Council to Discuss Grand Street Improvements
Council to Discuss Grand Street Improvements
City Council will vote on the possible adoption of the Grand Street Pavement Resurfacing and Safety Improvement plan at its June 21 meeting.
The proposed project’s goals are to improve the safety conditions on the 0.7-mile segment of Grand Street between Encinal Avenue and Otis Drive.
The most discussed details of the project, recommended by city staff, are the separated bicycle lanes and the reduction of public parking spaces. According to the staff report, there will be separated bike lanes between Shore Line Drive and Encinal. North of Otis Drive, the bike lanes are located adjacent to the curb. Due to the width of the street north of the lagoon bridge, parking will alternate sides on each block. The parking lanes will be placed between the bicycle lane and the roadway to separate the bicyclists from moving automobiles.
Though many Alamedans, especially bicycle riders, are in favor of this plan, some residents are concerned with the reduction of parking space. Alameda resident Paolo Friedman wrote a letter to the council opposing the plan.
“I am writing you to formally protest the bike lane plan,” said Friedman, who lives along the Grand Street corridor. “We should not suffer a loss of parking in front of our home. We also do not want to be forced to risk walking across the street in traffic with our young children to get to our vehicles.”
City staff acknowledged there will be a reduction of parking, but they also did a study that showed the remaining number of public parking spaces aligns with the parking occupancy observed during peak hours (weekdays at night). The study showed the parking occupancy on Grand Street at Dayton Avenue, Palmera Court, Clinton Avenue San Jose Avenue and San Antonio Avenue and Encinal Avenue was approximately 30 percent of capacity during this time. The parking occupancy only outpaced the proposed parking supply at one location: Central Avenue between Dayton and Clinton.
Some residents also voiced concern over potential difficulty to maneuver their vehicles from their driveway onto the street.
City staff believes this plan will improve safety for all users. The corridor has been identified as a high-injury corridor in the City’s Vision Zero Plan. On Grand Street, vehicle speeds are often higher than the 25 miles per hour (mph) posted speed limit. Crash data from 2015 to 2019 showed that 35% of injury bicycle crashes involved children, according to a staff memorandum. Approximately 55% of children cyclists were observed riding on the sidewalk or in the parking shoulder. Wood Middle School, Rittler Park and the Alameda shoreline are adjacent to Grand Street, and Franklin Elementary School, Franklin Park, and St. Joseph’s Elementary School are within one-fourth of a mile of Grand Street.
Other project improvements include curb and gutter repairs to address storm water flow and improved curb ramps and intersection grading for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility. Also, rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) at the Wood Middle School mid-block crossing and at the intersection of Grand and San Antonio to reduce driver speeds and high visibility crosswalks. Lastly, the project includes enhanced bus stops with bus islands at the intersection of Grand and Shore Line and at Wood Middle School.
At its May 21 meeting, the Transportation Commission voted 5-0 to support staff’s recommended plan.
The project cost is estimated at $3,085,600. If approved, the project would be partially funded by the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which distributes federal transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration to projects and programs throughout the Bay Area. The OBAG 2 would contribute $827,000, according to the staff memorandum, with the remaining funds coming from Alameda County Measure B/BB funds.
If approved the project will begin construction in the fall. If council does not approve the city staff recommended plan, an alternative plan calls for striped bike lanes. This alternative retains the parking on the street next to the curb and the bicycle lanes between the parked cars and the roadway. This alternative preserves the quantity of public parking spaces.
The council meeting will take place at 7 p.m. and be available to watching via Zoom. To view the project’s staff report, visit https://tinyurl.com/yc4hhp4t.