Park Blvd is an important bike route in Oakland and a high priority for walking and bicycling safety improvements. Many students cross Park Blvd every school day to get to Oakland High, Glenview Elementary, Edna Brewer Middle School, Cleveland Elementary School and Bella Vista School, and parents consistently report near misses and harassment from drivers racing down Park Blvd in the morning and back up the street in the afternoon. Many residents who live on Park Blvd fear for their safety.
Park Blvd is also an unnecessarily dangerous street for you to bicycle on, as many of our members do. The City has been slow to make the street safe but Oakland’s new Department of Transortation has started seeking public input on safety concerns for the entire stretch of Park Blvd, from E.18th Street all the way up to Mountain Blvd near Montclair District.
January 17, 2017 Focus Group Discussion on Bike Ped Issues
Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) agreed to our request for a focused open house discussion at Oakland High School on January 17, to talk safety issues on lower Park Blvd below 580. This is your chance to tell Oakland’s transportation planners you want a bike lane on Park Blvd. Oakland High students, staff and parents have been invited to join the discussion.
Fall 2016 Community Workshops
At two well-attended community workshops in November 2016, some vocal neighbors piled on concerns about potential redesigns to Park Blvd and did so in ways that are likely to test Oakland’s new Department of Transportation and its new Strategic Plan’s commitment to safety and complete streets. Many Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) and Bike East Bay members living along Park Blvd have voiced support for new bike lanes and calmer traffic at these community meetings and in our online Park Blvd survey, and manys local residents have done the same. However, a vocal group of Trestle Glen neighbors are worried about changes that will alter cut-thru traffic and increase congestion, and they don’t like the ‘bike lobby’s’ outsized influence on city policy.
What you can do
Email your Oakland Councilmember with support for Park Blvd bike lanes, and cc the Consultant Team at: email@example.com. And look for an announcement soon for a January 2017 Park Blvd member get together at Oakland High School with the consultants and city staff.
- Abel Guillen, District 2 (lower Park Blvd below 580)
- Noel Gallo, District 5 (middle Park Blvd above 580 and below Leimert)
- Annie Campbell-Washington, District 4, Park Blvd above Leimert
We Want a Road Diet
At an October, 2013 traffic safety meeting at Edna Brewer Middle School, traffic engineers from Oakland’s Public Works Agency told an audience of over 30 concerned parents, kids and teachers that the best long-term solution to speeding traffic, distracted driving and high numbers of crashes is a lane reduction on Park Blvd with added bike lanes. In fact, Oakland’s lead traffic engineer looked at our detail engineering drawings for new bike lanes on Park Blvd and said “let’s issue a work order!” That was promising then, but you have waited too long. Thank you super-volunteer Joe Lochoff for taking time to put those bikeway drawings together - Check out Joe’s exciting designs for new bikeways on upper Park Blvd. Note that these bikeway designs were done four years ago. We have learned a lot since then about modern bikeway designs, and will be updating our ask of OakDOT.
To date, Oakland’s DOT has committed to evaluating the following projects:
A road diet with bike lanes on lower Park Blvd, below 580;
Intersection improvements near Edna Brewer Middle School to improve safety of kids walking to school;
A new bike/ped path along Park Blvd above Leimert
What is still an open question is the right design for middle Park Blvd, above 580 to Leimert, a challenging stretch with higher traffic volumes, but also with two local schools clammering for safety improvements for kids crossing the street. Oakland’s traffic engineer has stated that ‘the only real solution to safety issues here is a road diet with bike lanes.” We agree and are encouraged that OakDOT is finally studying this angry stretch of Park Blvd.
Slows down speeding traffic
Makes pedestrian crossing significantly safer
Accommodates peak moment traffic volumes with additional travel lanes
Keeps four travel lanes in Glenview Business District and at 580
Adds a continuous bike lane providing a direct connection to Lake Merritt Business District, Laney College and BART
Improves the livability and quality of life for those living on Park Blvd.
Oakland’s new DOT recently approved its first Strategic Plan, which includes:
a mission to assure safe, equitable, and sustainable access and mobility for residents, businesses and visitors;
a commitment to making walking safe and delightful
a strategy for moving aggressively to design and implement protected bikeways, including five within next 3 years
A goal of delivering complete streets
We are going to push OakDOT to make Park Blvd a test of its commitment to complete streets. Specifically, we want OakDOT to return in Spring 2017 not only with a summary of public input to date, as planned, but also with redesign options for lower Park Blvd aTA minimum. And then stripe that preferred design in 2017 as part of a planned repaving of lower Park Blvd. The safety of people walking and bicycling Park Blvd should wait no longer than that. Someone is going to get killed on this dangerous and angry street.
Additional Ways You Can Help
- Adopt a local business, church, neighborhood group along Park Blvd. Contact Dave Campbell for suggestions or to let him know which business you want to adopt. Here are some Park Blvd Talking Points to get you comfortable
- 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! Patronize the business and get to know the manager/owner. Ask them if many of their customers arrive by walking or bicycling or his/her perceptions of what % of her/his customers arrive by driving. Ask the manager/owner what they think of striping a bike lane all the way up and down Park Blvd, connecting the Glenview District and Lower Park Blvd to Lake Merrit Blvd and its new bikeway and eventually to Downtown Oakland via new bike lanes on 14th St part of our 14th Street Bikeway Campaign. 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, please let us know, contact info above. We need this feedback.
- Join your neighborhood association: If you live in a neighborhood along Park Blvd, join its association or Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). Here is a map of neighborhood crime prevention councils in Oakland: Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPC) are in each police beat and are opportunities to provide residents with a forum to discuss approaches to solving neighborhood problems. In District 2, your Neighborhood Service Coordinator is Sun-Kwong, Michael Sze. You can contact him by calling (510) 238-7957 or email email@example.com. Key neighborhood groups: Glenview Neighbors Association, Lakeshore Homes Associaiton, NCPC’s 15X, 17X, and 17Y.
- Give us your ideas for bike improvements on Park Blvd. Take a quick 10-question survey about your riding experience on Park Blvd. your ideas will shape what this street can look like as a great bikeway.
- Check out these exciting designs for new bikeways on upper Park Blvd.
- Check out these exciting designs for new bikeways on lower Park Blvd.
- Support these bike-friendly businesses on Park Blvd and encourage them to support new bike lanes.
Why Park Blvd bike lanes?
Bike lanes on Park Blvd will link the neighborhoods of Montclair, Glenview and Brooklyn to Lake Merritt and Downtown. They will also slow traffic and make it easier to walk across the street. We expect opposition to the removal of travel lanes on these streets and that is why your help is critical. Members like you can help us build the necessary support to convince City Council to move forward and make it safe for you to ride into and out of Downtown. There is much work to do.
What are we up against?
“I have no intention of allowing the wants of a few cyclists, most of whom disregard traffic signs and signals anyway, to muck up the steady flow of traffic for the entirety of Park Boulevard. There is no way that I am going to allow this to become a permanent condition without fighting it out to the bitter end.”
Park Blvd resident
“I have a list of businesses that possibly would not support bike lanes. Mine has every business in Glenview. No, wait, in Oakland. No, wait, in California. No, wait, in the universe. Yeah, that’s it, in the universe.”
another Park Blvd resident
“The Bike Coalition are bussing (sic) in people to our neighborhood to pretend they live in the area, we don’t want them bullying our neighborhood.”
But this supportive comment too:
“Having attended many GNA [Glenview Neighborhood Association] meetings since then which have been devoted to impressing upon the City just how dangerous Park Blvd is for pedestrians, we have become quite disgusted by the amount of foot-dragging and excuses as to why nothing has been done to address Park Blvd’s blatant safety issues.”
What kind of bikeways do you want on Park Blvd?
Here are some innovative new bikeway tools that Oakland can consider, that other American cities are already using.Ideas to Consider
- parking protected bike lanes
- buffered bike lanes
- 4-2 lane reduction with bike lanes
- queue boxes for left turning movements
- green paint in conflict zones and to highlight start of bike lanes at each block
- on-street bike parking corrals
- other awesome ideas? bring them on a ride with us For more information on these innovative ideas, go to NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
As the photos show here, Park Blvd is an extremely dangerous street for walking and bicycling, but it shouldn’t be. For starters, it’s a neighborhood street, which means that it should have the latest in modern safety treatments. Below 580, traffic volumes are insignificant enough that we can push for a lane reduction, reducing the number of car lanes from 4 to 2, with bike lanes. Above 580, there is a center median and traffic volumes are higher. Still, we want to push for lane reductions to calm traffic, make it much safer to walk across the street, and to provide space for comfortable bike lanes. Recently, the city did construction/repair work on Park Blvd above Leimert St, and for this they temporarily reduced the travel lanes from 4 to 2, in order to accommodate the repair work. Traffic flowed just fine, as it always does with road diets. We plan to use this example as justification for extending safety improvements the entire length of Park Blvd.
What are Neighbors Saying
“We’ve had similar near misses for kids going to Glenview Elementary at either Everett or El Centro (by the 76 station). Besides a survey for Edna Brewer we’d also like to know if Everett/El Centro can be surveyed for a) A school crosswalk to Glenview Elementary; b) A crossing guard; c) a traffic light.” ….. Hugh Morrison, Glenview resident
“There was a woman hit and killed about a year ago at the curve by Edna Brewer, there was a woman thrown 30 feet in crosswalk up by 76 station walking her dog, and apparently more incidents but there are drivers taking Park like a race track in the AM on way to 580 which is my path daily and it is sickening.” …. Rosie Torres, District 5 OUSDParkBlvd_Parkway.jpg upperParkBlvdStreetscape_MacArthur.jpg upperParkBlvdStreetscape_Grovesnor.jpg parkBlvdbeforeAfter.jpg ParkBlvdatEdanBrewer.jpg ParkBlvdaboveEdna.jpg ParkBlvdatRetail.jpg ParkBlvdabovdRetail.jpg ParkBlvdatGrosvenor.jpg