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Oakland Tries Experimental Bicycle Pathway

| September 18, 2013
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OAKLAND (BCN) A new experimental bicycle pathway along 40th Street in Oakland aims to help drivers and bicyclists travel on the busy street.

A cyclist pedals along a dedicated bike lane.

FILE PHOTO: Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images

The city’s first green bicycle pathway was completed Saturday, running through the Piedmont Avenue commercial district, by the MacArthur BART station and into Emeryville.

A series of sharrows, or shared-lane bicycle markings, stretch along the road shared by motorists and bicyclists for eight-tenths of a mile, Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Manager Jason Patton said.

The path is part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan to increase bicycle access to BART stations, Patton said.

The pathway is broken into two segments starting from Webster Street to Telegraph Avenue, with a brief break for an existing bicycle lane near state Highway 24, and then continuing from Martin Luther King Jr. Way to Adeline Street, Patton said.

According to the city’s Public Works Agency, many bicyclists travel along the “door zone” area where parked car doors open, and the pathway would provide more clearance for motorists and bicyclists to share the roadway.

The Public Works Agency is overseeing the experimental pathway in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and California Traffic Control Devices Committee.

Patton said the pathway is a non-standard traffic control device that needs to be regulated by state and federal agencies for consistency.

While the pathway is still experimental in nature, Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, said he doesn’t think it will work for the 40th Street corridor.

Speed limits should be between 20 to 25 mph for such a pathway, also referred to as a super sharrow, to work to accommodate the number of vehicles traveling on a street, Campbell said.

While the speed limit on 40th Street is set at 30 mph, motorists tend to travel 40 to 50 mph while bicyclists travel at 12 to 15 mph, Campbell said.

Community members have notified the Public Works Agency of speed complaints and will continue collecting data on the pathway through October, Patton said. They will be collecting information such as the number of bicyclists and speed of vehicles on the road.

The city is looking to put more green bicycle pathways on city streets, including Broadway between Grand Avenue and 25th Street, Patton said.

Anyone who would like to comment on the bicycle pathway can send an email to bikeped@oaklandnet.com.

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Category: Recreation, Transportation

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