Temescal Streets-Cars Get a Throw-A-Way and Bikes a Snuggle

April 25, 2014

Politics, Streets


If you’ve been following local politics in the Temescal, you’ll know there has been a long and protracted struggle to get dedicated bikes lanes. Ten years ago a couple of business owners filed a lawsuit to keep bike lanes out. Now the Temescal BID (Business Improvement District) in their “Father Knows Best” approach has voted 10-1 to propose that the City study an “alternative” so that bicyclists be diverted at Telegraph and 40th Street to a “Temescal Bicycle Thru-Way” and encouraged to take Webster St. Their report included this reasoning: “Cyclists going through Temescal would be able to by-pass the commercial district on an express bike route….Cyclists going to business on Telegraph would be unaffected.”

I have to agree. As a bicyclist and a Southerner, I know the advantages that “separate but equal” most often bestows, especially on those pesky tattooed young people who currently ride bikes up and down Telegraph at twice the number of their older, more considerate compatriots along Webster. As someone who dutifully bikes Webster out of the Temescal on my way to downtown, let me propose what I see as the “Karen Knows Best” multimodal approach to the whole conundrum.


Since I don’t own a car and rarely drive one, I’m in an enviable position to know what is best for car drivers. Cars entering the Temescal from the south at 40th Street could keep Telegraph from getting so “congested” by turning left there and making their way up MLK and then right again at 45th St and left on Shattuck with a quick round-about from 47th to 48th, since they will have so much extra time now that they are not caught up in the inconvenience of driving along Telegraph where all those boutique businesses are. Likewise, cars entering off the freeway at 51st St could be forced to turn left at the traffic signal at Telegraph, again substantially reducing “congestion” in the heart of the Temescal. I call it the Car Throw-A-Way proposal.

Likewise, considerate bicyclists would take Webster from 40th to Rockridge (or wherever Webster goes up there) and all the bike corrals and bike parking could be moved along Webster so we could stop along the way and lock our bikes to replenish ourselves with lemonade stands, perhaps set up with BID start up monies for budding entrepreneurs. I call that the Temescal By-Pass or Snuggle. And the best kept secret about Webster? When the waters begin their dramatic rise because of climate change, Webster will still be high and dry since it sits up a few feet above “congested” Telegraph.

Who would be allowed to stay on Telegraph? Bus riders of course! Bus riders are a hardy bunch and they deserve to glide through the Temescal without the fuss of cars and, more dramatically, those ungrateful bicyclists, especially those young ones who never seem to wear helmets and spend way too much money (apparently twice as much as car drivers) at their local businesses. Without all that “congestion,” the buses wouldn’t even have to stop anywhere from 40th to 55th St so they could get their riders through the Temescal Gap as fast as possible. Also, anyone who is within walking distance would be welcome to walk Telegraph, especially if you were smart or lucky enough to rent or buy something before Temescal became so “hip” and frickin expensive.


Which brings us to the very point “Karen Knows Best” would like to make. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have Temescal slide back to the way it was in 20o4, before the BID started, when there weren’t so many darn people (especially those latte-sipping, Oaklandish style hipsters/bicyclists) that now are almost everywhere you look, but especially in Arbor Cafe and causing such “congestion?”, especially with their bike racks littering the sidewalk? How I long for the Temescal of the good ole days.

About Karen Hester

Karen Hester is a community activist and events coordinator who lives in North Oakland in Temescal Creek Cohousing. Her event productions website is hesternet.net. She lives and breathes the fight to stop more billboards in Oakland and started ScenicEastBay.org

View all posts by Karen Hester

2 Responses to “Temescal Streets-Cars Get a Throw-A-Way and Bikes a Snuggle”

  1. AndrewKarlson Says:

    I, for one, am in favor of this Modest Proposal. Maybe if it included some sort of checkpoint at entry/exit points. “So. You vould like to enter ze Temescal? Papers please. Schnell!”


  2. Ellen Gierson Says:

    Still laughing my head off from this fabulous satire on the Telegraph Ave fiasco.


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