Slow Streets Alameda

Slow Streets Alameda is a program implementing "soft" closures of select Alameda streets to through traffic. It was originally implemented to facilitate physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. By limiting automobile traffic on these streets, the City is creating more places for our community to safely walk, run, bike, scooter and roll, in alignment with its Vision Zero, Active Transportation and Climate Action efforts to provide safer and more sustainable ways for everyone to get around.

The Slow Streets program began in April 2020 and will continue through October 2021, per City Council direction given in October 2020 and March 2021. The City is finalizing plans to strengthen some of the Slow Streets features and test out new features using grant funding, including temporary traffic circles and speed cushions. 

Staff conducted a thorough evaluation of the program, with public engagement, from July-September 2021, to gather input on the impact of the Slow Streets program and opinions on if and how to continue the program beyond October 2021. Staff recommendations for the future of the program have been developed and will be considered at the Transportation Commission's October 27th meeting and then by City Council in November. The meeting agendas and this web page describe how to participate in the virtual meetings.

Recommendations and Data Analysis 

Public Engagement

  • Community survey, conducted August 9 - 29, 2021, with almost 2,000 responses:
  • Four virtual open houses:
  • Summary of comments [coming soon]
  • Watch the Open House presentation [12 minutes]
  • Thursday, August 12, 12 noon – 1 pm
  • Thursday, August 12, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, August 17, 6:00 - 7:00pm
  • Monday, August 30, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
  • In person outreach events:
  • Farmers Market: Saturday, July 17, 9:00 – 11:00 am
  • Open House: Saturday, July 17, 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Stay up-to-date: subscribe to our mailing list (look for "Transp - Commercial and Slow Streets")

The City has installed 4.7 miles of Slow Streets in Alameda on these streets:

  • Pacific Ave (Ninth to Oak Streets) 

  • San Jose Ave (Morton to Oak Streets) + Morton St (San Jose to San Antonio Avenues)

  • Santa Clara Ave (Pacific Ave to Sixth St)

  • Versailles Ave (Fernside Blvd to Calhoun St)

  • Orion St (West Midway Ave to Pearl Harbor Rd)

Slow Streets Ex and Future Phases - 2021-04-13 Image.PNG(PDF, 186KB)

 

This form is only to report specific issues along streets that have been designated as Slow Streets. If you have any other traffic issue or request to report, please submit it to See Click Fix for the fastest response.

Click here to view form.

Why is the City doing this?

With park amenities, gyms and pools closed, and trails packed with people, many Alameda residents are seeking other ways to safely exercise while maintaining the required physical distancing. It can be difficult to maintain 6’ or more of social distance on many sidewalks, park paths, and bikeways. Because of this, many people are choosing to walk in the street to maintain adequate physical distancing, exposing themselves to swiftly moving vehicle traffic. The City of Alameda is implementing a pilot program, Slow Streets, which will institute the "soft" closure of some streets to through traffic, allowing these roadways to be used as a shared space for people walking and rolling, while also allowing essential vehicle travel. The goal is to take advantage of lower vehicle traffic resulting from the shelter-in-place order imposed by Alameda County and the State, and allow more people to use our streets while maintaining social distancing.

Can I drive on a Slow Street?

While the City is implementing a “soft” closure, local access is still allowed, which means people who live on the street, or need to access a destination on the stretch of roadway that is closed, are allowed access. People in cars are encouraged to go very slowly and use extreme caution on these shared streets; other motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes. 

Slow Streets will be in effect 24/7, given the limited staff resources to deploy/re-deploy equipment daily.

What does it look like on the street?

At select locations along the street, including at the beginning and end of the Slow Street segment, as well as at key intersections, the City will post closure signage on barricades stating “Road Closed to Thru Traffic.” Traffic cones will also be used to mark the change.

What activities are allowed on these Slow Streets?

  • Low-speed activities including walking, biking, and running. People should maintain physical distancing and be mindful of each other regardless of mode of travel.
  • Emergency vehicles, paratransit vehicles, and those whose final destination is on the street.
  • People carrying out essential business activities, such as deliveries.
  • Waste collection is allowed and will continue.
  • On-street parking.

What activities are not allowed on these Slow Streets? 

  • Set-up of tables, chairs, play equipment, etc.

How were the streets selected?

The selected street segments are ones that already serve many people walking and biking, are low-traffic streets to minimize traffic disruption and are already a bicycle route and/or are being considered as future bicycle boulevards as part of the Active Transportation Plan effort underway. Results of the Slow Streets community survey were also considered in street selection.

Will this be expanded to more streets?

As of March 2021, no additional Slow Streets are being considered. The program is being evaluated and the City Council will decide on its future in October 2021.

What about all the other streets in the city?

Alameda strongly urges all drivers to drive slowly and safely, and to expect to see people walking and biking along ALL streets.

How is the City monitoring this?

City staff and volunteers will track the program’s effectiveness, monitor to ensure physical distancing is observed and modify efforts on an ongoing basis.  A full evaluation of the program will take place in Summer 2021, to assist in determining the next steps for the program. City staff will work with community members and partners, including Bike Walk Alameda, to assist with outreach, including identifying Block Captains to help monitor, report issues, and replace signs and barricades, as needed. Sign up as a volunteer under the "Volunteer!" tab, to help out.

How will the City address enforcement?

The City will monitor the use of the streets, as noted above, but will not seek to ticket or financially penalize those who use the corridors as through streets. Instead, the City will aim to educate and raise awareness of the increasing prevalence of non-motorist use of the roadway and to encourage orderly, shared use of our roadways.

How can I be in touch with the City about this program and help spread the word?

If you have a location-specific maintenance issue, please report it on this web page (under "Request Service" above).

To stay in touch during the program evaluation period, please subscribe here (select "Transp - Commercial and Slow Streets"). 

Where else is this happening?

Alameda joined cities around the Bay Area (Oakland, San Francisco, Emeryville) and around the country (Seattle, Denver and more) in creating safe places to be physically active while we all responded to physical distancing mandates. Many of these cities are now determining how to maintain their Slow Streets into the future.

Update as of June 14, 2021

A short Slow Street is being implemented in phases on Orion Street, between West Midway Avenue to Pearl Harbor Road. By Tuesday, June 15, barricades will be placed at each end of this street segment. Within the next month, speed cushions will be installed on the street. This effort, which helps to broaden the Slow Streets further into west Alameda, was approved by the City Council in March 2021.

Update as of Feb 11, 2021

On Friday, Feb. 12th, the City will make a minor adjustment to the Versailles Slow Street, by moving the barricade from Otis Dr, back one block to Calhoun St. This new location will be safer, reflect the draft recommendations in the Active Transportation Plan, and provide better connectivity to other destinations. Motorists on Otis Dr wishing to travel north beyond the immediate vicinity are still encouraged to use an alternate route, such as Broadway.

Update as of September 2020

City staff will take recommendations on the future of the program to the Transportation Commission on September 23 and then the City Council on October 20, 2020.

The program continues to have wide community support. Almost 1000 people have responded to the program survey, with 73% of respondents supporting the program and 72% who would like to see it continue. Of all respondents, 16% live on a Slow Street. The top issue by far with the Slow Streets before June 15th (the time of the most recent program expansion), was "missing road closures barriers/signage" (33%). Since June 15th, that percentage has dropped to 22%, however "speeding cars" and "driver confusion" have gone up from 12 to 23% and 13 to 24%, respectively. However, this data is based on a much smaller pool of responses - there are only 115 responses since June 15th.

Update as of June 18, 2020

On Friday, June 19th, the City will add two additional Slow Streets, creating 4.5 total miles of Slow Streets in Alameda:

  • San Jose Ave (Morton to Oak Streets) + Morton St (San Jose to San Antonio Avenues)

  • Versailles Ave (Extend current Slow Street from Central Ave to Otis Dr)

Notification flyers were delivered to residents on these blocks on June 16th.

These street segments were selected in part based on community input via our Slow Streets survey (see tab below).  The program continues to have wide community support (73% of the 866 survey respondents said they support the program), and the number of people walking and biking on these streets remains high.

The implementation of further phases of the program, endorsed by City Council at their May 19th meeting, will be dependent on ongoing program evaluation and social distancing requirements. Potential future phases are shown on the map in the tab below.

Update as of May 21, 2020

With the City Council’s endorsement at their May 19th meeting, two additional Slow Streets will be added on Tuesday, May 26th:

  • Pacific Avenue (Grand to 9th Streets)

  • Santa Clara Avenue (Sixth St to Pacific Ave)

Notification flyers are being delivered now to residents on these blocks. (Note that the start date on the neighborhood flyer was modified to May 26th after printing.)

At this same meeting, the City Council also endorsed the further expansion of the program, as shown in the map in the tab below. Exact streets and implementation of further phases will be dependent on ongoing program evaluation and social distancing requirements.

Thanks to the over 470 people who filled out our survey as of May 19th! In response to suggestions received, the City added more barricades to the original two Slow Streets and will install barricades at all busier intersections along the two new Slow Streets. With 75% of respondents in support of the program and the increased usage of these streets for walking and biking, staff recommended program expansion. Streets recommended for expansion were selected in large part based on public input.

Update from May 14, 2020

Thanks to the over 320 people who have filled out our survey to date! In response, the City has:

  • Added an additional 8 barricades to the Slow Streets on Pacific and Versailles Avenues, to alert drivers that the street is closed to through traffic.
  • Recommended an expansion of the program, which is being considered by the City Council on Tuesday, May 19 (Item 2-D of the Special Meeting listed at the end of the regular meeting agenda; methods for public comment are shown at the top of the meeting agenda). Based on community feedback, the Phase 2 expansion, if endorsed by City Council, would extend the Pacific Ave Slow Street to the west to Ninth St, and add Santa Clara Ave from Sixth Street to Pacific Ave. Streets to consider for future expansion are included in the staff report, and in the map included under the map tab below.