Today, the City of Oakland announced that, effective April 11, 74 miles of neighborhood streets will be designated for through traffic by bike riders, pedestrians, wheelchair users and local vehicles only. This Slow Streets initiative comes after Bike East Bay and our partners at Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and Transform requested the city to respond to concerns of drivers speeding through neighborhoods where many more people are now biking and walking during the coronavirus shelter in place period.
Bike East Bay champions access to vital outdoor space – during this shelter in place period and beyond. This new order from the City of Oakland makes 74 miles of neighborhood streets safe and accessible for everyone who lives nearby. Streets included are those dedicated as “neighborhood bike routes” on Oakland’s bicycle plan.
The Oakland Slow Streets program will launch this Saturday, as a pilot along four streets:
- West St: West Grand – 14th Street
- Arthur St from Havenscourt Blvd – 78th Ave, connecting to Plymouth St from 78th – 104th Avenue
- E 16th St: 23rd Ave/Foothill Blvd – Fruitvale Ave
- 42nd St: Adeline – Broadway
Local traffic, parking, deliveries, and emergency vehicles will all continue to have through-access on these streets. This is about calming traffic, and opening up space for people to safely bike, walk and roll in their own neighborhoods.
We relentlessly advocate for streets that are focused around people. We believe that we can reimagine our streets to serve the needs of the community: in all neighborhoods in Oakland, and across the East Bay. One way to accomplish the goal of more bike and people-friendly streets is through this order: slow down neighborhood streets by allowing for local vehicle traffic only, and encouraging people to socially distance while enjoying the outdoors. We are excited at the prospect of 74 new miles of streets centered around more joyful, outdoor time.
We are also concerned about possible impacts on Oakland’s most vulnerable communities during the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize that not everyone has the privilege of staying at home; that biking and jogging are not the only street uses during shelter-in-place. People are living in cars on our streets and frontline workers are delivering essential supplies to people who are sick or in self-quarantine. Everyone should be able to use the street without fear of harassment from the police or neighbors. Bike East Bay is actively monitoring the situation, reaching out to partners, and ready to amplify as needs emerge.
We encourage and welcome your feedback: how is it working on the ground? What are conditions like in your neighborhood? Do you live outside of Oakland but want to see something similar in your neighborhood? Fill out our short survey.
Bike East Bay champions a more connected, accessible Bay Area. Want to support other visionary projects, now and for the future? Become a member or donate today.