The Squeaky Wheel – Sept 2015

Velo Ball 2015 is Friday, Oct. 16
Promising changes at Sacramento City Hall
Draft sidewalk riding ordinance headed to Sacramento City Council
Bike shorts
Get involved

Velo Ball 2015 is Friday, Oct. 16

Header 9 - website - croppedVelo Ball, our big annual fundraising party, returns to Beatnik Studios near Southside Park in downtown Sacramento on October 16. We’ll be serving a delicious cocktail-party menu from the acclaimed South, along with local beer, cider and wine. The highlight will be a silent auction featuring bikes and accessories, unique experiences, and locally made treasures, including a Yuba Mundo cargo bike, a Mendocino vacation getaway, Oregon Shakespeare Festival tickets, an Urban 800 Commuter Combo light set from Light & Motion and bike accessories from Rivendell Bicycle Works. That’s just the start.

The funds we raise at Velo Ball help support our work to improve the quality of life in our region by making travel by bike safer and more convenient.

Advance tickets are on sale now through Oct. 2 for $50 (which includes the new SABA Klean Kanteen beer pint) and $40. Prices go up after Oct. 2.

We can’t say thank you enough to Teichert Construction, North Natomas Transportation Management Association, Regional Transit, Alta Planning + Design and Bike Hub for helping make this event possible! Thank you again! Sponsorship opportunities are still available – contact us for information on how your business can participate.

(Can’t attend the party? You can still enjoy supporting our mission by making a donation.)

Promising changes at Sacramento City Hall

We’re seeing some changes at the City of Sacramento that could help make travel by bike safer and more convenient for more people. Over the past several years, the City’s progress on improving conditions for bicycling has come to a near-standstill and the rate of bicycle commuting among Sacramentans remains flat, even as bicycling continues to boom in other major U.S. cities.

Photo by Tim Reese

Photo by Tim Reese

Earlier this year we convinced the Transportation Dept. to hire a consultant to help complete the first major update of the City’s bicycle master plan in nearly 20 years, a project that was only half-completed during the two years since it was launched. The consultant has been chosen and the contract is currently being negotiated.

Following a highly critical Sacramento Bee commentary about inadequate conditions for bicycling in the Central City and a response from us in early July, the City’s bicycle-pedestrian coordinator was reassigned, and at our urging, the position has been upgraded to management level, which could help improve its effectiveness. Hiring will begin later this month.

But Sacramento still has a long way to go to catch up to the progress being made in other large bike-friendly cities like Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Oakland that devote considerably more resources to bicycle transportation. Improving the quality of bikeway planning and infrastructure remains a top priority for SABA.

Draft sidewalk riding ordinance headed to Sacramento City Council

Later this fall the Sacramento City Council will be asked to revise its ordinance governing bicycling on sidewalks as the first step toward restricting sidewalk riding in areas with high concentrations of pedestrians.

sidewalk ridingThe changes are prompted by a $3.5M claim brought against the City of Sacramento by a pedestrian who was badly injured in a sidewalk collision with a bicyclist on a downtown street in May 2014.

The hazards to pedestrians are real, but incidents like this one remain extremely rare. Sacramento Police Dept. data show that from 2008 through 2012, 927 pedestrians were hit by cars in Sacramento, including 372 in the downtown grid. During that period, 3 pedestrians were hit by bikes, all in neighborhoods outside of the grid.

State law leaves the regulation of bicycling on sidewalks to local government. Sacramento’s sidewalk riding ordinance currently allows bicycling on residential sidewalks but not in commercial neighborhoods. The City of Sacramento has done little to help people find bike lanes and avoid sidewalks where riding is prohibited.

We’ve ensured that the discussion stays focused on the role that hazardous traffic conditions play in causing most sidewalk riding in downtown Sacramento. WALKSacramento has been a strong ally in helping make the case for safer streets for bicycling as the key to safeguarding pedestrians. Data from other large U.S. cities show that installing protected bike lanes can dramatically reduce the rate of sidewalk riding.

We continue to remind City officials that punishing people on bikes for trying to avoid roadway hazards is bad policy so long as the City fails to improve conditions for bicycling on the street. The current update of the citywide bicycle master plan and the results of the ongoing Downtown Transportation Study provide two opportunities to begin correcting the deficiencies in downtown streets and should be put into effect before a crackdown on bicyclists begins.

Bike shorts

davis junction plan

Davis is home to the nation’s first Dutch-style protected intersection, located at E. Covell Blvd. and J Street. The design provides a safer alternatives for people on bikes who are turning left off E. Covell, a busy four-lane boulevard.

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Steven Pas (2nd from left) of Bicycling Advocates for Rancho Cordova presented a League of American Bicyclists plaque to Mayor Robert McGarvey (3rd from left) and City Council members.

Kudos to our friends in Rancho Cordova for being named a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists! The honor recognizes the significant investment in infrastructure, policies and programs to support bicycling made by City leaders and staff as well as groups like Bicycling Advocates for Rancho Cordova and the 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association.

delta-lane-rendering 750xx5554-3124-1-0This summer West Sacramento was awarded the region’s only cap-and-trade grant for a riverfront project that joins affordable housing and transportation improvements. The West Gate Place project near Raley Field is just one of 28 projects statewide to receive state funding intended to ensure that new housing reduces reliance on driving. The project site is adjacent to a proposed network of protected and buffered bike lanes along the West Sacramento waterfront that will make travel by bike safer and more convenient.

The Advancing Bicycling in the Capital Region workshop, on Weds., Sept. 23 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Sacramento, will bring together national experts, community leaders, business owners and advocates to explore opportunities for making the region a friendlier place for bicycling. Tickets are still available — don’t miss this chance to be part of an important conversation. SABA will provide free valet bike parking during the event.

Get involved

SABA volunteer Mark Tavianini counting bikes at H & 16th streets in downtown Sacramento

SABA volunteer Mark Tavianini counts bike traffic at H & 16th streets in downtown Sacramento

On Thursday, Sept. 17, 4-6 PM, we’ll be conducting a quarterly bike count throughout the greater Central City and we could use more volunteers. We have more than 30 count locations we’ve returned to over the past seven years – having enough help is crucial to generating good data. We provide the forms and instructions, and training if needed. To volunteer, contact us at volunteer@sacbike.org.

Help us make the American River Parkway a cleaner place to ride as part of the Great American River Clean-Up on Saturday, Sept. 19. We’ll be collecting trash and debris along the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail (AKA Blue Diamond Trail) on the south side of the river near the Blue Diamond plant in Midtown. Bring sturdy shoes and work gloves. We’ll provide tools, trash bags and snacks. To lend a hand, send an email with “GARCU” in the subject line to volunteer@sacbike.org.

The upcoming TBD Fest, Sept. 18-20, is our largest Bike Valet event of the year. Last year we parked 1,200 bikes at TBD Fest and this year could be bigger! Join a fun crew and enjoy lots of music (of course) by volunteering. We have multiple shifts available. Contact us at volunteer@sacbike.org.