40th Street in Oakland is your classic road-diet candidate. It is a wide 4-lane arterial with minimal traffic — and it serves as an important connector between the Macarthur BART station and the big shopping center in Emeryville.
So why is Oakland planning Green-Stripe sharrows instead? Instead of standard bike lanes, Oakland Public Works wants to submit an application for non-standard green stripe sharrows. Here is what the application states:
The experiment is proposed for 40th Street between Adeline Street and Webster Street in proximity of the MacArthur BART Transit Station and Transit Village development. In California, the use of non-standard traffic control devices must be reviewed and approved by the California Traffic Control Devices Committee and by the Federal Highway Administration. The City will request
permission to experiment in 2012. If approved, the experiment would be conducted in 2012 and 2013.
The California Vehicle Code requires bicyclists to “ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” (CVC 21202(a)). Exceptions to this requirement include roadways with “a substandard width lane” defined as “a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane” (CVC 21202(a)(3)). In the City of Oakland, the majority of urban arterials and collectors have lane widths that are too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to operate side by side in a safe manner.
Hopefully the application will be rejected because the “Problem Statement” is erroneous. The real “problem statement” is the lack of political will to implement a simple road-diet. 40th Street traffic volumes are relatively low, thus a road-diet is the correct engineering solution for bike accommodation (and the dangerous speeding).
Even more distressing is the rationale used by Oakland planners to oppose bike lanes. The problem, they say, isn’t traffic volumes today, but future traffic volumes — partly due to a “transit-oriented” development in the works at the Macarthur BART station.