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Eyes on the Street: Protected Intersection on West Grand in Oakland

But they blew it on the bike lanes themselves, which are paint only

A driver turning from Grand to Mandela via a new, protected intersection.

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Concrete is hardening on yet another protected intersection in Oakland, this one at West Grand Avenue and Mandela. The project is part of the “West Grand Avenue Repaving & Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project.”

More from Oakland DOT’s project page:

The Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) will be implementing safety improvements on West Grand Avenue between Mandela Parkway and Market Street. Originally approved as part of the West Oakland Specific Plan, the improvements will help address West Grand Avenue’s status as part of the city’s High Injury Network, meaning it has a higher rate of serious and fatal crashes compared to the rest of the City.

The city is also planning to build protected intersections at Parkway, Adeline Street, and Market Streets. The protective islands haven’t started construction at the other intersections, but there’s roughly painted markings to guide the installation and there’s already smooth new pavement.

There’s also a new two-way protected bike lane going on for a stretch west of Mandela Parkway where Grand starts to ascend for the bridge over the Union Pacific tracks. However, the short section of protected lanes diverge from Grand and remain at ground level.

There’s a section of protected bike lane where Grand rises up over the railway tracks

It’s always great to see more protected intersections and crosswalk improvements. But, in Streetsblog’s view, it’s baffling that Oakland DOT continues to install new paint-only, unprotected bike lanes during a repaving project, especially on such a wide street. The project includes a reduction in driving lanes from three to two in each direction between Mandela and Market Street, but that’s still too wide for unprotected bike lanes. OakDOT writes that “this change may help reduce speeding and improve safety at pedestrian crossings across W. Grand Avenue.” It may, or it may simply turn the unprotected bike lane into a passing zone for reckless drivers, which all too often results in crossing pedestrians and cyclists getting struck and killed. Either way, nobody can claim this is safe for riders of “all ages and ability,” which is supposedly a goal of Oakland and other Bay Area cities.

And it’s not as if West Grand can’t spare some parking spaces for protected bike lanes, as shown in the photo below:

New pavement, new paint. Still the same excessive width and excessive parking spaces. Why would you put a bike lane away from the curb where scofflaw drivers are bound to drive and double park in it?

Protected intersections and protected bike lanes are supposed to work together as a system. Perhaps one can justify protected intersections without protected bike lanes if the street is sufficiently narrow and other means, such as speed bumps or chicanes, are used to slow traffic. But there’s simply no excuse for continuing to spend money on paving projects that are this sub par, especially when city officials then claim they don’t have funding for protected bike lanes.

Work on the project, funded by Oakland’s 2016 Measure KK, should be finished in the fall. After that, advocates can start campaigning for the parking-and-curb-protected bike lanes the city should have built in the first place.

More photos below.

Yes, the protected intersections will be an improvement
But this is not acceptable for safety. Not even a little bit.

The post Eyes on the Street: Protected Intersection on West Grand in Oakland appeared first on Streetsblog San Francisco.

The post Eyes on the Street: Protected Intersection on West Grand in Oakland appeared first on Streetsblog California.

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