East Oakland gets long overdue bike-pedestrian path

East Oakland has finally gotten something many residents say is long overdue – a bike path along a busy and dangerous boulevard.

"We have speeding cars and no safe place to ride," said Reginald Burnette, an East Oakland resident and president of the original Scraper Bike club.

He says this asphalt path is becoming something of an oasis in East Oakland.

"I don't have to worry about speeding cars cashing me into parked cars. I can just ride, get to work safely and back home safely," he said.

Elected officials formally dedicated the path called East Bay Greenway. It's a bike and pedestrian path running along San Leandro Boulevard past the Oakland Coliseum BART Station.

The first 10-block stretch recently opened, but the path will eventually stretch 15 miles south to Hayward, past five BART stations, transit hubs and schools.

"That means connecting to San Leandro and beyond that to Hayward. And also creating connections between this trail and the Bay Trail, which isn't far from here. So people can safely get out to the Bay," said Renee Rivera of Bike East Bay.

But in East Oakland, the path is a short reprieve from traffic, and a place that may encourage more residents to take up bicycle riding.

"You and I probably learned in our neighborhood street. but these days it's not safe for kids to do that. So this is a place right in the neighborhood where kids can learn to do that," said Rivera.

"It will be separate from the road. It will be safe. It will be 12-feet wide so there will be room for everybody. Bikers in both directions, hikers, little kids. That's the dream. That's the goal," said Carolyn Jones of the East Bay Regional Park District.

Building the path is a slow process. The next phase is expected to be completed in about two years.