On Tuesday, April 24th, Cycles of Change facilitated a community input session for the upcoming update to the Oakland Master Bicycle Plan. Originally adopted in 1999, the plan hasn’t had a major update since 2007.
Our role was to facilitate conversations between members of the community with city Department of Transportation officials and planning consultants present to listen and gather input. This was accomplished with four rotating discussion groups that focused on a major concern with urban development and renewal in our communities: 1) equity 2) displacement & gentrification 3) healthy and livable streets 4) programs.
In all, about 35 community members attended. There was some overlap between the discussion groups, but a few themes stood out. All attendees were worried about the effect of new infrastructure in the community, some asking if the improvements were meant to welcome and attract new residents, while pushing out others. Alongside this was the powerful argument that there is a stronger demonstrated need for housing, jobs and better education in Oakland than for new bike lanes. There was concern over the criminalization of some bikers, particularly targeting riders of color and youth. There were many expressions for the need and desire to provide more bike education and resources in underrepresented areas of the town, as well as more spaces where kids on bikes can feel welcome, and “just chill.” There was also a call to support more POC businesses and getting more POC trained as bike mechanics and educators. Our hope is that Cycles and the Bikery can be better supported so that we can keep addressing those community needs.
For more information about Oakland’s Bicycle Plan or to voice your thoughts, check out the Let’s Bike Oakland! Web page.