Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
Published on February 06, 2017
OakDOT Report: Telegraph Avenue Pilot Has Retail Up, Collisions DownPhoto: Google

Last month, Oakland’s Department of Transportation issued a progress report for a pilot phase of Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets, a plan to revamp traffic patterns to promote accessibility and safety along what the agency describes as a “high-injury corridor.”

Street configuration before pilot program. | Via OakDOT

In April 2016, OakDOT added new parking-protected bike lanes on Telegraph between 20th and 29th Streets, as well as eight pedestrian crosswalks. In the new traffic pattern, bike lanes are adjacent to the sidewalk, followed by a beige loading zone, then parking for cars. As before, motorized vehicles travel in the center lane.

The report acknowledges that this new configuration has “been the greatest source of confusion,” but notes that “new visual and physical cues” are on the way, like soft-hit posts for bike lanes, adding new concrete curbs, and experimenting with new colors for loading zones, which continue to attract scofflaw parkers.

New traffic configuration. | Via OakDOT

Metrics indicate the changes are having the desired impact on safety: for the first time in five years, no pedestrian crosswalk collisions were reported within the project zone. In a survey, sixty-three percent of pedestrians and seventy-nine percent of bicyclists said they now feel safer in the area.

Overall, there have been forty percent fewer collisions in the nine-block zone, which lacked dedicated bike lanes before last year. Transportation officials determined that the amount of pedestrians has doubled and the number of bicyclists increased by seventy-eight percent during peak hours.

Since May 2016, Parking Enforcement officers issued twice as many citations along Telegraph Avenue compared to 2015 and 2014, though drivers appear to be getting the message — the number of tickets given has dropped back to pre-pilot levels. Residents who wish to be "Telegraph Ambassadors" may download a polite flyer to educate those who are "parking dirty."

Since the Telegraph Complete Streets pilot was rolled out, transportation advocates have given it high praise; People For Bikes recognized it as one of America’s Best New Bike Lanes of 2016, while Streetsblog named it the year’s Best Street Transformation.

The OakDOT report suggests that attempts to make Telegraph friendlier for non-motorists boosted retail sales and “neighborhood vitality.” according to Oakland Economic and Workforce Development, sales tax revenues increased nine percent in the third quarter of 2016, compared to the prior year.

Since the pilot launched, Nenna Joiner, owner of Feelmore Adult Gallery (1703 Telegraph) told Hoodline that she has enough two-wheeled customers to offer cyclists a ten percent discount. "You don’t have to worry about taking off your bike clothes, taking off your helmet, or locking up your bike,” she said, “you can just roll on in.”

To receive email updates from OakDOT on upcoming phases of the Telegraph Complete Streets Plan, visit this page.