The future look of Niles Canyon Road

Caltrans is hosting a meeting Tuesday evening in Sunol to discuss widening about 5 miles of Niles Canyon Road near Sunol.  The project is supposed to make the road safer, but 9,000 or so linear feet of retaining wails won’t make it any prettier.

Here’s how one stretch looks now:

niles canyon22

And here’s how it’ll look with the wall


Meeting info:
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Sunol Glen Elementary School
11601 Main Street
Sunol, CA 94586

Matt Artz


  1. I’m sympathetic on the appearance issue, and hope they can work on it, but having bicycled the road…the difference in the two images seems clear. They’re proposing to fix the portions that don’t have space for bicyclists, and the retaining wall is their answer to the debris that routinely bounces across the road in winter.

    One might ask why they can’t bulldoze bicycle lanes as they currently do traffic lanes.

    One might ask why anyone opposed to such a proposal isn’t already worried about the divots that routinely appear in the traffic lanes from rock slides.

    Or one might look at how issues with the proposal could be improved, given that it apparently (from your own post) seeks to address a pretty clear problem.

  2. I think the retaining wall looks just fine. I also would like to ride a bike through the canyon without thinking of term life insurance at least once.

  3. As a cyclist, I’m looking forward to this project, though I have concerns about the planned rumble strips, and I wonder why the western 2.7 miles of Niles Canyon isn’t included in the project.

    Niles Canyon is a very important route for cyclists. Mission Pass (I-680) is closed to cyclists, and Dublin Canyon (next to I-580) is several miles out of the way.

    I want to point out that all roads have space for cyclists, but many parts of Niles Canyon lack space for MOTORISTS TO PASS cyclists.

  4. Last I checked, the project uses safety statistics from before the safety measures put in a couple years go. As a driver, the road seems dramatically safer today, and it wasn’t all that dangerous a road back then, at least not according to the statistics.

    Basically, this is a project for bicyclists. However, I’m not sure it will better their lot. Once the roads are widened and sight lines improve, cars will just go faster, increasing the danger.

    A traffic light or even an extra turn lane heading west in Sunol by the Water Temple gate would be money much better spent.

  5. We all know how well solid white lines protect cyclists from vehicles. I agree, wider lanes will just tempt motorists to go faster. Heck, riding my bike on our city streets is dangerous enough, but on Hwy. 84? No thanks.

  6. I’ve ridden out the canyon a couple of times, it makes an awesome loop to go out to Calaveras, ride down to Milpitas and back up on Warm Springs. Going up Palomares is also a pretty great ride. I’ll be happy to take the wider shoulders, thank you.

  7. The Freewheelers would say we already have one, though I’ve not ridden with them since the kids came along.

  8. Am I the only person who wonders why there isn’t some sort of effort to alleviate the back up of traffic that occurs at the stop sign of Niles Canyon and Pleasanton Sunol Rd?

    I don’t cycle that road in part because of the proximity to cars, so I’m thrilled that efforts are being made to widen it and make biking more available to the less-than-daredevil.

    But I can’t believe there’d be projects going on in that section that totally overlook the ridiculous 30 minute delay caused by a single stop sign at a T intersection. I realize every other time of day it’s fine, but part of the safety includes even traffic flow not the sudden stoppage.

  9. Helene “wonders why there isn’t some sort of effort to alleviate the back up of traffic that occurs at the stop sign of Niles Canyon and Pleasanton Sunol Rd”

    Because that would encourage even more cut-through traffic in Niles Canyon that could be on I-680 instead?

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