Compromise for San Jose Hedding Street Bikeway

The Hedding Street and Ocala Avenue bikeways are on the agenda for Tuesday night’s City Council meeting in San Jose. While support remains for a proposed road diet on Hedding Street, heavy opposition to the street parking removal aspect has prompted some councilors to propose a compromise solution.

The city of San Jose Department of Transportation plans a “four-three reduction” on Hedding Street between 1st Street to 17th Street. The current four lane configuration will be replaced with three lanes — a single lane for each direction, and a center left turn lane. In the current plan, residential on-street parking on Hedding between 2nd Street and 8th Street will be removed to make room for eight feet of bike lane and a two foot buffer between the traffic lane and the bike lane.

Hedding Street Bikeway

While the residents of Hedding Street mostly seem to support the proposed road diet, they are vehemently opposed to removing the two dozen on-street parking spaces. San Jose 3rd District Councilmember Sam Liccardo, who represents these residents, proposes a compromise: He wants to keep the parking on westbound Hedding between 2nd and 8th Streets and on eastbound Hedding between 4th and 7th. Because this parking takes room away from the buffered bike lane, a standard six foot bike lane with no buffer will be striped alongside the parking spaces. Currently, no bike lanes are striped on Hedding.

What about the Ocala Avenue Road Diet?
I haven’t written about Ocala Avenue, but a 4-3 reduction for Ocala is also proposed between White Road and Capitol Expressway in San Jose. Ocala along this stretch is currently 4 lanes with on-street parking, and San Jose DOT propose reducing to a single lane for each direction, a center turn lane, buffered bike lanes, and retaining the on-street parking.

Ocala to the east and west of this project is already a single lane for each direction, with center turn lane or pockets, bike lanes, and on-street parking. The project will create a continuous bike lane on Ocala Avenue between Mt. Pleasant and King Roads. The Ocala Avenue bike lanes will also connect with the new bikeways being implemented in the Capitol Expressway corridor by the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).

In the public outreach meeting on June 21, some residents expressed their support for the project to improve the bike friendliness of Ocala, while others expressed concern that traffic congestion would increase. San Jose DOT staff analysis shows Ocala Avenue will have the same traffic Level of Service after the lane reduction. Currently, Ocala performs at LOS “D.”


Because of what cyclists will lose, Liccardo also proposes “green slurry seal for bike lanes on both westbound and eastbound lanes of Hedding St., throughout the distance of the project, to provide a visual differentiation from auto traffic lanes.” Councilmembers Rose Herrera and Xavier Campos endorsed Liccardo’s proposed compromise.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition say they plan to support this compromise solution, since five blocks of suboptimal facilities are better than no facilities at all along the entire length of road.

Some cyclists who use Hedding Street already, however, have concerns about the compromise lanes. Mark Saurwald lives in District 3 near Hedding and bikes everyday on Hedding to his job in Sunnyvale. He wrote Councilmember Liccardo that the proposed amendment “sounds like a proposal to put in a door zone bike lane, in which case I will be riding my bike in the only travel lane. This sounds like a proposal to increase friction between motorists and cyclists.”

Sauerwald also notes Burnett Middle School on Hedding between 2nd and 3rd Streets. “A constant fear that I have,” he writes to Liccardo, “is of children appearing from between the parked cars. Is the value of free on street parking really greater than the safety of our children?”

He urges Liccardo to stick with the original staff plan to remove street parking from Hedding.

Hedding Street and Ocala Avenue bikeways are on the city council meeting agenda for tonight, Tuesday 21, 2012 at 7 PM in council chambers at San Jose City Hall on Santa Clara Street and 5th. Ample bike parking is available at City Hall. After the meeting opens, the council will rubber stamp consent calendar items and discuss a few other issues before they get to the transportation agenda, so you can show up a little late if you need to, though you may lose your chance to speak.

The Hedding Street Project is a bellwether for more widespread adoption of San Jose Bike Plan 2020. It’s important to let the city council know your thoughts on this.

I have plans with my family so I will not be able to make this meeting, but I’d appreciate a report from anybody who does show up.

One Comment

  1. Putting on street parking on a street with high traffic densities and bicycles will result in more conflict between cyclists and motorists. For all of my 54 years, I have seen politicians make compromises like this which sacrifice safety for convenience, and the result is the 100 roadway deaths per day in this country.
    Paying with safety for residents to be able to use the public street for storage of their private vehicles is not the kind of compromise that we should be entertaining.

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