Can Bike Lanes Increase On-Street Parking?

An interesting development is occurring in bike advocacy when it comes to on-street car parking. Typically, advocates ask for removal of parking to make room for bike lanes, but advocates recent pushes for modern bike lane designs has created opportunities to add on-street parking to a street. How can that be? Let’s take a closer look at four current bikeway projects in the East Bay.

Central Avenue, Alameda

The Central Avenue bikeway project is a 4-3 road diet with a combination of protected bike lanes and regular bike lanes for little over one mile in West Alameda, connecting four schools. There is one Eisenhower-era over-sized, five-legged intersection that is being scaled down as part of the project, and in doing so will add 6-7 parking spaces back to the street where before there were sweeping right turn areas. The project goes to City Council February 24 for approval. We hoped the addition of these extra spaces for cars would allow for an equivalent removal elsewhere in the project to continue the bike lanes further, but to no avail. Alamedan’s love their cars.

International Boulevard, Oakland

Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Oakland and San Leandro in 2017. As part of the project, thirty blocks of International Boulevard is getting bike lanes, except at one busy intersection–73rd Avenue. There, additional travel lanes were added to the project to accommodate future traffic projections, and the bike lanes eliminated, for two blocks essentially. But 20-25 on-street parking spaces were also eliminated for the extra lanes, right in front of many retail businesses. While many of these local businesses and nearby residents were resigned to their fate, Bike East Bay was not. When new CEQA guidelines came out in January 2016 that do not require a consideration of future traffic projections, we smelled an opportunity. Bike East Bay has asked AC Transit and the City of Oakland to remove the additional lanes from the project and add back both bike lanes and on-street parking. Another nifty feature of our lane removal idea is that during construction of bus rapid transit, the narrower intersection configuration can be tested, to show that traffic flows fine with one less lane.

Dana Street, Berkeley

Dana Street is a short street on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus, and four blocks of it is one-way for both cars and bikes. But at either end of these four blocks are nice two-way bike routes. Solution? A two-way cycle track for four blocks, completing the bike route for convenient north-south travel to and from Cal. For this, Bike East Bay is readying our acclaimed demonstration bikeway team. We may locate the cycle track on the west side of the street where there currently is on-street parking, and move the parking to the east side of the street where the bike lane currently runs. This switch opens up some additional car parking spaces because there are fewer driveways on the east side. Additional parking should make the project more politically palpable with neighbors.

Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

Telegraph Avenue is our most ambitious project to date–a 5-3 road diet with parking-protected, curbside bike lanes. It removes approximately 15% of on-street car parking from Telegraph, as protected bike lane projects are apt to do. That was one challenging aspect of the project. At intersections, mixing zones are being used, which don’t allow for on-street parking. But an additional funding from an Active Transportation Program grant may allow Oakland to add some additional protection at intersections, including bus boarding islands. If this happens, most of the on-street parking removed for mixing zones can be added back. And this is a potential improvement for many other protected intersection projects–by extending protection up to the intersection, protected intersections can extend parked cars as well.

For sure, road diets and bike lanes are not the go-to formula for increasing parking, but where there is a co-benefit, all the better.