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Pleasant Hill bicycle, pedestrian master plan in development
[November 02, 2010]

Pleasant Hill bicycle, pedestrian master plan in development

Nov 02, 2010 (Contra Costa Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- PLEASANT HILL -- Pleasant Hill is developing a plan for a network of bikeways and pedestrian routes that provide access to public transportation, shopping and schools.

The goals of the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan include expanding and improving safe and efficient bike and pedestrian systems, improving safety for cyclists and walkers, and encouraging residents to ditch their cars and instead use their feet and bikes to get around.

Pleasant Hill is paying a consultant $80,000 to prepare the plan -- $60,000 in state grant funds with the remaining $20,000 city match coming from gas tax revenue. The consultants are working on the draft plan, which the City Council is expected to review and approve in the spring.

At a council meeting last month, Eric Hu, associate city engineer, explained that the consultant had analyzed existing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Streets located close to amenities that attract pedestrians, such as schools, parks, and transit centers, and streets that are frequently the site of collisions will be given the highest priority for improvements. The consultants also have identified gaps in the bicycle network, potential neighborhood connector routes and proposed bike lanes.

Dave Campbell, program director for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, said cities primarily use bike plans to prioritize projects and to provide an organized strategy for making improvements. The best plans also include data on which streets have the highest rate of bicycle crashes, signs that are consistent with the ones in other jurisdictions and policies on bike parking.

As part of the process, the city is holding workshops to gather public input on the plan. Douglas Gary, an avid cyclist and Lafayette resident who volunteers with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, attended the first meeting Sept. 29.

Gary said several people at the meeting said the streetlights regulating east-west traffic crossing Contra Costa Boulevard change too quickly for cyclists to safely cross the busy thoroughfare. Others said there is no practical way for bikes to cross Interstate 680.

Gary, who rides his bike to the grocery store and to BART when he is traveling to San Francisco, said in the past five years, he has seen more people using bicycles to run errands and commute to work, not just for leisurely weekend rides.

"That really puts more of a demand on the transportation infrastructure," he said. "People want to ride bikes on the road, and they also want to ride them in conjunction with public transportation." But they also want to feel safe, he added.

Gary believes cities should "build bicycle networks that separate bicycles from cars so people are going to be encouraged to get on their bikes and out of cars." For updates on the bicycle and pedestrian plan, visit

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at

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