Two-wheeled transport the talk of Turlock

naustin@modbee.comApril 5, 2014 

NA Turlock cycling 1

Jose Garcia and daughters Nayeli, 14, and Daisy, 10, want a bike friendly city.

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— Two-wheeled transport got its moment in the sun, as Turlock cyclists talked about obstacles and heard some solutions.

The first meeting on the Active Transportation Plan for the city, encompassing pedestrian as well as bicycle routes, got down to brass tacks and big maps Saturday. A second meeting to consider recommendations is tentatively planned for June 19.

“The state and federal governments have finally seen the value of this,” said Turlock Senior Planner Rose Stillo. Proposals for bike paths and pedestrian improvements have waited for funding, which now seems within reach. “The idea is to have a master plan in place so they know you’re serious,” she said.

Some 20 residents got an overview and then rode or walked to discuss problem spots.

“I like to bike, but I just don’t feel it’s the safest. I’d bike more if it was,” said Karen Koenig, staring at a map of town scribbled with circles and notes showing danger zones.

Several said the focus should shift from adding bike lanes to major arteries, which they avoid, to residential side streets where biking feels safer.

Others voiced concerns about traffic problems at schools. Families living across Hawkeye Avenue from Crowell Elementary are seen daily sprinting across the busy four-lane road between lights at Geer Road and Olive Avenue.

Turlock streets worker Jose Garcia biked to the meeting with daughters Nayeli, 14, and Daisy, 10. “I’m hoping that they put a bike rack and pad out at Donelly Park,” Garcia said, noting the city’s bus hub sits kitty-corner from the park.

The city plans school bike rodeos and other activities to encourage more bicycle use and people-powered transportation, said consultant John Lieswyn.

“This is the start of changing, not the end of it,” he said. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of drivers say they would bike more if they felt safer on the roadways, Lieswyn said.

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