Re: Wide Corners at Walnut

Michael Graff

Yes, I’ve noticed the traffic volume on Walnut is pretty light. It’s less of a speedway than it used to be.

On Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 1:37 PM Gayle Tupper <gayletupper@...> wrote:
Slowing traffic may be an explicit goal, but what about discouraging traffic?  I live east of Mission between Mowry and Walnut, and now avoid driving on Walnut due to the new bike lanes and particularly the bulb-outs at the intersections.  It’s really an unpleasant drive.

I also avoid Walnut as a cyclist.  The eastbound lanes have dappled light from the trees, the lane goes from raised/along the sidewalk, to finding the way through the intersection, and back to the next shade-hidden path.  The westbound lane is easily confused between bike lane and sidewalk, and figuring out where to be isn’t worth it.

I hope that the City is continuing to study the impacts and input from the Walnut construction before expanding this type of bicycle access elsewhere in Fremont.  It would be tremendously expensive (and frustrating!) to realize later that some elements of this construction do not work well here.

On a related note, from what I can tell, the green paint used here and elsewhere, while helpful visually, is also acrylic, which is a type of plastic,  As that plastic degrades, it will contribute more micro plastics to the stormwater system.  Does the City of Fremont have storm drain inlet treatment in all areas where these lanes will be releasing pollutants?  Are the City of Fremont’s stormwater staff aware of this and working on minimizing the release of these pollutants?  Who should we contact about this?

Gayle Tupper

On Aug 13, 2021, at 12:08 PM, mdavis94536 <mark@...> wrote:

It should be noted (as perhaps some are implying) that slowing down traffic is an explicit goal.

On Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 10:29 AM Marie Hughes <macmadame@...> wrote:
The NextDoor complaints? They make people slow down. Apparently, they don’t like that. :D

There are also comments as to how the streets are going to be kept clean now as noted here.

I’m not a fan of them, myself, but for other reasons. They make it harder to see cyclists in the bike lane when I’m driving and also I feel trapped when I’m riding there. 


On Aug 13, 2021, at 9:23 AM, vbacon@... wrote:

The complaints about the bollards are so absurd. Do they ruin the view of the lovely asphalt?
Vinnie Bacon
p: 510-796-8870
From: Marie Hughes <macmadame@...> 
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2021 9:16 AM
To: Daniel Karpelevitch <daniel@...>
Cc: Michael Graff <michael.graff@...>; Andrew Sass <andrew.sass@...>; FFBC IO List <>; Greg Vicksell <vicksell@...>; Tim OHara <timorides2@...>; Vinnie Bacon <vbacon@...>; hlarsen@...
Subject: Re: [public info] Wide Corners at Walnut
The green bollards aren’t popular with the motorist who post on NextDoor. They bitch about them constantly!

On Aug 13, 2021, at 3:09 AM, Daniel Karpelevitch <daniel@...> wrote:
The green bollards are popular with everyone as far as I know.
As for a solution for avid cyclists on Walnut - it already exists: ride in the car lane like we do on every other road without a shoulder. I say this somewhat facetiously, but I've actually had people ride with me on the road while I'm on the path while we held a conversation. I can't say I recommend it.
Just like an otherwise safe highway isn't safe for a car going 150mph, the sharper turns on Walnut are designed for speeds slower than we might do otherwise. I think more can be done to slow cars down as they turn, either with signage or some traffic engineering magic like rumble strips or narrower lanes or something like that.


On Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 23:06 Michael Graff <michael.graff@...> wrote:
We already have a full-width trail on both sides of Walnut. But it’s split into a bike half and a ped half. It was a noble idea, but it doesn’t work as well as one wide path. (I’m guessing the existing trees were a constraint in some sections.)
Meanwhile, we still need a cheap/easy solution for restoring “avid” cycling to Walnut. I saw a vote against sharrows, so it sounds like converting the #2 lane into a traditional Class II bike lane would be preferred.
How do people feel about the green plastic bollards? Is that usable for faster cycling, or is that too constraining?
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 9:07 PM Daniel Karpelevitch <daniel@...> wrote:
Michael, you are totally right that just making a bunch of rules will not be effective in separating bikes and pedestrians. However, I think the only reason the Alameda Creek Trail works where it does is because there are no intersections with roads. An Alameda Creek–width trail on both sides of Walnut would be great, but likely unfeasible. If people are complaining about these new intersections now, just wait until there is a full-width trail that has on- and off-ramps at every intersection. At that point it would just be easier to close Walnut to cars altogether... but I digress.
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 13:13 Michael Graff <michael.graff@...> wrote:
Your sister sounds like the ideal customer for the new bikeways.
Rather than treating bike-ped mixing as a problem on the side paths, we should expect it and design for it. Adding more rules, and attempting to separate bikes and peds, is futile. Especially at the intersections.
Instead of two narrow adjacent crosswalks, make one big one. Instead of a narrow sidewalk + narrow side path, make one wide one. Instead of hoping for one-way bike traffic, assume two-way traffic.
In other words, make Walnut work more like the Alameda Creek Trail. One wide space (on each side of the road) that everybody negotiates with each other.
Oh, and can some of the trees be trimmed? I keep having to duck under the low hanging branches.
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 12:08 PM Daniel Karpelevitch <daniel@...> wrote:
Michael, you make great points. 
My 13-year-old sister just started riding bikes and will be riding to high school in a few weeks. Our route is from Mission/Walnut all the way down Walnut to Fremont Blvd, then north on Fremont to Washington High School. 
My sister averages around 8-10 mph. She absolutely does not feel safe riding on unprotected bike lanes. The only reason she will be riding to school this year is because of the new bike path on Walnut and the bollard-protected bike lanes everywhere else she is riding. 
I know the club riders are much faster on average, but I think it is important to realize that that bike path and the new intersections weren't built for the "avid cyclist." If we want cycling to grow and make Fremont less car-centric, this is a sacrifice we must be willing to make. There are still plenty of alternate routes that do not have any of these new designs.
I agree that pedestrians on the bike path and in the intersections are a problem. I think more signage making clear where each should go would help, as well as some sort of separators (the small white flexible bollards come to mind). 
What does confuse me is the new intersections design popping up without the accompanying bike paths around them, such as at Fremont/Stevenson and Fremont/Mowry. Hopefully the surrounding infrastructure will be built shortly after, otherwise I do not see the purpose.
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 11:45 Michael Graff <michael.graff@...> wrote:
The new side paths and intersections are designed for slower cycling, 10-12 mph max. If I rIde them at that speed, I can generally avoid right-hook and drive-out collisions with motorists, and conflicts with pedestrians.
Faster than that, we should use the roadway.
Another thing I've noticed on Walnut, and at the fancy new intersections, is that bikes and peds don't strictly follow the lines painted for them. Bikes and peds use each other's crosswalks, and travel in both directions on both the sidewalk and side path. If we're going to build more of these, we might as well accept that and make them Class I multi-use paths. The attempts at bike-ped separation don't work.
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 11:25 AM Greg Vicksell <vicksell@...> wrote:
I was really surprised when Fremont made these changes. As already stated, you are not required to take the path up onto the islands. You still have the right to remain on the road like the motor vehicles. The other aspect of this is if you come down the path on Walnut from Mission towards Fremont you are going to be crossing a lot of driveways and cars coming out of the parking lots probably aren't going to be looking for you. I find it safer to stay on the road.

Greg Vicksell

On 8/12/2021 11:06 AM, Andrew Sass via wrote:
Three more near misses that I have seen (one being me, even with a bright rear light and front light with side flashers). �I have also seen one with a car leaving that apartment complex and pulling up to where they can see oncoming traffic and almost hitting a bike, and a car/bus near miss as the bus just stops in the street as there is no pullout for the bus stop.
The problem is worst when the light is green to begin with. �The cyclist pulls up onto the sidewalk and the car does not expect them to pop out again when the car turns. �It is safer for cyclists just to go straight and take the lane when on Paseo. �At least they are seen. �It would be much better if the curb was back 4 feet to safely go straight
While I am venting, those islands that are in the bike lane on Washington Blvd are also an accident waiting to happen. �Cyclists, even novice ones travel fast on the downhill and hitting those are certain broken bones, or worse.
There should be a moratorium on any more street changes until some statistics and feedback are examined
Andy Sass
On Thursday, August 12, 2021, 09:54:49 AM PDT, Vinnie Bacon <vbacon@...> wrote: 
You should send this to Hans Larsen at Fremont�s DPW. Hans is very good with bike issues but he�s not perfect. I was just commenting last night that I don�t like how bikes go up on the sidewalk on Walnut.
Another big issue is the nice wide right turn lanes for bikes look like they could be for cars. The initial design at Civic Center / BART Way was like that, and the City had to redo it. I saw the new configuration at Mowry / Fremont and my first thought was those right turn lanes would be too small for a lot of vehicles, not even realizing they are not for vehicles. Motorists will be confused too unless they paint them bright green.
Vinnie Bacon
From: <> On Behalf Of Tim OHara
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2021 9:32 AM
Subject: [public info] Wide Corners at Walnut
Please be careful when crossing Walnut after going up the green bike path on the sidewalk.� On three occasions now I have almost seen bike riders get hit when they have the green light and they advance just as a car sweeps around�the wide corner.� I don't really blame the cars, because it is just sooo weird, that the�corner juts�out so far.� I just don't want anybody getting hurt.� So be careful and watch�for the cars coming around the corner.�


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