Oakland's Bonus Bike Lanes

 

As advocates, we probably don’t complement staff often enough on the work they do to improve streets for bicycling. Yes, like a copy machine, sometimes the Oakland Public Works bikeway construction machine (now Department of Transportation) is never fast enough for our satisfaction. But Oakland has included many new bikeways as part of projects beyond the 2007 Oakland Bicycle Master Plan. When this happens, a bonus complete street gets built, and we do appreciate it.

Jason Patton, Oakland’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager (shown here) and his team in Oakland’s Department of Transportation, are responsible for many of Oakland’s bonus lanes. [photo credit: East Bay Express]

While adding a bike lane to a street does not de facto make a street fully ‘complete’ in a way that works for all users, it is a step in that direction. Oakland has many examples of these ‘bonus’ bike lanes–streets with added or upgraded bike lanes, or streets soon to get them, that were not included in the planned bike network. Oakland staff often gives us a heads up they are coming, and sometimes agrees with our requests for these additional facilities. Either way, a growing bike network benefits more residents.

Oakland’s new Department of Transportation will build upon this complete street approach, incorporating best design practices into every bike project, making sure no repaving project forgets to include a new bike lane and better coordinating bus and bike improvements at the same time. And if hard-working staff don’t give us a heads up on every new bonus bike improvement, that is ok with us.

Oakland’s bonus bike lanes on the ground
Street Story Photo
West Street Oakland’s original bonus bike lane, of sorts. While West Street is in the current bike plan, the bike lane predates the bike plan. When repaving the street years ago, a wonderful traffic engineer decided to include a bike lane
Lowell Street cut thru Oakland’s latest bonus bike lane. It connects both sides of Lowell Street, at Stanford Avenue. It’s hot off the press. Check it out.
Jackson Street Completed in 2014 as part of a repaving project. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan pushed for this one, as she frequently shops at Nature’s Best Foods on 15th & Jackson, by bike of course
Keith Avenue Public Works staff added a buffered bike lane to Keith Ave in response to neighborhood complaints about speeding traffic along this freeway frontage road. It was a standalone project. With new bike lanes coming to Broadway to the north, it made sense to connect Rockridge BART to those new bike lanes
Howe Street “Why not? There’s room,” we thought we heard someone in Oakland Public Works say. It’s a wide street indeed with speeding, cut-thru traffic. These bike lanes went in as part of a repaving project
E 7th Street A construction detour bike lane turned permanent. The recent closure and reconstruction of the Embarcadero Bridge at the Oakland Estuary Channel led staff to narrow overly wide travel lanes on E. 7th Street, and add buffered bike lanes. The lanes improve bike commutes of hundreds of Laney College students
Miles Ave a short bike lane indeed, but a convenient connection to the Colby/Forest/Shafter neighborhood bikeway from Rockridge BART. The bike plan said sharrows, but staff upgraded us to a bike lane, buffered
Hollis Street staff shoehorned in a continuous bike lane in one direction on this bike lane connection to Emeryville’s Hollis Street bike lanes
17th Street from MLK Jr Wy to Clay St), the opportunity was there to add an additional block of buffered bike lane. Oakland hopes to build this into a continuous two-way connection to West Oakland’s 18th Street
Ardley Avenue from MacArthur Blvd to E 31st St, the bike plan called for sharrows, but staff removed parking on one side of the street to get bike lanes in both directions
Beaumont Avenue Glenview Elementary School is getting a seismic upgrade, and for at least a year, students will be housed in temporary trailers on the back side of nearby Edna Brewer Middle School. The problem is the back side of Edna Brewer is faced by Beaumont Avenue, a high-speed busy connector street to 580. Parents pleaded for improvements before the school year started, and staff made it happen. For two blocks of Beaumont Avenue, the street becomes one travel lane, with buffered bike lanes and designated school drop off locations

 

and Oakland’s bonus bike lanes coming soon
Street Story Photo to come
MLK Jr Way a safer street for residents to walk often results in a better street for bicycling. Part of the West Oakland Specific Plan, MLK Jr Way north of Grand Ave received a lot of attention, due to speeding traffic and lack of retail. The result is approval of a road diet with bike lanes and improved pedestrian crossings. Oakland recently received a state grant to build the project, which we expect to happen in the next two years  
11th Street bikes and buses are a good combination, and we don’t care what anyone says. Streets improved for both modes give commuters more options, and that is good for everyone. Bus Rapid Transit vehicles start running in 2017, along International Blvd primarily, but in downtown Oakland along 11th St as well. Since the street is four lanes wide and only need a portion of that width for cars, staff decided to add a bike lane. Again, why not?  
29th Avenue back when the State Transportation Improvement Program has money, Caltrans built things and one of the last approved projects to get funding was a new 29th Avenue bridge. While the bike lanes will not be wonderful, modern bike lanes, there will be new bike lanes, which will improve the connection between Jingletown and Fruitvale  
College Avenue the bike plan calls for sharrows, but staff found room for continuous bike lanes, except one block at the Rockridge Library. This is coming soon  
Broadway Terrace another sharrow upgrade project. Staff found a way to add bike lanes to Broadway Terrace’s upcoming repaving project  
Fruitvale Avenue above Foothill Blvd, the bike plan says sharrows but staff are adding an uphill bike lane, similar to College Avenue’s upgrade  
Chetwood Street from MacArthur Blvd to Santa Clara Ave, staff narrowed travel lanes to 10’ in order to fit in the bike lanes. Coming soon  
2nd Street Repaving happening now. In Jack London District, staff first tried sharrows and now they are going to try bike lanes, from Washington St to Oak St, with narrow 10ft travel lanes. Should be installed later this summer  
Linda Avenue Instead of sharrows, staff is doing an uphill bike lane. Coming soon – hopefully later this year  
Bellevue Avenue getting repaved this August with one less travel lane and a bike lane. It’s a Measure DD project  

 

New bike lanes are always a highly-anticipated addition to Oakland streets, but bonus bike lanes are needed too and often just as well used by residents. Thank you Oakland staff for squeezing out additional dedicated space for residents bicycling around town. Now, get back to work :).

And Oakland will be updating its Bicycle Master Plan in 2017, to include many more miles of bikeways. Look for announcements later this year.