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Why get involved in infrastructure planning: North Fremont, Monterey— and other projects

Some may wonder why Bicycling Monterey has not effusively praised a particular City of Monterey infrastructure project, North Fremont, which incorporates Class 4 lanes with a physical barrier. Normally we would celebrate such lanes with gusto!

The North Fremont design, with those Class 4 lanes within the median, are reported to be the first such design in California. And the design brings numerous challenges with regard to safety, access, and ease of use.

Grand opening festivities,
North Fremont, Monterey

We agree with some remarks of letter-writers in the Monterey County Weekly’s Dec 12, 2019 issue, and commenters on the Weekly’s Facebook wall, who were responding to a Dec 4 report by Cypress Hansen in the Weekly https://www.montereycountyweekly.com/people/831/the-people-behind-north-fremont-street-s-new-bike-path/article_a2203ce6-16e5-11ea-8e37-8fd132b8af02.html.

For example, on the Weekly’s FB wall, a commenter pointed out:

“What if I wanted to go to a store?”

As knowledgeable bike advocates know, #BikesMeanBusiness (see #4 of Bicycling Monterey’s 20 reasons to bike)—they benefit the local economy.

But not so much when infrastructure makes it harder to reach businesses!

Now, to reach businesses on North Fremont, people bicycling in the new lanes will first be pedaling well out of their way. Next, to access a business, they will need to bike either on a sidewalk or in a motor vehicle travel lane.

Making matters worse, they’ll be subject to some drivers and pedestrians yelling “Use the bike lanes!”—people who aren’t realizing that the person biking is simply trying to reach a business the only way they can. (They certainly can’t access a business from the fenced-off bike lanes in the center of the street.)

North Fremont during construction, before the fences were added alongside the bike lanes.

As for the “three Es” (“engineering, education, and enforcement”) referred to in that Dec 4 Weekly article, education that will be needed even more as a result of this project is educating people about the use of crosswalks on North Fremont and everywhere! Why? Because the way that people on bikes are directed to use crosswalks in this section of North Fremont is an anomaly, and it adds to widespread crosswalk confusion.

Learn about sidewalks and crosswalks in https://bikemonterey.org/bicycling-on-sidewalks-misconceptions-and-advisories.html. We refer to that issue also in our earlier post about North Fremont, https://bikemonterey.org/north-fremont-monterey-bicycle-and-pedestrian-infrastructure-improvements.html.

It’s quick and easy to rant online! It takes more effort to effectively advocate for the changes you’d like to see in your community and the world.

The North Fremont project is an excellent example of why it’s critical that more residents get involved in helping with the planning process regarding local infrastructure. Did you know? The City of Monterey didn’t have a representative, or alternate, on the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee for an extended period of time.

Per the TAMC website’s committee members list as of 12/14/19, Monterey now has a rep but still has no alternate. Neighboring Del Rey Oaks is among the cities that still has neither.


Bicycling Monterey’s post about meetings of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County Bicycling and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee https://bikemonterey.org/monthly-meetings-tamc-bicycle-pedestrian-facilities-advisory-committee-public-welcome.html has emphasized that there are many vacancies on that committee. And that the public is always welcome to attend those meetings!

We encourage anyone who has the necessary time and genuine interest to improve conditions for walking and biking in Monterey County to consider applying to TAMC to become a voting member of the bike-ped committee. And to be vocal.

For more about infrastructure, and how to advocate for biking, refer to section 11 of Bicycling Monterey’s 33-section directory of Monterey County bicycling resources and bike community leaders.

If you have questions about how to get involved in infrastructure planning or other aspects of bicycling advocacy, please feel free to phone Bicycling Monterey.
If you’d like to comment on this post, kindly note Bicycling Monterey’s comment policy.

Among over 435,000 residents in Monterey County, Bicycling Monterey’s founder is one of a relatively small number of active bicycling advocates—and does the work of this website and all Bicycling Monterey projects as an unpaid volunteer for over 10 years. It isn’t reasonable to expect that a small number of bike advocates have the necessary time available to devote to the infrastructure planning process for every project of every community in our 3,771 sq mi county.

And even if we did, that would be far from ideal! Residents of each of the local communities are the ones who planners most need to hear from.

Tell planners what your infrastructure needs and priorities are for your community. Maybe that’s quieter streets for your family’s residence (e.g., see a father’s remarks about his four-year-old diving to the floor along East Market, Salinas), or being able to walk or bike to a bus stop, or your child or teen having a safe route to school.


One way to help with bicycling advocacy, in Monterey County and beyond, is by supporting the Bicycling Monterey site and projects.

For how to contribute volunteer hours, money, or project supplies—and to see who is already helping, go to: https://bikemonterey.org/about.
If you’re ready to make a financial contribution (via check, debit card, credit card, or PayPal balance), and for FAQs, go to: https://bikemonterey.org/about/financial-donations.

Thank you.

This post was published on 13 December 2019. One or more changes last made to this post on 14 December 2019.

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