By Roz Rogoff
Overpass WorkshopUploaded: May 20, 2014
I attended the Workshop on the proposed bicycle overpasses on Bollinger Canyon Road and Crow Canyon Road. I thought the workshop started at 6:30 pm, but when I checked online at 6:10, the announcement said it started at 6 pm. So I rushed over to the Community Center and arrived about 20 minutes late.
I missed the "Welcome and Introductions," but came in time for the "Virtual Site Tour," which was a slideshow with photos and maps of the locations for the overpasses and why they are needed. I noticed that the slides had "From 2009 IHT Concept Plan" at the bottom.
I asked the presenter, Josh Mello from Alta Planning if this wasn't already voted on a few years ago. He said those were conceptual plans, and that planning takes a long time. Hmm yes, it's déjà vu all over again.
There were about 25 people attending the workshop, but three were City Staff and two were the consultants from Alta Planning, which specializes in planning "active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities.
About half of the residents attending were cyclists and were interested in the practical aspects of the overpass for safely crossing Bollinger Canyon Road or Crow Canyon Road without having to wait for traffic to stop. Others were motorists who wanted to keep the traffic flowing on these busy streets without having to stop at multiple lights and intersections.
We split into two groups to brainstorm ideas on features for each overpass. My group started with Bollinger Canyon Road. One of the men at my table was wearing a cycling jersey for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. I asked him his name and he gave me his card, Derek Liecty, Bicycle Consultant/Advocate.
We discussed access to the overpass by bike, stairs, or elevator, and getting on or off the Iron Horse Trail to access buildings in Bishop Ranch or the sidewalk. I suggested a second story overpass connecting the City Hall with the Library. The consultant liked that idea, but one of the folks at my table said kids might use it for skateboarding.
The second half of the workshop was taken up with a Visual Preference Survey. Anyone concerned that the overpasses would be eyesores, should take this survey. It includes photos of 18 possible bridge/overpass designs, with a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being worst and 5 being best, for Design, Materials, and Color.
I rated most of the Designs 2 or 3. I tended to give higher numbers for Materials and Color, even if I didn't like the Design. One of the choices looked like the bike bridge over South San Ramon Creek from Mangos Drive to the back of Cal High, which is up the street from me.
So when I got back from the Workshop I took some photos of that overpass. I'm posting one of the better photos. This is a small bridge and not in the center of town, so its looks are not very important, but at least it's another example.
I asked if the Visual Preference Survey could be put online for residents to take. I suppose residents who want input into the design and appearance of the overpasses could ask for a copy of it. I'd like to see it put on Open San Ramon. This is exactly the kind of survey residents should be able to take online.
There is another workshop scheduled for June 9th. If you want to learn more about the plans for the bicycle overpasses, why they are needed, and how they should look, you should attend that meeting and add your input to the process.