By Randi Mayem, Daily Nexus, October 14, 1976
In mid-July , UCSB submitted to the Federal Highway Regional Office a grant proposal for a $500,000 Bikeway Improvement Plan, and campus officials are hopeful that the application will be accepted by the first of the year.
Presently, Washington is holding $6 million to be distributed in a nationwide Bikeway Demonstration Project. The program will serve to demonstrate the capabilities of a carefully engineered bikeway system in areas of high density bicycle usage and to encourage bicycle transportation as an alternative to driving.
Nine separate regions in the country have collected similar grant proposals from their respective areas. Ten from each region have been selected for submission to Washington, where final funding decisions will be made. Out of 63 proposals submitted to the Western region, UCSB was ranked fourth among the top ten. If the grant is accepted, Washington will supply $400,000, to which the State will match $100,000, totaling the estimated $500,000 cost of the program. The program involves widening existing bikeways, constructing new paths, and separating bikeways from pedestrian walkways and roadways. Grade separations (overpasses and underpasses) will be constructed between bikeways and walkways at major intersections, and more bicycle parking will be provided. Adding traffic signals at bike-auto-pedestrian intersections and a bikeway lighting system are also part of the program.
Assistant Vice Chancellor Don Winter, a member of the Grant Task Force Committee, said, “The overall objective is to bring our system to the point where it’s continuous. Once a bicyclist gets on the bikepath, he can stay on it until reaching his destination or get off within a reasonably convenient walking distance.”
The proposed system, however, will not only address the needs of bicyclists, it will also facilitate safe walking.
CSO Coordinator Naomi Norwood commented, “UCSB has encouraged bike use to the extent that bikes have taken over. The present system is now inadequate for both the convenience of bicyclists and the serenity of walkers.”
The bikepath/walkway artery leading to South and North Hall, the library and the Arbor carries a tremendous load of campus traffic. On this strip, the bike paths will be widened from eight to thirteen feet. At the Arbor intersection, a grade separation with a bikeway underneath, a pedestrian bridge will be constructed. Bikepaths will be pedestrian-free and safe, observers claim, due to pedestrian crossings.
The bikepath paralleling El Colegio Road provides access to campus from Francisco Torres and the New Married Student Housing, yet 4,000 feet of this route is beyond range of El Colegio Road lighting, Winter noted. If the grant is accepted, thirty-five lighting fixtures will be installed to insure evening safety.
A traffic-control signal light will be installed at the East Entrance and Lagoon Road crossing where bicyclists, autos and pedestrians all intersect. The bikepath, paralleling Ward Memorial Boulevard and crossing Lagoon Road, will also be widened to thirteen feet.
In addition, many bike parking “pockets” will be provided, other major bikeways and turnabouts will be widened, bike traffic circles (such as near the Pardall Entrance) will be constructed, and every “break” in the present path system will be joined. Pedestrian “safety” islands and strictly channeled intersections are also proposed. Bikeways and walkways will co-exist in a closed, convenient, continuous, and separate system.
Careful engineering will accomplish an aesthetically appealing system and a model bicycle code will insure proper usage. Along with educational development, the plan should be so completely, proponents claim, that it will be essentially self-enforcing.
The present bikeway system fails to accommodate the 10,500 bicycles which enter the campus each day, the grant proposal states. The original plan did not anticipate the phenomenal growth of bike use. Another problem resulted from a system created piece by piece over a 10-year span.