Commercial Streets Program

Commercial Streets logo  

On June 19, 2020, the City launched its Commercial Streets program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support the health and safety of Alameda and its businesses. The program streamlined the permit approval process for expanding dining and retail into new parklets (using parking spaces) and the sidewalks. It also repurposed the roadway along core parts of Park and Webster Streets to greatly increase the area available for outdoor dining, retail and services. Given the successes of the program and the continued need to support business recovery, on November 2, 2021, the City Council approved a two-year extension of the program, through October 2023. Staff are beginning to implement the recommendations and will update this web page as new materials become available. 

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 on October 26, 2020(PDF, 363KB), June 14, 2021(PDF, 252KB), and November 15, 2021. The permit will expire on November 15, 2023. 

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

Six new in-street bicycle parking corrals were installed in June 2021: four on Park Street and two on Webster Street.

Staff continue to monitor the changes and make modifications, as needed. Per Council direction on November 2nd, staff will develop recommendations for the long-term configurations of Park St and Webster St, with community input, by October 2023. 

Park St_aerial_2020-07-10.jpg

 

 

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.

The recommendations were then slightly revised, and considered and approved by the City Council on November 2, 2021

The City Council first approved the Commercial Streets program 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.

Per Council direction given in October 2020 and March 2021, the program was approved through October 31, 2021.

After an extensive evaluation, on November 2, 2021, the City Council approved staff's recommendation to extend the program for two years, through November 2023.

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