardous multi-lane one-way streets (3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th) to two-way streets, which would result in safer streets even without separated bike lanes.

The city’s brochure cites improved safety, health, mobility, bicycle ridership, comfort, and bike share success as benefits of installing the “better bikeways”. Two blocks of Second Street downtown received a separated bike lane this year, while roughly half the remaining network would be installed in 2018 and the other half in 2019. The existing parking-protected separated bike lane on Fourth Street dates from 2012.