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Agenda Item

5 21-0454 Subject: Improvements To Telegraph Avenue From 20th Street To 29th Street From: Transportation Department Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution To Modify Telegraph Avenue From 20th Street To 29th Street With Enhanced Buffered Bike Lanes With Curb Management And To Adopt California Environmental Quality Act Findings

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    Shari Godinez about 3 years ago

    Please support the DOT’s recommendation to change the bike lane to a safer buffered bike lane where the cyclist are visible to drivers.
    This lane is extremely dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians and it has had a negative impact on the businesses sales and it is threatening the viability of restarting the Oakland First Fridays events by reducing usable space by 50%.
    In these five years we’ve seen clear problems with this design. Cars turning right or left from Telegraph can’t see bike lane traffic because of the row of parked cars, resulting in a cyclist being struck by a turning car last year. One of our own staff broke his wrist when he swerved to avoid a pedestrian stepping off the curb into the lane.
    Please take all stakeholders into consideration. Over 40 outspoken cyclists who have voiced their concerns regarding the dangers of this lane. Our online petition gathered nearly 1700 signatures, and a dozen cyclists voiced opposition to the protected lane at the BPAC meeting on June 17th.
    The testimonials at the BPAC includes two former BPAC commissioners who testified at the meeting that they no longer ride down Telegraph Ave and they support OakDOT’s recommendation to change this to a buffered bike lane.
    The DOT reported a 33% increase in reported collisions after the lanes were installed. And I know there are a lot of unreported collisions.
    The reduction in sales for businesses shows a -22% dip below city average after 2016 and a 75% drop from 2017 to 2019.
    Thank you

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    Ry Allred about 3 years ago

    I am a D3 resident. Biking and public transit is my only method of getting around. Please maintain the protected bike lanes. Paint only lanes invite cars to park (no matter how temporarily) in the bike lanes. This forces bicycle traffic into the street inviting further opportunities for fatal collisions

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    Kristen Leckie about 3 years ago

    As a District 2 resident who has commuted on Telegraph between Berkeley and Oakland on and off for over 7 years, I am in full opposition of the revision of the bike lanes to the less safe paint-only buffered bike lane. I recognize that the protected bike lanes as they are now are not perfect, but we have multiple ways we can improve them and funding in hand to do this work. My worst experiences along Telegraph have been on areas with sharrows and paint-only bike lanes, I've been nearly hit too many times to count. I cannot begin to describe the change in safety and comfort I've experienced since the protected bike lanes went in. Concrete will stop double-parking, not paint which will invite more double-parking along the corridor. Concrete protected bike lanes will also provide improved safety and comfort for pedestrians, helping protect our most vulnerable folks. I hope we can work alongside businesses, residents and visitors in KONO to figure out how to make the protected bike lanes work for everyone. Thank you for taking the time to read our comments.

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    Jesse Pollak about 3 years ago

    I am a West Oakland resident and I frequently bike through the 20th to 29th street corridor on Telegraph. Please maintain the protected bike lanes - they are critical to keeping bikes like me safe.

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    Raymon SutedjoThe about 3 years ago

    Protected bike lanes create a better, safer street for EVERYONE. OakDOT's recommendation to replace protected bike lanes with paint + curb management makes no sense and isn't backed by evidence. The absolute best way to prevent collisions and protect the safety of bicycle riders is to build physical infrastructure. Painted lanes simply do not prevent cars from double parking or blocking the lane.

    OakDOT's own study prior to 2021 clearly showed that the protected bike lanes resulted in 40% reduction in collisions, 9% increase in retail sales, and decrease in speeding in both directions (45% southbound, and 27% northbound). And yet, the latest evaluation makes no mention of these past findings, and instead uses a highly questionable set of metrics that suspiciously frames protected bike lanes as inferior. Some community members have pointed out visibility issues with the existing, temporary design, which are valid. However, the right response is to move forward with the protected bike lanes and adjust the design to improve visibility for all street users, NOT to remove them altogether.

    The decision on this corridor will have significant impact on KONO and set a huge precedent on street designs everywhere else. I strongly oppose OakDOT's proposal and urge the Council to support Option 1 (protected bike lane) instead.

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    Dan Tischler about 3 years ago

    Please maintain the protected bike lanes and improve them by finishing the project. Safety is the most important consideration and buffered bike lanes don't measure up. I ride my bike on Telegraph with my children and know the corridor well. The current design has problems, particularly with bad parking behavior, but the plastic bollards have greatly improved the current bike lanes. Finishing the project with concrete islands and filling in the gap in the 30s will further improve the protected bike lanes. While buffered bike lanes work okay on quieter streets with little curbside retail activity, on Telegraph in the 20s they would be constantly used for double parking, and families like mine would have to swerve in and out of traffic on Telegraph. Active demand management won't help as some drivers double park in bike lanes even when there are legal spots nearby.

    Oakland desperately needs at least one safe corridor for biking east-west through Downtown Oakland and one safe route for biking north-south through Downtown. 14th St and Telegraph were supposed to be these corridors. With 14th St shelved, there is no safe way to bike across downtown. If you convert Telegraph to buffered bike lanes, we will also lose the only safe route for north-south travel between Downtown and North Oakland. Telegraph Ave is a cornerstone segment for the entire citywide bicycle network. Backtracking on Telegraph jeopardizes the entire city's bike infrastructure.

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    Phil Erickson about 3 years ago

    My name is Phil Erickson. I own a small urban design and transportation planning business in downtown Oakland in District 3. For over 20 years, we have successfully collaborated with city staff and Oaklanders on projects like the Telegraph Complete Streets Implementation Plan and 13th St. Commons. I, and others in the office, commute by bike. Years of experience riding in Oakland has shown us that near misses/collisions are more frequent where bike lanes are not protected. Removing protected bike lanes in KONO will negatively impact our transportation choices and physical health.

    My commute also includes Shattuck. I often see vehicles use the bike lane as a driving lane. Experiencing this and other drivers behavior in Oakland convinces me that drivers will use a buffered bike lane on Telegraph frequently as a travel and parking lane. Also, people will driver faster with paint and cyclists next to them rather than parked cars. Increased speed will put all users at more risk along Telegraph in KONO.

    Improved protected bike lanes will increase visibility between drivers and cyclists. Curb management can help address business concerns if combined with protected bike lanes. Design and management solutions can be found to address First Fridays’ concerns with protected bike lanes. I am willing to provide pro bono design assistance to identify solutions.

    Please do not approve enhanced buffered bike lanes on Telegraph in KONO. Let’s make Telegraph work better for everyone.

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    Joel Shaffer about 3 years ago

    This is not an "improvement". This is a downgrade. Why would the City remove separated bike lanes on this segment of Telegraph when new separated bike lanes were just installed on Telegraph in Temescal? This creates an uncomfortable gap in the protected bikeway network that is less attractive to interested but concerned bicyclists (e.g., older bicyclists, parents with children, etc.) This is an extremely direct, popular route enjoyed by many bicyclists today between North Oakland/Berkeley and Downtown. The safety of the existing separated bike lanes can be improved by tweaking the existing design. Ripping them out entirely is an extreme measure, and ironically will not increase bicyclist safety but have the exact opposite effect. If the City is serious about convincing more people to ditch their cars and ride bikes for shopping, recreation, etc., downgrading separated bike lanes into buffered bike lanes won't do it.

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    Kuan Butts about 3 years ago

    supporting full bike lane separation (concrete) and separators to control dangerous driving along this segment of road. painted lines are **not** enough. please do not remove or downgrade bike infrastructure, putting peds and cyclists at even greater danger than they are currently.

    apologies for brevity, writing w/ a broken hand (an example of the type of bike injury i am trying to avoid again in future by preserving and increasing safety on roads - not make it even easier for cars to drive dangerously and hurt/kill others)

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    Edward Yoo about 3 years ago

    I own the Blind Tiger Restaurant on Telegraph Avenue at 27th Street. I'm writing to express my support for the replacement of the protected bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue with buffered bike lanes, as OakDOT has recommended.

    There are obviously strong opinions on both sides of this debate. Obviously safety is the key concern, and I agree with those who say the limited visibility between bikes and cars in the current design is a hazard.

    As a business owner, I'm also concerned about other impacts. KONO lost thirty parking spaces when the lanes were installed and I fear eliminating more street parking is the only way to begin to address the safety issues. Tax revenues in this district have gone down since the lanes were installed and as we emerge from Covid we literally can't afford to have sales drop further.

    Also, I'm told that permanent bike lanes will involve the installation of curbs, and that those changes would narrow the footprint of Oakland First Fridays to where they may not be able to have enough space. First Fridays is a critical driver of business for my restaurant, and many others along Telegraph. It's also a cultural touchstone that helped reverse years of decline for this neighborhood. Its loss could have a devastating impact on the community.

    For all these reasons, I encourage you to vote in favor of OakDOT's recommendation to put buffered bike lanes in the KONO District.

    Sincerely,

    Edward Yoo

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    Liat Zavodivker about 3 years ago

    I oppose the enhanced Buffered Bike Lanes with Curb Management for the following reasons:

    1. Telegraph Ave is a major connection from Oakland to Berkeley and an integral part of the 2019 Bike Plan. A painted, unprotected bike lane would remove the connection for bicyclists and other non-vehicular mobility device users. Safety on this corridor should be enhanced in the form of protected bike lanes. The staff recommendation would not enhance safety (as evidenced by the buffered bike lanes and curb management strategies throughout the city) and the wishful thinking that the business district will adopt such policies. There are already several places encouraging the rapid and efficient throughput of cars such as the Grove Shafter Freeway.
    2. The community engagement process was sloppy, hurried, and only included a limited number of small businesses. The metrics for determining that a buffered bike lane with enhanced curb management were not applied to a protected bike lane with enhanced curb management. The vibrancy of the community is diminished by the allowance of multiple traffic and speeding violations in the area, not enhanced.
    3. Oakland needs to focus on holistic improvements to public safety issues. The amount of time and money wasted in redesigning this corridor could be going into improving other parts of Oakland and in improving the mental health outcomes of people living on the street especially on Telegraph Ave.

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    Kerby Olsen about 3 years ago

    I oppose the staff recommendation and urge the Council to support option 1: the protected bike lane option

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    Scott Forman about 3 years ago

    A few years ago I stopped riding my bike because I had been spat at, aggressively passed within inches, and verbally threatened by speeding drivers one too many times, including on Telegraph. And I've had more friends than I can count hit and seriously injured. I personally started riding again only after the protected lanes were installed on Telegraph, around Lake Merritt, and elsewhere. The protected bike lanes are good for everyone. They make speeding much more difficult, and yield a calmer and more civilized streetscape that's safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I prefer the slower and calmer driving experience too, on the occasions when I have to drive. Buffered bike lanes are not good enough; the door zone is too dangerous. Why would we go backwards? Removing these bike lanes would be a slap in the face to people like me who believe we should have the option to use other means of transportation besides space-hogging, ocean-boiling automobiles without risking life and limb.

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    Tim Courtney about 3 years ago

    As a D3 resident who gets around in Oakland almost exclusively by bike, I strongly oppose OakDOT's recommendation to reverse course and go backwards on safety by removing protection for people biking on Telegraph in KONO. By the report's own measure, the only way to keep the unprotected "buffered" lanes free of double-parked cars is through police enforcement, which is unreliable, comes at an ongoing cost to taxpayers, and is incongruent with City Council's aims to re-imagine public safety with less policing.

    Meanwhile, funds are secure to upgrade the existing configuration to permanent with concrete dividers that will physically protect people biking from cars, and prevent drivers from parking in the bike lane (which they do now, illegally, where is the enforcement on that?). It would cost the city more public money to make Telegraph less safe for people, when a safe plan already exists and is funded.

    Curb-separated bike lanes are safest. They allow for predictable traffic flow from drivers and bicyclists alike, and provide safe passage for less confident cyclists (such as children, parents, and seniors). The protected bike lane design is the safest, so I urge the Public Works Committee to reject OakDOT's recommendation.

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    Daniel Siever about 3 years ago

    I live in Oakland district 3 and regularly commute, shop and travel by bicycle in this section of Telegraph, especially as I begin to return to in-person work downtown. I feel much safer riding on the protected bike lanes on this portion of Telegraph as opposed to the unprotected and buffered lanes on other sections of telegraph. Drivers regularly double park in protected bike lanes of the type being proposed, which can force cyclists like me to pull into traffic to get around them. This traffic can be going much faster than me and other cyclists. Especially at night, it can be difficult to judge their distance from me when I pull into car lanes. This experience is immensely stressful, and often dangerous. For my safety and and the safety of other people who ride bicycles on telegraph, I strongly oppose the city converting these already funded protected bike lanes to less safe buffered bike lanes.

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    Zachary Evan about 3 years ago

    I live at Telegraph and 30th. I bike on these protected bike lanes nearly every day and can state, unequivocally, that they provide a safer design for bikers, cars and pedestrians alike. In fact, OakDOT showcased the increased safety of protected bike lanes in their own presentation about this section of Telegraph Ave. two years ago. Every single survey from the DOT and the business district show public preference for the protected bikeway design, and data show large increases in the number of people biking and walking on the corridor since the protected bike lanes were installed. Furthermore, this move backwards will divert funds away from other street safety projects. Oakland has already been awarded a $4.5 million grant to upgrade this very section of Telegraph Avenue, which is fully designed, funded, and would have been on the ground this year. A last-minute switch to paint-only bike lanes would require state approval and a major redesign, delaying safety upgrades and costing the city more money and staff resources. Finally, the main pushback on Telegraph Avenue over the years has come from business owners within the district, frustrated with the project’s slow and difficult implementation. Whether the city opts for buffered bike lanes or works to further improve the safety of protected bike lanes, the project could very well face additional years of pushback if the city doesn’t answer the real question: How will KONO businesses be meaningfully supported?

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    Mike Woolson about 3 years ago

    I strongly support the installation of enhanced buffered bike lanes for these reasons:
    - The current lanes are unsafe because the row of parked cars blocks visibility of the bike lane for cars turning right or left from Telegraph.
    - Cars regularly drive and park in the protected lanes.
    - Motorscooters use the bike lanes at higher rates of speed, increasing the risk of serious accidents.
    - Not being able to pull up to the curb creates a hardship for the disabled.
    - Tax revenues for KONO's mostly minority- and immigrant-owned small businesses have steadily declined since the protected lanes were installed.
    - KONO businesses risk losing even more parking with protected lane changes.
    - Protected lanes are opposed by almost all of the businesses I spoke to. Most were primarily concerned with safety over the loss of their business.
    - Oakland First Fridays may not be able to resume because of the additional curbs required for permanent protected lanes squeezing the event footprint (vendors cannot set up on top of the new curbs).
    - Some groups are oppose this decision by citing a drop in accident rates after the bike lanes were installed. This happened because Telegraph was cut from two to one lane in each direction, slowing traffic. This will not change with buffered lanes.
    - Delivery drivers are forced to park in the left turn lane and ferry goods across traffic and bike lanes.
    - Street sweeping and trash pickup are hampered when trucks can't get within 10 feet of the curb.

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    Grant Chen about 3 years ago

    I live on MLK and 30th Street and regularly drive, walk, and bike down Telegraph Avenue in KONO. I urge you to support the protected bike lanes on this stretch and to oppose regressing the design to buffered non-protected bike lanes. I regularly have bikes this stretch and really love the way the protected bike lanes make me feel safer from cars parking, from buses stopping for passengers, and from cars parking in the bike lane. This design has proven to be much safer. I also appreciate the design as a driver and a pedestrian because it slows down car traffic, which I like. This design makes more people more likely to bike, which is a positive for the neighborhood and city. With any design, there are some flaws. Many of the issues have come from people parking their cars illegally blocking sight lines and creating traffic jams. The existing infrastructure of paint, cones, and previously plastic planters are not sufficient to stop drivers from parking illegally. The next phase of concrete curbs, which is fully funded and already approved, would address many of the existing issues with the design. Furthermore, in the KONO BID’s own survey, a majority of business owners supported the protected bike lanes and felt that they helped improve business. These bike lanes are popular and safer. I don’t understand why they are even up for debate. To change the design now would lose funding, increase costs for a redesign and increase staff time to gather community feedback.

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    Joe Lawlor about 3 years ago

    Joe Lawlor - Oakland Resident
    I am a District 2 resident and visit District 3 - including the subject section of Telegraph Avenue - regularly for shopping, recreating, and more.
    As a person that drives, walks, and bikes around Oakland, I urge you to modify the resolution and adopt a resolution that supports the previously studied, designed, and funded Option 3 (Permanent Protected Bike Lanes). The other options, including the proposed Option 5, are less safe and this change in project scope causes significant additional project costs and uncertainty. Buffered bike lanes with “innovative curb management strategies” essentially means ticketing and towing cars that are double parked in the bike lane—something we see time and again in paint-only bike lanes. It will result in inequitable and ineffective enforcement.
    Thank you for your reconsideration.  

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    Chris Hwang about 3 years ago

    Chris Hwang, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland: Oppose the Department's recommendation to revert to a less safe paint-only buffered bike lane. This alternative option as recommended is not safer; it would only score better on the evaluative criteria when combined with a "innovative curb management" strategy coupled with ongoing ticketing and towing of illegally double-parked vehicles in the bike lane. The fully implemented, and fully-funded, project to build out concrete curbs would prevent parked vehicles from blocking important sight lines for all users of the roadway, which is the main safety concern with the protected bike way.