City of Oakland Bicycle Lanes Implementing the City of Oakland Master Bicycle Plan
(2009 - 2010)
In 2008 I applied to an internship with the City of Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Program to help implement their Bicycle Master Plan. The master plan lays out plans for hundreds of miles of bike lanes all across Oakland. I didn't get the job and instead went to work for Makani Power. About six months later, while bicycle commuting to Makani, I ran into Jennifer the program coordinator. She mentioned the main bottleneck with getting bike lanes painted was the actual generation of the engineering drawings since the program was only funded for herself and Jason the program manager. These two spend a great deal of time managing the political hurdles of bike lane implemenation and rely on interns to draw the lanes. I should add, Jason and Jennifer are noble people looking out for all of us on the road.
About six months after this conversation I was laid-off from Makani, and I called up Jennifer and Jason and volunteered to help generate engineering drawings. The agreement, however, was that I would volunteer, at least initially, to draw lanes on the streets that I personally use for commuting, so that they would be ready whenever the opportunity to paint was at hand. I figure the best way to get something done is to help make it happen. It was a fair deal.
Drawing lanes is also no simple task. They generally, only want to put down new paint when a street is being repaved such that it is guaranteed to remain intact for as long as possible. That means all of the striping, center lanes, cross walks, school zones, parking areas, bike lanes, all of it needs to be drawn out strictly following the California vehicle code.
The top picture is the layout of Shattuck that I worked to help develop. The other pictures are of 41st Street in Oakland, the first street I worked on, and also my main route to BART. This street just got painted the summer of 2012, a solid three years after being drawn. Un/fortunately, Meka ended up consuming a massive amount of my time and I only managed to work on 41st and Shattuck and a little bit of Webster before realizing I really didn't have the time to contribute more to volunteering and instead needed to focus fulltime on building my robot career (someday I hope fulltime jobs would be able to allow ustime to help with civil service such as this).