This guest blog was written by Zachary Hilton, chair of the Gilroy BPAC. Got an idea for a guest blog? Email Jessica at jessica@bikesiliconvalley.org.

Here’s a year in review from the Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission that we all can be proud of.  Since last year we have had many accomplishments and put in motion many projects that will come to fruition in 2019.  Gilroy BPAC’s strategic plan is our guiding document and changes throughout the year. It allows new Commissioners to come on board and get caught up before their first meeting.

Our monthly award is a great way to interact with the public and recognize those that strive to make Gilroy a better place in regards to Bike/Ped activities.  The nomination form is on our website. It’s a great tool for recruitment to Commissions.

For 2018’s Bike to Work Day on May 10 with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, the City of Gilroy’s BPAC one again participated and cheered-on Bike to Work Day event participants located at the Caltrain Stati

on. The goal is to begin to change the car culture within local business communities and folks that commute to work.  There were 51 participants in 2018 vs. 27 in 2017

The City Council approved a budget amendment for each Commission/Committee to have a $1000 training budget to include the purchase of business cards.  The return on investment was three of the Commissioners along with our VTA BPAC representative Carolyn, and City Staff attended the annual SVBC Bike Summit. We made contacts, built relationships in the region, and received education to bring back to the Commission and City.  We met the public affairs director for Bird E-Scooters at the bike summit conference and they want to operate here in Gilroy.

We have established a bike rack decal program for the decorative bike racks in Gilroy.  The cost is $350 for 5 years. The funds go into a Public Bike Fund where we can support public bike projects.  We currently have 6 locations in Downtown Gilroy with active decals and 3 that are open. (7th/Monterey at Art’s Center, 4th/Monterey, & 4th/Eigleberry)  We have 7 open locations for decorative bike racks.  We currently have 100 bicycle parking spots in the Historic Downtown.

We applied and were awarded the League of American Bicyclist, Bicycle Friendly Community Bronze Level for 2019-2022.  Only 8 out of 15 cities in Santa Clara County have this award and we are one of them now. We currently have 34 miles of bike infrastructure. I’m happy to report that the recent repaving at Wren/Welburn Ave closed a gap in our bike route and you will see the first green paint on the streets in Gilroy.  Sharrows inside green boxes have been placed on Welburn from Wren to Carmel. HWY 152/1st St will have bike lanes, ADA curb ramps, and high visibility crosswalks from Santa Teresa to HWY 101.   Town Place (Nob Hill/House of Bagels/Anytime Fitness/Pineapple Village) at Wren Ave/1st St installed 16 bicycle parking spots for their customers after we advocated for it.  Businesses along 1st St should prepare for the addition of bike lanes by next summer.  

In 2018 we have closed down the streets around Downtown to automobiles and have opened them up to walkers/bikers more than in the recent past.  Events like Downtown Live, National Night Out, Garlic City Car Show, and the CARAS Tamal Festival support the equity of our streets to other users besides an automobile.  The Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission supports these open streets events, and we are advocating for the use of Measure B funds once released to host a variety of open streets events sponsored by the City.  

We passed an amendment to our Commission’s Ordinance so that we could be more effective and have a voice for bike/ped projects, and ensure transportation projects include Complete Streets, which we believe, should be a way of life and not chosen just for specific projects.  Thank you to City Council for approving these changes.

Hecker Pass trailhead at Santa Teresa/1st St will be coming and feature a bike fix-it station, bike racks, access to water, trees, and benches.  It will serve as a meeting location to ride the bike/ped trail along Hecker Pass and enjoy the new commercial ag-tourists destinations planned.  This connection will continue along the recreation spine all the way to the sports park. Once these bike fix-it stations are installed Gilroy will have 6 of them.  Downtown, Library, Gavilan, The Patio, Hecker Pass Trailhead, Hecker Pass Ag-Tourist Commercial, all will show up on an interactive map from Dero.com.

Come join us and follow us!  #GilroyBPAC