Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Un-necessary Extravagance

    Oakland is characterized by flat grounds with direct routes to almost anywhere you need to go, an ideal haven for bicyclists. However, there are few streets in Oakland that have sufficient bike lanes, which makes it difficult for cars and bicyclists to safely share the road.
    Telegraph Avenue is an important street in Oakland and Berkeley; it contains, separates, and connects many parts of Oakland, including Downtown, West Oakland, Uptown Oakland, Lake Merritt, North Oakland, and continues all the way to the top of the slight slope to connect Oakland with Berkeley.
    Ideally, bicyclists should be able to take this route to get where they need to go. Telegraph Avenue has no bike lanes and is not suitable for a bicyclist’s safety.
    The East Bay Bicyclist Coalition (EBBC) has noticed the lack of accommodations on Telegraph for those who choose to bike rather than drive. The coalition has proposed a new, possibly pricey, and exaggerated design.
    According to the EBBC, this design could include re-pavement, new bus bulbs along the avenue, planter boxes used as lane separators, on-street biking corals, lane restrictions, turn pockets, buffered bike lanes, queue boxes, green pavement paint, development of parklets along the route, and more.
    Dollar signs emerge when contemplating these extensive designs: how much could something like this cost, and will Oakland be footing the bill? Although there are many designs being considered, each design will cost money and in order for any change to happen the EBBC will have to seek funding after a design decision is decided upon and an estimate is made.
    “We want to get these ideas out there, and we need everybody’s perspective to improve walking and biking along the corridor, at the same time that we preserve transit and vehicle operations,” said Kristine Shaff, a representative for the city of Oakland
    “It is becoming more and more challenging to balance all the needs along Telegraph,” Shaff said. With the needs of pedestrians, motor vehicles, and bicyclists, Telegraph Avenue is only so large. It is already a high-congestion street and the proposed bike lane designs could make it even busier.
    The fact is Oakland is on a budget. The city has its resources, goals, priorities and needs just like every city. Oakland has a host of priorities unmet. For example, the city is marked by pot-hole ridden streets, lack of sufficient lighting in most areas, illegal dumping, and vandalism. How could Oakland create this extravagant bike lane along Telegraph if the budget isn’t even there to improve the quality of most streets, let alone add bike lanes?
    In Oakland, rent is on the rise, new businesses are popping up everywhere, and gentrification is well on its way. The most up and coming areas in Oakland include Uptown Oakland and North Oakland, both of which rest along the length of Telegraph.
    With a growing population in the area, a bike lane is definitely needed. However, the over-abundant and financially steep designs being proposed are excessive.
    In the long run, bike lanes will work to gentrify these and surrounding neighborhoods; it will raise rents in the area forcing low-income residents to take up housing elsewhere.
    The bike lane will cause more traffic along Telegraph and will cost too much money, money that could be spent on more important things.
    A simple bike lane along Telegraph would provide acceptable safety for bicyclists in the East Bay; it would do its job without all the un-necessary extravagance.

    To find out more about plans for the bike lane, visit: https://www.ebbc.org/telegraph.
    Georgette Hall is a Tower staff writer. Email her at [email protected].

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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