After 15 months of stressful, orange-cone corrals and bottlenecked bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour, the $8.5 million project on North Fremont Boulevard is finishing right on schedule, according to the city of Monterey.
The city is celebrating with a grand opening and eBike giveaway from 1-2 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 14, in the CVS parking lot at North Fremont Boulevard and Airport Road.
The intention of the project is to improve safety and mobility for cyclists and pedestrians. With the installment of protected and separated bike lanes for bikes only—also known as class IV bike lanes—brightly painted crosswalks and crossing signals specifically for cyclists, the area provides pedestrians and cyclists with more visibility and defined travel space.
According to an infographic posted by Monterey on the project’s webpage, adding in physically separated bike lanes in other cities across the U.S. has increased ridership by 21- to 171-percent.
Monterey also included an analysis done for the city by engineering consultants Kimley-Horn. The consultants noted that in the past 15 years, several crashes on Fremont involving pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles could have been prevented by making the exact improvements on North Fremont Boulevard that the city is implementing.
There are a host of changes for motorists and bicyclists to look out for, with traffic signals, crosswalks and curbs being completely redesigned. Here’s what to look for:
In order to encourage vehicle drivers to decrease their speed when making right turns at intersections, there are now bulb outs, or curb extensions, on most of the intersection corners. These curb islands improve pedestrian safety, but can be missed and driven over if you’re not looking for them.
Bicyclists and motorists must now distinguish between solid-colored red, yellow and green traffic lights, (like they normally would) but also bicycle traffic lights (shaped like bikes) that cycle through the same colors.
There are no more free right turns on red or designated right turn lanes if drivers are turning onto or off of Fremont Boulevard, except for the skewed intersection at Ramona Avenue. This means turning right only when the light is green.
Cyclists, stay to the right. The new bike path will run through the median with the Northbound path on the right side of the median, and the Southbound on the left, just like car traffic. Each side is wide enough for one way travel, so cyclists need to ride on the appropriate side of the median.
The bike path is meant for bicyclists only.
Editor's Note: An earlier post suggested that the bike path is for both bikes and pedestrians. It is only for bicyclists.