Letters to the Editor
I’m writing to tell you how much my family and I enjoy the new protected bike lanes. We love that we live in a city where cycling is encouraged. In a time where pollution and obesity are both serious concerns, cycling has the potential to help alleviate both problems.
The protected bike lanes also have the potential to build community. I love that we live in a city where I feel safe allowing my children to bike to their friends’ homes. My children’s friends can safely bike to our home as well. If they relied on me to drive them for playdates, it just wouldn’t happen.
Additionally, if children get into the habit of riding bikes from a young age, they will more likely ride bikes as adults. Cyclists make better drivers, because they experience the road from both a cycling perspective and a driver’s perspective. The more people cycle, the safer the streets become for everyone. This bikeway is a wonderful investment in the future health of our community.
The Shore Line Bikeway has made the beach front much safer and enjoyable for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Previously, cyclists were either forced to ride on the walking path or ride in the road. This created a dangerous situation for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
If cyclists rode on the path, they would have to ride slowly to avoid walkers and joggers. It was stressful to ride in the road because the motorists would routinely speed. The traffic-calming effect of the new bikeway makes it safer to ride bikes and for pedestrians to cross the street. The new protected bikeway feels much safer.
Anything to encourage people to get out of their cars and take their bikes is welcome. I think our community will benefit for generations to come with less car traffic, healthier residents, less pollution and a beautiful calm beach front to enjoy. I am often amazed at the forward thinking of European countries regarding bicycle infrastructure. I think Alameda has the opportunity to be a leading city in the states where bicycle culture is concerned.
The bikeway is a move in the right direction. We need more bicycle infrastructure, not less. The north side of the Island could use a dedicated bikeway as well. I think it would be fantastic if Alameda became known as the "Amsterdam of the U.S."
I read with interest the commentary done by Audrey Lord-Hausman and Lucy Gigli, board members of Bike Walk Alameda ("Safety at Stake on Shore Line," March 5). I appreciate their fervent support of the Shore Line Bikeway. I realize that much time, passion and thought went into this; but, I feel their ardor is misplaced in several areas. I would like comment on five of their points:
Similarity to Fernside Boulevard: Fernside has a totally dissimilar blueprint. It is a much wider thoroughfare; is not surrounded by high-density apartments and condominiums; is not a beachfront location; and is not adjacent to a popular, busy shopping mall with its restaurants.
Using safety as a key factor: Wouldn’t additional cross walks and/or stop signs serve to slow down traffic (and have been accomplished at less cost)? Are we such a nanny state that we need to reduce the distance to cross the street to protect the people? Common sense dictates that we watch oncoming traffic, that we cross in the cross-walk and that we follow the law.
Now we endanger vehicles and their occupants. Add to that, the danger the constricted lane width presents to any driver attempting to safely exit a vehicle into that tiny lane space on the driver’s side; or, a vehicle possibly crossing into the oncoming lane while trying to avoid an open car door.
There is no room for any evasive maneuver. The reduced crossing distance also makes it dangerous for pedestrians. All those parked cars can interfere with the driver’s line of vision. The constricted lane widths can block a clear view, literally putting pedestrians in the street before they can be seen.
While biking, I saw hundreds of parked and/or moving vehicles and fewer than 20 bikers. While driving on Sunday it was exactly the same; hundreds of cars trying to drive, turn or park in this totally congested area, with about two dozen (or fewer) bikers in the mix.
Adding to the design morass and the too-tight dimensions of the auto lanes are the "puke green" no-stopping or no-parking areas along the new bike lanes. These many changes have destroyed the scenic beauty that was once Shore Line Drive. So, we continue wondering about what could have been.
And, to take some liberties with an old adage: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
That new bikeway along Shore Line Drive is absolutely splendid! Thanks, Alameda. You got this one right. I’m betting the hundreds and hundreds of walkers and bikers who use the separated trails daily heartily agree.
Surely rational drivers do, too. The narrowing a bit of that broad boulevard with its 25 m.p.h. speed limit is no imposition at all. No traffic jams there, just a leisurely drive along the shore and its beautiful view and hardly any other good reason to drive there.