Best route from Oakland to East Liberty (Target) for kids
I have a co-worker who wants to ride from Oakland to Target with 2 children, ages 10 and 13, on their own bikes. Looking for suggestions on the best (least scary) route. I mentioned Ellsworth, but she is not thrilled with that recommendation.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
There’s really no good way, if you’re not comfortable riding in traffic.
Ellsworth is the only direct route I can really think of, unless you get off and take the residential streets through Shadyside like Kentucky or Howe. However, you have to cross the busway so you have to take Highland or Shady to cross it.
So frustrating that in ‘Murica you have to look for the “least scary” route for kids to travel on a bike in predominantly residential areas. I saw something in one of my more liberal FB news feeds today about how most foreigners view the Murican stereotype as obese, loud, obnoxious, McDonald’s shoveling jackasses. After cycling for an hour here, yup, that is about right.
You might try Kentucky Ave, then left on Denniston, then the trail to Penn Ave west of the new Bakery Square development (See Google maps. I haven’t taken that trail for months so I don’t know if recent construction has closed it). At Penn Ave I’d recommend sidewalks at a slow pace, to Target. Strictly speaking, biking on sidewalks in a business district is illegal. But it’s the best way to bike with kids in this neighborhood.
Counter-logical answer here; you could ride the sidewalk out Fifth avenue then use the park-side sidewalk of Penn. While not scenic, almost all of the cross streets would be at signals, and you are not in a business district so the sidewalk should be legit.
Sidewalk riding is safest in terms of interaction with cars, but there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic in that area, and I’d be worried about bothering/scaring/possibly crashing into folks. OTOH I expect the law against sidewalk riding is enforced even less frequently than other traffic laws, especially with kids.
I look at this less as a “where to ride” question and more a “how to ride” question. Ages 10 and 13 are not that small, though they are likely to be inexperienced riders. Were I the parent, I would be showing them lane control and the dangers of riding close to cars.
Further, kids that big probably should stay off the sidewalk. While the sidewalk makes it easy to avoid dealing with cars, mid-block, it’s the least safe place for dealing with cars at corners. Further still, chances of clobbering a pedestrian are much greater on a sidewalk.
In short, take Ellsworth and take the lane. If the parent is not comfortable doing that, the parent needs to become comfortable doing that.
Ellsworth may not seem that great but my impression is that’s mostly during rush hours. The rest of the time it’s pretty calm.
You can then go L over the tracks at the top, through the parking lot with the liquor store, to Highland and turn L. I would suggest continuing on and do a R on Kirkwood or Broad and you’re there. There will be traffic but it’s typically slow. And, yes, just take the lane when warranted.
You could volunteer to go along, just to lessen their anxieties.
It really depends on the kids in question.
The few kids that ride in the road pretty much are there because that’s right for them. Among those that don’t:
The kids that bomb along sidewalks and don’t slow much through intersections are a nuisance to pedestrians and in a lot of danger themselves from turning drivers who don’t see them in time. They should move out into the street. Parents should resist the temptation to ride to their left “protecting them” and instead ride directly behind, so proper lane positioning for circumstances is taught. Otherwise they’ll keep riding too close to the parked cars when riding solo.
The kids that leisurely and slowly spin along and don’t mind going foot down and then cautiously through crosswalks are a minimal nuisance to pedestrians in minimal danger, and generally will enjoy themselves more staying on the sidewalk than if they went into the street, though they might change their mind for quiet streets. That should be encouraged, but it’s perfectly ok to take it slow.
I would go with Paul’s route, and get the kids to walk their bikes when they’re near groups of pedestrians. I doubt any parent would find it unnecessarily risky.
Thanks everyone for the responses. I think the real issue is that although she bikes to work most days, mom is not confident enough to ride the streets with her kids.
I have offered to go along with them, so we can have one adult in front and one sweeper. I think this will make her comfortable enough to do the ride.
Dollars to doughnuts, this lady is an edge/car hugger, and hasn’t learned that the safest place to ride is right in line with car drivers. Which is probably the majority of people, so I am certainly not taking swipes. But the more of us who do that as a matter of course, the more that drivers will get used to us. Even if we have to piss off 10,000 of them in the process.
An idea occurs to me. These are frequently hare-brained, but that has never stopped me otherwise. Ellsworth is a key route for bikes, but it is a source of constant complaints. I would propose a campaign wherein all bike riders tell all their biking friends and acquaintances to ride Ellsworth whenever possible, and take the lane, even if your destination isn’t quite via Ellsworth, or even if you are out for a casual ride, or even if you are sitting on your couch watching GoT, get up and ride Ellsworth. It would be super interesting to see if bikes could “claim” Ellsworth subversively just by the heft of use, make it so bike traveled that drivers automatically mentally associate the street with bikes and start to use other routes that are actually better suited for automobiles. Like mobile squatting. It would be interesting but I personally am not motivated enough to be the driver of such a campaign.
@edmonds59: Ellsworth already has quite a bit of bike traffic, and it will continue to increase on its own. Just wait until school starts… Drivers will notice, if they haven’t already, and maybe start making reasonable choices (use a different street, slow down, get a bike, etc.)
Now here’s my own hare-brained idea: Why not use Ellsworth to experiment with a 20mph speed limit? The entertainment district could certainly benefit from it. Speeders would probably stay away (like under your scheme). As for everyone else it could be be a nice harmonious stretch where bikes and cars mingle as (almost) equals and everyone is happy.
There’s also traffic-calming measures. And, somewhat unrealistically, speed limit enforcement.
Bayard, Morewood, Castleman (sidewalk for a block, one way), Amberson, Westminster, S. Aiken, Kentucky, Denniston, Hauser to the cut through to Bakery Square. Sidewalk on Penn to Target. I ride this pretty often. You could also ride the sidewalk all the way on 5th to Mellon Park and cut through there. School is out right now, so the foot traffic is much lower. Enjoy. Yes, the Bakery Square cut through is open.
Ahlir I like the idea of making it 20 mph but that would involve the city designating it and having police actually enforce it. Not to mention the whining from the entitled 1%ers in the neighborhood crying “help I’m being oppressed!” would probably break glass.
I’m thinking of a subtle and subversive campaign to basically occupy it by asking people ride it and take it at every possible opportunity, even just ride up and down as an activity in itself.
Being on a bike at all is subversive. Taking the lane just makes it more obvious.
@edmonds59: I expect that the “1%ers” would welcome the 20mph limit: less commotion outside the manor walls.
We have new mayor who wants to make the city better and considers cycling as an aspect of livability. And he’s willing to experiment (I assume). Is a bikepgh thing? Assuming they agree it’s a good idea…
I don’t want to have to be subversive; I just want to feel entitled to my share of the street. And have that be legitimated by the city. Put differently: why do we have to act like outsiders? We’re not, anymore.
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