In response to many calls from residents concerned about constantly having to dodge cars, Oakland applied for and has received a generous $10.5 million state grant to add protected bike lanes to 14th Street, from Oak Street to 980, right through downtown. The project will complete a daunting gap in Oakland’s bikeway network, connecting both West Oakland and East Lake neighborhoods to City Hall, BART and many popular destinations in between.
The project is also a timely opportunity to develop a more people-focused vision for 14th Street, and expand upon successes of the Black Arts District and Chinatown, while improving access to many civic destinations. A redesigned 14th Street will also add predictability to what can be a chaotic street scene, giving bikes a dedicated place to ride, and local traffic its own travel lane away from bikes. Shoppers, patrons and transit riders benefit from having to walk cross one lane of calmer traffic in each direction in order to get to local businesses or a bus stop on the other side of the street.
It’s not difficult to spot 14th Street on this map showing crashes involving bicycles over the past five years:
No street in downtown Oakland has had more collisions overall (walking, driving, bicycling) than 14th Street, making it one of the most dangerous streets in Oakland. Reducing travel lanes to one in each direction makes the street eminently safer for all users, including for people who drive 14th Street. It does so by establishing more people-friendly traffic speeds, which has an added benefit of bringing more people to the street and increasing sales at local businesses. People mean business.
Street Redesign Options for People
The proposed bike lane design is like Option 2 shown here, which we developed and convinced Oakland to include in Plan Downtown Oakland in early 2016. The street redesign includes curbside bike lanes, a vehice lane in each direction with signal improvements for traffic flow, on-street parking, turn pockets where needed, loading and drop off zones where needed, and bus boarding islands to speed up bus service. A redesigned 14th Street will be a major improvement for people using the street and an economic benefit to its businesses. Note that through traffic (traffic not stopping at a destination along 14th Street) can use any number of other one-way streets in Downtown Oakland, including 7th Street, 8th Street, 9th Street, 11th Street, 12th Street, 17th Street and 19th Street, all redesigned decades ago as one-way streets to move more vehicle traffic.
14th Street is a Major Bikeway Gap
The Lake Merritt Boulevard bikeway is fully complete, connecting the bike lanes on Lakeshore Blvd around the lake to the intersection of Oak St & 14th St. There the bike lanes stop. And that’s where our campaign starts. At the other end of 14th Street, Oakland striped bike lanes in 2012 on 14th St in West Oakland, up to Brush St (near 980), and Caltrans recently striped bike lane on the overpass of 980. Again, the bike lanes stop there. We need to complete this super-important gap in the Oakland bikeway network and connect West Oakland to Downtown, and connect East Lake to Downtown.
While we expect feasibility work to begin in 2018, there are opportunities to advance short-term improvements. We will push OakDOT (Oakland Department of Transportation) on this. Until then, your volunteer help will be needed to build support for a great bikeway on 14th Street.
What you can do:
- Support the bike-supportive businesses along 14th St, and remember to thank them for their support of bike lanes on 14th Street.
- Take a quick survey about your riding experience on 14th St and tell us what improvements you want
- Check out our 14th Street Bikeway Design Proposal
What bikeway elements do you want on 14th St?
Here are some innovative new bikeway tools that Oakland can consider, that other American cities are already using.
- 4-2 lane reduction with bike lanes
- protected bike lanes with physical barrier between you and traffic
- 2-way cycle track, as shown above (Read our blog on 1-way vs 2-way protected bike lanes)
- queue boxes for left turning movements
- green paint in conflict zones and to highlight start of bike lanes at each block
- traffic signals timed for bicycle speeds
- more on-street bike parking corrals
- other awesome ideas? bring them on a ride with us For more information on these innovative ideas, go to NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
For more information on these innovative ideas, go to NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide