Oakland: San Pablo Ave to Get New Bike Lanes & Better Sidewalks in Downtown Oakland

Image: PGA Design
Despite frequent calls for building a less car-reliant East Bay, even our "big city" Oakland still feels inhospitable to bikes in many places. Especially our urban core, downtown Oakland, has always been a bit of mystery to me because it should have great bike infrastructure but really, sadly, it doesn't.

One small piece of the puzzle may be in the works as, according to city documents, new bike lanes will soon be installed on San Pablo Avenue between 17th Street and Castro Street (right before the 980 freeway). A patchwork of bike lanes and sharrows already exist on this stretch of San Pablo but this project should get rid of the gaps. However, it's worth pointing out that city documents do not explicitly state that the stretch between 19th and 20th will get bike lanes (currently there are sharrows) so it's possible that this block will keep its current configuration.

Beyond bike lanes, the project should also make the street significantly more attractive to pedestrians. New bulb-outs, sidewalks, curb ramps and more street trees should all help to create a more inviting feel in an area that will soon see more residents and workers. Also included in the project is a stormwater filtration system that will help keep urban runoff out of the Bay. Of note is that, according to the landscape architect PGA Design's website, a fairly recent attempt at upgrading the streetscape on these few blocks of San Pablo has apparently been deemed a failure by the city, hence the second attempt at improving this gateway to downtown Oakland. Construction could begin as early as August and, if everything goes according to plan, would be completed by March 2016.

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