So I’ve been wed to my bike these last few days because it just so happens that someone made off with my car in the wee hours of the night Sunday night (yes, Oakland does have some problems… but I prefer to focus on the positive). It hasn’t yet turned up, and may not (sorry Mom!) so in the meantime, I continue to ride. Which to be honest, when appropriate, is a far superior way to travel. It’s healthy, non-polluting, low-cost, and helps connect residents with their communities by getting them out of the cars that separate them from the world around them. Remember Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I do.
It’s kind of ironic because I was just blathering on and on about all the bicyclists and cycle commuting in Amsterdam and how fantastic it is, and then I come home and someone makes off with my car. Hmmm. I said that the universe provides (see Magic Bus post)… what I forgot to say, is be careful what you ask for.
In any case, the City of Oakland is taking great strides to make our city more bicycle friendly, and it is all happening now. In the past ten years the city has added over 900 bike racks and 87 miles of bicycle lanes and routes. What’s the difference between a lane and a route you ask? Or a bicycle “path” for that matter (which is another unique designation). Check out Oakland Public Works’ website where you can read all about them.
And there’s a great little newsletter that comes out quarterly called “I [bicycle] Oakland” which provides the latest information about all things bike related, and how the city is doing with respect to implementing the objectives of its Bicycle Master Plan (2007), which include more than doubling the total current mileage of bicycle friendly byways within the city.
According to this document, 85% of all Oakland residents live within two miles of downtown or a major transit station… which basically equates to a relatively short trip on the bike. The thing that holds most people back is the lack of safe bikeways…. so that’s where Oakland is putting most of its focus.
As I was riding yesterday, I spotted this piece… I never would have seen it if I was in my car.
I recognized the work because this artist had done a similar piece on a building in my neighborhood. The owner promptly painted over it, but not before I got the pic below…
Kind of creepy, but kind of cool. And definitely punk.