Save Hopkins Street

Friends of Hopkins Street is an all-volunteer educational and advocacy group formed by and for Hopkins Street residents, neighbors, business owners, and friends. We advocate equitable, safe, evidence-based, and common sense designs for Hopkins Street.

What’s Going On with Hopkins Street

The city was proposing a two-way, Class IV (physically separated) bicycle track along the entirety of Hopkins Street. We support safe bike routes, but this proposal in this setting is dangerous and inconsistent with the city’s own plan.

Why We Oppose the City’s Plan

Unsafe for all

Cyclists – City, state, and national guidelines all advise against Class IV bicycle tracks on streets like Hopkins, where cyclists must cross many driveways and cross-streets. The proposed track would cross more than 90 driveways and cross-streets.

Pedestrians – Class IV bike lanes can be used only by cyclists, eliminating shared space and creating barriers for pedestrians, particularly people with disabilities and mobility challenges and their caregivers.

Community – The plan will dramatically constrict the roadway, removing pull-over space needed for emergency vehicles to pass by cars. It will also impede emergency evacuation on this city-designated evacuation route. 

Harmful to Merchants, Residents; More GHGs

More Greenhouse gases – Shoppers who are unable to shop by bike (carrying multiple bags of groceries, cakes, plants, etc.) will need to circle the area to find parking, or potentially drive further away to a store that offers parking. Eliminated right-turn lanes will cause traffic back-ups and idling, as will constricted roadways that will be blocked by delivery vehicles and ride-sharing services. Residents without off-street parking will need to circle to find places to park somewhere near their homes.

Loss of Parking – Only six on-street parking spots will be retained in the two-block shopping district of Hopkins between McGee and Sacramento, which could significantly reduce shopping in this beloved shopping area. 132 of 158 spots in the entirely residential area between Gilman and Kains will be lost, leaving little place for delivery vehicles, service vehicles, garbage and recycling trucks, postal service trucks, etc., to pull out of the lane of traffic when making their stops. 

Lack of Planning

The city has not conducted (or publicly shared) the analyses that should have been done on this proposal, including its impacts on emergency vehicle access and evacuation, local businesses, stormwater runoff, garbage collection, and greenhouse gases.

There’s a better alternative!

Rose Street – The City’s 2017 Bike Plan identified Rose Street as a Bike Boulevard, providing a low stress east-west connector to the bike network on the north side of town. Rose Street provides direct access to three schools on a quieter, non-commercial street.

Other Bike Boulevards – Class IV cycle tracks are very expensive; the city could upgrade Rose Street and many other Bike Boulevards for the same cost. For instance, several of the designated bike boulevards in the equity zone are yet to be completed.

You might have heard some arguments in favor of the Hopkins Street bike plan, but see what the facts really are.

Your donations fund our initiatives (flyers, yard signs, etc.) and our legal and other professional service consultations. Since we are all volunteers, 100% of your donation goes to our costs. Please contact us if you would like to donate by check. 

Join our mailing list for updates on what we’re doing and how you can help preserve Hopkins Street! You can also get a yard sign and/or a window sign!!

The Community Weighs In

From the disability community: The ADA must be adhered to at all times so the disabled and elderly in our community can move freely around our neighborhood equally with our able-bodied neighbors. The cycle track is one more barrier for us to negotiate, even if it never has a single cyclist in it! And if we lose our ability to park in front of our own homes, we become prisoners. We deserve better from the city.

From the senior community: I am a senior and very long-term Berkeley resident who of necessity must get around by car.  I have long been distressed by the City’s disregard for seniors when it comes to issues relating to parking and access to amenities/ necessities. The removal of most parking and the metering of what’s left will remove my ability to frequent this district which I regularly visit, patronize, and enjoy several times a week.

From the Berkeley Hills community: The Hopkins shops are our lifeline. We are largely an older demographic, and it would be miraculous if one in 20 could switch to an e-bike for shopping! Plus, the hills are a high fire danger zone, equivalent to what Paradise was. This plan threatens to clog the emergency evacuation route along Hopkins, which is our other lifeline. Don’t believe me? Watch this video about narrowing streets in the name of safety.

From the cycling community: Speaking as both a driver and an avid cyclist, I believe this cycle track design is dangerous and will cause both car and cyclist accidents. Add the extra speed of increasing numbers of powerful e-bikes and it’s an even sketchier mix in the bike track. Litigation against the City is certainly possible if it proceeds against the very clear and overwhelming objections of the neighborhood.

From pedestrians: We outnumber cyclists by far on Hopkins St. We are clearly an afterthought in this plan. Trying to increase the number of people riding bicycles through the very busy, congested commercial area puts us at increased risk every day, particularly if new rules give cyclists the option of not following the same regulations that cars must follow.

From residents: We live in an increasingly “delivery economy”.  Are all the package and other delivery drivers suppose to block the bike lane to make their deliveries, or fully block a traffic lane and create a different traffic hazard?  We see these package trucks practically all day long. And don’t get me started on having to drag a heavy green bin out into the street onto a concrete slab!

From the merchants: Many of our customers are not locals. Eliminating parking is likely to seriously impact our sales. Most of us could not survive on low dollar volume sales. Even if biking increased in the neighborhood, it would be very difficult for it to add enough customers to replace the dollar volume of the shoppers who come by car and make large purchases. And if they can’t park, they will stop coming.

Uncontrolled intersection with protected bike lane and parking

From those with safety concerns: “Protected bike lanes” is a complete misnomer when there are driveways and uncontrolled cross intersections. Drivers’ vision is impaired by the parked cars between driver and bike lanes. This is exactly what exists in the plan on Hopkins essentially west of Colusa through the shopping district. There’s even an important commercial driveway next to the liquor store! Watch this part of a video that talks about the situation on Telegraph Ave.

From those concerned about the economic impact: Walk Bike Berkeley often refers to studies done in different states, under very different circumstances, to prove that the economic impact of removing parking is actually positive for businesses. But we have clear data from right here in the Bay Area that contradicts that. Watch the Koreatown video, about how revenues plummeted when the protected bike lanes were installed on Telegraph in Oakland.