Oakland safety advocates are working hard to stop the removal of protected bike lanes in the KONO district on Telegraph, from 20th to 29th. As Streetsblog readers will recall, a push from some merchants and the Community Benefits District to remove the lanes and replace them with buffered bike lanes (aka: double parking lanes) has gained traction as of late, and will be voted on by the Oakland City Council on Tuesday.
This, of course, will make the street more dangerous. Which is why the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, the Public Works Committee, and the AC Transit Board have all voted unanimously to keep the protected lanes.
For those keeping score at home, not a single elected official or commission member has so far voted for buffered bike lanes on Telegraph. BPAC, PWC, AC Transit Board all unanimous in their support for protected lanes https://t.co/qYcHCm1T7K
— Kerb management (@kerbyside) June 24, 2021
They all voted this way because the data is undeniable: protected bike lanes are safer than paint. But beyond the data, there are the stories from people whose lives have improved from safer streets. That’s why Oakland street-safety advocate Tim Courtney, working with Bike East Bay, has started a series of interviews with users of the bike lanes. Here’s his first one, with cyclists and Oakland residents Nas and Neptune:
📣1 week to the council vote on Telegraph Ave.📣
💕All this week we’re sharing stories from people who bike along Telegraph. Today: hear from Nas & Neptune.
— Bike East Bay (@BikeEastBay) June 29, 2021
“I do ride a lot with my children,” says Neptune in the video. “In the Black and Brown community a lot of us aren’t fortunate enough to have cars.” As to ripping out the protected lanes on Telegraph, she says that’s the wrong thing to do, pointing out that many of her friends ride with kids in Telegraph’s protected lanes. She says the right thing to do is to “…make them even safer than they are.”
And that means finishing the protected bike lanes with concrete, as rendered below:
More from Bike East Bay: “Oakland has funding to make Telegraph Avenue even safer. Instead, on Tuesday council considers tearing out protected bike lanes and putting at risk $4.5 million in grant funded improvements for people who walk, bike, and take transit.”
Of course, this isn’t just about the safety of bicyclists. Pedestrians and motorists are also safer thanks to the protected bike lanes, as this Bike East Bay graphic, based on an OakDOT before-and-after traffic study, clearly demonstrates:
But, yes, some merchants are concerned that the protected bike lanes reduce the ability of motorists to access their shops–because it makes it much harder to double park for a “quick” run in to buy something. At the same time, however, Oakland’s DOT is claiming buffered bike lanes won’t be used by motorist for parking or driving (which would be a first on planet Earth). In Streetsblog’s view it can’t be both ways though, can it?
Be sure to support Bike East Bay’s campaign to save Telegraph’s safety features. And join their efforts to make streets safe everywhere.
Try to attend Tuesday’s meeting, July 6, 1:30 p.m. Instructions for attending virtually are on the agenda HERE. And if you live in Oakland, be sure to contact your representatives and underscore how important it is to keep our streets safe. From Bike East Bay’s action items:
Ready to take action? Contact your councilmember today in support of Protected Bike Lanes:
District 1: Dan Kalb email@example.com
District 2: Nikki Fortunato Bas NFBas@oaklandca.gov
District 3: Carroll Fife firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4: Sheng Thao SThao@oaklandca.gov
District 5: Noel Gallo email@example.com
District 6: Loren Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
District 7: Treva Reid email@example.com
At-Large: Rebecca Kaplan firstname.lastname@example.org
(find your councilmember)