Tomorrow (Saturday, May 30) there is again an open streets event in my neighborhood, Love Our Neighborhood Day (coverage 1, 2, 3, 4). San Pablo Avenue (California Route 123) will be closed to cars for a stretch going through North Oakland and Southwest Berkeley. Last year, looking toward downtown Oakland:
Flyer for this year:
In the 6.5 years I’ve lived half a block from San Pablo Avenue, it seems to me that bicycle traffic has multiplied. I suspect many of the people I see in the morning and afternoon are commuting. I very occasionally ride on San Pablo because it’s much more direct to many places than safer routes. There are no accommodations for bicyclists on San Pablo in Emeryville, North Oakland, and Berkeley.
Emeryville’s plan calls for a “corridor redesign” that does not officially designate San Pablo Avenue as a bicycle route but does suggest “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs and painting shared lane markings. Berkeley is updating its bike plan but I don’t know if San Pablo Avenue is yet on its agenda. It does not seem to be for Oakland.
To the north, El Cerrito and Albany are apparently planning protected bike lanes on San Pablo Avenue. Hopefully tomorrow’s event will get people in Oakland and Berkeley thinking likewise.
Much of the Oakland stretches of San Pablo Avenue (there’s another to the south between Emeryville and downtown Oakland, passing under 980) has substantial and poorly maintained medians (weed control cloth which is exposed, tattered, and does not control weeds is ugly-tacky several times over; plus dead trees) that could be removed to make room.
At the same time, because people cruising for parking are dangerous to bicyclists, some parking spots would probably be lost to bike accommodations, and the neighborhood is booming, parking on San Pablo Avenue and nearby should become paid, preferably as part of a community parking benefit district as recently implemented in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland.