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Oakland Promises Protected Bike Lanes on Lakeshore

City has committed to building protected bike lanes on the east side of Lake Merritt

The protest and vigil on Lakeshore Avenue after a little girl was killed in a dooring crash. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

It took the death of Maia Correia, a four-year-old girl who was riding with her father on Lakeshore Ave. when a parked driver opened his door without looking, but Oakland's Department of Transportation is finally committing to protected bike lanes on the east side of Lake Merritt.

"We met with Mayor Sheng Thao and city administrator Jestin Johnson Saturday at my parent's condo," explained Sheila McCracken, Maia's aunt, in an interview with Streetsblog. "They were there for about an hour and we talked a lot about Maia."

McCracken said her family demanded a commitment to install protected, curbside bike lanes or a cycle track on Lakeshore, which would make a future dooring crash all but impossible. The mayor and other city officials, including Oakland DOT director Fred Kelley, with whom they met later, promised to build "a two-way cycle track" between the curb and the row of parked cars on Lakeshore. Previously, Kelley refused to make any such commitment.

According to McCracken, the new cycle track should start construction in the fall of 2024.

"OakDOT will be developing a project webpage over the coming weeks to outline plans for improvements to Lakeshore Avenue between E. 18th Street and El Embarcadero," confirmed OakDOT spokesperson Sean Maher, in an email to Streetsblog. He added that they are now preparing "...a preliminary design concept for the project."

McCracken said they were promised the cycle track would have a three-foot buffer between the bike space and the row of parked cars, with some kind of "physical barrier." However, OakDOT hasn't yet said what materials will be used.

"We are waiting for more info about the Lakeshore project specifics as well," wrote Bike East Bay's Robert Prinz in an email to Streetsblog.

McCracken on the Grand Ave. side of Lake Merritt with her dog Mango. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Meanwhile, McCracken made it clear she has no intention of allowing the city to stop there. She wants to see protected bike lanes surrounding the entire lake--currently, there is a cycle track on the west side of Lake Merritt but not on the north and south. She also wants improvements on International Boulevard, where a driver killed a woman on Tuesday.

Bottom line, she doesn't want more people to die just walking or biking and more families to suffer as a result.

"Losing someone this way is really really hard. They’re ripped out of your life, and you look at it and say this shouldn’t happen. If we can prevent it, and all it takes is the right infrastructure, why aren’t we doing it? Why aren’t we taking it more seriously?"

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