Ride On: New Protected Bike Lanes in Store for Union Street

City receives Metro grant to eventually create ten new bicycle corridors

Published : Wednesday, August 17, 2016 | 5:15 AM

Dramatic changes are around the corner for Pasadena’s ever-growing legion of urban cyclists.

The city has just been awarded a $2,714,430 Metro grant for phase one of a east-west, two-way cycle track, as part of a protected corridor on Union Street, from Hill Avenue to Arroyo Parkway. As part of the new “road diet” — the lessening of lanes to include bike lanes — fourteen intersections on Union Street will eventually be upgraded with new bicycle signal heads in both directions from Hill Street to Arroyo Parkway, along with the installation of protected left turn pockets for vehicles, as part of the track.

Solid concrete barriers will also be constructed between the cycle track and the travel lanes, so that parked cars will actually protect cyclists from moving traffic. The service area for the new project will include Pasadena City College, Caltech, the Playhouse District, the Central District and Old Pasadena.

Rich Dilluvio, senior transportation planner and Pasadena's pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, explains the new bike track.

According to a presentation at Pasadena Presbyterian Church Tuesday by Rich Dilluvio, senior transportation planner and Pasadena’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, the new track is the beginning of what will eventually be ten new bicycle corridors throughout the city. The new corridors are part of the City’s Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, approved as part of the Mobility Element of the city’s General Plan, in August of last year.

Phase II of the program will extend the track itself from Hill out to Wilson Avenue, and will also include a bicycle boulevard on Holliston Avenue, with two new signalized intersections to more easily connect the Union Street cycle track to bike lanes on Cordova Street.

The overall creation of new bike lines throughout the state was initiated in September 2008 with the passage of Assembly Bill 1358, the “California Complete Streets Act.”

“In order to fulfill the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make the most efficient use of urban land and transportation infrastructure, and improve public health by encouraging physical activity,” the act states, “transportation planners must find innovative ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to shift from short trips in the automobile to biking, walking and use of public transit,”

The legislation also added that, “Commencing January 1, 2011, upon any substantial revision of the circulation element, the legislative body shall modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of the streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”

In other words, get California motorists out of their cars.

Transportation Department staff estimate that a Letter of Agreement to initiate the project funding, which will include a local match of $684,613, will be ready to present to City Council in early Fall of this year. Following the approval of the funding, environmental clearances will commence, followed by design engineering.

Actual marketing and advertising for the project is scheduled to begin in February 2021, with construction beginning in June 2021.

“Anyone of these scheduled dates could also come sooner,” added Dilluvio.

Union Street currently has one three lanes of westbound one-way traffic. The new project will eliminate one lane to make room for the protected track. According to Dilluvio, Union Street was selected for the project since it is “under-utilized,” he said, with apeak volume of 700 cars and room for 2400. Once the road diet is completed, explained Dilluvio, the street would still have capacity for 1500 cars.

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