San Jose Council Member Pierluigi Oliviero added discussion to extend the Lincoln Avenue road diet in Willow Glen on the agenda for the Rules and Open Government Committee, which meets this Wednesday afternoon at 2 PM. Members of the public are invited to comment, and I’m told those opposed to the road diet will make the time to attend this meeting. Thank you to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for getting the alert out about this item.
Early this year, residents and businesses in the Willow Glen Neighborhood of San Jose, CA agreed to pilot a road diet for Lincoln Avenue. Even when reduced to three lanes, Lincoln Avenue has plenty of capacity for the 16,000 vehicles that use this road every day.
Since the pilot began last spring, there’s not enough data to say if safety on this throughfare improved or not , but bicycle traffic increased 24% and pedestrian traffic increased 14% after the lanes were re-striped. Traffic volume dropped 5% to 13%, depending on the intersection, and travel times for motor vehicles incresed by 5%.
Business owners who were initially enthusiastic about this project, however, report significantly less income and walk-in traffic. The Willow Glen Business Association voted 10-4 to reject the road diet after the completion of this pilot.
The Willow Glen Neighorhood Association (WGNA), on the other hand, voted unanimously to keep the road diet, sending this position paper to city council outlining their reasons to support the road diet. Although the anti-road-diet voices have been the loudest, WGNA surveys show the majority of residents support this right-sizing of Lincoln Avenue.
Because opinions are divided, San Jose Department of Transportation need direction from city council. The first step to placing the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet on the council agenda is at the Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 23 2015 beginning at 2 PM at San Jose City Hall Wing Room 118-120. Although Lincoln Avenue is the last item on a short agenda before committee reports, committee action is usually swift.
Road diet opposition plan to show up in force, and public comment may drag on for an hour or two so please be ready to stay if you plan to speak.
Expect a sea of “(NO) ROAD DIET” t-shirts in the committee meeting room. This unified message will make a powerful impression on the committee members. I’m working on distributing stickers for those favor of the road diet — let me know your suggestion for a short slogan, but right now I’m leaning towards “We ❤ Safe Streets!” as suggested by Jaime Fearer of California Walks.
Members of the public are invited to fill out a comment card to be queued for speaking. You’ll have at most two minutes to speak, but your time might be shortened to one minute. Remember, voting in favor of this item merely puts a discussion to extend the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet through Spring 2016 on the full city council agenda.
- Three lanes provides plenty of capacity for the 16,000 vehicles that use Lincoln Avenue everyday. The pilot program had little impact on throughput; adjusting traffic signal timing as already recommended by the Community Road Diet Working Group will likely improve vehicle throughput.
- In spite of well organized and well funded opposition from the “NO ROAD DIET” camp (point to the t-shirted crowd), surveys show the majority of Willow Glen residents quietly support this road diet.
- This road diet improves safety for all road users — those driving, pedestrians, people on bikes, children, parents, and elderly residents.
- San Jose’s General Plan, Envision 2040, is the city’s legally binding constitution. This plan calls for walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use “villages,” just like Willow Glen can become with small, inexpensive tweaks just like the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet.
- If the “avid cyclist” shows up to speak strongly against the Road Diet, feel free to note that this road diet isn’t for the strong and athletic, but to improve safety for all road users.
I normally don’t encourage this, but just this once drive to San Jose City Hall for the meeting. Maybe the lack of parking will discourage the car-dependent from showing up at the meeting 🙂 The city hall parking garage is located on 6th Street between Santa Clara Street and San Fernando Street. There’s another public garage on San Fernando at 4th, across from MLK Library. Cost at both garages is a dollar every 20 minutes, capped at $20.
City Hall is served by a number of VTA bus routes, including the DASH shuttle, 22/522, 63, 64, 65, 73, 81 and even Highway 17. VTA light rail is three to four blocks away on 1st or 2nd Street at Santa Clara. There’s a bike share station in front of City Hall at the corner of 5th and Santa Clara.
The bike racks outside are okay for short term daytime parking. Use a heavy-duty U-lock — cable locked bikes are frequently stolen from the City Hall racks. Ensure both wheels and other easily removable components (e.g. lights and seatpost) are secure.
Bags may be checked for weapons. Small, 2′ x 3′ signs are permitted in council chambers, but nothing with sticks. No food or beverage other than bottled water with a cap is permitted in the meeting room.