Protected Bike Lanes, i.e. 'Cycle Tracks,' coming to El Cerrito, Berkeley, Alameda

El Cerrito, Berkeley and Alameda lead the way:

Three signature cycle track projects are in the works that are going to make bicycling on busy streets much safer and encourage more people to try bicycling for their everyday trips on San Pablo Ave in El Cerrito, Shoreline Drive in Alameda and Hearst Ave in Berkeley. Each of these projects are innovative bikeway designs by how they create safe space for bicycling with a physical barrier between the bike lane and traffic. El Cerrito and Alameda are using parked cars and bus bulbs to create their physical protection, while Berkeley is placing flexible posts in the buffer zone between the bike lane and traffic. Both Alameda and Berkeley are removing a lane of traffic or parking to do so. El Cerrito retains their on-street parking. All three of these projects are high priority projects for EBBC and with your help and support, all three can be completed in the next couple years.


In 2007, New York City installed protected bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues, and changed everything. “New York wanted public space to do more than just move traffic,” says Noah Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives in New York. “Luckily, there was plenty of space to work with to build complete streets with protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges that improve safety, health, local business and traffic flow. The lanes are very popular!”

A cycle track is an on-street bikeway that is physically protected from traffic with some form of a barrier, such as stanchions or parked cars, and in a way acts similar to a multi-use pathway you are used to riding on. However, at intersections, cycle tracks function more like bike lanes, requiring turning movements that may be protected by bike traffic signals or may involve sharing space with cars. In 2009, Alameda built a two-cycle track along Fernside Blvd in front of Lincoln Middle School and last year Richmond built one on Canal Blvd to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Historical Park (see photos below). Alameda’s cycle track on Fernside is short and ends at an uncontrolled intersection, which is where and how you get on to and off the cycle track-it works. You may also remember that Oakland used to have one on E.12th St along the foot of Lake Merritt, but it was replaced by the new Lake Merritt Blvd.

Nationally, by the end of 2012, there were 100 cycle tracks installed across the US and there are 100 more planned in 2013. The East Bay is joining the fray with 6 new cycle tracks being planned and one significant cycle track that we are advocating for on Telegraph Ave in the KONO District.


Upcoming Cycle Tracks:

  • Alameda is constructing a new two-way cycle track on Shoreline Drive along the entire Alameda bay shore, thanks to the hard work of Bike Walk Alameda. “The Shoreline cycle track will improve public access to the bay in Alameda, and alleviate congestion on the adjacent pedestrian path, which is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, a regionally-significant trail system,” said Gail Payne, Transportation Coordinator for the City of Alameda. The Shoreline cycle track is a modern, American-class bikeway that will be all-ages friendly and is expected to start construction in Spring 2014.
  • Berkeley is moving ahead with a one-way cycle track on Hearst Ave, above Arch St as part of a complete street project that includes lane reductions, a new sidewalk, bike boxes and green bike lanes between Shattuck Ave and Euclid Ave. Berkeley just received a $3 million grant for this new bikeway.
  • El Cerrito is proposing one-way protected bike lanes on San Pablo Ave between Lincoln and Potrero. It’s part of their San Pablo Ave Complete Streets Plan for this key bike route. 


Cycle Track Projects in the Works:

  • Oakland is planning two new cycle tracks. One, a rather clever two-way cycle track connection at upper Broadway, between Keith Ave and Brookside Drive. It will include a bike traffic signal to safely get you on and off of the cycle track and on to the new bike lanes on Broadway. “The challenge here was how to get thru a section of roadway with freeway on and off ramps? We determined that a section of two-way cycle track with a bike traffic signal was the best solution, and would avoid conflicts with the freeway traffic,” said Alaoui Mohamed, Oakland traffic engineer. The 2nd cycle track will be on E.12St between 40th Ave and High St, which is a one-way street heading north. This two-cycle track will allow bicyclists to continue south on the E.12th St bikeway beyond 40th St and connect with a future extension of the bikeway to 54th Ave.
  • Emeryville just received funding from the One Bay Area Grant Program to build a raised, two-way cycle track on Christie Ave, between Shellmound St and Powell St, which will help connect the Bay Trail with the new pathway to the East Span of the Bay Bridge.  
  • Concord has proposed urban, downtown protected bikeway designs for Clayton Rd, Pacheco St and Grant St. These one-way cycle tracks will provide much-needed bike connectivity between Todos Santos Park and the Concord BART Station. With heavy traffic volumes on Willow Pass Road and Concord Blvd, the physical protection of cycle tracks in needed to encourage more Concord residents to bike downtown and commute to BART by bike.
  • Albany is also considering a two-way cycle track along San Pablo Avenue, connecting the new Buchanan St bikeway with Dartmouth St. This was a victory for the Albany Strollers & Rollers and their extensive work pushing for better bikeway connections for the UC Village Development Project at the Gilman Tract. The developer of the project has agreed to study a design for a two-way cycle track.

For these projects to succeed, we need your help.

What you can do:

1. Check out the Alameda cycle track on Fernside and the Richmond cycle track on Canal St, or take a trip to San Francisco and ride the cycle tracks in Golden Gate Park and Market Street, or take the Capitol Corridor down to San Jose and experience the cycle track at San Jose State University. Ride these cycle tracks and let us know what you think. You can also find cycle tracks in Long Beach, Portland and Seattle

2. Take a look at the cycle track concepts we have introduced for lower Telegraph - While not an official design yet, we hope to gain public support for such protected bikeways in order to encourage more people to try bike commuting on Oakland’s busiest bike corridor. And volunteer to help get our planned cycle tracks approved, built, and richly enjoyed by many

3. Get involved in the El Cerrito San Palbo Ave protected bike lane project. El Cerrito’s City Council takes their first look at these protected bike lanes on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 7pm.

4. Let us know which street in your city is a good candidate for a protected bikeway and we will followup with you to discuss incorporating it into our cycle track campaign scheduled to launch in 2014. Contact Dave Campbell, EBBC’s Advocacy Director

More info on Cycle Tracks can be found at the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

File attachment: Image icon alameda2wayCycleTrack.jpg Image icon richmond2wayCycleTrack.jpg Image icon project_cycletrack9th_nyc.jpg El Cerrito