Oakland’s new buffered bike lanes continue to experience frequent blockages due to illegal double parking. Robert Prinz of Bike East Bay recently posted a video of Webster Street in which delivery trucks and several cars associated with Pandora’s valet service used the buffered bike lane as a loading zone. A few blocks away along 17th Street, several construction vehicles have been regularly parking in the new buffered bike lane in recent weeks. A year ago, we covered another egregious example of illegal parking in front of Oakland Technical High School.
Buffered bike lanes are intended to provide a less stressful bicycling experience by giving bicyclists more space. Oakland is building a number of buffered lanes throughout the city, including along portions of key corridors such as Broadway, Telegraph Avenue and 20th Street. However, it is clear that without any enforcement of illegal parking, buffered bike lanes present a major downside that can create a more dangerous condition than standard bike lanes.
Stronger enforcement is necessary to ensure these investments remain safe, useful, and attractive for bicyclists, but the design solution is ultimately more protected bike lanes.