San Jose Building Bike Infrastructure

Manuel Paneda talks about what's planned for San Jose in bike improvements.

As someone who works in the trenches at the San Jose Department of Transportation, Manuel Paneda can appreciate the bicycle infrastructure he saw in The Netherlands, and its cost.

“The average spent on basic bike facilities for each city we visited was $6 million,” he said. “Major projects added to the amount spent. The city of San Jose has no funds dedicated to the city cycling program. It’s all grant funded. It’s a different funding environment here.” He added that one city he visited had 20 people dedicated to bicycle/pedestrian programs, while San Jose has one person – John Brazil.

The acting deputy director said that despite the clear-cut differences between the culture and history of San Jose compared to The Netherlands, more people are taking up cycling here. “We’re at 2 percent, but our goal for 2040 is 15 percent.”

The city administrator was one of three other local officials invited to visit the Netherlands and check out its cycling programs. His trip was funded by Bikes Belong through the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC).

Manuel focused on the bicycle opportunities for San Jose:

  • The city completed a bicycle master plan in 2008. The city is developing a three-year work plan and looking at how to treat the different types of streets.
  • Bicycle lanes will be added to the San Fernando corridor in 2012.
  • Street Smarts is educating 23,000 students annually about bicycling.
  • A River Oaks separated bikeway will be built and connect two trails between an on-street system.
  • Two bicycle boulevards will be built in 2011 or 12. New grant applications are being prepared for a Branham Lane separated corridor and a San Pedro downtown corridor.

Looking at the design of Netherlands bike routes, Manuel said he was impressed by their consistency. “There’s always clear direction and a place for bikes at intersections. They never leave you floating. Bikes have priority or at least they’re on equal footing with vehicles.”

Manuel said the city is modifying its signal design standards to improve detection for bicycles. Bike boulevard standards will also be established. “We’re looking forward to some new and exciting projects.”

Audio excerpts of Manuel’s presentation (9:52):

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