Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Oakland races to meet demand for bike lanes

oakland bikesW

Cyclists try out a bike lane on MacArthur Boulevard. Oakland has added 30 miles of bike lanes in the past three years. Sarah Rice/San Francisco Chronicle photo

By
From page B3 | April 30, 2014 |

By Will Kane
When Claire Antonetti cruised down the new, smooth bike lanes near her Maxwell Park home on Sunday she felt — for the first time in a while — as if her area of Oakland was becoming a neighborhood.

For years, the busy streets were high-speed pass-throughs for motorists whizzing down the Interstate 580 off-ramps. But on Sunday it was something else: parents installing training wheels, boys racing each other to the stop sign and neighbors waving as they pedaled to the store.

“There is no there there in this area,” said Antonetti, 62, referencing Gertrude Stein’s famous quote about Oakland. “We were destroyed by 580. It is a no-man’s-land.”

For years, neither the city nor its residents had the time or resources to worry about bike lanes or calm streets. But things are changing.

People moving into Oakland from San Francisco are bringing their bicycles, and Oakland is racing to paint enough bike lanes to keep them happy.

“With these really big trends taking off, we are really trying to keep up with a lot of the public’s interest,” said Jason Patton, the city’s bike and pedestrian program manager. “In certain portions of Oakland, we can’t keep up with what the public is asking for.”

The rise in demand for bike lanes and bike racks comes, in part, from the city’s changing demographics.

“Oakland has changed a lot in the last couple of years,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay, a nonprofit that advocates for cyclists. “We’ve really seen the downtown and Uptown really get revitalized — we’ve seen a lot of people moving over from San Francisco.”

But it is too simple to say that the bike lanes are another symptom of Oakland’s gentrification, said Jeff Speck, a Washington, D.C., city planning consultant who has studied bike lanes and wrote “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time.”

“There is this misapprehension of bicyclists wearing spandex or hipsters as gentrifiers when in fact we have a hidden population of poor bikers that outpaces any other biking population,” Speck said. “However, there is most likely a correlation between bike lanes and gentrification, because it is often the vocal gentrifiers who demand bike lanes.”

Ten years ago, most riders in Oakland pedaled to the UC Berkeley campus from the edges of North Oakland. But now, a growing number of bicyclists are heading downtown to work or catch BART, Patton said.

“There’s really significant interest (in bike lanes) now in North Oakland, West Oakland, downtown and the neighborhoods around Lake Merritt,” Patton said. In the past three years, the number of people riding bikes in the city has climbed 15 percent, Patton said. Between 2000 and 2010, according to census figures, the number of people riding bikes to work in Oakland has gone up 140 percent.

The city, meanwhile, has installed 30 miles of bike lanes in the past three years. Roughly 140 miles of bike lanes crisscross the city.

“We’re basically installing bike facilities as quickly as we can with the resources we have,” Patton said.

But there are still problems.

Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, a regular bike rider, said she is concerned by the number of potholes in Oakland’s streets. In March, the city paid $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a cyclist who went into a medically induced coma for four days after she struck a pothole in the Oakland hills. “Pothole filling is really important for bicycling,” Kaplan said.

In addition to the roughly $1.6 million Oakland spends to repave roads each year, a “fair” portion of the city’s $350,000 bicycle infrastructure improvement budget is spent on filling potholes, Patton said.

This month the city unveiled a plan to install raised bike lanes — a separate tier from the sidewalk — along parts of Telegraph Avenue, one of the busiest biking streets in Oakland.

“There is this really large volume of people that are moving from the North Oakland/Berkeley area to downtown,” Patton said. We want to improve the street “so that Telegraph can live up to its potential. Very few people are happy with Telegraph in its current form.”

It could be more than a decade before the raised bike lanes are installed, Patton said.

— Reach Will Kane at wkane@sfchronicle.com

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8