The wait is over! After at least a year of planning, outreach, and mapping, the Caltrans District 4 Bike Plan is now available.

Caltrans is the state agency that is in charge of all state highways, whether freeways like 101 and 280, or what we think of as local roads, like El Camino Real. Cities must consult with Caltrans and ultimately get approval for any changes made to these roads and any intersections with freeways, like Page Mill/280. It wasn’t until the past few years that Caltrans has become more interested and willing to consider bike-friendly improvements on the state highways. They even have a goal to triple bicycling rates by 2020!

Caltrans District 4 encompasses the 9-county Bay Area. The District 4 Bike Plan is the most recent step toward the goal of increasing biking. After the state agency came out with their Bike and Pedestrian Plan, District 4 used that framework to complete a more detailed Bike Plan for the district. A pedestrian planning process will be soon to follow. Over the last year, Caltrans conducted outreach throughout the district in the form of focus groups and online mapping. They talked to city planners and engineers as well as everyday bicyclists. The result is a prioritized list and map of proposed bike projects on state highways throughout the Bay Area.

The District 4 Bike Plan prioritizes projects based on existing quality, existing and future demand, the scale of the improvement, local interest, and cost. The process also looked at the location of the project and whether it would benefit a disadvantaged community. If so, it got an extra priority point.

However, this isn’t your typical city bike plan. Caltrans won’t start going through the list from the top (there is no ranking) and implementing. It’s more like a vision that will influence both Caltrans and the local jurisdiction(s). This plan will provide a push to the local jurisdiction and Caltrans to understand that a corridor or intersection is a priority for people biking. When Caltrans is doing work on a state highway segment – whether resurfacing or doing other maintenance or upgrades – staff will refer to this plan to understand what the community wants in terms of bike facilities there. On the other hand, cities can use these crowd-sourced priorities to guide their own priorities. The Bike Plan won’t necessarily make or break a project and will not restrict a project from moving ahead.

We are super grateful to Caltrans for taking on this project and Alta for consulting. Take a moment to skim the plan and its accompanying maps and appendices for more information and to find your favorite local project. For even more details on the process and what it means, visit our friends at Streetsblog.

Is your favorite project included? Let us know in the comments how this can be a tool in your local advocacy.