San Jose has almost 400 miles of bikeways on city streets and residents may get their wish to have even more.

The City Council on Oct. 6 will consider adopting the Better Bike Plan 2025, which would increase the amount of bike lanes, bike parking and bike sharing services citywide. The bike network would help connect east and west San Jose to the downtown area.

“The great thing about our bike plan is its ability to connect everyone not only of all ages but of all income levels so that we can get around town and get to our employment centers,” Councilmember Dev Davis said. “I love the ability for all of us to choose a healthy way to commute as opposed to an environmentally unfriendly way to commute.”

The goal over the next five years is to make biking easier and safer for residents by connecting off-street bike trails to busier paths downtown and adding more protected bike lanes — lanes that have a barrier between cyclists and traffic — to busier streets.

Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco said the plan is helping combat years of poor city planning and underinvestment in San Jose’s low-income neighborhoods.

“We can remove the literal and the figurative roadblocks that are preventing people from hopping on their bikes to get to work and to enjoy their lives,” Carrasco said. “We also know that our families are spending the majority of their pay on housing and transportation.”

A city survey found more than half of San Jose residents want to bike more. Currently, three percent of residents report using bicycles as their primary mode of transportation.

“San Jose has become a model for cities across the country that seek to fight climate change, and pursue safe and healthy transportation options,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “I am grateful to our community partners and city staff for their collaborative efforts as we together encourage more of our residents to move from four wheels to two.”

Liccardo said 58 percent of trips taken by San Jose residents are within three miles — a comfortable biking distance. The goal would be to increase the amount of bike trips taken in the city by 15 percent by 2040.

Looking for a safer alternative

But three-fourths of the people surveyed said they did not feel comfortable using traditional bike lanes. Their concerns are rooted in statistics. Of the 52 traffic deaths in San Jose in 2018, 23 of them were bicyclists and pedestrians.

Councilmember Raul Peralez said the city should support residents who cannot rely on cars and need alternative and safer, transportation options.

“That’s what this bike plan is about,” Peralez said. “It’s about giving that option to individuals — for everybody from eight to 80 — to make them safe.”

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they would feel comfortable using protected bike lanes and even more people liked the idea of shared-use paths, which include a mix of pedestrians and bikers, with no cars allowed.

Liccardo, Peralez, Carrasco, Davis and Councilmember Maya Esparza proposed that some streets closed during COVID-19 should stay closed permanently to allow for safer bike and pedestrian travel.

Since the first on-street bike lane was installed in San Jose in the 1970s, the city has added an additional 320 miles of on-street bike lanes and an additional 59 miles of trails.

The Better Bike Plan 2025 would allow for 253 miles of existing bike lanes to become protected bike lanes and would create 104 miles of new protected lanes. An additional 102 miles would become bike boulevards.

The plan will coincide with the Measure T, Measure B and Senate Bill 1-funded pavement maintenance program. As the city repaves the streets, it will have the opportunity to reimagine a more bike-friendly system that will support the city’s Climate Smart and Vision Zero goals.

Costs range from $250 million to $420 million, depending on the materials used to create protected bike lanes. The city will also seek local and federal grants and will try partnering with developers.

To watch the council’s discussion of the bike plan, visit the San Jose YouTube page. The City Council meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6.

Contact Carly Wipf at or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.

This story originally appeared in San Jose Spotlight.