In 1976, Oakland’s first bike route was designated in the Oakland Hills including on Grizzly Peak Blvd, Skyline Blvd, and Tunnel Rd. The project was implemented in connection to the pending unveiling of the Rockridge BART Station and jointly promoted by the City of Oakland, East Bay Regional Parks District, and BART (see vintage flyer highlighting the route and destinations).
To learn more about designated bike routes in the Oakland Hills (and throughout the city), pick up an Oakland Bikeways Map. Maps are available at Oakland bike shops, Oakland branch libraries, online, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a copy via mail.
Bicycling is an inherently risky activity, and bicycling in the hills poses specific challenges, requiring technical skill (and stamina). Bicyclists should expect uneven surfaces, potholes, debris on the roadway (including gravel, eucalyptus leaves and branches, acorns, litter), wildlife in the roadway (mainly turkeys and deer), and speeding or insufficiently attentive motorists. Roadway surfaces in the Oakland hills are subject to landslides (especially in rainy years) and unabated geologic activity that puts stress on the pavement, causing cracks and vertical offsets to the roadways’ surfaces. These conditions are exacerbated by sharp curves and steep slopes that make it possible for bicyclists to achieve speeds over 40 mph. Losing one’s balance in these conditions can result in severe injury or death.
The City of Oakland is committed to improving the quality of Oakland’s pavement and to promoting bicycling. In 2016, Oakland voters approved Measure KK, a bond measure that provides $350 million over 10 years to repave Oakland’s roads. In comparison, as of 2018, the citywide pavement maintenance deficit was $538 million. This decades-old structural deficit in paving funding means that uneven roadway surfaces should be expected when using Oakland’s streets even with investments being made through Measure KK.
The Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) has four strategies to maintain and improve the pavement quality of bikeways, including bike routes in the Oakland Hills. These are:
- Use Measure KK, Oakland’s Infrastructure Bond, to improve the quality of pavement citywide, including 35 miles of bikeways per the 2019 Three Year Pavement Prioritization Plan.
- Prioritize pothole service requests on existing bikeways over like streets that are not bikeways.
- Partner with Bike East Bay, using their membership to identify 10 key potholes each month for OakDOT to prioritize and resolve.
- Leverage bicycle-related grants to augment the funds available for paving.
Bicyclists should report potholes and other roadway issues to 311. Learn more about the City’s Paving Plan and bicycle facilities throughout Oakland. Today, as in 1976, keep your eyes on the road, watch your speed, and have a great ride! (Banner photo by Gregory H. Thomas.)