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The East Bay Bicycle Coalition seeks volunteers who lives in East Oakland, along the International Blvd corridor (within a few blocks either way), to represent EBBC and the interests of people who bike as part of our Safe Bikeways, Sustainable Neighborhoods Campaign to build support for a complete network of safe and inviting bikeways in East Oakland. It’s part of the Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (OSNI). The ONSI initiative is the City’s next step in implementing the International Blvd Transit Oriented Development Plan. Oakland wants to improve not only the street itself of International Blvd, but also the health of the residents on this corridor, boost economic activity of local businesses, address head on issues of affordable housing, improve public safety through better street design and affordable housing, and help the schools in the area by making it easier to walk, bike and take transit to get to school. It’s an exciting project and a challenging project at the same time. Many organizations are coming together to work on this project. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition will be a resource to the community and to these other organizations as they conduct the work of empowering the communities along International from the Fruitvale District to the San Leandro city line to build a better International Blvd.

The volunteer commitment is to come to monthly meetings of the transportation working group of the initiative and at these meetings be a resource for bicycling issues. EBBC Advocacy Director Dave Campbell will assist you in these efforts and answer any questions you have. There are many opportunities to improve bicycling conditions in East Oakland with this exciting project. In addition to better bicycling and walking conditions on International, there are opportunities to complete needed bikeways in the north-south direction that connect with International-connections along Havenscourt, 85th Ave, and Hegenberger. These connector bikeways will make it safer for neighborhoods such as the Elmhurst and Sobrante Park to get to International Blvd and to the new East Bay Greenway. Thanks for considering this exciting volunteer opportunity.

Map of our Safe Bikeways, Sustainable Neighborhoods Campaign

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Background on the Safe Bikeways, Sustainable Neighborhoods Campaign

East Oakland is not a high density urban neighborhood. It has a density similar to neighborhoods around the central Washington DC core-sufficient to support good transit service, but only with good bike access. While International Blvd is planned for more housing and economic development in the future as part of the International TOD Plan, it is going to take many years to achieve a level of density needed to fully support a successful BRT system. It is also going to take many additional more years to create good bike access at the current rate of progress. Fortunately, the International Blvd TOD Plan acknowledges that “pedestrian and bicycle safety and connectivity should be top priorities to support transit ridership and foster a transit-oriented lifestyle.”

Equally fortunately, the new East Bay Bus Rapid Transit system is going to be bike-friendly, thanks to years of our working with AC Transit and the City of Oakland to ensure the project includes bike lanes on International Blvd, bike parking at BRT stations and the allowance of bikes on the new BRT buses. Similarly, the East Bay Greenway phase one will extend from the Coliseum BART Station to 105 Ave and will be complete by 2016 as well. This is not only a great opportunity for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition to build support for a complete bikeway network in East Oakland, it is a critical opportunity to ensure these two projects are successful and replicated. We want BRT to expand to other transit corridors and we need the East Bay Greenway extended south into San Leandro and Hayward.

The work in connection with International Blvd is particularly important and unique in many ways because International Blvd has undergone an extensive public process to develop and approve an award-winning International Blvd Transit Oriented Development Plan . The TOD Plan and the BRT project have led to the City of Oakland working with Transform and the Alameda County Public Health Department to launch in February 2013 the Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (OSNI), which EBBC is an active member of as part of its Transportation Working Group. The ONSI project is a multi-million dollar collaborative effort led by the City of Oakland to integrate different affordable housing, public transit, and neighborhood revitalization efforts along an urban and severely economically disadvantaged transit corridor–the International Boulevard Corridor of East Oakland. The ONSI project focuses on concrete planning efforts resulting in the identification of priority projects, plans, and proposed policies, as well as collaborative investments. Project activities will result in sustainable development outcomes such as increased affordable housing, public transit ridership, and changes in zoning, building and other local laws to support smart and equitable growth principles.

The City of Oakland has been helping many of our partners organizations and allies to find outside funding for their work as part of the ONSI project, helping in areas of leadership development and outreach assistance to help address and implement the targeted issue areas prioritized in the TOD Plan. Our campaign is part of this community driven development in the corridor in advance of Bus Rapid Transit service and development along International Blvd and that is why the City of Oakland and many groups are supporting this grant application to leverage the funding we need to get thousands of people bicycling in East Oakland.

Construction of the BRT system is expected to bring millions of dollars of new investment in infrastructure to the corridor and result in significant physical improvements to the street as well as much better bus service. While bike lanes are planned for International Blvd, but the final designs for new bike lanes as part of BRT are still being worked out and could be compromised due to parking and traffic concerns by local stakeholders. In addition, the BRT project includes no improved bike access to International Blvd from the surrounding neighborhoods and neither does the new East Bay Greenway. We need resources to ensure that the BRT system and the Greenway are well-served with good bike access.

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