Oakland’s 40th St is a classic road-diet candidate. A wide 4-lane arterial with left-turn pockets, it has minimal car traffic. But instead of implementing the road-diet (as called for in the Bike Plan), a “Green-Stripe” sharrow was painted instead. This morning, I made a site visit to see the results of their experiment.
The first observation is that cars were using both lanes. This was not good, as it meant higher travel speeds. Some had been hoping that the green-stripe would serve as a de-facto bike lane, but that was clearly not happening. Bikes should not have to share a lane with fast moving traffic.
I then spent some time observing how bikes were using the green-stripe sharrow. I observed 2 bikes riding to the right of the green-stripe (i.e. in the door zone). I saw another bicyclist riding on the sidewalk. 4 bicyclists did use the green-stripe as intended. I also saw another cyclist start down the street, but then cut over to the left lane to turn off onto a side street (can’t really blame him). I only had 30 minutes to observe the street operation, so this is not enough data to draw any firm conclusions. But the relatively small number of cyclists suggests the facility is not encouraging any new trips.
I will re-iterate points made in an earlier posting. The traffic volumes on 40th are sufficiently small enough that a road-diet could be easily built. That is what is called for in the Bike Plan. If Oakland city officials cannot accomplish even this trivial project, then they should just tear up the Bike Plan and terminate the bike staff.