Thursday May 12th, 2016
Bike East Bay
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bike to Work Day Participation Soars as East Bay Cities Debut Protected Bike Lanes
Oakland, CA (May 12, 2016) – Thousands of East Bay residents pedaled to work today to celebrate the 22nd annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day. With bicycle commuting reaching ever greater levels of popularity, this year’s event has surpassed many previous participation records. Over 19,000 bicyclists were counted this morning with 92% of stations reporting. With new bike lanes completed in cities across the East Bay more people are choosing to commute by bike. Bike to Work Day has highlighted this trend with ribbon cutting ceremonies on new bike lanes in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville.
Bike East Bay (formerly the East Bay Bicycle Coalition) has been promoting Bike to Work Day since 1993 by organizing Energizer Stations that support bike commuters with snacks, coffee, giveaways and good cheer and by hosting “Bike Happy Hours” at the end of the day. "Bicycle ridership is gaining momentum in our East Bay cities," said Renee Rivera, Executive Director of Bike East Bay. “With new bike lanes opening in four cities this week the pace of change on our streets has never been greater. These new bike lanes are ones that everyone will feel safe and comfortable riding, for the first time or for their everyday commute." Bike to Work Day is the entry point for many riders to regular bike commuting; the celebratory nature of the event encourages many many first-time riders to consider a fresh way to get to work.
Highlights from Bike to Work Day
Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Piedmont all celebrated Bike to Work Day with grand openings of new bikeways. Three of these projects are protected bike lanes – curbside bikeways that are separated from moving traffic by parked cars, planters or pylons. A recent survey in Berkeley showed that over half of residents are interested in bicycling but are concerned about their safety out on streets with busy traffic. Protected bike lanes address this concern by getting residents out of traffic and onto adjacent, protected facilities that still deliver riders to the businesses and neighborhood destinations they seek to visit.
Berkeley: Fulton Street
Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin and Lori Droste cut the ribbon at 8:00am this morning on new, protected bike lanes on Fulton St. This important bikeway connects UC Berkeley and Oxford Street to the Channing Way Bicycle Boulevard. "Fulton Street is now the model for how all bikeways should be in Berkeley," said City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, representing Downtown Berkeley. In two short months, Berkeley City Council went from project approval to ribbon cutting an impressive turnaround time for a new street design.
Piedmont-Oakland: Grand Avenue
Grand Avenue’s new bike lanes are a joint project between Oakland and Piedmont, and bring much-needed space for bicycles and green paint to a busy corridor. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen, Piedmont City Councilmember Tim Rood and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland cut the ribbon on this bikeway at 7:00am this morning and continued on to visit new protected bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue, which had a grand opening ceremony two days ago. "Oakland is a more vibrant and sustainable city because of innovative community-led efforts like the new bike lanes the City opened this week on Telegraph and Grand Avenues.” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I am proud of how Oakland is working in partnership to rebuild its infrastructure in ways that enhance our quality of life.”
[photo credit: Morgan Bellinger]
Emeryville: Christie Avenue
Emeryville recently opened this short yet critical two-way protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track). These lanes help connect the Bay Trail north of Powell St to the Bay Bridge bike path. Mayor Diane Martinez and Emeryville City Councilmember Ruth Atkins cut the ribbon this morning on this project that is the third cycle track to appear in the East Bay, along with Shoreline Drive and Fernside Drive in Alameda.
Oakland: Telegraph Avenue
On Tuesday of this week Oakland celebrated the new parking protected bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue with a ribbon-cutting, making four celebrations this week including the above projects opened today. This project, the first phase of changes that will continue on Telegraph towards Berkeley, are Oakland’s first urban parking protected bike lanes, with the bicycle lane against the curb, protected by parked cars.
Bike Commuting Continues to Grow in the East Bay
Across the United States, people are discovering biking as a healthier, more enjoyable way to get to work. Bike commuting in major metropolitan areas has increased by 20% in the last five years. Oakland has seen bike commuting more than double in that time period. Berkeley is now number one in California for alternative transit, with over 50% of trips taken on foot, by bike, or on public transit. Emeryville was just awarded Silver Bike-Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists, with other cities across the country in awards announced this upcoming week on May 18 for National Bike to Work Day. This trend is visible in Bike to Work Day participation as well. Participation in Bike to Work Day is up 133% in the past five years.
Elected officials riding to work
Mayors, City Councilmembers and County Supervisors around the East Bay rode this morning to show their support for bike commuting.
In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilmember Abel Guillen from Oakland and Councilmember Timothy Rood from Piedmont met at 7:00am at the Grand Lake Ace Hardware energizer station to ride to Telegraph and 22nd, and then on to City Hall. Councilmember Annie Campbell-Washington rode with a Pedal Pool from the Laurel district, Councilmember Noel Gallo from Fruitvale BART and Councilmember Dan Kalb from North Oakland.
In Richmond, Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia rode from his home in Marina Bay to the Rich City Rides energizer station at Richmond Greenway and Harbor Way, arriving at 8am. He will then ride onward to his office at 11780 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. The Richmond Greenway has recently received funding to close gaps and connect to the Ohlone Greenway across San Pablo Avenue.
In Albany, Mayor Peggy Thomsen rode with Councilmember Nick Pilch from City Hall to the Albany Energizer Station. Bike to Work Day participation in Albany have been steadily on the rise, with a 50% increase over two years ago.
In San Leandro, Mayor Pauline Cutter and city council led an 8am ride from Memorial Park to San Leandro BART. San Leandro is also seeing a rise in bicycling. The city has recently added their first bufferend and green-painted bike lanes, and Bike to Work Day participation has doubled since 2014.
Bike to School Day
Bike to School Day, which many schools celebrate on the same day as Bike to Work Day, encourages students to choose active, healthy ways to travel and arrive at school energized and ready to learn. Bike East Bay partners with The Alameda County Transportation Commission through its Safe Routes to Schools program to support Bike to School Day events at over 120 schools. Along with International Walk and Roll to School Day, Bike to School Day is one of several major events throughout the school year to promote bicycling as a great way for kids to stay healthy and active.
This morning over 2,800 students pedaled to class for Bike to School Day. "I'm thrilled that so many schools and students will participate in Bike to School Day this year,” said Alameda CTC Chair Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large. “It is a real testament to the impact of our Safe Routes to Schools program and the priority that Alameda County voters have placed on bicycle and pedestrian improvements."
For more information on the Alameda County Transportation Commission's Safe Routes to Schools program, visit alamedacountysr2s.org/.
Bike Away From Work, too
Evening celebrations on Bike to Work Day are becoming ever more popular. This year ten Bike Happy Hours will take place in all corners of the East Bay, up from 5 parties last year. The main event will be a block party at Sports Basement in Berkeley, featuring Rock the Bike, food trucks, music from DJ Olga T and New Belgium beer. For details on Bike Happy Hours in Richmond, Concord, Oakland, Alameda, Castro Valley, and Pleasanton, visit BikeEastBay.org/BikeHappyHour.