Council Approves Staff Recommended Grand Street Plan

City of Alameda -- The Grand Street Improvement Plan approved at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting will include chicanes as staff recommended.
City of Alameda -- The Grand Street Improvement Plan approved at the Nov. 1 City Council meeting will include chicanes as staff recommended.

Council Approves Staff Recommended Grand Street Plan

At its Nov. 1 meeting, the City Council voted, 3-2, in favor of the staff recommended Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project.

Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Vice Mayor Malia Vella and councilmember John Knox White voted in favor of the staff recommended plan. Councilmembers Trish Herrera Spencer and Tony Daysog voted against the plan. With the item’s approval, council will authorize Interim City Manager Nancy Bronstein to proceed with the development of construction documents of the staff recommended design.

The final concept will include two-way separated and protected bicycle lanes on Grand Street from Otis Drive to Encinal Avenue. The concept will also include 90 on-street parking spaces (40 of which are between Shore Line and Otis Drives), seven ADA parking spaces, intersection improvements, and chicanes. Chicanes are traffic control structures used to reduce vehicle speeds on local streets. Parking will be on alternating sides of the street.

On May 25, the Transportation Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council proceed with the staff recommended resurfacing and restriping plan. On June 21, City Council voted, 3-2, to direct staff to continue to develop the concept to further address a short list of remaining concerns and design changes. However, at the Oct. 4 council meeting, the staff recommended plan failed 2-3, with Ashcraft voting against the plan (“Council Approves Revised Grand Street Plan; May Still Be Changed,” Oct. 11;

Ashcraft said she voted against the staff recommended plan on Oct. 4 because city staff did not answer some of her safety concerns.

“My questions were twofold,” said Ashcraft at the Nov. 1 meeting. “Is there any unintended consequence of this new configuration, I called it zigzagging? I also asked on more than one occasion can you provide any examples of where this configuration has been done in other cities.”

Instead, council voted in favor of a revised plan that included protected two-way bicycle lanes on Grand Street, between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive; traditional separated bicycle lanes (parking spots are located along the sidewalk and the bicycle lane is in between the parking spots and vehicle traffic lane) from Otis Drive to Encinal Avenue; enhanced crosswalks; and rapid-flashing beacons at the intersections at San Jose and San Antonio avenues. This passed 3-0, with Knox White and Vella not voting because they both left the meeting at the time of the vote.

The next day, Ashcraft received additional information from Bike Walk Alameda members and city staff that addressed her safety concerns. With the new information, Ashcraft requested council to review the new information at the Oct. 18 council meeting and then revisit the project’s final concept at the Nov. 1 meeting.

Daysog did not agree the new information warranted a revote.

“I’m not convinced that that there is some new information there, the basis of which we’re reevaluating what we came across what we decided on Oct. 4,” said Daysog. “The difference being posed tonight is not making any different observations with regard to the safety of option two over option one, rather the new information is simply the documentation of that information.”

Public comments were mixed, just like the Oct. 4 meeting. Estimated cost for the project is $3,085,600. The city is eligible to receive a $827,000 One Bay Area Grant, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Measure B and BB bonds will cover the rest of the costs, according to the staff report.