A typical bike lane normally doesn't get much attention, but this bike lane is hardly typical.
A simple green-painted strip separated from the roadway by cement blocks, this new lane along Shoreline Boulevard is being hailed as the first protected bike path in Mountain View. For local bike advocates, this new lane represents the first of what they hope will be a wave of new bike-friendly transformations throughout the city.
Mountain View already boasts an extensive network of bike corridors, with more than 160 miles of bike paths running through the city and the surrounding areas. But that doesn't mean cyclists are always having a joyride while navigating city streets. Even while in bike lanes, cyclists often face a stressful time as they deal with cars zipping by at faster speeds and weaving into the bike lane for a right turn.
Those factors can push people to stay in their cars and leave their bike at home, said Cherie Walkowiak, an organizer with Safe Mountain View.
"Under the current state of bike lanes, most people don't feel that safe," she said. "Transportation is coming to a head we can either build for more and more cars, or we can provide different options for getting around."
Protected bike lanes are touted as one solution to make cycling less stressful through town. Mountain View officials have indicated the improved bike lanes could rapidly expand along the city's major corridors. In a transportation study approved by the council last year, city staff highlighted large sections for potential bike improvements along Shoreline Boulevard, including new protected lanes and intersections and a new bike-pedestrian overpass at Highway 101.
Other areas of town are also being eyed for bike-friendly upgrades. The city's precise plans for North Bayshore, San Antonio and the El Camino Real corridor each call for new protected bikes lanes as well as other cycling improvements.
For many of those proposals, the rubber will hit the road later this year when the council reviews a bike transportation plan update. If approved, that master plan would guide how the city rolls out a slate of new bike infrastructure throughout town.
For now, Walkowiak and other bike enthusiasts are in a celebratory mood over the new bike paths. This Saturday, the Safe Mountain View group is planning an inaugural ride on the new path as part of a Summer Family Bike Ride and Picnic. The ride is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15 at the Stevenson Elementary School playground at the corner of Montecito Avenue and Granada Drive.
More details can be found at [www.safemountainview.org. safemountainview.org