Compromise reached for Point San Pedro Road bike lanes in San Rafael
By Megan Hansen
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POSTED: 08/19/2014 04:39:41 PM
Bike lane striping is set to proceed on Point San Pedro Road after San Rafael City Council members approved a compromise they hope will please both bicyclists and neighbors.
More than 110 people attended Monday night’s City Council meeting to voice support for dedicated bike lanes along the road or concerns about such lanes eliminating on-street parking. For nearly two hours, people wearing bright pink “save the bike lane” stickers alternated speaking with neighbors wearing “resident/voter” badges.
Of major concern to residents was the proposed creation of a Class II dedicated bike lane in front of the Loch Lomond Marina where the Village at Loch Lomond, an 81-unit, mixed-use housing development, is under construction. Neighbors fear eliminating parking for a dedicated bike lane will force visitors to park in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“I’m really worried we’re going to have a situation like they have at any beachside community like La Jolla or Santa Cruz,” said Sarah Gant, president of the Loch Lomond Homeowner’s Association.
Neighbor and cyclist Joan Clemmons agreed. She said parking is needed when people have work done on their houses or host social events.
“I have had several cyclists say to me ‘Well, you can afford to give up your parking places because you have three- and four-car garages.’ Well, I think that’s kind of narrow-minded because I do park inside, but when I have painters come their rigs won’t fit in my garage,” Clemmons said.
FINDING A COMPROMISE
In an effort to address neighbors’ concerns, the council voted unanimously to adopt staff’s bicycle lane striping plan and a compromise proposed by the Point San Pedro Road Coalition and the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Instead of installing a dedicated bike lane on the north side of the road from Bayview Drive to Manderly Road, the city will simply install “No Parking” signs to create a de-facto bike lane. San Pedro Elementary School will be allowed to apply for city permits to use those spaces during special events.
Councilwoman Maribeth Bushey spoke for the council when she said the compromise, which was represented by city staff as a third option, is the best choice.
“I think option three finds the right balance,” Bushey said. “I really hope they can get this striped in time for school.”
While Councilman Damon Connolly supported the compromise, he said the bike lanes would be preferable instead of the current shared lanes.
“To me it’s clear the superior alternative that has been presented to us through this process is to have class II bike lanes,” Connolly said. “Ultimately when we develop class II bike lanes in this area it will increase cycling.”
It’s possible class II bike lanes could be installed in front of the marina in the future. A study of on-street parking use along the marina property is required as a condition of the Village at Loch Lomond’s August 2007 approval. The council voted to have that study take place as soon as practicable, but no later than one year after the development has reached full occupancy
PROTESTS FROM CYCLISTS
While a majority of the public spoke in favor of the compromise, cycling enthusiasts said the plan calls for concessions that place bicyclists in danger.
Alisha Oloughlin, with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, said dedicated class II bike lanes should be installed along the entire length of the road.
“This is clearly a loss for cyclists, not a win-win,” Oloughlin said. “Why is it that improving the safety of those many people who use those routes is in question?”
Andy Peri, advocacy director for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, handed in a petition with 610 signatures supporting the dedicated bike lanes. He said cycling on the road now is a “harrowing experience.”
Mark Comin, with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, said dedicated lanes are important for the safety of both cyclists and drivers.
“It is frightening and I’m someone who rides up to 2,000 miles a year,” Comin said. “For there not to be a separated class II bike lane is denying us safe ownership and use of our roadways.”
ADOPTED STRIPING PLAN
Class II dedicated bike lanes will be in effect on the south side of Point San Pedro Road from Aqua Vista Drive to Summit Avenue. On the north side, class II lanes will be striped from Harbor View Court to Porto Bello Drive. Class II lanes will also be in effect on the south side from Sea Way to San Pedro Elementary School.
A class II bike lane will be in effect on both the northern and southern sides from Main Drive to McNear Brickyard Road. An unofficial class II bike lane, with no parking signs and shoulder striping, will extend on both sides from McNear Brickyard Road out to Biscyane Drive.
A class III shared bike lane will remain in front of San Pedro Elementary School from the school entrance to the San Pedro Cove community entrance. A shared lane will remain on the south side of the street from San Pedro Cove to the city limits east of the marina. A shared lane will remain in front of San Rafael High School on both sides of the street from Union Street to Mooring Road.
The remaining portions of the road are within the county’s jurisdiction — the majority of which has already been striped for shared class III lanes.
Nader Mansourian, San Rafael public works director, said the city will try to stripe the road as soon as possible.
“We will contact the county and request the contractor mobilize,” he said.