Major Changes to Coming to University Ave./Canyon Crest Drive Corridor

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Makeover will add sidewalks, bike lanes to improve safety; Work to be completed by September

By Ross French on June 19, 2014

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cyclist riding across street

A new median and a two-way bike lane on the east side of Canyon Crest Drive will hopefully discourage cyclists from dangerous moves such as cutting across multiple lanes of traffic. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — If all goes as planned, University Avenue and Canyon Crest Drive will have a new look this fall – one that will make things safer for the drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who use the corridor to access the northern side of campus.

The City of Riverside, working with UC Riverside and CalTrans, will be adding sidewalks, bike lanes and re-striping the street along the University Avenue corridor, beginning just east of University Village, continuing past the intersection with Canyon Crest Drive and ending at the Bannockburn crosswalk adjacent to Amy S. Harrison Field and Lot 24. The project is scheduled to start in July and be completed by mid-to-late September, in time for both move in and the start of classes.

“Most of these improvements were agreed to by the City and UCR more than two years ago, primarily focusing on the pedestrian/bike/car safety issue at University Avenue and the eastbound 60/215 freeway on-ramp,” said Jeff Kraus of UCR’s Government and Community Relations Office. “However, due to the proximity to the freeway on and off ramps, the final approval process took two years.”

One of the biggest changes for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will take place on University Avenue at the 60/215 under-crossing. The project will add a sidewalk and bike lane to the north side of University Avenue, beginning at University Village and running east to the intersection of West Campus Drive and University Avenue. There the bike lane will connect with the existing south/west-bound lane on Canyon Crest.

As a result of the construction, University Avenue will be re-striped to just one lane for automobile traffic, with dedicated left turn lanes for freeway access.

At W. Campus and University, the eastern crosswalk will be removed, allowing cars turning left onto University to do so without having to wait for pedestrians.

“These changes should improve the flow of traffic and improve the safety for both pedestrians and cyclists,” said Irma Henderson, manager of the UCR Alternative Transportation Program. “Creating the bike lane will help eliminate people riding against traffic and the sidewalk will split the pedestrian load.”

bike path

The new bike path will be similar to this one, located in Portland, Oregon. Courtesy UCR Transportation and Parking Services

The changes on Canyon Crest Avenue, include the addition of a two-way bike lane beginning just south of the Bannockburn crosswalk, adjacent to Amy S. Harrison Field. The two-way lane will allow south-bound bicyclists to enter the campus at the corner of Canyon Crest and University without having to cut across multiple lanes of traffic. A raised median in the middle of the street will prevent cyclists from cutting across. The lane on the east side of Canyon Crest that handles bike traffic towards University Village will remain intact.

“The goal is to stop cyclists from traveling against the flow of traffic, but to still enable them to easily enter campus at the corner of University and Canyon Crest without having to cut across multiple lanes of the street,” Henderson said. “The bike lanes will be clearly identified with paint markings on the asphalt.”

The project, which is estimated at a cost of $309,029.50, is being funded by a grant from the Riverside County Transportation Commission, with additional funding from the City of Riverside and UC Riverside. The project is currently open for bids until June 24. The project is anticipated to take 20 working days to complete.

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