Send a Letter, Postcard, or Email
Albany Climate Action Coalition will update this page regularly with messages that we think will help us get to our climate action goals. Right now, we are prioritizing reducing our City's position on bike access for Albany. You can write your own comments or edit the example text that you see below. Be sure to include your name and address.
Re: 5/20 Item 10-1, Solano Avenue
To the Albany City Council-
Monday night you are asked to make a decision on the planning for mid-Solano Avenue. Your choices are to 1) approve the consultant’s draft plan from February, 2) do so and direct study of cycling facilities as part of the unfunded future ATP update process, or 3) direct further study of options including cycling facilities now, which will require additional funding. We ask you to choose the last in coordination with Berkeley’s potential study that will include considering cycling facilities on its segment of Solano in accord with its Bicycle Master Plan. This is the most efficient approach that will provide resources appropriate the task.
No advisory body has recommended approving the current plan, either under option 1 or 2 above. The three bodies that made a recommendation (Traffic and Safety, Climate Action, Economic Development) were each unanimously against adopting the plan in its current form. The Economic Development Committee recommended taking the time to study other design ideas that have come forward. The future study proposed by option 2 would not be sufficiently resourced to meaningfully analyze new designs for Solano. The history of the Kains and Adams bikeway planning provides an analog. The Active Transportation Plan designated them likely biking facilities but left the planning for those facilities to a future project focused on those streets.
The unanimity of the advisory bodies against adopting the current plan is understandable because its primary design is predominantly a look back to 20th century motorist-centric engineering. This leaves the sidewalks too narrow in favor of adding more car parking. Several advisory body members commented that they had a difficult time discerning how the consultant’s primary design was substantially different from what exists now. Solano Avenue does not and cannot compete primarily on car parking. There are other destinations near and far that will forever dominate in that regard. In contrast, worldwide experience and peer-reviewed research finds that improving access to streets like Solano for people using sidewalks and biking increases economic activity more than further optimizing them for motorists. This is also evident from the Berkeley staff report relaying that Solano is underperforming economically.
Our organizations support the Economic Development Committee’s recommendation. Following this recommendation will require you to find and allot funds for continued planning. While it is unfortunate the process so far has expended the full $200,000 made available, it would be penny-wise and pound foolish to let that control the future of Solano Avenue. In addition, Albany is likely to have a partner in Berkeley in funding and carrying out this effort.
The option of approving the consultant’s plan without modification will result in a design that is unlikely to successfully compete for grant funding because it is motorist-centric rather than truly “Complete." Granting agencies are generally not inclined to fund such projects anymore. Our organizations will not support or endorse any grant application to fund engineering and construction of the proposed plan further decreasing the likelihood of receiving those funds.
In closing, the primary plan proposed by the consultants violates a decade of policies adopted by the Council, as detailed below. Approval of that plan requires overturning those policies first.
Email City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or send a poscard or letter including your comments to:
Albany City Council
c/o City Clerk
1000 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, CA 94706
*It's also fun to host a letter-writing party. Get some cookies or a bottle of wine and some pre-stamped and pre-addressed postcards and have each of your friends write one postcard before you start a movie, play some poker, have a meal... You can drop the whole lot in the mail the next day and make an impact overnight!