Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2018  
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  Draft Contra Costa County Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
May 8, 2018

The Draft Contra Costa County Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is available for public comment.

I urge you to join me in requesting that the pedestrian portion of the plan be expanded and strengthened.

Please visit the Documents page to download the Public Review Draft Plan. You can also provide feedback on the Public Review Draft Plan using the interactive mapping tool and comment form, and view the Online Town Hall webinar.

Although 50% of the plan’s title is “pedestrian,” the plan is dominated by bicycle issues. Bicycles are important, but the pedestrian part is limited to only street crossings at intersections. I recommend that the pedestrian portion be substantially expanded. The plan notes that 10% of all trips are pedestrian (10 times as many as by bicycle) and that within one mile, 27% are pedestrian, almost as many as by single occupancy vehicle. Rationally, there should be ten time as much pedestrian content as bicycle content!


Not only are pedestrians making a large share of trips, we are compelled by public policy and state law to substantially increase that proportion. There are significant impediments to pedestrians across the County and in every city, including:

  • Lack of sidewalks on many streets and roads
  • Sidewalks that are impassable or unsafe due to cracks and uplifts, plant growth and vehicles blocking them. No jurisdiction in the County has a successful program for inspecting and maintaining sidewalks. Vehicles blocking sidewalks violate state law and ordinances of most cities, yet enforcement is almost non-existent. Vehicles blocking sidewalks is particularly dangerous for young children who are walking to school, parents pushing baby strollers, disabled people in wheelchairs, and the elderly, all of whom are routinely forced into the street to navigate their neighborhoods.

Take a look at this recent video I made of a dad pushing a stroller having to detour into a busy street to avoid two cars totally blocking the sidewalk.

What the “Contra Costa County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan” should and could do is:

  • Quantify the extent of missing sidewalks in the County and provide a cost estimate to build them.
  • Quantify the cost of maintaining sidewalks in the County
  • Provide a “best practices” guide for the County and cities to address the issues of sidewalk maintenance and enforcing laws that keep sidewalks clear and safe for use by pedestrians.

For more about sidewalk and pedestrian issues, see and street edges.pdf.