City Council Approves Active Transportation Plan

City of Alameda -- City Council approved the Active Transportation Plan, which took almost four years to create.
City of Alameda -- City Council approved the Active Transportation Plan, which took almost four years to create.

City Council Approves Active Transportation Plan

At its Dec. 20 meeting, the City Council voted to adopt the Active Transportation Plan (ATP). The ATP provides a roadmap for making walking and biking safe and desirable everyday transportation options in Alameda.

The plan is designed to help implement the safety, greenhouse gas reduction and transportation goals in existing city plans, including the 2021 General Plan, the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, and the Vision Zero Action Plan.

The ATP was approved with a 4-1 council vote. Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer provided the lone dissenting vote. Spencer said data from a recently released 2022 Alameda study showed safety on city streets was getting worse, despite the increase in traffic safety projects in Alameda.

“Through Dec. 5, the number of people [killed in pedestrian-vehicle/bicycle collisions] is two,” said Spencer. “But if you look at the last three years it was four, four and two, which is actually higher than the average. When you look at the severely injured from all modes this year it was 15. The average over the 14 years is 8.8. Last year, it was nine. The year before that was five. Sadly, no matter how well intended these [projects] are actually having either no impact or extremely increasing the severely injured and the killed.”

Councilmember John Knox White disagreed.

“That’s not how using data to make decision works,” said Knox White. “You don’t just look at a page and read a bunch of numbers and assign it to a meaning. There’s a lot of study that has been gone into the national problem of increasing deaths on our roads and it’s not road design.”

Knox White cited motorist drinking and driving and vehicle design as a reason for driving fatalities going up nationwide.

Before approving the motion, Knox White asked that three changes be made to the plan First, he wanted to fast track the West Eighth Street/Westline bicycle/pedestrian project into the short-term timeline. Second, he wanted to keep the “Slow Streets” designations on Santa Clara Avenue and Orion Street until projects on parallel streets are completed. Lastly, he wanted to include language that would allow the city to pursue items with the county for protective active transportation on the existing Fruitvale Bridge until they can come up with the funds and the plans to rebuild Fruitvale Bridge.

All three changes were included in the Active Transportation Plan.

In all, the ATP includes 32 specific capital improvement projects, including 27 that are primarily led by the city and five led by other agencies and private developers. The projects are to be implemented by 2030. The projects include some efforts that are fully funded and underway, programmatic efforts such as trail maintenance, and implementing a backbone network of low-stress facilities, called the 2030 Backbone Low Stress Bicycle Network It also includes 30 programs, from maintenance to safety education to school crossing guards, which will support and encourage safe and comfortable walking and biking.

The ATP will have annual performance measures to track progress and will be updated in five years.

The city released the draft ATP on Oct. 3 (“,” Oct. 5). Input from the draft plan was collected at 14 public events and meetings, including five commission and board meetings, seven presentations from local organizations and an online survey.

At its Nov. 16 meeting, the Transportation Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council adopt the Final Draft Active Transportation Plan.

The ATP will replace the city’s 2009 Pedestrian Plan and the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan.

It took about four years to come up with the ATP. During this time city staff conducted more than 50 public events and multiple surveys.