Central Valley Bikeways Project

Building Low-Stress Bikeways in the Central Valley

CalBike, in partnership with the Kern Council of Governments, has been awarded a Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning grant. The grant will allow us to work together to improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity around proposed High-Speed Rail (HSR) stations. It will increase access for the Central Valley’s most marginalized residents. 

Bakersfield, Fresno, and Merced Projects

If you’d like to know more about the whole Central Valley Bikeways Project, read on. If you’re interested in one of the cities in the project, you can skip to Bakersfield, Fresno, or Merced.

The Central Valley Bikeways Project

We will be able to leverage the increased planning and development around HSR stations to improve bicycling and walking. The Central Valley Bikeways Project will cover communities within three miles of the new HSR stations. Its goal is to improve access for people arriving by bike and on foot. This planning project will not only connect residents to HSR stations in their communities, but also to other communities across the Central Valley. The project will also assess inter-city connections to look for places to enhance bike safety. We hope these improvements will increase bicycling between cities and from rural areas to the HSR stations and city centers. In addition, the Central Valley Bikeways Project should attract bicycle tourism to the region. To facilitate these connections, the project team developed a Central Valley Passage Long Distance Route Plan.

Project Vision

This project will facilitate a safe and equitable bike network system in California’s Central Valley. It will provide easy access to future high speed rail stations and further the goal of providing sustainable mobility throughout the state.

Project Description

This project will supplement existing active transportation planning in several Central Valley cities. CalBike will recommend bike networks that will create secure, safe, and equitable access to proposed HSR stations for nearby residents and visitors. 

Active Transportation Plans

While some of these communities (such as Fresno and Bakersfield) have bike plans, station area plans, and/or active transportation plans under development (Kern and Fresno Counties) or completed (Tulare County), in most cases they lacked the resources to fully analyze connectivity of disadvantaged and outlying communities to future HSR stations. Nor did these planning processes adequately ensure excellent bike/pedestrian approaches to the stations, or HSR station bike parking. 

In addition, station area planning supported by the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) evaluates only the area within a half-mile of the station. That’s a critical radius for pedestrian access, but it doesn’t account for the potential for people to access the new stations by bicycle. Our process will avoid duplication of efforts, using the existing and draft plans when available, and enhancing them using state-of-the-art bicycle connectivity analysis tools. 

Applying New Tools to the Planning Process

Our project has implications beyond the Central Valley. We will use a novel, state-of-the-art network connectivity analysis tool that can be replicated in communities throughout California. The accessibility analysis tool examines the street network and recommends improvements to enhance access. 

Using this tool, we will be able to classify each street segment and intersection according to the level of stress (due to safety risks) imposed on people using bikes. We can then identify the destinations within a given community that are connected via low-stress bike routes, i.e. streets with protection from high-speed traffic that provide comfortable and attractive bicycle access. Using this analysis, we will be able to target improvements to those segments and intersections with the potential for the biggest improvement in connectivity.

Final Project Phase

As a final phase of the project, we will develop reports and present to several local and regional governing bodies in the Central Valley.  After completion,  there is potential for further work and adoption of our planning efforts and recommendations.

Project Managers

If you have questions about the Central Valley Bikeways Project, please contact one of CalBike’s project managers.

Forest Barnes, forest@calbike.org, 415.484.3143

Jared Sanchez, jared@calbike.org, 714.262.0921

City-Specific Plans

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Additional Resources

More about the Central Valley Bikeways Project