For People on Bikes

San José, California, plans to add 70 miles of bikeways within 18 months and be a top-tier bike-friendly city. August 2015 Public Management (PM) magazine article.

ARTICLE | Jun 5, 2015

San José, California, Plans to Be a Top-Tier Bike-Friendly City

In April 2015, San José, California (Norberto Dueñas, city manager), announced efforts that have been made to make San José a bike-friendly city. These include the addition of new bikeways, pavement maintenance updates, innovative street design elements, bike parking, bike-friendly code and policy updates, and partnership programs that encourage everyday use of the bicycle.

Improvements were announced in a report supporting goals put forth in Bike Plan 2020, the city’s 10-year plan for being among the best cities for people who bike—that is, where bicycling is safe, convenient, and an integral part of daily life. With a goal of 5 percent of all trips by bicycle by the year 2020, the plan lays out a 500-mile bikeway network that includes a high standard of design and provides safe and efficient travel for bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

With more than 30,000 daily bike trips on some 240 miles of on-street bikeways, San José complements this by offering ongoing children’s walking and biking safety training in schools to ensure all have access to key safety training and can help transition commuters from cars to bikes.

According to Paul Smith, deputy director, planning and project delivery, San José Department of Transportation, the aggressive rate of bikeways development is a testament to the city’s commitment to offer the community a variety of transportation options. “Over the past six years, San José added 40 miles of bikeways. In the next 18 months, 70-plus more miles will be developed. This is key both in enhancing the existing bike network off and on city streets, and in making San José more accessible whether on foot, by transit, or on a bicycle,” said Smith.

In addition to enhancing San José’s bike infrastructure, Bike Plan 2020 puts forth a goal of 5 percent of all trips in San José to be by bicycle. According to the report, 1 percent of trips are by bicycle with 4 percent of trips by bicycle in downtown San José.

The city’s efforts to be bike-friendly complement its and the Silicon Valley’s long history of cycling. This includes production of the first mechanically pedaled bicycle in North America, which was created in the 1800s, and one of the first bicycling clubs in the United States, the Garden City Wheelmen, formed in 1884. In addition, the Hellyer Park Velodrome is currently the only velodrome—an arena for track cycling—in Northern California, and it is one of 19 in the U.S.

For information on San José bikeways projects, visit San José Bike Plan 2020 document in PDF format is available at

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