After reading this article in my local paper about a 3 year 1.5M project to add 20 yards of bike lanes, I dusted off my Shared Lane Marking work from a few months ago and wrote in to our local Public Works and Bicycle Advisory Committee. How'd I do?
Campbell Ave Bike Routes
To Matthew Jue, City of Campbell Traffic Engineer; Herman Wadler, Campbell Bike Advisory Committe; Stephanie Condon, The Campbell Reporter
Greetings. I read with great interest the article in the Dec 7 Campbell Reporter regarding the project to add bike lanes under the Hwy 17 overpass. As a Campbell resident and daily bike commuter, this crossing is one of the trickier areas I ride through. I definitely support improving bike facilities, especially since there are bike lanes leading up to the underpass from the Bascom Avenue side which suddenly end without signage, leaving many cyclists unsure of what to do. On the weekends, the problem is much worse with the increased bike and pedestrian traffic around the trail and through Campbell Park.
However, given the physical constraints of the underpass as well as the financial burden to the City, I wondered if you would consider making a shared right-hand lane "bike route" instead of a separate bike-only lane. This would simply involve signage, paint, and hopefully some education / awareness-raising activity which would still cost substantially less than the proposed construction.
In addition to easing financial and logistical burdens, a shared right-hand lane would help bike traffic flow through downtown Campbell, as well as the troublesome stretch under the highway. Currently, there are bike lanes northbound and southbound on Winchester Avenue, as well as eastbound and westbound on Campbell Ave west of Winchester. All of these facilities stop, however, as they go through downtown. It's confusing and difficult to navigate and, as a result, many cyclists make unsafe choices to ride the wrong way or use the sidewalk just to make it through. I would like to suggest that a shared right-hand lane be designated eastbound through Orchard City Drive and westbound on Campbell Ave / Civic Center Dr. Please see the attached graphic, which shows how a shared lane could connect the existing facilities.
For information about San Francisco's Shared Lane Markings, please see: San Francisco Bicycle Program. The Caltrans Traffic Operations Directive Policy 05-10 PDF linked from that page includes schematic diagrams for the road markings and guidance for placement. A bit closer to home, I'm including a picture of a shared lane I use at the work end of my commute, on Bowers Ave north of Cabrillo in Santa Clara. The Bowers Ave bike route is very similar to Campbell Ave, in that there are two lanes in either direction, the traffic lane widths are similar, it is used as a connector between dedicated bike lanes, and part of the route includes parallel parking. In my experience, the shared lane works extremely well, with both cyclists and motorists intuively understanding how to navigate it safely.
I applaud your efforts to make Campbell a better place for both transportation and recreational cycling and I look forward to any feedback you might provide on this suggestion.