Just say NO to detour!

Caltrans District 5 asked for comments from bicyclists about their proposal to detour bicycling for TWO YEARS during their US 101 North Paso Rehab Project. Our response is below.

Project Manager Amy Donatello:

I am the President of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations writing to express our surprise and dismay that Caltrans would be considering closing bicycling access ​- for two years! – ​along 101 as described​ for the US 101 North Paso Rehab Project​. It is our understanding, and should be yours, that Caltrans does not have the authority to detour bicyclists while allowing motorized traffic through the work zone. Caltrans ​is supposed to follow ​D​eputy Directive 64 R-2. ​Caltrans is supposed to consider the needs of bicyclists early in the project development process.​ ​Bicycle users and the general public should have been consulted before the traffic management plan was developed, not at this very late stage in the project development process. A staged construction strategy that ignores the rights of people bicycling should not have been approved. Please act within the law, follow Caltrans policy, and provide space for bicyclists on 101 during the project.

Additionally, it is obvious to us that the roads shown on the map (though you didn’t specify a detour route) entail significant out of direction travel, which violates the guidance in PDPM Chapter 31. ​The only alternative routes we see provide ​steep grades, narrow or no shoulders & greatly increased distances. Some destinations are only available via 101.

Caltrans staff should not exceed its legal authority. There may be other options to a paved shoulder in some areas, such as providing a 24/7 shuttle service to get bicyclists past these segments, or providing a 16′ wide lane with “share the road” signs, or installing “bikes may use full lane” signs and erecting temporary 40 mph (or lower) speed limit signs on short segments, such as approaches to/on bridges where it could be more difficult (but not impossible) to provide more width for bicycle traffic. All of these options should have been explored during the development of the traffic management plan.

Some of our members have provided some addition comments.

1) Note that the project is in error. There is no access from the east side of the Salinas River (River Road) to the west side via Wellsona Rd. So cutting bicycle access to Hi​gh​way 101 effectively restricts access to the area south of San Miguel to Wellsona in the Salina River Basin. This includes the lower portion of San Marcos Rd. The Indian Valley—River Rd detour totally bypasses this area. The bike detour must provide access between San Miguel to Wellsona. A possibility would be to provide 2-way access on Cemetery Road west of Hi​gh​way 101 and create an extension (perhaps a 2-way class I bike facility) from the end of Cemetery Rd to San Marcos Rd and then detouring on San Marcos Road to Wellsona Rd.

2) On the north end, using Indian Valley Road as the detour between Bradley and San Miguel adds additional mileage and significant grades. Far better would be access though Camp Roberts. ​There may be an almost complete bypass through Camp Roberts, but there are short segments on the Google map shown as unimproved. Also, there appears to be short segment between the south end of Camp Roberts and San Miguel where the only access is Hi​gh​way 101 (the frontage road on the other side appears to be one-way). If access is granted and made continuous through Camp Roberts and a 2-way connection is enabled between Camp Roberts and San Miguel, then that ​might fix the north end problem.

3) Why not build one-half of the highway on a new adjacent alignment, rebuild/rehab one of the older alignments and turn the remaining old alignment portion into an paralleling frontage road that would serve the area’s residents and become a nice paralleling bike route. This roadway was built in the early 1960’s by Madonna Construction and as such has outlived its usefulness. Building a new alignment probably would not cost much more than tearing out and replacing miles of old degraded concrete roadway.

4) The national bicycle touring organization, Adventure Cycling, publishes route maps for bicycling tourists that includes the proposed section to be closed. Disrupting this route will inconvenience and perhaps discourage bicycle tourism through our State. ​If you go forward with this closure they should be notified to alert their member travelers.​

Jim Baross
CABO President

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: execdir@sdcbc.org Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: sva@sandag.org Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: ken_mcguire@dot.ca.gov Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email: Preston@bikeleague.org