Big news from Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee last night: Walk Oakland Bike Oakland tweeted that the City is planning to install parking-protected bicycle lanes (cycle tracks) on 20th Street and applying for a grant from the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP) to implement the project. We covered the woeful conditions of 20th Street last December: 75 percent of street space is dedicated to moving cars despite the fact that 75 percent of people using the street walk, bike, or take transit.
Protected bicycle lanes on 20th Street could be a catalytic project for expanding bicycling in Oakland. It would close a major gap in the City’s bicycle network and dramatically improve first/last mile connectivity to BART and access to Lake Merritt with a facility that appeals to a wide range of users. The project also includes some much-needed pedestrian improvements, including the widening of narrow existing sidewalks and the installation of bulb outs. The project will be one of several highly-competitive ATP applications for the City, including complete streets improvements on Telegraph Avenue, Park Blvd, and International Blvd.
Before getting too excited, however, there may be a few lingering issues with the proposed design. Protected bike lanes are shown only on the widest block of 20th Street; it’s unclear if they will extend two blocks to the west where the street narrows. More information is needed to understand how the proposed design will protect people biking from conflicts at the 20th / Franklin intersection and the BART station pickup/dropoff area – two of the trickiest locations on the corridor. The renderings also still show a wide street with five lanes of traffic, which seems superfluous given the actual volumes. Overall, though, there’s a lot of promise in these plans, and we’re excited to see the full design proposal.