The city of San Jose, California currently has no laws prohibiting bike riding on sidewalks. After hearing from downtown residents and community groups, San Jose council member Sam Liccardo plans to introduce a bill to the city council to ban sidewalk riding in downtown San Jose.
A group called San Jose Friendly Neighbors apparently tried a friendlier approach to bike education, asking downtown cyclists to slow down in congested areas.
I completely understand their concerns since I frequently see asshat behavior by bike riders in downtown, with aggressive people plowing through crowded light rail platforms and sidewalks.
Over the past six months, Liccardo, who represents the city district that includes downtown, and city staff have received a number of complaints about aggressive cycling on downtown sidewalks. The city transportation department proposed restricting bikes for anyone over the age of 12 on sidewalks within the area bounded
by 11th Street to the east, Julian to north, Highway 87 to the west, and Interstate 280 to the north.
Liccardo asked DOT staff to hold a public meeting with downtown residents and other stakeholders before moving forward on this proposed bike ban. This meeting will occur Tuesday, June 25, 2013 6-7:30pm at San Jose City Hall in Wing Room-120.
You all know I’m a road rider, but I frequently ride the sidewalk in downtown San Jose, usually when traveling against traffic for the short stretch of Santa Clara Street where it intersects with the Guadalupe River Trail, and again to get to my bus stop on 1st Street. Santa Clara Street is a divided road at the bike path (i.e. it’s impossible to cross legally and unsafe to do so in any case) and the sidewalk is wide enough to usually share, with Liccardo’s proposed boundary beginning on this route. 1st Street I can suck it up and walk the half block to my bus stop when necessary (as I often do already when there are pedestrians).
Liccardo acknowledges that the police are not likely to enforce this ordinance, but hopes that signs placed throughout downtown will at least discourage bike riders from using the sidewalks. Liccardo believes, “This proposal would substantially improve the walkability of our Downtown, with its high concentrations of senior affordable housing and high-density condos occupied by many empty nesters.
“This becomes all the more imperative as we look to plan to add another 2,000 residents Downtown within the next two to three years, and as pedestrian activity increases.”
Liccardo also points out the new bike facilities throughout downtown “was to encourage existing riders to use the street rather than the sidewalk” as well as for “calming traffic and encouraging more cycling.”
In Santa Clara County, the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Monte Sereno and Milpitas restrict sidewalk riding either citywide or in designated areas of the city such as a downtown district.
What do you think? Should the city of San Jose ban bikes from using sidewalks through downtown?
H/T to Chargin’.
- San Jose Inside: Councilman Liccardo Fights for Your Right … To Walk on Sidewalks.
- Peninsula Press: San Jose sidewalks become places of contention for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- San Jose City Council April 8 2013 Transportation Committee minutes where sidewalk riding ban discussed.
- Memorandum from council member Sam Liccardo to City Council Rules Committee announcing Liccardo’s intention to introduce sidewalk riding ban bill.