Roughly 25 current and new members turned out at the March 20th Emeryville Bike East Bay member organizing meeting held at Doyle St Co-housing. They came to strategize about priority Bike/Ped improvements in our city and how to build public support for their implementation. BEB Advocacy Director Dave Campbell, who moderated the event, challenged those in attendance to “think big”. Emeryville’s Bike/Ped plan, last updated in 2012, is due for its five year update this year and there’s an opportunity to get these priorities embedded into it.
Campbell went on to express the importance of this moment and his observation of the political will of our city to act on these priorities. The looming allocation of funds from the 2014 passing of Measure BB are alto a criteria as we’ll have access to a slice of the roughly $8 Billion Alameda County transit improvement “pie”. Measure BB is a half-cent transportation sales tax that is projected to generate this revenue over the coming 30 years.
In attendance were Councilmembers John Bauters and Ally Medina. Bauters is our city’s Alameda County Transportation Commission representative and will be tasked with advocating transit improvements and our share of Measure BB funds. Councilmember Medina indicated San Pablo Avenue improvements as a personal campaign priority for her and vowed to spearhead them during her term.
The subsequent discussion settled on the below five priorities. The Bay Trail Connection along Powell Street will be pushed at a higher level by Bike East Bay, the Emeryville BPAC and lead volunteers. Campbell noted the Stanford and San Pablo Avenue projects will need a strong “ground game’ of volunteers to see them through. “There is a lot of work to do, but we now have a better idea of priorities and a bigger team to work with together,” Campbell concluded in a follow up email to members.
The Top Five Projects from these discussions:
1). San Pablo Avenue Bike Lanes
PROBLEM: State Highway 123, AKA San Pablo Avenue (SPA), is not a route for the “recreational” bicyclist but more for the hardcore commuter. This has discouraged use and any substantial improvements. Safer crosswalk across key intersections are also a priority.
SOLUTION: Incorporate a dedicated bike lane. Additional crosswalk safety measures, bike corrals and parklets could make help make this street more welcoming and encourage business.
CHALLENGES/NEXT STEPS: A public planning process for redesigning SPA is being led by The Alameda CTC and will begin in the 2nd half of 2017. This process will include Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and Albany. BEB has initiated outreach to businesses on the strip to encourage installing more bike racks to encourage cycling. Bike lanes are estimated to cost about $100K per mile.
2). Stanford to Adeline Bike Lanes
PROBLEM: If you miraculously survive the Powell “Four Intersections” nightmare between Frontage & Christie while traveling East, you’re left with less than ideal choices for continuing your route. You could ride over the Powell Street bridge (it is legal), schlep your ride up the steep and poorly lit Powell overpass stairway, or take an inconvenient detour across the Amtrak Bridge. The continuation from here to the Stanford merge all the way to Adeline is sketchy.
SOLUTION: Incorporate a dedicated bike lane and a linear greenway.
CHALLENGES/NEXT STEPS: Bike East Bay has applied for a UC Berkeley Chancellor’s grant to start a public process to develop a design concept for a linear greenway along Stanford/Adeline/Shattuck Avenues that would connect the Bay Trail to downtown Berkeley. BEB is waiting to hear on their grant application before moving forward and expect to hear soon.
3). SF Bay Trail – Powell to Shellmound Bridge
PROBLEM: The Powell “Four intersections” remain probably the most challenging intersections in our city. There are small safety measures we can implement to make this safer in the interim, but it’s hard to ever envision this segment being “bike-friendly” without a major revamp. When the connection from Yerba Buena to Treasure Island is completed (and one day SF), our city will have the distinction as being the biggest bottleneck of the East Bay portion of the Bay Trail and a deterrent from family participation.
SOLUTION: Short term plans to improve the crosswalks are already in the works. A longterm plan could involve a bridge over I-80 providing a better connector to the Bay Bridge trailhead near IKEA.
CHALLENGES/NEXT STEPS: A project of this sort could take as long as a decade and cost upwards of $30-40 million dollars. Emeryville staff have been asked to further study traffic conditions on Powell Street, to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, between the 80 freeway and Christie Avenue cycle track.
4). Hollis Street Bike Lanes
PROBLEM: The Hollis Corridor is the main North-to-South artery through our city yet contains no bike lanes.
SOLUTION: Incorporate a bike lane or possibly a sharrow (green lane similar to 40th street).
CHALLENGES/NEXT STEPS: Bike lanes are estimated to cost about $100K per mile. Bike-friendliness would also encourage patronage of local businesses.
5). Greenway to Mandela Parkway Connection
PROBLEM: When the Sherwin Development and South Bayfront Bridge are completed in 2020, a large section of the Emeryville Greenway project will be complete. Unfortunately, it will dead end at Halleck Street without a clear or safe connection to Mandela Parkway. This would be a common route to continue to Target, Downtown Oakland, West Oakland BART and Jack London Square.
SOLUTION: A proposed route would take a rider underneath the 40th/Shellmound overpass and behind Target where a rider could bypass the cluster of East Bay Bridge mall parking lots. The Halleck-Beach dog park includes a plan to widen the path that would bisect the “small” and “large” dog parks and its use would encourage public safety. There’s also discussion for a better connector behind Target that could be incorporated into the Mandela Hotel plans.
CHALLENGES: Very low priority by current council and not really “on the radar” of our planners. Would require cooperation of Oakland.
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