Bicyclist safety is B Street issue

By From page A6 | August 12, 2014

In his informative article Thursday,  “B Street bikeway issue will be revisited,” Dave Ryan omitted some significant facts.

B Street is the narrowest heavily used city arterial. Between Seventh and 14th streets, it’s only 38 feet wide (Fifth Street is 50 feet wide) but carries well above 1,000 cyclists daily. Allowing parking here creates unsafe conditions for cyclists, and makes a mockery of the recently adopted Transportation Element, which states: “Where limited street space exists, priority should be given to non-motorized modes to protect the safety and comfort of these more vulnerable users.”

From Seventh to Eighth streets, B Street now has two 10.5-foot-wide vehicle lanes, and two substandard 5-foot-wide bike lanes (one includes 2 feet of gutter against state requirements). Neither conforms to city standards, yet staff is doing all they can to preserve automobile storage on the street.

King High School and St. James School face B Street. It’s a recommended biking route to North Davis Elementary and Davis High and a crucial north-south corridor for the Farmers Market, Community Pool, Stephens Branch Library and the Veterans’ Memorial Center. There simply shouldn’t be parking on this block of B Street.

The street can provide acceptable lane widths without parking: The Bicycle Advisory Commission unanimously endorsed removing parking between Seven and Eighth to allow 7-foot-wide bike lanes, 2-foot-wide buffers and 10-foot-wide vehicle lanes. Eighth Street east of F is only 38 feet wide but is able to function by excluding parking.

Davis Bicycles! also recently completed a survey with 186 respondents (85 percent of whom use B Street daily, weekly or monthly). More than 77 percent saw cars parked in bike lanes and inadequate lane widths as significant impediments to cyclist safety. More than 80 percent believe that the city should remove automobile parking on B Street to increase bicycling safety.

This issue is whether this scarce public space should be used for a few parking spaces (resident convenience) or rather to increase safety for more than 1,000 cyclists per day. It should be a no-brainer.
Mont Hubbard
President, Davis Bicycles!

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