Central Ave. Plans Go Before Council

Dennis Evanosky A cyclist on Central Avenue shares a lane with traffic in the street’s current configuration. Changes to Central may be approved at the Feb. 24 city council meeting.

City Council is asking Alameda residents for their input on a concept to make Central Avenue, between Main Street/Pacific Avenue and Sherman Street/Encinal Avenue, safer at the Feb. 24 City Council meeting. City staff’s goal is to make Central Avenue safer for Alamedans traveling by car, bicycle or on foot. 

City staff has already created a design proposal and is requesting the Council’s approval at the Feb. 24 meeting. However, the council wants input from the community before they approve the plan. 

The city chose this stretch to rebuild because a Central Avenue study concluded there was a disproportionate number of injuries from collisions there compared to other streets in the city.

One of the recommendations is to change the road from a four-lane roadway — two lanes in each direction — to a three-lane roadway — one travel lane in each direction — that will include a two-way left-turn lane. The proposal states adding the left-turn lane would reduce rear-end, sideswipe and left-turn collisions by at least 19 percent. 

Staff believes with the turn lane there will be an improvement in speed-limit compliance by three to five miles per hour and travel flow since through vehicles are separated from left- turning vehicles. Both will decrease the chances of a possible collision.

Other proposed improvements will help bicyclists and parking. The plan looks to build two, five-foot-wide bike lanes, one on both sides of the street. This will not only help bicyclists, but those who park along Central Avenue as it will be easier for drivers to exit their vehicles without the threat of oncoming cyclists colliding with their car doors. 

There will be an extra cycle track — a two-lane roadway for bicyclists — from the Central/Main/Pacific intersection to Fifth Street. This is designed to increase the space for bicyclists near school zones around Encinal High and Paden Elementary schools.
Other improvements include more visible crosswalks, more space for AC Transit bus stops and improved landscaping. 

This corridor concept proposal is funded by Caltrans through a community-based transportation planning grant. The local match is paid for by the Alameda County Transportation Commission through Measure B — Alameda County’s transportation sales tax.

For more information on the Central Avenue concept design, contact Gail Payne, transportation coordinator, by phone at 747-6892 or by email at gpayne@alamedaca.gov.