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Three Protected Bikeway Victories in One Day

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: July 30, 2023

Illustration of a 2-way protected bikeway on one side of a street, red bus lanes along concrete bus boarding islands, and car travel lanes in the center along planted medians

The city councils of Oakland, Emeryville, and Alameda each approved important safety projects on July 18th.

First: 14th Street, Oakland – City Council approves the contract to start building

A rendering of planned improvements to 14th in downtown Oakland. Image: city of Oakland

Our Bike East Bay Advocacy Director Robert Prinz was participating in all three meetings via Zoom and live Tweeting about them. Oakland City Council voted first, around 6:30 p.m.: “Oakland’s 14th Street protected bikeway contract is approved unanimously by city council, and will move forward to construction starting this fall!”

More from Oakland’s 14th Street safety project website:

Today, 14th Street is designed to speed motor vehicle traffic through Downtown as quickly as possible. In the 5 years since the City applied for this safety grant in 2016, 2 people walking in crosswalks were killed by drivers on 14th Street – both seniors. Tragically, on June 16, 2022 – 5 days before this project was set to be approved at City Council, a driver killed someone biking on 14th Street at Jefferson Street in a hit-and-run collision. In the 5 years from 2016-2021, vehicle collisions injured 189 people, 38 of them severely. This stretch of 14th Street represents one of the densest concentrations of traffic injuries and deaths in the City of Oakland. These tragic and preventable collisions, injuries, and deaths are a daily barrier to mobility for all, and a barrier to 14th Street operating as the center of a calm and walkable Downtown.

The project was conceptually approved last year, and now the final contract approval allows construction to move forward.

Emeryville approves 40th Street safety project

A map of the project area, including the Bay Trail gap closure. Image: city of Emeryville

Emeryville is working on a project to build a two-way cycle track and dedicated bus lanes on 40th Street. On the evening of July 18th their City Council voted to clear the basic layout of the lanes, bus stops, etc. so city staff can then complete the design. Then in 2024 they’ll be able to bid it out for construction contracts and get to work (assuming that contract is also approved).

More from Emeryville’s 40th Street multimodal project page:

The Project will reduce travel time for buses by creating bus-only lanes in both directions along 40th Street. A two-way separated bikeway on the north side of 40th will improve access and safety for cyclists. It will also provide bicycle and pedestrian intersection improvements, bus stop passenger boarding areas, and streetscaping including green infrastructure (natural storm water treatment), and public art.

Grand Street, Alameda: City Council gives final approval, again

Lastly, the Alameda City Council approved their Grand Street cycletrack project, with phase 1 moving forward to construction in 2024.

If you are feeling some deja vu then yes, this is the second time it was approved. But shenanigans ensued, which put the project in limbo. A lawsuit happened which slowed it down,” explained Prinz, “and then the new city manager brought back a new proposal for an even more robust design with a further extension.” So that’s good news.

From the City of Alameda’s web page:

The City has evaluated how to add low stress bikeways, in addition to pedestrian improvements, along the entire Grand Street corridor from Shore Line Drive all the way to Clement Avenue. Three new alternatives were developed, all with pros and cons.

After hearing from the community, staff recommended, and the Transportation Commission endorsed, moving forward with Alternative #1, for a continuous separated and elevated two-way bikeway, along the full corridor, on the east side of the street.

Special thanks to our partners at Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, Traffic Violence Rapid Response, the Emeryville Bike/Walk Committee, and Bike Walk Alameda who we coordinated with to help secure these wins!

The article was reprinted from Streetsblog SF

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