Pleasanton is making biking more...pleasant.
The Mercury News reports on a new high-tech method that makes intersections safer for cyclists.
Pleasanton is the only city in the nation using a new radar-type device to make street crossings safer for bikers. The city began testing the "Intersector" -- a microwave motion and presence sensor -- for that use in January 2010 at one of its 104 signaled intersections. The device monitors the intersection and can differentiate between vehicles and bicyclists crossing the road and either extends or triggers the light if a cyclist is detected.
"I would like to think we are bicycle-friendly," said Joshua Pack, Pleasanton's senior transportation engineer. "We are not actively yelling and screaming that we are doing it, but behind the scenes we are."
The results from the test run, at Foothill Road and Stoneridge Drive, went so well that the city installed the device at six other intersections and has plans to add four more.
Since it began using the Intersector, the city has received calls from at least 20 other jurisdictions, from some in the Bay Area to as far away as Memphis, Tenn., that want to know how the experiment is going.
"It's nice to feel acknowledged and recognized," said Jim Ott, a Pleasanton resident and cyclist. "Before (the light) didn't give as much time, so you had to cycle harder to make it. You also didn't want to get caught in the middle. And, if the light didn't trigger, you were a sitting duck for folks to bump into."
"Pleasanton is doing some great things," said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. "It is getting more bike-friendly all the time."