By Pete Heller, Chair Bicycle Pedestrian Commission


Thanks to Assembly Bill 1193 California is rapidly moving to add a new designation of Class IV bikeways to the 3 existing classes now defined by the Streets & Highways Code.  Class IV bikeways use existing roadway but provide for physical separation between cars and bikes.   This physical separation makes them particularly well suited for kids, families and seniors by providing safety by avoiding potential for auto interactions.  The physical separation can be accomplished in a variety of techniques such as with planters, concrete, or even parked cars.


The bill also requires Caltrans to come up with standards for developing cycle tracks, ensuring that they will be added to the toolbox for engineers and planners.  Caltrans is mandated to provide these design guidelines by the end of the 2015.  To facilitate that Caltrans sponsored an invitation only seminar for city and county bike advocates as well as a variety of stakeholders such as disabled and seniors.


I attended the meeting which was held in Sacramento on 27-May.  One of the points that I drove at the meeting was the need to provide not just minimum viable standards but also acceptable options. This will be very helpful for Cupertino since it’ll provide our city engineers with the documentation they need to implement these kinds of designs without fear of deviating from accepted standards.


My view of the priorities for the class IVs will be for intra-city commutes.  In particular I believe Cupertino should target them:

  1. For school commutes to increase kid fitness and independence while simultaneously reducing auto congestion
  2. For errands and easy access to shopping and dining such as along Stevens Creek Blvd.   This will also increase sense of community by getting more people face to face and also to reduce auto trips.


I look forward to hearing your inputs about where Class IV bikeways will best serve Cupertino!


Table 1. The three existing bike route classes

Class Description
I Bike path is completely separate from the roadway
II Part of the roadway with clearly marked designation
III Merely indicate a road is designated as a preferred route for bicycling but not necessarily with any improvements