Commercial Streets Program

Commercial Streets logo  

On June 19, 2020, the City launched its Commercial Streets program, approved by the City Council at their May 19, 2020 meeting with the strong support of Alameda’s major business associations. The program streamlined the permit approval process for expanding dining and retail into new parklets (using parking spaces) and the sidewalks. It also included repurposing the roadway along core parts of Park and Webster Streets to greatly increase the area available for outdoor dining, retail and services. City staff worked closely with the Downtown Area Business Association (DABA) and the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) to develop this new program, which supported the health of our businesses and the community through the COVID 19 pandemic.

As of June 2021, the City has issued over 30 parklet permits and 6 sidewalk seating permits.

Per Council direction given in October 2020 and March 2021the program is scheduled to remain in place through October 31, 2021. The program is now being evaluated and recommendations will go to the City Council on November 2 (new date!). See "Program Evaluation and Community Input" tab below for more info. 

In June and July 2021, City staff conducted a thorough evaluation of the program, including public engagement, to help the Council determine if and how the program should continue beyond October 2021.

  • Community survey (1750+ responses)
  • Community events: Two virtual town halls and two in-person events were held.
  • Business input: WABA and DABA surveyed their businesses and held two virtual workshops

Staff recommendations were brought to the Transportation Commission's July 28 meeting, where they were unanimously supported by the Commission, and to the Planning Board on September 27, which overall supported the direction of the program.

* Updated * The recommendations, which are being slightly revised, will be brought to the City Council on November 2

 

With a parklet, a business can convert the existing (or former) parking space(s) in front of and/or near the business into an area for outdoor dining, retail or services. The City has streamlined the parklet permit process and permits will be issued as quickly as possible.  All parklets must follow the two below documents:

  1. Outdoor Commercial Usage Conditions: English(PDF, 415KB)Chinese(PDF, 1MB)Spanish(PDF, 354KB)Vietnamese(PDF, 1MB)
  2. Parklet Design Guidelines and Application Requirements: English(PDF, 257KB)Chinese(PDF, 917KB)Spanish(PDF, 509KB)Vietnamese(PDF, 1MB)

Submittal Instructions:  

To apply for a Parklet Permit, submit the following items to PWPermits@alamedaca.gov:

  1. Application: Completed Parklet Encroachment Permit Application(PDF, 229KB)
  2. Site plan of the proposed parklet. It should show the footprint of the proposed parklet, applicant’s business frontage limits, property lines, existing sidewalk width, existing parking stalls, curb markings (e.g. yellow, green, etc), and all existing sidewalk furniture and obstructions within 15 feet of the proposed site, including fire hydrants, wall hydrants, utility boxes, manholes, utility poles, parking meters, parking kiosks, bike parking and street trees. It should show all dimensions. It can be simple and be drawn on an aerial photograph (e.g. Google Maps), provided that the required information is well labeled and clear. It should also show the required barriers and location of trash bins for the parklet. Optionally, it can show the tables, chairs, benches, planters, landscaping, bicycle parking, retail displays, umbrellas, lighting, heating, and signage. The Parklet Design Guidelines and Application Requirements(PDF, 257KB) provide more details.
  3. Insurance documents:
    1. Certificate of Insurance (“COI”) naming the City of Alameda as the certificate holder. Make sure all of the policy coverage dates are current.
    2. A separate page for the Additional Insured Endorsement (“AIE”) naming the City. See this sample(PDF, 334KB) for what it should look like. This exact language must be added for the additional insureds: "City of Alameda, its Council, Officers, Employees, Volunteers, Board and Commissions."  In addition, if the business is located in either the Park Street or the Webster Street business improvement area (BIA), please name as an additional insured “[The Downtown Alameda Business Association OR the West Alameda Business Association], its Officers, Employees, Volunteers, Board and Commissions.”
    3. Proof of current Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance. Often, but not always, the WC insurance is included on the Certificate of Insurance, at the bottom. Please make sure it is either included on the COI or that a separate proof of WC insurance is provided.

Permits will be issued as quickly as possible, and having the correct insurance paperwork will expedite the process.

Questions:  

Email: PWPermits@alamedaca.gov

Resources:

City's Parklet Webinar from July 9, 2020: Presentation (PDF, 2MB)Video Recording

 


 


Businesses in the Park and Webster Street Business Improvement Areas (BIAs):

Are allowed to set up outdoor dining, retail and services following the conditions outlined in the Outdoor Commercial Usage Conditions(PDF, 415KB) . No plans, permits or insurance documents are required in these areas, since all businesses are covered by the BIAs' encroachment permits. A minimum of eight feet of clear space for walking must be maintained along Park and Webster Streets, and six feet on the side streets.

For Businesses within all other commercial areas of Alameda:

The sidewalk may be used for outdoor dining, retail and services with an approved Sidewalk Usage Encroachment Permit. A minimum of six feet of clear space for walking must always be maintained. All of the Outdoor Commercial Usage Conditions(PDF, 275KB) must be followed. See the Quick Rules in the right sidebar for a diagram and summary of requirements.

To use the sidewalk space, SUBMIT the following items to PWPermits@alamedaca.gov:

  1. Application: Completed Sidewalk Usage Encroachment Permit Application(PDF, 103KB)
  2. Insurance documents:
    1. Certificate of Insurance (“COI”) naming the City of Alameda as the certificate holder. Make sure all of the policy coverage dates are current.
    2. A separate page for the Additional Insured Endorsement (“AIE”) naming the City. See this sample(PDF, 334KB) for what it will look like. This exact language must be added for the additional insureds: "City of Alameda, its Council, Officers, Employees, Volunteers, Board and Commissions."  In addition to the AIE naming the City, if the business is along Central or Encinal Avenues, between Webster Street and Park Avenue (i.e. on Route 61), then please also name as additional insureds: “The State, the Department of Transportation, and the Directors, officers, employees, agents and/or contractors of the State and/or of the Department of Transportation, including but not limited to the Director of Transportation and the Deputy Directors.
    3. Proof of current Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance. Often, but not always, the WC insurance is included on the Certificate of Insurance, at the bottom. Please make sure it is either included on the COI or that a separate proof of WC insurance is provided.

Permits will be issued as quickly as possible, and having the correct insurance paperwork will expedite the process.

Questions:  

Send an email to PWPermits@alamedaca.gov.

All businesses in commercial districts in Alameda are allowed to use their privately-owned outdoor (un-enclosed open air) space and parking lots for outdoor dining, retail, and commercial uses. The use of the space must meet the conditions in the amended citywide Use Permit(PDF, 252KB). No additional plans, permits or insurance documents are required.

This use is allowed per Use Permit #PLN20-0215 which was approved by the Planning Board on June 22, 2020, and amended once on October 26, 2020(PDF, 363KB), and again on June 14, 2021(PDF, 252KB). The permit will expire on November 1, 2021. 

Businesses that would like to have existing on-street parking converted to curbside pick-up or short-term parking can make this request by emailing transportation@alamedaca.gov with your name, business name and address, and the request. Please include the exact location of the parking spaces to be converted, and, if applicable, the parking meter number(s). The City will review requests as they are submitted and make these changes, as feasible.

 

At the direct request of DABA and WABA, the City reconfigured the core areas of Park and Webster Streets to “expand” the sidewalk by converting the existing parking lane into space for outdoor dining, retail, and the lining up of customers. The goal was to create enough space to allow for both a safe passage for people walking and shopping along these commercial corridors and for businesses to move some of their operations outdoors, given the County Health Order limitations in place through June 15, 2021 on indoor business. The parking lanes were moved into the nearest travel lane, narrowing core segments of these two streets to one lane in each direction, as follows:

  • Park Street from Lincoln to Encinal Avenues was completed on July 10, 2020

  • Webster Street from Lincoln to Taylor was completed on August 7, 2020

  • An extension of Park Street south to San Jose was completed on April 2, 2021

This reconfiguration has been monitored and evaluated for the past year. It has been and will be modified, as needed. Per Council direction, it will remain in place at least through October 31, 2021. Six new in-street bicycle parking corrals were installed in June 2021: four on Park Street and two on Webster Street. All bus stops remain in place.

Park St_aerial_2020-07-10.jpg

 

 

*Updates as of March 2021*

On the night of April 1st, the City will restripe Park Street from Encinal Avenue to Clinton Street, extending existing Park Street roadway changes to the south. Between Encinal and San Jose, the street will be restriped similar to the section to the north, with space for outdoor dining and retail added along the western curb, 2-lanes instead of 4-lanes, parking, and a left turn pocket at San Jose. Between San Jose and Clinton, the street will transition to match the 2-lanes with one center turn lane further south on Park Street.

In addition, the City will add additional bollards and flex-posts to better demarcate the parklet areas and the no parking zones on Park Street. This work is expected to be completed on Friday, April 2. The City will also upgrade the parking signage, making it clearer where parking is restricted to 15 minutes for pick-up and drop-off only, in support of restaurants and retail establishments offering to-go or pick up options.

Bicycle parking will also be installed in select former parking spaces on Park and Webster Streets by May. All bus stops will continue to remain in place.

 *Update as of October 2020*

The City Council received an update on the program at their October 20, 2020 meeting where they affirmed that the program will continue at least through October 31, 2021.