Excellent bike path still under the radar after 10 years

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Biking toward South Davis, along the former course of Putah Creek just before the path crosses under I-80.

Ten years ago this week, the City of Davis dedicated the Putah Creek Bicycle Undercrossing, connecting South Davis to downtown and the UC Davis campus. The $4.5 million project took four years to construct. In 2000 the longest segment was opened from W. Chiles Road near Research Park Drive, crossing under W. Chiles and six lanes of I-80. A ceremony on April 2, 2003 marked the opening of the tunnel under the Union Pacific railroad tracks behind Davis Commons at the east end of the UC Davis Arboretum.

The smooth concrete path stretching 0.4 mile is impressive as bike facilities go: It crosses under both I-80 and the railroad, passing through unspoiled open countryside so close to downtown Davis and the freeway-oriented businesses — but separated from them just enough to create a tranquil respite from urban life. It circumvents the busy intersections along Cowell and Richards, especially the freeway overpass with zooming cars and trucks merging across a disappearing bike lane at the entry and exit ramps to I-80. And it avoids long waits at stoplights.

I expect that many readers either don’t know about this bike path, or have learned of it the hard way — perhaps after biking the more treacherous Richards freeway overpass and then hearing a rumor of an alternate bike route.

A bicyclist heads toward I-80 on Cowell Blvd. at Research Park Drive. The flash on my camera makes visible this mostly hidden sign pointing to the bike path to bypass the freeway overpass just ahead.

A bicyclist heads toward I-80 on Cowell Blvd. at Research Park Drive. The camera flash reveals the barely visible sign pointing to the bike path that allows one to bypass the freeway overpass just ahead.

This path is hidden from the view of car and bus travelers because it doesn’t directly connect to Cowell, Richards, First, E, or F Streets. Take Research Park Drive heading west in South Davis, or the bike path along the UC Davis Arboretum heading east near downtown. Maps and bigger, more descriptive signs showing the way would be helpful!

It is also part of the Davis Bike Loop. Green pavement markers were added in 2007 and have raised awareness of this and other bike paths around the city, but these markers are of limited usefulness in terms of guiding unfamiliar bicyclists to specific destinations.bike_path_map

Besides the map provided here and others specifically for bicycling (e.g. Google Bicycling), this excellent bike path is not even shown on many maps. The Davis Downtown Business Association and UC Davis have installed large maps on public placards at key locations. None of these show the path.

In my view this omission is particularly egregious on the UC Davis map. The path serves as an ideal connector between the main campus and outlying campus units along Research Park Drive such as the Center for Neuroscience. Also missing from the campus map is a similar freeway crossing for bikes south of the Russell/113 interchange on the west side of the campus.

Why are bike paths barely shown or missing from these maps? Bike paths are more subtle and minute in detail for map makers to draw, compared to the street grid. Perhaps the view still persists that the paths are recreational rather than true transportation facilities.

I am not suggesting that bike paths on maps should be drawn as wide as the streets. But the campus map in particular needs to better highlight bicycling routes for bypassing busy streets and intersections via bridges and underpasses, to encourage this healthier form of transportation. Some exaggeration of the physical prominence of these paths would serve a valuable purpose.

Improvements are on the way! Construction is set to begin this summer on the Arboretum Gateway Garden, which will greatly improve the connection from the bike path to Davis Commons and downtown at First and D Streets. Also, the city plans to install wayfinding signs, probably in 2014-15, to guide bicyclists to destinations via bikeways, similar to those in cities such as Berkeley and Portland.

New Bicycle Path “Uncovers” Buried Tunnel After 23 Years

On Tuesday, February 12 at 11:00 a.m. the City of Davis will dedicate a new bicycle path and tunnel just south of the soon-to-open New Harmony Mutual Housing Community in south Davis. The public is invited to attend on bicycles. Vehicle parking will also be available at the New Harmony apartment site at 3030 Cowell Boulevard, just west of Drummond Avenue.

The new bike path connects to a corrugated metal bike tunnel which was originally installed in 1990 during a reconfiguration of Drummond Avenue. The bike tunnel and access to it were literally buried until the New Harmony project began uncovering and improving it in 2012, when the city had acquired the funding to complete the bike path connections. The bike path improvements were jointly provided for through city funding, grant funds and developer funds from the adjacent New Harmony affordable housing development.

The new offstreet path adds to Davis’ extensive bikeway system featuring over 53 miles of offstreet bicycle paths and over 52 miles of bicycle lanes.  The Davis bicycle network is part of a city that covers approximately 10 square miles. The new Drummond Avenue bike tunnel will be the 26th grade separated bicycle crossing in Davis. Continue reading ‘New Bicycle Path “Uncovers” Buried Tunnel After 23 Years’

Bicicultures Roadshow Call for Participants

Bicicultures Roadshow: The Critical Bicycling Studies Tour de California

Call for Participants

April 16-17, 2013 in Davis, California

What is it?
The Bicicultures Roadshow will be a time for activists and researchers to talk, ride, eat, and play as we discuss and experience bicycling cultures. At this two-day conference, we will grapple with the shifting role of bicycle research and activism as it crosses lines between policy, recreation, and radical organizing. The event will take place in Davis, a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community, home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, and site of the first bike lanes in the U.S. This event is made possible through support from the University of California Transportation Center.

Why Bicicultures?
“Bicicultures” refers to the multiple social worlds of bicycling that co-exist, but may not overlap, in shared spaces. Rather than taking bicycling as a unitary object of analysis, we seek to investigate the construction of diverse meanings around the practice of cycling across time and space.

What will happen at the event?
Rather than following a traditional conference format of breakout sessions and individual papers, this event will emphasize ongoing discussion among all participants. Events may include keynote speakers, roundtable discussions, interactive panel presentations, workshops, field trips, and bicycle rides. We anticipate vibrant discussions about how diverse communities are using and thinking about bicycling as a tool to maintain and reinvent their worlds. Specific topics and formats will be formulated based on participant interest. We anticipate conversations around topics such as race, gender, class, ability, gentrification, activism, public space, embodiment, technology, design, recreation and sport, sustainability, mobilities, and more.
Continue reading ‘Bicicultures Roadshow Call for Participants’

Tire-Side Chat: The Pursuit of Raw Speed

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Tire-Side Chat Series

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame Presents:

George Leone

Speedbike Designer and Builder

The Pursuit of Raw Speed

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George Leone isn’t an engineer; he’s a history major who loves to build and became fascinated by human powered vehicles (HPVs) in the 1970s and continues that passion today. From initial work with fiberglass in 1980 with the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo HPV Team, George and collaborators progressed to advanced composites like Kevlar and carbon fiber. Hooked on their possibilities he and two UC Davis engineering students began designing a new HPV and over a couple years, built the first all-composites HPV (frame and fairing) mostly by trial and error. Since that time he has become the “composites guru” at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has helped the HPV teams and others build over 25 fully faired HPVs plus five of his own, the most recent being the speedbike “Primal 2″, which has reached a speed of 70.4 mph so far….

 Sunday Feb 10, 2-3 PM, Free for DBC and HOF members, $5 donation suggested.

For More Information Contact: Eventinfo@usbhof.org

www.usbhof.org 303 3rd St, Davis CA 95616 530-341-FAME (3263)

Can Davis make Diamond??

Community Plans Reception for League of American Bicyclists

Davis has been presented a new challenge.  A bicycle challenge, that is, designed by the League of American Bicyclists that entails getting Davis from the platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community status to that of the “diamond”, a new level of designation created for the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community program.

Staff from the League of American Bicyclists will be visiting Davis next week to meet with city staff, elected officials, bicycle advocacy groups, UC Davis, the business community, and the public.  Their mission to Davis is to review our draft Beyond Platinum – Bicycle Action Plan and to understand our community’s aspiration to improve cycling for Davis’ residents, students, and visitors. Continue reading ‘Can Davis make Diamond??’

Bicycle Open House at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sat. Sept. 29

Contact person: Ann Brice 530-758-0530
Event Date & Time: September 29, 2012 at 9:00 am

Yolo Basin Foundation and the California Department of Fish and Game invites community members and their families to participate in the first bicycle open house to be held at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on September 29th from 9am to 1pm.

This is a chance to get to know the Wildlife Area from a different vantage point. Volunteers from the Yolo Basin Foundation will meet participants at Parking Lot A with maps and suggestions for routes.

People may choose to bicycle several miles on the public auto tour loop as well as through some areas normally only accessible by foot.  Fall migration is starting and there are ample opportunities for waterfowl and shorebird viewing. Continue reading ‘Bicycle Open House at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sat. Sept. 29′

Davis-Sac bike route detour, CR32A closure Sept. 17-28

Due to road reconstruction, County Road 32A between CR 105 and the on/off ramps for westbound Interstate 80 will be closed to traffic from September 17 to September 28, 2012; to facilitate the Rehabilitation of CR 32A and Railroad Crossing Safety Improvement Project.  Detour signs will direct motorists and bicycles to alternate routes, through Mace Blvd. (CR 104) and Chiles Road (CR 32B).

Click on the map image for more details of bike detours.

This project will rehabilitate the damaged section of the road surface; it will also install guardrails at the intersection of CR 32A and the Union Pacific Railroad Crossing. The road closure will assist in the expeditious completion of the project.

Source: Lilia Esparza, P.E., Assistant Engineer, Yolo County Planning and Public Works

New Belgium Brewing’s Davis Clips of Faith Stop Raised More than $8,500 for Davis Bicycles!

More than 300 people came out on their bikes to enjoy this year’s Clips of Faith event

Ft. Collins, Colo. (August 16, 2012) – Clips of Faith, New Belgium Brewing’s traveling beer and film festival, raised $8,519 at its Davis stop on August 10, up more than $3,000 from last year. The hot day closed on a beautiful night with about 1,300 coming out to enjoy the films. All proceeds from the stop will go to Davis Bicycles!, which encourages and promotes bicycling while addressing the issues of advocacy, safety, transportation and education.

This was the 11th stop for the 2012 national tour, now in its third year. The tour will travel to 18 cities this year, showcasing amateur films while pouring beer from the hard-to-find Lips of Faith series, as well as a few popular New Belgium classics. Each stop along the tour features an outdoor screening of the collected films, a tasting of New Belgium’s beers and food from local vendors.
Continue reading ‘New Belgium Brewing’s Davis Clips of Faith Stop Raised More than $8,500 for Davis Bicycles!’

Woodland Bike Clinic, Sept. 8, 10am – 2pm

Bar Mitzvah and The Beast at Sacramento REI

Hear Davis bike author Matt Biers-Ariel give his hilarious and poignant book reading/slide show at the Sacramento REI on Wednesday, August 29 at 7:00 PM. The Bar Mitzvah and The Beast: One Family’s Cross-Country Ride of Passage by Bike documents his family’s 3,804 mile ride from San Francisco to Washington DC that they undertook when his atheist son refused to have a traditional Jewish rite of passage. Matt’s insights into family dynamics, bicycling, and global climate change is continuing to entertain readers all over America.