Union Street Bike Track Is on Track

Council Committee approves funding for Union Street east-west cycle track

Published : Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | 5:06 AM

 

Arguing only against the lengthy timeline for implementation, the City Council Municipal Services Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to initiate Metro grant funding for the first phase of a new east-west two-way protected cycle track to be built along Union Street, from Wilson Avenue to Arroyo Parkway.

As part of a new “road diet” — a 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.

Total cost of the track is estimated to be S3.3 million. Metro will reimburse the city for costs up to $2.7 million, and the city will provide matching fund of $684,613.00.

While a group of bike advocates and enthusiasts praised the track, all three members of the Committee present — Chair Councilmember Margaret McAustin and Councilmembers Tyron Hampton and Andy Wilson — questioned the lengthy timeline of the project, which would not actually begin construction until 2021.

Asked Hampton of Rich Dilluvio, senior transportation planner and Pasadena’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, who presented the project to the Committee, “How can we do this faster?”

Dilluvio explained that the timeline presented was a “worst case scenario” timeline.

Councilmember Andy Wilson then told Dilluvio, “Give us best case numbers and details. This construction timeline is frankly, embarrassing.”

Committee Chair McAustin also voiced her concerns about the timeline, but praised the project, saying, “This has a ‘If you build it, they will come’ feel to it, and I think this could really change people’s thinking and create critical mass, in a good way.”

Fourteen intersections along the route will be upgraded with new bicycle traffic signal displays in both directions, as well as protected left turn lanes and and left turn traffic signals for vehicles. The track will also feature a concrete barrier between the track and and the travel lane at all intersections and a painted barrier in locations where parking is available.

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.

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.

According to the presentation Dilluvio, 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.

The Letter of Agreement with Metro is scheduled to be executed November 7, according to Dilluvio.