A "pop-up" protected bike lane on Hearst. Photo: Bike East Bay
A “pop-up” protected bike lane on Hearst is similar to the one planned on Bancroft Way, except the new lane is slated to allow travel both east- and westbound. Photo: Bike East Bay

New lanes for bicycles and buses are slated to come this week on Bancroft Way, the southern border of the UC Berkeley campus, cycling advocates have announced.

“The new Bancroft Way ‘Complete Street’ will set several firsts for the East Bay: the first red­-painted bus lane, the first connected protected bike lanes, and the first street redesign that simultaneously improves walking, biking, and transit in a single project,” Bike East Bay has reported in a prepared statement.

City crews are expected to install the lanes this week on Bancroft between Dana and Fulton streets, according to Bike East Bay. As of Tuesday night, however, there was little indication as to the changes that have been planned.

The red-painted bus lane on the north side of Bancroft, which replaces what has previously been vehicle parking, has been designed to make bus travel more efficient and reliable. (More parking is set to be installed on Durant Avenue later this month to make up for the loss on Bancroft.) On the south side of the street, two-way bike lanes are slated to be installed to allow cyclists to travel eastbound and westbound on Bancroft for the first time.

The “protected” bike lanes will be set aside from vehicle traffic by a row of parked cars, and Bancroft is set to be reduced from three to two lanes of car traffic, Bike East Bay reports.

That will also make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road, advocates said.

“The shorter crossing distance will make it safer and easier for campus-­goers and neighbors to access health services at the Tang Center, hit the gym at the Recreational Sports Facility, or grab a bite in the Telegraph Business District,” said Bike East Bay.

A larger pilot project in the neighborhood has been planned by the city “to create a network of protected bike lanes and transit improvements on the south side of U.C. Berkeley’s campus.”

The new bike lane on Bancroft is set to connect with Fulton Street, where the city’s first protected bike lane was created last year after a crash that nearly killed a local woman on her bike.

Next year, Bike East Bay says the new bike and bus lanes on Bancroft Way will be “extended east of Telegraph Avenue uphill to Piedmont Avenue, in addition to a new protected bike lane on Dana Street connecting to a bikeway on the U.C. Berkeley campus.”

The goal of all the changes is to make it safer and easier for people to use alternative means of transportation and also help the city reach its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals.

Read more about Berkeley bikeways from Bike East Bay.

Emilie Raguso

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...

Join the Conversation

35 Comments

  1. i missed this article but now see the lines painted… i keep driving past the bike merge with the right turn lane at top of photo and all i can think is people are going to get hit. I hate to lose that nice turn but i’m pretty sure it will have to go after some bicyclist gets killed. How is it a bunch of people on this comments section can see how bad this is but the City can not.. ugh… at least you tried..

  2. “It is a bit slower because of interference from pedestrians”
    Glad to know how you feel about pedestrians.

  3. Though it is a bit slower, I much prefer riding on campus because it is safer and more attractive than Bancroft. There is a direct route from Bancroft/Dana past Haas Pavilion and then past the oak grove and eucalyptus grove to Oxford and Center. You might want to try it some day. It is a beautiful ride.

    For those who do want to ride on Bancroft and turn right onto Oxford, there is still a safe right turn from the protected bike lanes on Bancroft, though it is a bit slower than it used to be.

    For those who want to ride on Bancroft and turn left onto Fulton, there is no way to create a safe left turn except to put the bike lanes on the left side of Bancroft. I expect there will be more of them after the protected bike lane on Fulton is extended to Dwight.

  4. Well I don’t know if you have ridden your bike through campus here but it is not faster then staying on the street, with pedestrians and no direct route. While I was a student at cal I would turn right on Oxford and actually still do as i commute from work in Rockridge to North Berkeley. And as I commute every day I would say that there are more people turning right then turning left.

  5. You are wrong about the picture. It shows parking spaces striped on the left side of the street with cars parked in a couple of them.

    You would not have made this mistake about the picture if you had bothered to look at the actual plan.

  6. If I were you, I’d just take the bus. The 79 runs down MLK and then goes to the Southside on its way to Rockridge.

  7. Since when do Uber drivers pull over into the parking lane on the left side of Bancroft? Also, if you are foolish enough to drive to the Southside on a game day, the handful of disappearing parking spots wouldn’t help you any.

  8. Why do you think all students want to turn right onto Oxford and none want to turn left onto Fulton? If I were going from Bancroft to Oxford, I would go through campus, which is a more direct route. If I were going from Bancroft to Fulton, I would take this bike lane.

  9. They are not taking all the parking away on Bancroft. They are just removing the parking on one side.

  10. Appreciate the information, but I remain concerned that many cyclists heading north will begin moving from the bike lane to prepare for the right turn well in advance of the intersection.

  11. No argument here on the need for extending the Bancroft bikeway to connect with Milvia. Hopefully someday soon there will be enough support and funding for bikeway projects in Berkeley such that entire network connections can be implemented all at once, instead of piecemeal and in conjunction with paving projects as happens most often now.

  12. The project as initially designed will be complete, as you say, but I don’t think the Bancroft bikeway will actually be complete until it is connected with Milvia.

    As is, if you want to go up Bancroft, you can approach it from the northwest but not from the west or southwest, because Bancroft west of Fulton is one-way westbound and Fulton south of Bancroft is one-way southbound.

  13. So you are saying that we should have no safe bicycling 365 days a year for the sake of parking that is needed only during occasional events at Cal.

  14. Find a bike rental station in your neighborhood, ride it to Southside, dock it and do your thing. Same thing to get home. The rental fee may exceed your parking fee by a bit, but it’ll save you a lot of headaches. https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&safe=active&biw=1920&bih=950&q=ford+bike+rental+berkeley&npsic=0&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=37870009,-122268929,913&tbm=lcl&ved=0ahUKEwir2ID–t7VAhVlylQKHVOyBtoQtgMINQ&tbs=lrf:!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:4&rldoc=1

  15. I think they are planning to review and fine-tune it after they have had some experience with it, and I am not sure exactly what will be needed. Currently, the slip-right-turn lane is used for all right turns; if they get rid of the slip-right-turn lane, then that No Right On Red sign would probably be helpful.

    During the review, I really hope to get them to consider extending the bike lanes west of Fulton to Milvia and removing the slip-right-turn lane.

  16. Not all people will drive 15 or 20 mph (car drivers are about as likely to follow the speed limit as bicycle riders are to stop at stop signs, i.e. some will, some won’t, regardless of enforcement), so with cars maneuvering at different speeds, it would be even more dangerous.

    Anyhow, with separated bicycle lanes and parked cars separating car traffic from bicycle traffic, the differing speeds between cars and bikes won’t be an issue, more likely differing bike speeds will be an issue (albeit with reduced consequences).

  17. If we reduced the speed limit on Bancroft to 15 or 20mph, cars would not overtake bicycles at all on the way down hill, and the street would be much safer.

  18. So, a “No Right on Red except Bicycles” sign? That would solve part of it.

    Bicyclists who don’t want to wait or who anticipate needing to yield to pedestrians may enter the roadway to turn right on the green.

  19. Imagine you are bicycling west on Bancroft. You get to Fulton and want to turn right onto Fulton/Oxford northbound. You wait for the light facing Bancroft to turn red and stop the two car lanes plus bus lane; the light facing Fulton turns green so you can proceed.

    You are in the same position as a pedestrian who wants to cross Bancroft here and waits for the light facing Bancroft to turn red and the light facing Fulton to turn green so it is safe to cross.

    It is only the slip-right-turn lane that is dangerous – for both bicyclists and pedestrians who are crossing.

  20. They will cross two lanes of car traffic plus a bus lane when their light is green, unless there is a separate light for the bike traffic, which even then will confusing since it will be unusual, and subject those turning right to increased risk.

  21. Because the restriping is part of the repaving project on Bancroft between Dana and Fulton, we will only have protected bike lanes between Dana and Fulton.

    We really need to extend the lanes west on Bancroft to Milvia. Right now, you can go east up Bancroft east of Fulton, but you cannot go east up Bancroft west of Fulton, so it is hard to get to this bike lane from the rest of the city.

    We also need to do something about the slip-right-turn lane at Bancroft/Fulton, which creates a conflict between bicycles turning right at Fulton and high-speed traffic that is not controlled by a signal.

    These things are not being done immediately because they cannot be done as part of the repaving, but they are the necessary next step.

  22. If they want to turn right at Fulton, they will cross Bancroft when the light is green for traffic crossing Bancroft and red for traffic on Bancroft.

    There will be conflicts with traffic in the slip-right-turn lane, which does not stop for the light. We will have to do something about that.

  23. I think Berkeley should construct some elevated bike-only pathways, kind of like the Highline in Manhattan, except for bikes only (and a second level for pedestrians only). Perhaps two North-South routes, one just west of campus and the other just east San Pablo, and 4 East-West routes, perhaps near Ashby, Alston, Rose, and Marin, with connections at the intersections, and strategic on-off ramps. Bike and pedestrian friendly businesses (including secure bike storage and high quality bike rentals, restaurants, and various shops) could locate at the on-off ramps, just like Highline. Perhaps some business could have frontage along wider sections of the elevated pathway, such as al fresco restaurants and shops.

    With proper design, including transparent shields for pedestrians and bikers alike, thoughtful vegetation and art work, it could be visually appearing when viewed from below (or above) and while in use and be useful in rainy and windy conditions.

    While I’m dreaming, may as well add a monorail for local transportation and delivery services (businesses located near the stops could hold items for pickup and returns, including items needing refrigeration. This could eliminate a lot of Amazon type vehicle deliveries).

    As a final thought for now, this could be designed with a view to hoping that neighboring communities decide to emulate the success, allowing for easy integration with any neighboring community that wants to participate. Imagine a raised bikeway and walkway that provides access to each local city and connects to neighboring cities around the Bay Area.

  24. Good. Riding on another Berkeley street today, I plunged into a pothole so cavernous that you couldn’t fill it even if you had an entire year’s worth of a Berkeley city employee’s pension in pennies. Flat tire AGAIN thanks to our crappy neglected infrastructure.

  25. If this means that cyclists going west on Bancroft and wishing to turn right at Fulton/ Oxford to head north on Oxford, the result- cyclists will be crossing two lanes of car traffic and add’l bus traffic- is unlikely to be safe, esp. at or near evening rush hour traffic.