May 3, 2005 > New bike paths for Fremont
New bike paths for Fremont
From Albert Einstein's "thinking chair" to Lance Armstrong's Tour de France-winning racer, the bicycle has come a long way since its rickety beginnings. Early enthusiasts probably never imagined the versatility and ubiquity of their novel mode of transportation. Today, an estimated 1.4 billion bicycles share streets with pedestrians and cars around the world. For many people, bicycles are the least expensive and most convenient form of transportation...and they are fun to ride.
The wave of the future in biking is on the horizon for Fremont and riders of all ages are looking forward to the completion of the Fremont Bicycle Master Plan. A draft was released for public review April 7.
"The goals of the master plan are to build our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure... a network with connectivity to major activity centers," said Rene Dalton, an associate transportation engineer for the city of Fremont. In order to develop an effective Bicycle Master Plan, the city is creating an inventory of existing bicycle facilities and programs. Small but important improvements to the city's bicycle network - prominent road markings and signage, interconnecting bike lanes and recreational bike paths - are now planned for construction. At least two dozen new bike lanes are anticipated if the master plan is successful in obtaining state and regional transportation grants.
Michael Graff, chairperson of Fremont's Bicycle Pedestrian Technical Advisory and a member of the Fremont Freewheelers, a community biking group, has been involved with the city's efforts to improve its bicycle offerings for years. Looking at dozens of construction and program proposals, Graff and his fellow committee members are able to make recommendations on proposed projects or ordinances. "Having the skills and confidence to ride on any road is more powerful than any construction project, so I think education is the number one priority."
For school children, too young to drive automobiles, bicycles are a primary mobility option. As a result, the master plan has allocated money for safety promotion programs and bicycle education for children. "Safe Moves," a non-profit organization contracted to teach children about bicycles, rules of the road and helmet safety will expand to more schools and students if the plan's recommendations are implemented.
Other projects under review include construction of new sidewalk, curb and gutter on Bryant Street and adjacent streets in the vicinity of Mission San Jose Elementary School; asphalt paving of bicycle and pedestrian trail and the installation of a railroad-crossing signal across Union Pacific Railroad tracks; re-striping and widening of striping of Paseo Padre Parkway between Decoto Road and Thornton Avenue to remove non-standard bicycle lane striping.
Another major tenet of the master plan is to increase corporate support of bicycle commuting by encouraging Fremont employers to "provide incentives and support facilities" such as bike racks and showers for bike-minded employees. Only two of the top eight Fremont employers have installed racks for their bike-riding commuters. The master plan seeks to change this with rider-friendly ordinances and incentives.
The best time to give input and influence city plans is when a master plan is being formed. That time is now for bicycle traffic in Fremont. Everyone is invited to come to the next Bicycle Master Plan meeting on Wednesday, June 1. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are all invited to help shape the future of bicycling in Fremont.
Bicycle Master Plan meeting
Wednesday, June 1
City Hall Council Chamber
3300 Capitol Ave., Fremont
City contact: Rene Dalton at email@example.com