Because there is a crash every week on Telegraph Ave, high speed traffic in many areas, and pedestrian crossings that are intimidating, Oakland is studying a variety of safety improvements for all users of this popular street. Specifically, the City is studying adding a new bikeway, enhancing safety at crosswalks, making bus stop improvements and increasing public safety overall. The City has been gathering lots of input and there will be public meetings in April and May to look at initial ideas, and then again later in the year before any final designs are approved.
Bike East Bay and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland volunteers are reaching out to businesses, property owners, churches, neighborhood groups and other key stakeholders along Telegraph Ave to make them aware of the project, share our preferred protected bikeway design, and hear their ideas and concerns. We need more volunteers to help build support for a better Telegraph.
What you can do:
Adopt a local business and get to know them. Start a transportation conversation with their staff, manager and/or the owner, and do lots of listening and note taking. Some topics to discuss are how their customers arrive at their business, and safety issues and improvements they would like to see. Ask about their perceptions of how many customers arrive by walking or bicycling or his/her perceptions of what percentage of customers arrive by driving. What kind of parking concerns do they have? Talk about safety. Ask in general if they have concerns about safety. What would they like to see improved?
Remind local businesses that the City of Oakland will install free bike racks on the sidewalk in front of their business all they have to do ask. Contact Jennifer Stanley, Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the business already has a bike rack out front, thank them for that and let them know you appreciate it. don’t be shy about bringing your bike helmet inside with you as a good prop! Ask the manager/owner what they think of striping a bike lane all the way up and down Telegraph Ave, connecting UC Berkeley to Downtown Oakland. Keep the conversation at an amicable level, and about traffic, access and safety in general.
If the manager/owner is supportive of bicycling and seems interested in helping, here is our ask.
Our Asks of Businesses:
- Can they attend upcoming public meetings in late April (or send them an email reminder)? Can we put up a flyer in their establishment about the potential improvements to Telegraph Ave.
- Would you be willing to help us reach out to other businesses, churches, property owners, neighborhood groups to discuss the project with them?
- Can we share with the City of Oakland that you support our preferred bike lane design concepts for Telegraph Ave?
- Ask the owner/manager this direct question if they are generally supportive of adding a bike lane: To make room for bike lanes, the City will need to reconfigure the street to make room for bikes. Would you prefer the City: 1) remove the center turn lane; 2) remove a travel lane; 3) remove parking on your side of the street, or 4) remove parking on the other side of the street?
Potential Talking Script:
Hello, I’m __________, a volunteer with the bicycle coalition and I _________ [live in neighborhood/work in neighborhood/love visiting your establishment/love the artwork in here/think you have the best coffee anywhere/etc.]. I’m visiting businesses on Telegraph Ave to let them know about the City’s plans to make Telegraph Ave safer and more bike-friendly. Is the manager or owner in today?
To the owner/manager: Oakland is studying the possibility of adding a bike lane to Telegraph Ave and making the street safer for people to walk across, and to improve bus stops. We want to know if a safer Telegraph Ave would help your business and if you would like to know more about the project?
Possible followup inquiries:
- Do you have many customers who come by bike?
- Do you like the idea of adding a bikeway on Telegraph?
- Would you like a free bIke rack on your sidewalk out front?
- To add a bikeway, the City will need to remove either a travel lane, the center turn lane or parking on one side. Do you have a preference for which should be removed?
If the owner/manager is supportive, go into our asks:
- Are you able to come to a public meeting April 24, 26 or May 1?
- What other businesses around here do you think would also be supportive of safety improvements? Can you introduce us to them (by email)?
- Can we list you as a supportive business on our website and encourage our members and supporters to patronize your business?
Telegraph Avenue Specific Talking Points:
- Telegraph Avenue is a popular bike destination and one of the most used bike routes in Oakland, connecting to UC Berkeley, downtown Oakland, MacArthur BART Station, Temescal District, KONO and Uptown.
- Telegraph Avenue has the highest bicycle and pedestrian crash numbers of any street in Oakland. In fact, there is a crash/per week on Telegraph Ave. It is a high priority for the City of Oakland to make safe. New bike lanes will make Telegraph much safer for bicycling. Bike lanes on upper Telegraph Avenue (north of Aileen) are 3 times safer for bicycling than Telegraph Avenue without bike lanes.
- Most people bicycling on Telegraph have destinations right on Telegraph-they are customers of the businesses on Telegraph, not just biking thru the neighborhood. They are your customers and potential new customers.
- Bicycle counts at Telegraph Avenue at 40th Street count over 1,200 people bicycling per day on average.
- Potential public safety improvements include better lighting and encouraging more people to walk and bike, creating more eyes at the street level
- 93% of people surveyed said that Telegraph Ave does not work well for all users
- 75% of frequent drivers on Telegraph Ave say that bicycling is the highest priority improvement the City should make
- AC Transit supports adding bike lanes to Telegraph Ave so that their buses don’t have to jockey with bicyclists
General Talking Points:
- Oakland has quickly become the 6th most popular large city for bicycling in the country, as more and more people choose bicycling as a convenient, healthy and affordable choice of travel. The City needs to keep up with this surging demand by striping safe bikeways on popular bike routes;
- More and more parents are encouraging their kids to walk and bicycle to school in Oakland-this is a great thing and needs to be encouraged by making our streets safe for kids to walk across. If you don’t have kids, you probably know a parent who takes their kids to school. No parent should ever have to yell at a car to slow down in order to safely walk their kid to school. These bikeway projects will make crossing the street on foot much safer;
- Oakland Bikeways Campaign is for you. If you are not biking, you probably know people who are: parents, senior citizens, kids, hipsters, teenagers, the late nighrowd, people commuting to work, etc.;
- 4. Oakland Bikeways Campaign improves your ride to work and to school, and to local businesses in yourighborhood;
- 5. Local businesses benefit from increased bicycling, as people who shop by bike do so more often and spend more money overall than people spend when they drive;
- Oakland Bikeways Campaign makes our streets safer. A big deterrent for people who would consider bicycling are the gaps in the bicycling network. New bikeways on Telegraph Ave, 14th St and Park Blvd will close gaps along important bike routes in the city;
- More people bicycling creates calmer streets and more livable neighborhoods. Great neighborhoods have people out on the streets walking and bicycling;
- Streets that are calmer actually improve traffic flow. The recent conversion of Lakeshore Ave from 4 lanes to 3 lanes with bike lanes was predicted to be a traffic nightmare and has actually improved traffic flow and safety around Lake Merritt. Similarly, the reduction of the upper most stretch of Park Blvd from 4 lanes to 2 lanes during reconstruction of the bridges did not result in traffic backups and in fact traffic flowed smoothly into the Glenview neighborhood. Upper Telegraph Ave is another good example. In 1999 the City converted the center turn lane into bike lanes and no one noticed the difference, except bicyclists who have enjoyed a much safer and more pleasant ride since the conversion. They are now ready to that ride safely into downtown Oakland;
- Public safety: The Temescal District suffers from frequent robberies. We need more people on the street and we can have that by redesigning Telegraph for people-for people walking, bicycling and using public transit;
- Healthy lifestyles: Telegraph Ave connects to so many great destinations. A safe bikeway on Telegraph will encourage more Oakland residents to bicycle to Mosswood Park, Bay Trail, Oakland Hills, Lake Temescal and more.
- Climate Action Plan: Oakland’s Energy and Climate Action Plan calls for a 36% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 and specifically states that ?transit, walking and bicycling must increasingly become the preferred mode of moving about the City? in order for Oakland to achieve these GHG reductions.
- Oakland has committed to ?fully integrating? bicycling into daily life of our residents-Oakland Bicycle Master Plan 2012.
- Oakland also has committed to making all streets reasonably safe for all users of the roadway, including people who bicycle-Complete Streets Policy of the City of Oakland 2012.
- In the past 5 years, Oakland has increased its bikeway network by 50% and we have seen a 3-fold increase in bicycling on Bike to Work Day. As Oakland builds more segments of its bikeway network, more and more people are riding in every neighborhood of the city. Oakland is rolling in the right direction but the city needs to keep up with this rapidly growing demand for safer, better bikeways.