By Chris Metinko
Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group
The public works agency of Alameda County wants to know what it would take to make biking and walking better in the unincorporated areas.
The agency is seeking public comment until Dec. 16 for its newly drafted bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
The plan, last updated in 2006, looks to improve bicycle and pedestrian access and circulation in the areas of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Portal Ridge, Fairview, Hillcrest Knolls and San Lorenzo.
The plan typically is updated every five years, but county officials say this update particularly is needed since there has been more concern in the last five years about health and the impact of carbon footprints on the environment.
The draft plan reflects current demand for healthy exercise and nonpolluting transportation by trying to expand paths and by emphasizing alternative modes of transportation to connect schools, parks, neighborhoods and commercial districts.
The county is responsible for about 42 miles of bikeway throughout the unincorporated communities and wants to eventually increase that mileage to about 250 -- mainly with 130 new miles through rural areas. The new mileage would be used to provide connections to local attractions -- such as Cal State East Bay and Southland Mall -- as well as link bike paths in adjacent cities.
The plan also evaluates pedestrian and bike safety in the unincorporated communities.
Since the last bike and pedestrian plan was updated, there were an average of only 24 collisions per year. That is a decrease from before 2006, when there were a reported average of 42 pedestrian-bicycle collisions per year.
To view and comment on the new draft bicycle and pedestrian master plan, go to www.acgov.org/pwa, or send comments to the Alameda County Public Works Agency, 399 Elmhurst St., Hayward 94544.