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The overall goal of Oakland's Proposed Bikeway Network is to provide safe and convenient bikeways so that the majority of any bicycle trip can be made on a designated facility. Designated bikeways improve safety by building awareness among drivers to expect cyclists on those streets. Bicyclists may cycle on any road in California unless specifically prohibited.
The proposed bikeway network includes bicycle paths, lanes, and routes.
Bicycle Paths (Class 1) are paved rights-of-way completely separated from streets. Bicycle paths are often located along waterfronts, creeks, railroad rights-of-way or freeways with a limited number of cross streets and driveways. These paths are typically shared with pedestrians and often called mixed-use paths.
Bicycle Lanes (Class 2) give bicyclists striped lanes on streets, designated with specific signage and stencils. Bicycle lanes may include buffer striping to provide greater separation between bicyclists and parked or moving vehicles. Bicycle lanes are the preferred treatment for all arterial and collector streets on the bikeway network. Bicycle lanes should not be installed on low-volume, low-speed residential streets. Because of driveways on those streets, bicyclists are safer riding in the middle of the travel lane.
Bicycle Routes (Class 3) designate preferred streets for bicycle travel using lanes shared with motor vehicles. While the only required treatment is signage, bicycle routes are designated because they are suitable for sharing with motor vehicles and provide better connectivity than other streets.
Other Bikeways Types
The following three bikeway types are variations on the standard bicycle route and address the following issues that are commonly found in Oakland: (1) limited right-of-way width may preclude adding bicycle lanes; (2) parallel streets may not provide an alternative bikeway alignment; (3) neighborhood streets may provide good bicycle connections and could be marked as bikeways.
- Arterial Bicycle Routes (Class 3A): On some arterial streets, bicycle lanes are not feasible, and parallel streets do not provide adequate connectivity. These streets may be designed to promote shared use with lower posted speed limits (preferably 25 mph), shared lane bicycle stencils (“sharrows”), wide curb lanes, and signage.
- Bicycle Boulevards (Class 3B): Bicycle boulevards are bicycle routes on residential streets that prioritize through trips for bicyclists and reduce delay. The route should appeal to cyclists of varied skill levels by providing direct connections on streets with low traffic volumes. The route should reduce delay to bicyclists by assigning right-of-way to travel on the route. Traffic calming should be introduced as needed to discourage drivers from using the boulevard as a through route. Intersections with major streets should be controlled by traffic signals with bicycle actuation. Oakland’s Bicycle Boulevards will be marked with shared lane bicycle stencils (aka “sharrows”) and signage.
- Neighborhood Connectors: While most designated bikeways provide connections between neighborhoods, many streets provide good connections within neighborhoods. These streets could be mapped to improve their public visibility without installing the standard bicycle route signage. This map-only designation would help cyclists by identifying routes while allowing the City to focus physical improvements on bikeway types that are key to the bikeway network.
- Cycle Tracks: (definition excerpted from the National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Bikeway Design Guide) A cycle track is an exclusive bike facility that is physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. Cycle tracks provide space that is intended to be exclusively or primarily used for bicycles, and are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes, and sidewalks. In situations where on-street parking is allowed cycle tracks are located to the curb-side of the parking (in contrast to bike lanes). The Bicycle Master Plan (2007) does not include cycle tracks as a bikeway type. Phase 1 of the Telegraph Ave Complete Streets Implementation Plan will construct the first parking-protected cycle track in Oakland.
More information: Oakland’s Bicycle Master Plan (2007)
What is a sharrow?
In September 2005, Caltrans approved a new pavement marking to indicate shared-use lanes. The "sharrow" has been installed on 20th St (San Pablo Ave-Telegraph Ave), Foothill Blvd (36th-41st Aves), MacArthur Blvd (Lakeshore Ave-Park Blvd), Market St/61st St (57th St-Occidental), and W Grand Ave (Telegraph Ave-Webster St). The City will install sharrows where bike lanes are not feasible and where a Class 3 route is not adequate as defined by the Bicycle Master Plan. For more information about sharrows, please read the Sharrow FAQ flyer (.pdf).