North Oakland News: Don’t Like Telegraph Ave Redesign? Sign This KONO Petition

North Oakland Lower Telegraph Kono Bike Lane Problem
(Last Updated On: September 17, 2020)

On Nextdoor, a petition from KONO Community Benefit District (where “KONO” is short for Koreatown Northgate) was posted because some are not happy with the recent changes on Telegraph Avenue. Here it is, including the text:

KONO Community Benefit District has started a petition to get to a better road design for Telegraph Ave. The recent fixes have not solved the widely known problems down there. The city said they would “fix KONO” before making the same bike lane configuration design in Temescal, but they didn’t, and now we have the same problems.

Please sign if you agree.

The “protected” bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue are unsafe, put an unfair burden on local businesses and threaten the future of First Fridays.

Safety issues were apparent immediately after their installation in 2016, and reported to OakDOT by the KONO Community Benefit District: the row of parked cars means drivers can’t see bike lane traffic when turning, and cars drive and park in the bike lanes. Local tax revenue has dropped, and accidents and our Street Ambassadors report seeing accidents and near-misses on a daily basis.

In spite of this, and a promised community meeting so concerns could be heard, nothing was done until a cyclist was struck and injured by a turning car in June. OakDOT then installed bollards along and in the middle of Telegraph.

But cars still can’t see bike lane traffic, and still drive and park in the lanes. Bollards are already dirty and damaged from being run over, and their presence makes it impossible for First Fridays to resume.

We call on the City to replace this failed project with safer buffered bike lanes, which will allow for full visibility of cyclists, minimize impact on local merchants, and ensure that First Fridays will return.

Not All Agree With The KONO Petition

One resident wrote this:

I am a local resident who supports the design. It is not yet perfect, but protected bike lanes and fewer car lanes are better for bikes, pedestrians, and a future for everyone. For the first time since I moved here 15 years ago, I actually enjoy walking down Telegraph, and it seems likely that pedestrians are more likely to support local businesses than drivers.

That said, if there’s a way to keep this configuration without bollards, I’m all for it. And it would be sad to see First Fridays go.

The mere style of the post pissed off some North residents, who wrote a thread that went like this:

Sorry for the ignorance but what is KONO?

Resident One: I was waiting for someone to ask that because I had no clue and it’s been repeated so many times in the thread about Telegraph. Lol…

Resident Two: Ha, understand. I had to ask as well.

Some folks call it uptown, or lower telegraph, I call it downtown.

It’s the creation of the KONO community benefit district, which is similar to a Business Improvement District.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_improvement_district

Resident Three: I agree. The use of “KONO” without a single explanation of what it stands for is arrogant. Like if the reader doesn’t know what it means, then they are just like so totally uncool. Others on the thread explain, and Google can tell you everything. It’s a commercial public relations product, much like “Silicon Valley”, without any historic or natural history. In this particular case, it the name also manages to insult the resident population, 90% of which is not Korean.

Note, the last sentence “manages to insult the resident population, 90% of which is not Korean” is in my view completely stupid. Anyone who’s insulted by the fact that has a Koreatown that non-Koreans live in and near, and was once called Lower Telegraph, should have their brain examined.

Stay tuned.

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By Zennie Abraham

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