The City of Emeryville’s experimental protected bike lanes on Horton street caused a stir recently when the post office ceased delivery to the Terraces housing complex. The mail carrier had apparently been in the practice of parking on the red curb obstructing part of the lane and was confronted by a member of the public and felt “threatened.”
The white flexible posts, or “bollards,” have been effective in providing a buffer for cyclists and preventing delivery and rideshare drivers from the common practice of illegally parking on the red curb and obstructing the bike lanes. Unfortunately, this has these left delivery drivers with fewer options for temporary parking and many resorted to double-parking or obstructing the lanes in other areas.
Initial reports noted the Post Office ceased delivery because of the inability or inconvenience of parking caused by the bollards but apparently the carrier was also involved in a confrontation. “What caused the denial of service was apparently a confrontation by the member of the public that made the carrier feel threatened,” noted 2019 Emeryville Mayor Ally Medina in am email communication. “The postmaster prioritized safety and ceased service.”
Emeryville Police Captain Oliver Collins acknowledged that there were two calls made to his department on May 29th regarding a dispute, but no verbal threats were made and no police report was filed. “The postal carrier was talked to and made no such claim there was a threat.”
After receiving complaints from residents of The Terraces, Emeryville city staff and council arranged a meeting with the stakeholders that included the postmaster, property owner, Amtrak and Terraces HOA Board. They helped mediate a solution that involves the creation of a nearby loading area for postal workers.
“The City is designating a section of the outermost curb in the Amtrak taxi lane for the carrier to park to deliver to those buildings,” according to City of Emeryville Environmental Programs Supervisor Nancy Humphrey. “That easternmost curb is City right-of-way. The staff at Amtrak were helpful and accommodating.”
Medina noted that building management and the postal carrier were pleased with the solution and have established a better line of communication to avoid any future service issues. Mail service is expected to resume immediately and all backlogged mail will be delivered within the next two days.
Not all cyclists are thrilled with the bollards that were installed last October saying that is makes the lane is too narrow and that frustrated drivers end up parking in any available gaps. “This forces me out of my lane and onto the street” noted a community member who identified himself as a frequent cyclist.
Flexible bollards on Horton Bike Blvd look nice … but A-holes always find a way (he did apologize). @prinzrob pic.twitter.com/HtgMBZz50i
— The E’ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) October 26, 2018
Some seemed to resent the prioritization that cyclists seem to be given in the city at the expense of parking. “The more you eliminate parking, the more you limit the handicapped people who can’t walk, can’t ride bicycles,” noted another community member in a Facebook thread that seemed to reflect others’ sentiments.
Others pointed out the walking distance proximity from the Emeryville post office and how easily the carrier gave up on finding a solution despite their motto. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers,” chimed in Bike East Bay Education Director Robert Prinz “But no parking and a 5 minute walk will do it, apparently.”
Emeryville’s Public Works Department is expected to paint the curb and install new signage this week.
Feature Image: @Jtramme11 via Twitter. NBC Bay Area produced a video segment on this story:
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Rob, I want to tell you that I find myself reading the E’ville Eye with ever increasing frequency. Your efforts represent a valuable and useful body of work.
With much respect and appreciation,
Thanks so much Ken! Your readership and support are the ultimate compliments.
Last week I saw the Emeryville PD talking to the PO truck driver in the SB lanes of Horton when I drove behind cyclists in the road not using the NB bike lane. I was in the PO when the officer came and I overheard his conversation with the postmaster. I then drove to the Marina and saw a truck washing PD vehicles parked in and blocking the EB Powell bike lane. I guess the rules are different.
BTW – it’s impossible to reclaim space paid for by gas taxes.
Hello: I just left a reply about the Horton bollards that has not been posted yet. Are comments pre-screened? Please confirm.
Thanks for your comment. We’ve had a bit of an issue with spam and trolls so there is a bit of a buffer.
I specifically ride Horton because it is the only reasonably safe north-south route in the entire city. Shellmound is vastly improved with the wider lanes, especially near Public Market, but still has extremely dangerous sections, especially at intersections, and is overall harrowing.
Parking is an expensive privilege that consumes a vast amount of public space and resources. It’s high time road space is reclaimed from the exclusive domain of the automobile.
High time for numerically insignificant special interest groups to stop inconveniencing the rest of us. Oh and obey the same laws, STOP SIGNS, that the rest of the motoring public does.
“Parking is an expensive privilege that consumes a vast amount of public space and resources. It’s high time road space is reclaimed from the exclusive domain of the automobile.”
So are public parks, public libraries, public schools, public hospitals, public roads, and every other public resource.
Perhaps we should eliminate all of them because, you know, only those who have money should be able to participate in public life.
Thanks for your coverage on this. The main issue here for me is not the bike lane but that the City of Emeryville makes it illegal for the residents of 101 homes to have deliveries, pickups, ADA access and moves. There is no designated loading zone for residents, yet every Wareham commercial property has them. It’s ok for businesses to have deliveries but residents cannot. The only reason the mail carrier will be able to legally park and deliver mail is because that person harassed her. It caused the disruption and forced the city to provide a spot.
Your complaint is with Wareham then, not the city.
Cyclists and the art of deflection: Those bollards on Horton and elsewhere are over-the-top visual noise since most cyclists are feel entitled to ignore the rules of the road and endanger motorists and pedestrians by blowing through red lights, stop signs, and now, wasting city money by ignoring painted bike lanes, bollards, and illegally riding on sidewalks in droves-not some 1% either. I have had too many near-misses with rogue cyclists, including the one who gave me an obscene gesture because I dared to honk my car horn not wanting to hit her as she blew through the stop sign. Oh, the blindness of self-talk. At a community meeting, I listened as a cyclist gave a pathetic reason why he chooses to ride on the sidewalk citing dangerous drivers. So, reckless driver harms cyclist who in turn harms pedestrians on designated pathways. What is the logic here? Away with the anti-car-pro-bike rant. We all need to treat others as we want to be treated.
The bollards on that block are really dangerous. Cyclists are about 50/50 on avoiding the lanes entirely and just riding down the street.
There are too many driveway crossings and the entrance from the parking lot under Powell is blind. Delivery drivers and utility workers now regularly park under Powell making it impossible to see cyclists or cars making it a blind entrance in both directions. By forcing cyclists over to the edge of the road in these situations, it’s incredibly dangerous.
The entrance to the bollard lane northbound requires cyclists to swerve to dodge a sign, and the exit at the Subway is incorrectly marked on the pavement and also an Emery-go-Round stop. Some bus drivers pull to the curb and force cyclists to stop or go around and some stop in the lane, disembarking passengers into the bike lane where cyclists are passing the bus on the right and flying through the stop sign with cars trying to go around the Emery-Go-Round. And even without the bus, vehicles turning right can’t enter the bike lane as required by law because of the bollards.
They accomplish nothing other than moving the vehicles blocking the bike lane from a relatively safe location in the middle of the block to an incredibly dangerous location at the blind parking entrance under Powell.
The bollards on that block need to be removed before someone gets killed.
I saw the nbc news coverage of this issue and have an idea. Why not place the bollards 1 every 3 car lengths? That way you accomplish the goal of a better, safer bike lane while allowing car drivers to pull over. Hope that helps!
From a design standpoint, why place bollards on both sides of the road? Or rather, why split the bike lane into two paths? Why not just have a single bike section with lanes going in each direction, and therefore only one set of bollards?
Today’s battle with those damn bollards involved two utility trucks parked under Powell blocking the bike lane and all visibility north and a UPS truck blocking the bike lane and all visibility south. The bicycles are swerving out through the bollards into traffic into what has been made a completely blind intersection because the utility vehicles have nowhere to stop.
The day before that it was bicycles and cars swerving around a backing garbage truck into oncoming traffic.
The bollards have created a death trap for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians and accomplished nothing. The delivery and maintenance vehicles that previously blocked the bike lane still have to stop somewhere. They didn’t just disappear because of the bollards. They now just stop in a MUCH more dangerous place where you have two pedestrian crosswalks with no stop signs, dumpsters blocking visibility, one completely blind entrance, and cyclists now dodging in and out around all of it with a continuous stream of Amtrak and Emery go Round busses in the mix.
The safest thing for a cyclist to do is take the car lanes the whole way, and the cyclists are starting to figure it out.
I’ll give it less than a year before someone is seriously injured or killed under Powell or at the Emery go Round stop at the other end of the block.
If any safety vigilantes are out there looking for a late night project, you would be considered an urban hero if those bollards suddenly disappeared and sanity was restored.