Cyclists celebrate ‘beautiful machine’ on Bike to Work Day 2016

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Local retiree Brian Simmons started his Thursday, which was Bike to Work Day, riding his recumbent bicycle from upper Grand Avenue to Oakland City Hall with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff and Bike East Bay executive director Renee Rivera. Then he headed north to Berkeley to check out the launch of a protected bike lane at the busy intersection of Fulton Street and Bancroft Way, on the Berkeley campus’s southwest corner.

“It takes activism and doggedness to make those kind of changes,” Simmons said of the newly improved lane. “Complete streets,” he said, are streets that serve everyone — motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

While officials from the Berkeley City Council and the city’s Public Works Department held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the street improvement, more than 300 bicyclists visited the Sproul energizer station uphill at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue.

College of Chemistry staffer Victoria Jaschob was there handing out refreshments. Jaschob rides her spare, aqua-colored one-speed three miles uphill to work nearly every day, she said.

According to the 2015 campus transportation survey, more than 12 percent of campus commuters bike to the campus, while at least 75 percent ride a bike, walk or take transit.

To help grow the campus’s alternative transportation programs, Parking and Transportation plans to launch a newsletter and a commuter club. (To participate, email Natalie Nava at nnava@berkeley.edu.)

The campus has also added more than 100 new bicycle parking spaces this year; new racks are located at Valley Life Sciences, Wellman Court, Davis and O’Brien Halls and Moffitt Library.

Campus planner Todd Henry says there’s still more bicycling infrastructure to come, as Bike Area Bike Share prepares to roll out 1,300 bikes in the East Bay. One of the new bike-share stations will be at the corner of Fulton and Bancroft, just opposite Berkeley’s newest protect bike lane.