Corridor Safety Improvement Project Moves Forward

City of Alameda  -- The Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue Corridor Improvement Project design was approved by the City Council at its April 18 meeting.
City of Alameda -- The Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue Corridor Improvement Project design was approved by the City Council at its April 18 meeting.

Corridor Safety Improvement Project Moves Forward

At its April 18 meeting, the City Council approved a design concept for the Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue Corridor Improvement Project. Council approved the design concept with a 4-1 vote.

The project will revamp the three-mile Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue corridor between Alameda Point at Main Street and Park Street. Safety enhancements include two roundabouts, one at the Lincoln Avenue/Fifth Street/Marshall Way intersection and at the Lincoln/Wilma Chan Way/Eighth Street intersection — this will be installed at a later date. There is a roundabout scheduled to be installed at the Pacific/Central Avenue/Main intersection as part of the separate Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project.

Other improvements include six flashing beacons; signal, crosswalk and bus stop improvements at several different intersections; and a road diet and bicycle lanes.

The road diet will turn the corridor from a four-lane roadway (two lanes in each direction) into a two-lane roadway for vehicle traffic. There will be a divide in between the two lanes in most of the corridor. In some stretches a left turn lane will be in between the two lanes. Depending on the location, the corridor will have buffered bicycle lanes — a space separating the bicycle lane from the vehicle travel lane — or protected bicycle lanes — the bicycle lane is separated from the vehicle traffic lane by parking spaces. The corridor will maintain parking except near roundabouts, intersections, and select driveways to improve visibility.

“Road diets are better for visibility of pedestrians waiting or attempting to cross the roadway, shortens crossing distances, and reduces rear ends, side swipes, and left turn collisions by at least 19 and up to 47 percent,” said Bri Adams from Parametrix Inc., an engineering and construction consulting firm, in her presentation to the council. “They improve speed compliance and reduce severe collisions.”

The city identified the Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue corridor as a high priority for safety and mobility improvements. The corridor has been deemed a high-injury corridor with several high crash intersections, according to the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan. According to the Parametrix report, there have been 258 reported crashes between 2017 and 2021 with 17 crashes involving pedestrians and 11 crashes involving bicyclists.

The design gained almost unanimous support from residents who provided public comments. Many praised the project design's bicycle lane access and safety. However, one speaker voiced opposition. Jim Strehlow said the project will increase greenhouse gases because the plan will increase the distance travelers at Alameda Point will need to cover. He also expressed concern that the road diets will make it more difficult for people to leave the city in case of an emergency.

"Road diets are going too far and endanger the safety of Alamedans,” said Strehlow.

Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer provided the lone dissenting vote. Spencer said the traffic fatalities and severe injuries rate per 100,000 charts in the City of Alameda Vision Zero report trending up over the past decade show lane improvements having a reverse effect on vehicle safety. Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft countered by suggesting its excessive speed that is causing so many accidents.

“The improvements of this project are designed to slow automobile speed,” said Ashcraft.

The council’s approval authorizes City Manager Jennifer Ott to draw up an agreement with Parametrix to prepare for early actions on the corridor related to street resurfacing. The deal is not-to-exceed $1,000,000, according to the city staff report. With the design set, city officials hope it will increase the likelihood of the city obtaining competitive grants to complete the design and construction of the project.

This Lincoln/Marshall/Pacific Corridor Improvement Project is estimated to cost approximately $27 million, according to the staff report. In June 2022, city staff submitted a grant application to the Alameda County Transportation Commission totaling $14.7 million.

City of Alameda -- A rendering of the existing Lincoln Avenue roadway west of Morton Street (above) and the proposed roadway (below).