Almost 4000 Cars Per Day Coming To
City Council Says Bike Boulevard Not Compatible With Sherwin Williams Project
'Horton Street Bike Blvd Has To Go'
The Emeryville City Council voted to finally and permanently load up Horton Street with at least 3980 vehicle trips per day as a consequence of their November 1st approval of the contentious Sherwin Williams project. That glut of cars, a third more than the maximum allowable to enable the street to be a bike boulevard according to the City’s own rules, was found by the Council to be a “significant, adverse and unavoidable effect” when they approved the Sherwin Williams project according to the Council’s own ‘Statement of Overriding Considerations’ they signed precluding the bike boulevard and green lighting that housing development.
|Horton Street Today|
Weekends are quiet and safe for biking. Weekdays are
chock-a-block with traffic. After Sherwin Williams
gets built never again will Horton Street be quiet
and safe for biking at any time.
The Council, four of the five of them having spent much public airtime claiming to be strongly supportive of the Horton Street Bike Boulevard, now says it regrets the demise of the idea of a bike boulevard for the street but the Sherwin Williams housing project will add almost 500 market rate apartment units to our town they hasten to add with their Statement of Overriding Considerations, and that’s more important than any bike boulevard.
The idea for a bike boulevard on this street has been a someday-to-be realized dream of bicyclists for years and is even ensconced in the City of Emeryville’s General Plan but there has been a remarkable lack of political will over the years by the City Council to actually deliver it.
The maximum number of vehicle trips per day allowed for a bike boulevard in Emeryville is 3000, a number already exceeded on Horton Street. But because of the Sherwin Williams housing project, an unavoidable minimum of 3980 vehicle trips per day will be using the street according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project. The street is unsafe today and after the City Council’s capitulation to the Sherwin Williams developer on November 1st, will now become increasingly more unsafe for bike use as a bike boulevard.
|Mayor Dianne Martinez|
Bikes are OK but providing more housing
is an emergency.
Housing will "add life and vitality" to the
neighborhood and inexplicably will
"improve bicycle connections" in
the neighborhood she and her
So what’s the deal about the 3000 vehicle trips per day? Isn’t Horton Street a bike boulevard now? Some might say because the City has painted stencils on the asphalt claiming as much, that’s good enough to call it a bike boulevard. People could say that but they would be wrong, because like many things in this world, opinion, however vigorously stressed, does not make the thing so. Rather, bike boulevards are defined by the City of Emeryville as ‘bike priority’ streets with specific parameters encoded by the City, in this case limits on vehicle speeds and vehicle volumes. A bike boulevard is not a feeling or a desire; it’s something the City has quantified.
Will bikes still be able to continue to use Horton Street after the Council’s Statement of Overriding Considerations? Yes, but Horton Street is just an average albeit dangerous street loaded up with cars like San Pablo Avenue or Hollis Street. Like those other streets, it is not safe for bikes according to the General Plan. Unlike those other streets, Horton Street has purple signs and stencils on it erroneously giving bicyclists the impression the street is quiet and they are safe using the street. And that makes Horton Street actually more unsafe than the other streets. And now the City Council has sealed the fate of the Horton Street Bike Boulevard; it will never be a bike priority street, a quiet and safe street for bikes that Emeryville residents have said they want. The people of Emeryville never said they want more housing. The City Council never promised the voters that if we vote for them, they’ll deliver more than 200% Association of Bay Area Government’s recommended quantity of market rate housing as they now have. They have said that if we vote for them they WILL deliver a better and safer bicycling environment, one specifically with bike boulevards; a campaign promise they have yet to fulfill and what now presents as a fait accompli for .