BART revises path

Video sparks change in road


Thanks to the actions of Los Medanos College’s own photography and graphic design Professor Curtis Corlew, BART, the Contra Costa Transit Authority and CalTrans will be collaborating with Antioch city authorities to ‘fix’ a problematic intersection near Hillcrest Avenue and make it safer for bicyclists.

Corlew uploaded a two-minute-and-17-second video to his self-titled YouTube channel Aug. 19 that was passed around by Contra Costa County residents and officials before ultimately ending up in the inboxes of officials from BART and the CCTA.

The video, titled “BART Bicycles and Antioch: Hillcrest BART,” outlines Corlew’s perspective of a major problem with the roads surrounding the Hillcrest BART park-and-ride station.

“Here I am riding northbound on Hillcrest [Avenue],” states Corlew’s voice in the video, played over GoPro footage of him riding down said street on his bike. “And when I get to the turn for BART, it seems that the cars have to cross the bike lane to get on the freeway.”

“That’s right,” Corlew continues. “They have to cross through the bike lane… that leaves me, the cyclist, between the right turning cars on my right, and the cars that I assume would have to go straight on my left.”

The video goes on to explain in greater detail how flawed this design is, especially since cars merging onto California State Route 4 — or driving toward the Antioch park-and-ride — from Hillcrest Avenue have three lanes of traffic available to them, all three of which can turn right onto the highway and only one of which requires drivers to cut into the bike line – meaning bicyclists are endangered for little reason.

“It’s pretty terrifying,” Corlew describes. “It means that if I try to ride through that intersection, cars to my left will naturally be trying to run into me.”

   Corlew did not offer a specific idea for a solution in the video, though he did state later that his optimal plan would be to redraw the bike lane so that it occupies the far right turn lane, and isn’t cut into by any traffic. To close the

 video, he offered his email address, and requested that BART work with the city of Antioch to reach a solution to the problem “before someone is seriously injured or killed.”

It worked.

“[The video] triggered a second look at the design of the intersection,” stated Joel Keller of the BART Board of Directors, remarking that the fact that Corlew brought up the situation before the amount of bikers in the area increased was “important” and ap

plauding Corlew’s “initiative” as a citizen.

While reconstruction of the intersection would be more in the hands of the CCTA and the city of Antioch than BART itself, Keller expressed a keen interest in keeping the area safe for BART riders and Contra Costa County residents in general, and came up with several ideas on how to improve the situation in response to Corlew’s call to action.

“There are relatively easy things that I think can be done very quickly,” he mentioned. He noted that, if nothing else, even just adding extra arrows and signage to the area to clearly denote a reserved bike line would “certainly be an improvement” over the current situation.

The CCTA seems to agree with Keller – according to an article ran in the East Bay Times titled “Fixes to East County bicycling dangers on the way, say transportation officials,” the CCTA currently “plans to paint arrows in the far left lanes as well as add signs alerting those drivers that they can’t turn onto the highway,” and there will be temporary electronic signs in the area until CalTrans finishes making the proper, permanent signs.

Corlew will attend a ‘Hillcrest Phase Two Improvement Meeting’ hosted by the CCTA Oct. 11, to discuss a more sweeping, long-term solution, but for now, he is happy that CCTA has at least pledged to do something about the problematic intersection.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Corlew commented.