This is the town of which Gertrude Stein famously said, "There is no there there."
Apparently that has changed...especially for cyclists and other lovers of urban life.
I was both delighted and dismayed to see what that often-maligned East Bay town has been doing to make cycling feasible on their streets--something which has the happy side effect of making life feasible on the streets as well. Multiple road diets, paving repairs (paving repairs!), wayfinding signage, bike lanes, loads of bike parking...in fact, 40% more bike parking than the City of Los Angeles, which is ten times larger! Even a few "bike-friendly" traffic signals.
As of June 2011, Oakland boasts:
- 105 miles of bikeways
- 5,148 bike parking spaces
- 167 wayfinding signs
- 16 bicycle-friendly traffic signals
But Oakland has all the same excuses. Our northern sister houses just under 400,000 people, with all the racial and income diversity of LA, and probably more. Here are some recent population stats:
- 27% White
- 27% Black
- 15% Asian
- 25% Latino
- 58% of the population are renters
- Population density averages 7300/sq.mi, whereas Los Angeles's is around 7500/sq. mi.--effectively the same
- The median income and poverty rate are worse than average for California
As Bikes Belong notes, "Oakland, California has the fifth highest bicycle mode share of any major U.S. city--2.2 percent and growing." Meanwhile, LA's mode share has just grown as well--to 0.99%.
Someone's doing something right, and it ain't LA, not yet. Maybe we could learn a little from that gritty little town up north....
Read the report on Oakland here.