Parking-Protected Bike Lanes Partially Back in Oakland’s Telegraph Ave Plan

Parking protected bike lanes are back in Oakland’s final plan for Telegraph Avenue. Image: City of Oakland

If all goes according to plan, Oakland could get its first parking-protected bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue next spring.

The final draft of the Telegraph plan was released this week, and previously-dropped parking-protected bike lanes were re-introduced in downtown Oakland, between 20th and 29th streets. Buffered bike lanes are planned on the block south of 20th and between 29th and 41st streets.

The Telegraph plan would remove a traffic lane in both directions between 19th and 41st streets, which should calm traffic while creating room for protected bike lanes and shorten pedestrian crossings. The plan includes transit boarding islands and the some relocated bus stops, as well as the removal of on-street parking between 55th and Aileen Streets under the Highway 24 overpass. Removing parking there would provide bike lanes connect to the 55th Street bicycle route.

The Telegraph plan was revised after the latest round of public meetings held in September, where safe streets advocates blasted planners’ move to drop the originally proposed parking-protected bike lanes.

However, planners still punted on protected bike lanes for the busy and complex middle section of Telegraph, between 41st and 52nd in the Temescal neighborhood. At the busy intersection with Telegraph and 51st, car traffic comes off the freeway and double turn lanes enter northbound Telegraph. The section also includes an oblique intersection at Shattuck Avenue.

Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue may soon see parking-protected bike lanes like this one recently demonstrated by Bike East Bay. Photos: Melanie Curry

Oakland planners insist that removing a traffic lane would result in gridlock and say they haven’t been able to find a way to divide up the road space in that area that satisfies everyone (a rare outcome). Public comments at the various meetings they held have been divided, with bike advocates pushing for bike lanes, car-centric business owners fighting to preserve car parking. AC Transit is also looking to ensure its buses can move through efficiently.

Instead of safe bike lanes, planners had proposed only sharrows for the Temescal section — marked symbols that insist that people on bikes mix with motor traffic. Bike advocates at the meetings vehemently objected to adding sharrows as a substitute, and no consensus was found for any of the other options. Removing car parking or traffic lanes to create room for safe bike lanes was not seriously considered. So instead of stenciling in sharrows and calling the street “complete,” the planners opted to work on the easy parts first, and then return to look at the Temescal section later.

Once protected bike lanes are put in along part of Telegraph, people may see that a road diet doesn’t automatically result in gridlock. In the meantime, the Temescal section will remain a problem for anyone unwilling to brave the gap to reach the protected bike lanes.

This section of Telegraph, looking towards downtown from 24th Street, may soon have parking-protected bike lanes. Photo: Melanie Curry

If approved by the city council, the first phase of improvements is scheduled as part of Oakland’s plan to re-pave Telegraph in 2015. That includes the parking-protected bicycle lanes, as they can be laid out with relatively inexpensive materials like paint and soft-hit posts until funding can be identified to implement the full plan.

The plan will next be reviewed at:

  • A special meeting of the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission on Monday, December 1, at 5:30 p.m. at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 3.
  • A meeting of the Oakland Public Works Committee on Tuesday, December 2, at 11:30 a.m. at Oakland City Hall, Sgt. Mark Dunakin Room, 1st Floor.

If the Public Works Committee approves its resolution to remove traffic lanes and install bike lanes, the item will go to:

  • The Oakland City Council on Tuesday, December 9, at 5:30 pm (Oakland City Hall, Council Chambers, 3rd Floor)

Streetsblog will not be publishing on Thursday or Friday. Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you on Monday. 

  • Gezellig

    Comparison of the same intersection in Utrecht, 1961 vs. 2014:

    With a stop at one of its in-between states of evolution, in 1964:

    + cycletracks
    + transit-stop pass-behind
    not optimal intersections but better than the ’61 shared-space version.

    Judging by the even worse “mixing zones” and Copenhagen Lefts, it looks like cutting-edge (oh, and you *will* be cut on the edge by right hooks) intersection design in California is still very much on the fence about making the full leap from 1961 to 1964 (attached photo is a screenshot of the proposed Telegraph/MacArthur intersection):

  • scelerat

    They have these “protected” lanes in Golden Gate Park and it made riding there worse. Now instead of dealing with traffic which at least is *supposed* to be paying attention to other traffic, cyclists must contend with pedestrians who definitely don’t, passengers entering and exiting vehicles who are not paying attention to bicycle traffic, people helping children in and out of cars, people loading and unloading things from their cars.

    Instead you get cyclists riding in traffic anyway, just to avoid the mess that the “protected” lane creates, and now the available space is narrower: the protected lanes on either side of the street force parked cars closer to the middle.

    They can’t remove parking spaces in exchange for a bike lane because of political pressure. This doesn’t mean the protected lanes are a good solution. They’re a halfway solution and worse than either dedicated lanes or shared traffic.

  • gneiss

    This is flat out wrong. The protected lanes in GGP have made riding there safer. My eight year old daughter cannot ride on the paint on road bike lanes that exist on Fell, but absolutely can ride in GGP on the protected lane. To say that the bike lanes are a “mess” is only because of your personal preference for riding in traffic at speed. Most people don’t want to do that, which is why we have less than 4% mode share of people riding for transportation.

    The protected lanes are absolutely a good solution and certainly not a half-way solution.

  • scelerat

    Yes, I like to ride at speed. Because I am commuting, I prefer to be riding somewhere between 8 and 20mph. That is impossible in those “protected” lanes. They open the door for unpredictable obstacles and impede a normal flow of traffic, further relegating bikes and cyclists to a “recreational” class of street user and not an actual part of the transportation infrastructure.

    It’s great that your eight year old is better protected from traffic in golden gate park, but when considering how to integrate bicyclists into a larger regional transit strategy, i feel that a model protecting children in a park where they are learning how to ride and pay attention to traffic is not an ideal way to do this.

  • Gezellig

    I’d rather contend with an occasional errant pedestrian than double-parked/randomly swerving/oblivious drivers of 2-ton speeding metal boxes.

  • Gezellig

    I bike on the protected lanes in GGP all the time–that hasn’t been my experience at all. Compared to the obstacles I regularly face biking vehicularly or on conventional bike lanes elsewhere in the city it’s nothing. I’ve never once felt like it was slow or cumbersome, either.

    Your dismissiveness of the 8-to-80 crowd is also pretty ableist, selfish and exclusivist…biking shouldn’t just be for the most able, 20-30s, male road warriors.

  • gneiss

    You might be surprised, but other cyclists, including those who commute seem perfectly capable of passing me and my daughter while we are traveling in the lane on GGP.

    In addition, yours is an incredibly dismissive attitude of what constitutes a ‘transportation cyclist’. I ride every work day to my office, often at speed, and frankly, I’d welcome the infrastructure that would keep me safer from cars, even if it meant I’d need to slow down and safely pass other people riding bikes. Not everyone thinks our streets should be a thrill ride each time they step out to go get a gallon of milk.

  • Gezellig

    Yeah! I pass slower people in those lanes all the time. It’s not hard. And just because I’m in a rush doesn’t mean I need to look down on an 8-year old for enjoying a leisurely ride.


    What, exactly, is the problem here?

  • scelerat

    Asking for 8mph is not being ableist and exclusivist. That’s 2mph slower than average in cities with healthy cycling infrastructure. That’s a reasonable thing to consider when talking about the utility of a bike lane being built to encourage riding and provide an attractive alternative to other forms of commuting. It’s also not selfish or elitist to point out that what works for children in a park is not necessarily what works for commuters or other adult users of the road. You’re simply calling names.

    As a cyclist, I’ve seen and personally encountered more doorings and pedestrian entanglements due to what I pointed out above since the parking-protected lanes went in at GGP than before. That is all.

  • Gezellig

    I remain incredulous as to how you’re unable to pass people there–something I (and by my own observation many others) do there all the time.

    If we’re going anecdotal, I’ve encountered far *fewer* such dooring/pedestrian entanglements there than before.

    Beyond anecdotal, though, the data on these implementations back this up. One of many:

  • murphstahoe

    now the available space is narrower: the protected lanes on either side of the street force parked cars closer to the middle.

    I *dream* of roads as wide as the available space you have taking the lane on JFK.

  • EastBayer

    Does that compare protected bike lanes with conventional bike lanes or with no bike lanes? I believe it is the latter

  • scelerat

    That study does not cover the parking-protected bike lanes in GGP, it’s only studying protected lanes in general (which I am not opposed to at all), and I believe none of those in the study are of the type in Golden Gate Park where cyclists must ride in a corridor shared with passengers entering, exiting, and unloading automobiles.

    In a parking-protected scenario, how does a delivery truck unload? In a lane of traffic.

  • gneiss

    Actually, if the street is configured properly, then there are loading zones on each block where delivery vehicles can pull into the parking protected area and unload their vehicles. From there, they can cross the bike lane with their goods without fear of getting run over by a car.

    With conventional bike lanes placed outside of parking, you have so many more dangerous movements (trucks & cars double parking, cars backing in to park, driver side doors opening) that it all but makes the bike lanes useless for riding in. Move those same lanes inside of parked cars and you remove all of those hazards.

    Your view has been discredited by years of studies and examples from northern European countries where parking protected lanes have increase mode share and safety for all roadway users. Stop trying to pretend otherwise.

  • Gezellig

    “In a parking-protected scenario, how does a delivery truck unload? In a lane of traffic.”

    “it’s only studying protected lanes in general (which I am not opposed to at all), and I believe none of those in the study are of the type in Golden Gate Park where cyclists must ride in a corridor shared with passengers entering, exiting, and unloading automobiles.”

    Many of NYC’s cycletracks are parking-protected, so those are seemingly inherently included in the study. Also, NYCDOT reports frequently mention delivery zones, such as in the project plan overview to upgrade the conventional “buffered” bike lanes on Hudson to parking-protected lanes:

    Also, btw, judging by the renderings the parking-protected stretches of Telegraph will be to a higher standard than the GGP implementations.

  • Gezellig

    I’m not sure, that particular study may include both. I’m not sure if NYCDOT has specifically studied conventional -> parking-protected vs. nothing -> parking protected, but a number of these recent implementations have been from both scenarios. Some visual examples here:

    In addition, though “buffered” conventional lanes are typically considered “better” than other conventional bike lanes, as an early adopter of those implementations NYC has been steadily replacing them with parking-protected ones. Currently, NYCDOT is taking out the existing buffered lanes on at least 4 roads:

    And if you look into the reports the reasons why consistently include mentions of increased safety and modeshare vs. the conventional lanes they replaced.


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