Niles Canyon Widening Project Has Opposition

Many sections of Niles Canyon Road (Hwy 84) have good shoulder, but not here. (Google Maps photo)

OK, raise your hand if you think riding a bike through Niles Canyon is hazardous to your health. Just as I thought. Lots of hands went up.

There’s a three-year $60 million plan by Caltrans to widen the road, but that doesn’t include widening the bridges, which is too bad. The bridges are no fun crossing because they’re so narrow.

However, the plan is in jeopardy because a lot of people — mostly people living in the area — oppose the project: they don’t want to see hundreds of trees cut down and possibly upset fish habitats in Alameda Creek.

East Bay Bicycle Coalition supports the road improvements, although opponents argue (rightly so in my mind) it won’t make things safer. More people will use the road and they’ll just drive faster.

I’ve ridden through Niles Canyon dozens of times and never had any issues, unless you consider the many close calls that are part of the cyclist’s life. I would welcome shoulders, but not rumble strips, which are already in place down the middle of the road. All in all, I think the plan is a mixed bag, same as the canyon road. Some parts are nice with good shoulder, but other parts have no shoulder. The only thing that’s clear-cut is the trees.

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