Here in Oakland, 57% of people want to ride a bike more than they do now, according to a NACTO survey conducted in 2019. And biking makes a lot of sense for short to moderate distances. A 2-3-mile bike ride that takes 20 minutes by bike may take the same amount of time or longer by car – because of traffic and parking. I timed this recently. Here’s a 2.1 mile bike ride that took 10.5 minutes. Google maps estimates a 12 minute car drive, that doesn’t include parking time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDJ27-AfMm4 Many trips are distances that one can easily bike The Federal Highway Administration keeps data on automobile trip distances. 45% of trips are under 3 miles, and 35% are under 2 miles. More than 1 in 3 car trips could be replaced by a bike ride! This would be […]Continue readingMore Tag
Category: bike infrastructure
Protected bike lanes separate people on bikes from moving cars – and parked cars.
I rode my bike down the protected bicycle lane on Telegraph Avenue in downtown Oakland the other day. It was not as pleasant as I’d hoped, but still way better than what it was like riding a bicycle on Telegraph Avenue before the lanes were installed. Back then, it felt like riding next to cars on a highway, with some obstacles in between. Traffic speeds are slower now, but there are still a lot of obstacles. Most of the obstacles were at driveways and intersections, and were mostly drivers who were trying to drive their cars somewhere. When the bike lanes ended downtown though, the painted bike lane became an auxiliary parking lot for cars. This was frustrating, as the parked cars render those bike lanes useless. I guess one could argue that they were already useless to start, since […]Continue readingMore Tag
Cars parked in the bike lane. It’s dangerous, but surprisingly not illegal.
The other night, I was riding home from UC Berkeley with my kid. We rode through a bad stretch of Dana Street, where the bike lane is on the left side. It’s a one-way street with heavy car traffic. As usual (unfortunately), someone was parked in the bike lane, blocking us. We scanned for traffic behind us, looking for an opening in traffic. We found a break in traffic, and tried to go around as fast as possible. More cars arrived as we started to go around. The driver blocking the lane was playing on their phone while idling their car. Oblivious or ignorant to the problems they were causing. Perhaps they were waiting to pick somebody up? It’s unsettling to watch your child ride while surrounded by moving cars. You already feel vulnerable, and your child looks even more […]Continue readingMore Tag
Riding a bike along the Bay Bridge from the East Bay is beautiful
You can’t bike across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, but it’s still a pretty ride. With Daylight saving time no longer in effect, the sun sets a bit later, and it’s easy to get a bike ride in with a dramatic sky against the setting sun. To get there and if you are coming from the north, you can enter the trail in Emeryville on Shellmound Street, sort of across from the Ikea. If you are coming from the south, you enter the trail on the east side of Shellmound street, just south of the Ikea. There’s a smooth, paved bike path the leads to the bridge. This is officially called the Bay Bridge Trail. There are usually a handful of people biking, walking, or running on it. The wastewater treatment plant can kind of smell sometimes. You pass […]Continue readingMore Tag
Ride the new Blumenauer Bridge in Portland? Yes!
We made a brief visit to Portland and were lucky to be able to join in some Pedalpalooza rides! We rented Biketown e-bikes and joined the Fancy Mondays Pedalpalooza Ride. Riding across the Blumenauer Bridge Our Fancy Mondays ride took use from Colonel Summers Park to Irving Park. We rode across the new Blumenauer Bridge that had just opened on July 31st, 2022. It’s named after Congressman Earl Blumenauer and connects the Kerns neighborhood with the Lloyd District over Interstate 84. The bridge has room for 2-way bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic. It has a bit of new landscaping at either end and provides a nice view over the highway. It was renamed the Blumenauer Bridge from Sullivan’s Crossing to honor Mr. Blumenauer’s advocacy for cycling and pedestrian issues. It was a hot day, so the breeze in the early […]Continue readingMore Tag
Cherry picking (and other u-pick fruit picking) in Brentwood. A successful 20-mile adventure by bike!
April to May to June is u-pick cherry picking season in the Bay Area When I was a child, I remember apple picking in New England with my dad. My memory is fuzzy now and I don’t remember if we just went once, or multiple times, but I still remember climbing a ladder to pick, and watching cider presses. I was confused when the cider came out brown when apple juice wasn’t. It seemed odd, but I still enjoyed drinking it. There’s so much locally grown produce in California, and I wanted to create a similar experience for our family. Especially after friends at a picnic shared some of their u-pick cherries with us. Last June, we went cherry picking at a u-pick farm in Brentwood for the first time. Brentwood is the place to go for cherry picking in […]Continue readingMore Tag
Dwight Way and California St intersection traffic improvements – Berkeley
Building the right infrastructure for people: Traffic Calming in Berkeley There are a number of new quick-build traffic calming improvements sprouting up all over the East Bay. Crossing Dwight Way at California street as a pedestrian or person on a bike was traditionally difficult. It’s wasn’t terrifying, but the traffic speed and volume made feel like a bit of an adventure to cross. California St is far enough from a traffic signal that might create breaks in the traffic. By the time drivers reach this intersection, they have had a chance to accelerate to faster speeds. The City of Berkeley has put in temporary traffic improvements as part of Phase 2 of the Dwight Way/California Street project. The City of Berkeley will record data and use this to evaluate whether Phase 3 permanent improvements will be implemented. I hope this […]Continue readingMore Tag
Bike Laws in California (and other traffic laws)
Bike laws and traffic laws for people on bikes, in cars, and people who walk in the state of California I just finished a League of American Cyclists training course, and was really impressed with the depth of information covered in the course. One important aspect of the training is the law as it relates to how people share the roadways. This reflects traffic principles, bike laws, and infrastructure in their current state. I’m hoping there can continue to be improvements that will make it easier for people to walk and bike to get to where they need to go without the fear of being hit by a car. You shouldn’t be required to drive a 5000 pound vehicle to pick up a loaf of bread and 12 eggs from a grocery store. I’m still learning, and am definitely open […]Continue readingMore Tag
Bike Soccer Dad (No Minivan or SUV Required)
I’m enjoying being a bike soccer dad. I guess I’ve become a soccer dad now. Our kid has practice on the weekends, but we bike to the field instead of taking a the stereotypical soccer mom or soccer dad minivan or SUV. We do it because we rarely drive, but there are plenty of benefits to doing so. It’s good exercise, and it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. It also helps reduce car traffic congestion and pollution. It’s about a 3 mile ride that takes us 20-25 minutes. We selected our route based on Oakland’s Slow Streets (which are being taken away soon, sadly!) and other low-car-traffic roads. Berkeley has done a decent job adding physical barriers on designated routes to promote safety by slowing the flow of automobiles. There are a couple of hairier intersections […]Continue readingMore Tag
Fantastic Berkeley Bike Lanes: Riding on Milvia Street on a Sunny Day
Protected Berkeley Bike Lanes on Milvia Street We rode the new Milvia Street protected bike lanes in Berkeley again a few days ago. These lanes are protected from automotive traffic in a few different ways. There are concrete islands with metal rails in some sections (by Berkeley High School, for example) and then simply concrete barriers in other parts. There are a few unprotected paint-buffered areas. In general, the lanes allowed us to feel more comfortable riding around Berkeley with a physical barrier between us and moving automobiles. We were on our way home from getting lunch. Our route took us south on Milvia Street from near the Cal campus in order to get back to Oakland. It was a short but enjoyable stretch. A few students were milling about and the vibe was nice and calm – perfect for […]Continue readingMore Tag