Bike Friendly Cities Named in the San Francisco Bay Area

Bike friendly underpasses in Palo Alto are one reason why the city received a Gold Award from the League of American Bicyclists.

Advocacy group League of American Bicyclists released its Bicycle Friendly Community list and several bay area communities made the cut. But first, the best of the best (Platinum Award): Boulder, Colorado; Davis, California; and Portland, Oregon.

For sure these are three of the most bike friendly communities in the U.S. and it goes without saying many cyclists live there.

Now for the bay area. The results are not so impressive, but at least they rated:

Gold Award
Palo Alto
San Francisco
Stanford University

Silver Award
Presidio of San Francisco

Bronze Award
Los Altos
Menlo Park
Mountain View
San Jose

It’s hard to find fault here. San Jose’s city employees and leaders deserve recognition for trying hard, but it’s an uphill battle. Still, they’re making progress.

I just finished a ride including Bryant Street (Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard) in Palo Alto and this route is one reason why the city received a gold award. I’ve heard rumors that other communities are considering similar routes. Good idea.

5 Responses to “Bike Friendly Cities Named in the San Francisco Bay Area”

  1. jim sullivan Says:

    Overall in general agreement on the top 3,
    Only additions to the network of bike friendly routes would be:
    Palo Alto-Stanford, lift the ban on bicycles from the Deer Creek rd to Arastradero rd trail.This trail is a walker,dog walker only section, and is rarely used(from my observation)
    The walkers already have every inch of every Dish trail to themselves, cyclists could use this section to bypass the heinous Page Mill-hwy 280 interchange.

  2. Ray Hosler Says:

    And to think Jobst used to work on that road. It’s an insult.

  3. jim sullivan Says:

    Hi Ray, well, that is valid,
    My main objection is that when a trail in our region is engineered,proposed,implemented, the powers that be seem never to consider a dirt trail far a “bicycles only” status, or even limit the walker crowd in any way.
    I look around, plenty of walker , motor vehicle only(think hwy’s) routes.
    Walkers get every inch of trails within all publicly funded “recreation” lands,it’s high time pedalers received similar consideration when dirt trails are engineered,proposed,implemented within our region.

    The specific trail I point out above Deer Creek Rd, would have been an excellent alternative to the Page-280 dance of death we cyclists must engage when going E-W.
    Yet, when the Coyote Creek section of dirt trail was being proposed-designed,my suggestions went unheeded by Stanford,Co of Santa Clara Parks staff in charge, completely dismissed as balderdash.
    (SCCoParks now has jurisdiction over this trail)

    The mindset that a bicycle only(or even a bicycle+dog walker only) trail is seemingly beyond the thoughtscape of these folks.
    That mindset is what I would like to see extinguished.

  4. djconnel Says:

    Presidio San Francisco is separate from the City for only historical reasons, I believe. You’d think from the silver-versus-gold status that the Presidio had inferior cycling, but that’s far from the case (with the exception of Doyle Drive construction issues). San Francisco has a “transit first” policy which makes cyclist access a legal priority. While it’s not always honored, it provides a powerful tool for cycling advocates, and has been used to justify the removal of street parking to make room for bike lanes.

    Palo Alto Bryant Street is nice until you try to ride to Mountain View. It becomes a meandering residential street leading via an obscure route to a bike/pedestrian bridge. Coming back, riding on the wide Central Expressway shoulder is a time-efficient choice… until you cross San Antonio Road into Palo Alto and the road becomes Alma, the shoulder disappears, and your doing a pas de deux with high-speed auto traffic.

    I’d like to see Palo Alto really earn that gold rating by adopting a policy similar to the San Francisco “Transit First”. Then the “gifts” Palo Alto tosses to the considerable cycling population, like it’s vestigial bike boulevard “network” would instead become obligations, and maybe we’d see something which really allowed cyclists to get where they want from where they want in a time-efficient and safe manner.

  5. Ray Hosler Says:

    I have no idea why the Presidio was called out. It seems bizarre on the face of it.

    I ride through residential Palo Alto up to San Antonio Road and then pick up Central Expressway heading south.

    Palo Alto’s reputation for being bike friendly is due in large part to Ellen Fletcher’s advocacy. Beyond her Bike Boulevard efforts, and those who supported her, I haven’t seen much to get excited about over the past 30 years.

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