Green bike lanes for San Jose

San Jose City Council approves plan to remove nearly five miles of vehicle lanes and add eight miles of bike lanes in 2012 and 2013. Look for enhanced green bikeways for San Fernando Street across downtown San Jose; project completion by this Summer 2012.

To support the San Jose Bike Share that should open on July 1, 2012, the San Jose city council voted unanimously for a number of bike facility improvements for the downtown area in their regular session on Tuesday afternoon.

Among the actions approved by Council:

  • Remove vehicle travel lanes on sections of Almaden Boulevard, Third Street, Fourth Street, Tenth Street and Eleventh Street and installation of bicycle lanes.
  • Add eight miles of bike lanes through downtown on
    • Almaden Boulevard between Grant Street and Santa Clara Street;
    • Notre Dame Street between Santa Clara Street and St. John Street;
    • Third Street between Julian Street and Reed Street;
    • Fourth Street between Julian Street and Reed Street;
    • Tenth Street between Hedding Street and Keyes Street; and
    • Eleventh Street between Hedding Street and Keyes Street.
  • Today’s approvals are in addition to the previously authorized “Green Enhanced Bike Lanes” on San Fernando Street between Diridon Station and San Jose State University.

San Fernando Green Bikeways

Among the most visually dramatic changes expected this year will be green bikeways and bike boxes on San Fernando Street. Here’s a photo of a sharrow on San Fernando Street that I shot over three years ago.

San Fernando Green Bikeways

Just last week I biked over this spot and noticed the sharrow is nearly gone. I wondered when or if the city planned to repaint the sharrows anytime soon. Because this is on the green bikeway alignment, it appears they plan instead to make it look like something like this.

San Fernando Green Bikeways

I have several photos of cyclists on San Fernando Street. Once I got started painting the green lanes on them I couldn’t stop. Click through for large if you’d like 🙂

San Fernando Green Bikeways San Fernando Green Bikeways

San Fernando Green Bikeways San Fernando Green Bikeways

Wasn’t that fun?

Vehicle Lane Removeal

The below map shows the bike projects approved for downtown. 3rd and 4th (shown in red along with Almaden Blvd), and 10th & 11th are one way streets. One 3rd & 4th Streets, cyclists share the road with 3 to 4 lanes of one way traffic, along with parallel parking on both sides of each street. Council approved the removal of a traffic lane on a one mile stretch of each of 3rd and 4th Streets between Reed and Julian Streets, and a removal along similar segments of 10th and 11th Streets. The parking will be retained, but a full vehicle lane will be removed to make room for bike lanes on both sides of the one way streets.

View Bike Lane Project Downtown San Jose 2012-2013 in a larger map

The other red marked street, Almaden Boulevard, will also have a lane removed to make space for bike lanes. The city also plans to paint bike lanes (shown in blue in the map) on Notre Dame Avenue, 10th Street, and 11th Street.

Thank you to Carlos Babcock for the heads up about this! He tells me bike boxes are also on the way for downtown San Jose. This vote represents a serious commitment by the city of San Jose to improve the bike friendliness of the downtown core.


  1. i’ll take it over nothing, but we still need cycletracks. i’d rather do it right the first time, and on the most important streets, like The Alameda/Santa Clara.

  2. I don’t think they really need to remove a vehicle lane on the 3rd and 4th streets to put a bike lane (see 4th Street north of St. Johns), but at the same time I know that there are local interests that want a “road diet” for those streets and bike lanes are an appropriate reason to accomplish that. I think it could be a problem near the freeway interchange though.

  3. I kind of agree with you, but the transportation department had a study done that shows that even with lane reduction on 3rd & 4th, traffic there won’t really get any worse.

  4. painted lanes are completely overrated. buffered bike lanes are a significant plus. and, of course, full cycletracks are what is actually required.

    think of San Fernando from Diridon train station into downtown — the number and size and speed of the vehicles that blaze down San Fernando is astounding. does anyone really believe that all the effort taken to paint existing lanes is going to change anything? it’s still relatively safe, statistically speaking, but it doesn’t _feel_ safe, so people won’t ride there — period.

    this is just a political gesture timed for the arrival of bike-share — so the Mayor and Council won’t be embarrassed and threatened with gross negligence.

    Instead, save the money — hold off on the project — let’s do it right the first time. We don’t have the resources — financial or political — do do these one-off, not-sufficient political projects every couple of years — we need real bicycle infrastructure.

  5. I can’t be sure about it, but this looks like UN Agenda 21 crap, to make us feel like we are bad for driving. Agenda 21 is all about “smart growth” and “sustainability” making it harder and harder for humans to comply with increasing laws on development and mobility. I urge everyone to educate themselves further

  6. I think this will be great. Traffic calming and safer biking. 10th and 11th are like freeways with their 3 lanes. Two lane roads will be much better for the neighborhood.

  7. Are they seriously putting bike lanes in both directions on one-way streets? Sounds dangerous if they’re going against traffic. Am I missing something?

  8. @John: No two-way lanes in San Jose that I can think of. We have lanes on both side of the one-way road on parts of 3rd & 4th, but they’re not contraflow.

    In any case, if you paint a bike lane to the left side of a one-way road and designate it for “contra-flow” direction, it’s no longer a one-way road, so movement rules at intersections and driveways are the same as for any other two-way road. In California, bicycle lanes are special purpose lanes on the road, like bus lanes or HOV lanes.

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