Oakland moves forward on Telegraph Ave. Complete Streets and Grand Ave. bikeways projects.
The city reportedly received a $4.5 million grant from California's Active Transportation Program for a road diet and protected bike lanes on Telegraph between 20th and 41st Streets. Grand Ave. will also receive new bike lanes between Mandana Blvd. and Jean Street at the Oakland-Piedmont border.
As part of the Telegraph Ave. Complete Streets Implementation Plan, the road diet incudes the removal of one lane between 20th and 41st Streets to allow for protected bike lanes (bike lanes with extra striping between the bike and car lanes) and buffered bike lanes (bike lanes protected by a concrete barrier or flex posts). Pedestrian improvements include islands, crosswalks, and bus bulbs.
Oddly, the bikeways improvements will stop, for now, at 41st Street, just at the heart of the Temescal district, where improvement is needed most. The blocks between 41st and 51st receive a high amount of combined car, bike, and foot traffic. However, the city reportedly backed off of this area because of backlash from local merchants and residents. Hopefully, Oakland will address this area in a future phase.
The first round of repaving is scheduled for November 2015. Partial improvement is better than no improvement.
The same can be said for busy Grand Avenue, which will receive its own improvements in the coming months. On October 20, Oakland City Council approved new bike lanes on Grand between Mandana and Jean Street. The road diet will remove one shared lane in each direction to create dedicated bike lanes and a center two-way left turn lane. (This will eliminate the sudden stops and backups caused by drivers waiting to turn left into Safeway.)
The City Council also heard proposals to reconfigure the busiest, most dangerous stretch of Grand between Lake Park Drive and Mandana. One proposal suggested back-in angled parking, which proponents say is safer for oncoming cyclists. The city will conduct a pilot program in a less heavily travelled location to see how it affects traffic volume and street functioning before it decides. The City Council noted that locations across the United States with back-in parking experience traffic volume of less than 10,000 cars per day. Grand Ave. has a traffic volume of about 16,500 per day.
Congrats to the City of Oakland for pushing for more bike lanes and bringing the city closer to its complete streets goal. Oakland residents that support alternative modes of transportation may not get everything they want, but they are definitely getting a safer city to drive, walk, and bike in.
Photo courtesy of the City of Oakland