Concord, California – Plans to build a bicycle playground at Concord Community Park faced resistance Tuesday night from the City Council, which chose to postpone a vote on the proposal until a future meeting.
Council members focused on the possible operating and maintenance costs of the project, which would be built and paid for by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority through its Street Smarts Diablo program, as well as impacts near its proposed location on Cowell Road.
The CCTA is proposing what it described as a “miniature street-scape” within the park with bicycle-sized “roads,” scaled-down signals and traffic signs and other markings to help would-be riders learn how to navigate busy pathways and roadways.
The bicycle playground might end up going to another city, though, unless the council members get on board with Concord Community Park as the location.
Council members asked if other parks in the city were better options for the project, but CCTA staff said Concord Community Park was chosen via a list of criteria such as how much usable space is available at the park, the amount of vehicle parking, and accessibility for residents.
The park on Cowell Road is a short distance from the Contra Costa Canal Trail, but Cowell has no bicycle lanes connecting the park to the trail, and some council members said the park already draws large crowds for swim meets and other events and programs there.
Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister said the project seemed to be “a square peg in a round hole in this location” while also citing long-standing budget issues affecting the ability to build bicycle lanes there and
elsewhere in the city that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councilmember Edi Birsan was the most vocal in support of the project, saying it could help Concord become more of a destination for families in Contra Costa County.
“I don’t want to gift this to another city,” Birsan said. “This is worth investing in.”
Ultimately the council members couldn’t commit to signing off on the project being installed at Concord Community Park, directing city staff to talk with the CCTA to learn more about the criteria for how they chose the
park and for more information from city staff on when Cowell Road improvements could take place.
The matter will come back to the council at a meeting taking place no sooner than sometime next month.