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Continuous, buffered bike lanes and smooth pavement head list of bike improvements for Telegraph Ave, Park Blvd and 14th St

Before advocating for new bikeways on Telegraph Ave, 14th St and Park Blvd, we asked you first what improvement you would like to see. With 550 bikeway surveys filled out, it is clear that you want to see continuous bike lanes buffered from traffic on these streets, and before bike lanes are striped on Telegraph you want it repaved.

We heard that “continuous striped or separated bike lanes are the highest priority” and that you “would ride more often if road conditions were safe.” Thanks for reminding us “not to repeat the dangerous mistakes made on the northern sections of Telegraph from Alcatraz to Ashby where the bike lane often suddenly disappears and is replaced by sharrows.” Don’t worry, we are working with Oakland staff to ensure that the bikeway is continuous, is buffered and that intersections are well-designed. 

“Telegraph needs to be paved!!!!” was a common complaint. We are working closely with Oakland’s Public Works Department to prioritize repaving of bikeways and fixing potholes on the streets you ride. Oakland has already committed to repaving bikeways before striping bike lanes so that the mistake of the Webster street sharrows is not repeated. The next most popular request was for high-visibility, green paint to highlight conflict zones between cars and bikes. “More green paint, please,” said one respondent. Many US cities are experimenting with green paint and are learning that it works.

The surveys are still open, take one and let us know what you think:

Perhaps the most important lesson learned from the surveys is that people riding on these streets are doing so because the streets are destinations. For 14th St, 65% of respondents run errands by bike, and for Telegraph Ave 82% of respondents shop, dine and have fun on Telegraph Ave. Park Blvd was the only street where most bike trips are commute trips, at 63%, but even there 57% of respondents make trips for shopping, dining and entertainment and 52% of respondents run errands. The take away is clear: these three important bike routes are destination streets for a vast majority of bike trips and thus need to be improved for safe riding to these destinations.

“Making this street bike friendly would attract people to local businesses,” was an important comment expressed. We recently learned at the National Bike Summit more about how important good bike access is for the success of local businesses. The Downtown Washington DC Business Improvement District led the charge for a dedicated cycle track on L Street as a priority for economic development. This business improvement district has much in common with Downtown Oakland, as it has suffered decline compared to outlying areas. New York City just studied the sales activity of local businesses on streets with new bikeways and compared them to nearby commercial streets without bikeways and to boroughs as a whole. Same result: bikeways increase sales of local businesses. And of course Portland State University just released a study that shows people who bike spend more money overall at local businesses than people who drive.

What don’t people like about these streets? Results for the Park Blvd survey are typical: people don’t like the high traffic speeds and all the traffic. On Park Blvd the problems are particularly dangerous as there is a long stretch along lower Park Blvd with no stop signs or traffic lights and drivers know they can speed. Similarly, on upper Park Blvd, above the Glenview business district, the lack of traffic control allows excessive speeding along this hilly, curvy stretch of Park Blvd. It’s really dangerous. Other notes of interest from our surveys: 42% of respondents were women-more than the average cycling population; 62% of respondents live within a few blocks of these three streets; 31% of respondents ride these streets every day and 79% of respondents ride these streets because they are a direct route to take, which of course is why they are high priority bikeways on the Oakland Bicycle Master Plan.

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