Fruitvale Avenue is one of Oakland’s most popular corridors serving many local markets, churches, health providers and community centers. Bicycle and pedestrian use is also growing rapidly but the street has a high rate of crashes, many involving neighborhood residents.
For years, residents have asked for street improvements to ensure safety of a growing population of people walking and bicycling. Some quicker projects were completed including minimal crosswalks and painted bike lanes, but vehicle lanes and parking were set as a priority. The good news is that the times are a-changing and dramatic improvements could be seen in the foreseeable future. Thanks to a new, more supportive City Councilmember: Noel Gallo, along with Oakland’s Department of Transportation (OakDOT), Fruitvale Ave has been designated as a priority street for safety improvements.
WOBO Has Made Headway With Lower Fruitvale
On November 29, 2016, Oakland received a $1.1 million state grant to add bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements to Fruitvale Ave between International Blvd and Foothill Blvd. We have fought for these new bike lanes for years, from initially being rebuked by former Councilmember Ignacio de la Fuente, to now having full support of Councilmember Noel Gallo. Expect to see these bike lanes in 2019, but we will push for quicker implementation.
In 2015, we led a public outreach effort to redesign lower Fruitvale Ave from E.12th Street to the Estuary, and we are happy to report Oakland has received a $5.8 million State Active Transportation grant to rebuild the street and create a safer pedestrian experience, as well as add in Oakland’s first raised protected bike lanes.
What’s coming next
Expect exciting new improvements on Fruitvale Ave over the next four years:
- OakDOT will repave the upper stretch in 2017 with an uphill bike lane. Check out Oakland’s repaving plans for 2017.
- OakDOT just received a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant (HSIP) to redesign the middle stretch with bike lanes (likely in 2019). Here is what a redesigned middle section of Fruitvale Ave could look like.
- OakDOT will rebuild lower section with protected bike lanes, bus boarding islands, wider sidewalks, and other streetscape improvements in 2020. This project is called the Fruitvale Avenue Gap Closure Project.
- Shop businesses in Fruitvale and let them know you walk and bike to shop.
- Join your Neighborhood Council and find out what people are talking about/doing. Look up meeting times and locations for the Fruitvale Unity Neighborhood Council (beats 20X/23X/24X)
- We want your pretty neighborhood photos! Take a flattering picture of your neighborhood’s street and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll use it to promote positive change.
- Request a bike rack at your favorite business.
- Remind business owners that the City of Oakland will install free bike racks on the sidewalk in front of their business. All they have to do is ask.
- Contact Jennifer Stanley, Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator, at email@example.com
- If the business already has a bike rack out front, thank them for that and let them know you appreciate it. Don’t be shy about bringing your bike helmet inside with you as a good prop!
- Patronize the business and get to know the manager/owner.
- Monitor your Nextdoor chatter and weigh in when necessary to keep the conversation on track for a safer Fruitvale Avenue.