Friday Round-up: Temescal Safety Project Approved, e-Bike Expansion, Twin Peaks Tunnel

A rendering of parking protected bike lanes on Telegraph for Temescal. Image from OakDOT.
A rendering of parking protected bike lanes on Telegraph for Temescal. Image from OakDOT.

Oakland Votes YES on Telegraph safety project:

It only took a couple of decades to build a consensus, but today the Oakland City Council finally approved protected bike lanes, bus-boarding islands, and pedestrian safety improvements for the Temescal segment of Telegraph Avenue from 42nd to 52nd. Speakers in favor outnumbered opponents by roughly two to one. And according to Councilmember Dan Kalb, who represents the district itself, “85 to 90 percent of emails were in favor of protected bike lanes; it was quite a large number.”

Oakland's City Council at today's session. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Oakland’s City Council at today’s session. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan stressed that Oakland’s DOT must also work to fix some of the problems with its first attempt at parking-protected bike lanes, on the KONO section of Telegraph. “No loose planter boxes like was done in KONO,” she said, referring to the small flower boxes that ended up being moved around by scofflaw motorists looking to park on safety buffer areas.

Lynette Gibson McElhaney, meanwhile, said she felt it was necessary to fix all the issues with KONO before building another segment of parking-protected bike lane–and then to keep phasing north to Temescal. She was concerned about the gap between KONO and Temescal and called it an equity issue.

The final vote was seven in favor of the improvements (with one absentee). The Council also passed an amendment along with the Temescal approval instructing DOT to design and get ready to implement upgrades to the bike lanes in KONO, and to connect the two districts and “close the gap” with protected bike lanes.

Congrats to Bike East Bay, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, and the Oakland Department of Transportation for all their hard work to make this happen. The plan is for the paving and construction to get done in the summer of 2019.

Big Ford GoBike Expansion:

Electric assist GoBikes are now available in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Electric assist GoBikes are now available in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

As was widely reported, Ford GoBike is doing a major expansion of its pedal-electric-assist bikes in San Francisco and the East Bay,

From Ford GoBike’s release:

Ford GoBike…will begin adding more than 600 pedal-assist ebikes to its bike share network in San Francisco starting today, in addition to bringing ebikes to the East Bay and San Jose for the first time. First introduced in San Francisco’s Ford GoBike Plus fleet in April of this year, ebikes have an electric motor that gives riders a boost as they pedal.

“Ford GoBike’s Bike Share for All program has succeeded in expanding affordable and accessible transportation options to thousands of San Franciscans, giving the system the highest rate of low-income ridership in the country,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier, in a prepared statement. “With more ebikes being added to the mix, we look forward to more barriers to biking for everyday transportation falling in neighborhoods and communities across our city.”

After the new ebikes are added, there will be nearly 2,000 bikes, both Ford GoBike Plus and Classic, and nearly 150 stations serving the city of San Francisco.

The official bike-share operator is also bringing more than 500 new pedal-assist ebikes to its network in the East Bay for the first time. “We are thrilled to be getting electric-assist, shared bicycles in Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, also in a prepared statement. “Bikesharing already gives the Bay Area a non-polluting, affordable way to get around–but these ebikes will be useful to a wider range of people, including folks who maybe can’t pedal comfortably on their own.”

Wait, the Twin Peaks Tunnel is Closing Again?

The Twin Peaks Tunnel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Twin Peaks Tunnel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Despite the summer closure, it looks as if there’s still some work to do in the Twin Peaks Tunnel. That means there will be weekend closures again, starting tonight. Fortunately, the closures will only be in effect overnight.

From the SFMTA:

On Friday and Saturday nights for next three weekends, December 14-16, December 21-23 and December 28-30, there will be temporary overnight closures to the Twin Peaks Tunnel. The tunnel closure includes West Portal and Forest Hill stations.

Muni says West Portal and Forest Hill stations will close at 11 p.m. on Friday and reopen on Saturday at 8 a.m. That cycle will repeat from Saturday night through Sunday morning. Check out the SFMTA’s information page for details on substitute bus service.

  • david vartanoff

    While I generally support this project, the bus platforms need to be better designed. Those in KONO are not tall enough to give riders genuine “level boarding”. On the Telegraph bus (which I use daily) we have increasing use of strollers, laundry carts, walkers, and wheelchairs. While buses “kneel” for these that does nothing for the rear door exiters, and still means ramps must be deployed for chairs.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    Does anyone know when the Temescal improvements will be implemented? I really want to go there and see how they work.

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