Designs Need to Be Better, with family-friendly improvements and no gaps in the bikeway
Emails to City Council are needed.
At last month’s Park Blvd Community Meetings, Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) finally unveiled its plans for Park Blvd. There is good news for Lower and Upper Park Blvd, proposed to have fewer travel lanes and new bike lanes, but a disappointment for Middle Park Blvd, which keep four lanes of high speed traffic and gets only spot improvements years from now.
Key City Councilmembers Who Need to Hear From You
Send an email to the above City Councilmember in whose District you live, work or go to school, and please cc: email@example.com.
- Please stripe a road diet with bike lanes along Middle Park Blvd as part of the 2019 restriping of Lower Park Blvd
- I support a much-needed, continuous bike lane all the way along Park Blvd, including Middle Park Blvd above 580
- Kids should have a safe street to cross and bike to get to Edna Brewer Middle School, Glenview Elementary School, Oakland High School and other nearby schools
- Residents on Park Blvd deserve a livable, safe street to enjoy on a daily basis
- 2020 and beyond is too long to wait for a safe Park Blvd. Someone is going to get killed, again.
We are pushing for the road diet with bike lanes. Our strategy is to insist these bike lanes are striped as part of the 2019 project planned for Lower Park Blvd. Park Blvd should be one lane in each direction with bike lanes, slower traffic and safe pedestrian crossings, by 2019. After many years of community input and repeated calls from residents to make Park Blvd safe, it’s reassuring that OakDOT finally has a timeline for improvements. However, residents along Middle Park Blvd should not be left out, saddled with an outright dangerous street to live on for the foreseeable future. Help neighbors ask for a better design now and hold OakDOT to its pledge of keeping Oakland residents safe.
Designs Proposed by Oakland DOT
OakDOT proposals for Lower Park Blvd
On Lower Park Blvd, buffered bike lanes will be added by reducing the street to one lane in each direction, with a center turn lane. To keep costs down, the change would be made as part of a 2019 repaving project. We were previously told repaving would happen in 2018. The delay is caused by OakDOT wanting to redesign sweeping corner areas at wide intersections, to make it safer to walk and bike on the street. While we support more safety improvements, we want to see the road diet with bike lanes happen as soon as possible, before someone else gets hurt on this high speed street. On the blocks of Park Blvd on either side of 580, two travel lanes are retained, with modest 5 feet wide bike lanes, an improvement.
E.18th Street is still an open question. 2013 plans showed a road diet with bike lanes on E.18th Street between Lakeshore Drive and Park Blvd. Please show your support for this important bikeway connection, which needs to be part of the project.
Proposals for Upper Park Blvd
OakDOT is prepared to reduce upper Park Blvd from four lanes to two lanes, with buffered bike lanes. This would extend between Mountain Blvd and Leimert, and is a similar change to roadway capacity as was experienced during bridge reconstructions on upper Park Blvd a few years ago. We need to push for protected bike lanes as part of this project on the upper part of Park Blvd. Travel speeds are too high along this stretch for just paint. Ask for protected bike lanes.
Spot Improvements for Middle Park Blvd
Along Middle Park Blvd, between Grosvenor (just learned the “s” is silent in pronouncing this name) and Leimert, four travel are retained with no bike facilities. This is frustrating, but not unexpected. We know Middle Park Blvd was going to be a test for the new DOT, and it appears that’s true. A traffic study shows that a road diet can work, and everyone agrees that a road diet is needed to meet the safety goals of the project.
There is some good news. Major reconstructions of the Grosvenor intersection and the E.18th Street intersection will happen in 2020. OakDOT received state safety grants to redo these intersections. Both projects will improve safety of kids going to Edna Brewer Middle School, but don’t address safety up near Glenview Elementary School.
All Park Blvd improvements should be measured after implementation to evaluate their effectiveness, especially the proposed spot improvements at Grosvenor and E.18th Street. If safety goals are not met with any improvements, safety upgrades need to be made. If OakDOT sticks to its current design for Middle Park Blvd, they should be prepared to stripe a road diet and add buffered bike lanes if spot improvements don’t meet safety goals. Cities such as New York City, Chicago and San Francisco are redesigning their streets for people, making safety a top priority. Oakland should do the same.
Park Blvd January 2018 Staff Presentation
OakDOT Park Blvd Project Website
From OakDOT’s 2016 Strategic Plan:
“Making Oakland’s Streets Safe and Welcoming
- Adopt a Vision Zero policy and pledge to eliminate traffic injuries and deaths
Inform safe designs and infrastructure decisions with data and analysis
- Incorporate safety and Complete Streets policies into design process
- Make safe design standards available and accessible to the community
- Establish programs to enhance pedestrian safety based on community input
- Enhance traffic signal operations for greater safety, efficiency and flexibility
Review speed limits to support safe travel on our roadways
- Provide safe access to all Oakland schools
- Make Oaklanders feel safe walking and waiting for the bus, at all times of day or night”