Otis Drive

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Status Update: On September 1, 2020, City Council approved the construction contractor as shown here, and construction begins in November 2020.

The City has identified Otis Drive, between Westline Drive and Willow Street (1 mile), as a high priority for traffic safety improvements. The street is classified in the Transportation Element of the City of Alameda’s General Plan as an Island Arterial, which are streets intended to provide cross-island access for local intra-island trips through generally residential neighborhoods. It is also identified as a bicycle priority street and as a primary transit street, as the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) operates daily bus service in the corridor.

Otis Drive is 64 feet wide, curb to curb, and currently operates with two lanes in each direction, on-street parking along both curbs and no bike lanes. Safety concerns include excessive speeds, challenging crossings for pedestrians and a lack of bicycle facilities. The goals of the project include:

  • Reducing driving speeds within the 25 miles per hour limit
  • Improving safety for all users
  • Adding bicycle facilities to connect to Wood School, the beach, Alameda Hospital and with existing bike lanes on Westline Drive and Grand Street
  • Improving bus stops
  • Improving streetscape, such as gateways and landscaping
  • Reducing impacts of flooding/sea level rise 

For project updates via email, please email gpayne@alamedaca.gov.

Please direct questions or concerns to Robert Vance, Supervising Civil Engineer, by phone at 510 747-7972 or by email at rvance@alamedaca.gov.

2017

  • Spring: City Council approved $500,000 for Otis Drive safety improvements in the 2017-2019 Capital Improvement Program.

2018

  • Aug/Sept: City conducted survey. 
  • Sept: City Council approved the consultant contract for Parisi/CSW Design Group for the outreach, planning and design services.

2019

  • City held community workshop #1 on January 31 at Wood School.
  • Transportation Commission information item on February 27 at City Council Chambers.
  • City held community workshop #2 on March 20 at Wood School.
  • Transportation Commission approved short-term recommendation on May 22.
  • City Council approved recommendation on Tuesday, June 4.
  • Consultant team completed 65 percent design drawings.

2020

  • Spring: Consultant team to complete 95 percent design drawings. 
  • Summer: Consultant team to complete 100 percent design drawings.
  • November: Begin construction.

2021

  • Early: Finish construction and project close-out.

 

 

 

2017

  • Spring: City Council approved $500,000 for Otis Drive safety improvements in the 2017-2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Link to CIP sheet(PDF, 125KB) for Otis Drive.

2018

  • Aug/Sept: City conducted survey - summary results(PDF, 403KB).
  • Sept: City Council approved the consultant contract for Parisi/CSW Design Group for the outreach, planning and design services. Link to staff report.

2019

2020

  • Spring: Consultant team to complete 95 percent drawings.
  • Summer: Consultant team to complete 100 percent drawings.
  • Sept 1: City Council approved construction contractor and voted for a roundabout at the Grand Street/Otis Drive intersection as the long-term solution.  Link to staff report.
  • November: Contractor to begin construction.

2021

  • Early: Finalize construction and project close-out.

 

Road Diets
The reduction of motor vehicle travel lane(s) provides an opportunity to reallocate space for other uses such as bike lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane.  According to the Federal Highway Administration's informational guide(PDF, 2MB) , streets with travel lane reductions have multiple benefits for people driving, walking and bicycling, such as:
  • Decreases vehicle travel lanes for pedestrians to cross;
  • Allows for better visibility of pedestrians waiting or attempting to cross the street;
  • Improves circulation for bicyclists when a bikeway is added;
  • Reduces rear-end, sideswipe and left-turn collisions by at least 19 percent and up to 47 percent through the use of a center two-way left-turn lane;
  • Improves speed limit compliance by three to five miles per hour, which reduces the severity of collisions; and
  • Improves travel flow since through vehicles are separated from left turning vehicles.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has a case studies document and additional resources.  FHWA Video and Fact Sheets are as follows:

Protected Intersection

What is it?
  • A protected intersection is an intersection where cyclists and pedestrians are physically separated from cars, minimizing potential conflicts and offering a high degree of safety and comfort. 
  • One of the key features of protected intersections are raised corner islands that extend the separation of pedestrians and bicyclists from turning vehicles and make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and bicyclists as they cross the street.
  • Other features include crosswalks that are set back from vehicle traffic to make the crossings shorter and where cyclists pass through the intersection on a dedicated path, and waiting zones for turning cars.
What are the benefits?
  • New dedicated left-turn lanes will separate turning cars from those going through the intersection, making it easier and more predictable for drivers.
  • Drivers waiting at red lights can more easily see cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Corner islands reduce vehicle speeds, increasing safety for everyone.
  • Two-stage left turns provide a dedicated waiting area for cyclists that is physically protected from vehicles.
  • Pedestrian crossing distances are shorter, making it faster to cross, and reducing the potential for conflict with vehicles.
How will this benefit Alameda?
  • The Otis Drive & Grand Street intersection is a high-injury site for cyclists and pedestrians and is the site of a fatal pedestrian collision. A protected intersection will make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians to cross this busy, wide intersection while also making it easier for left-turning drivers. 

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Improved Sightlines ("Daylighting")

What is it?

  • Daylighting is a simple improvement that makes everyone on the street easier to see.  It requires creating short ‘no-parking’ zones at curbs in front of intersection crosswalks to give drivers and pedestrians better view each other at crosswalks.
What are the benefits of daylighting?
  • Improves drivers’ view of people waiting at crosswalks, particularly children or people in wheelchairs who may otherwise be blocked by parked cars.
  • Improves the visibility between pedestrians and drivers making turns.
  • Improves pedestrians’ view of approaching cars and allows them to make eye contact with drivers from the sidewalk.
How will this benefit Alameda?
  • All of the Otis Drive intersections will have daylighting treatment.
  • Collisions causing pedestrian injuries have occurred at the intersections with Westline Drive and Grand Street. Daylighting will allow drivers and pedestrians a clearer view of one another before pedestrians enter the crosswalk, making walking and driving along Otis Drive safer and more comfortable.

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Marked Crosswalks and Bulb-outs

What is it?
  • Bulb-outs extend the sidewalk into the street, creating a shorter crossing distance for pedestrians while slowing vehicles. Marked crosswalks make pedestrians more visible to drivers and alert drivers of the potential of a pedestrian.
  • Bulb-outs can be installed simply with paint and posts or constructed as actual extensions of the sidewalk.
  • Bulb-outs are typically designed to be the same width or narrower than a parked car.
What are the benefits?
  • Pedestrians are more easily seen by drivers both before they enter the crosswalk and while crossing.
  • Bulb-outs shorten crossing distances for pedestrians
  • Bulb-outs encourage drivers to slow down as they make turns.
  • Studies show that pedestrian bulb-outs lead to slower speeds, higher rates of yielding to pedestrians, and reduced collision severity.
How will this benefit Alameda?
  • Bulb-outs are being added at Westline Drive, Larchmont Isle, Tarryton Isle, Arlington Isle, Wllow Street, Glenwood Isle and Waterview Isle and Sandcreek Way. All new crosswalks across Otis Drive will include bulb-outs.
  • Marked crosswalks and bulb-outs will improve safety at the sites of previous pedestrian collisions, such as Westline Drive.
  • Bulb-outs will help calm traffic along Otis Street, where a high percentage of vehicles travel over the posted speed limit.

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Bike Boxes

What is it?
  • A bike box is a designated area for cyclists in front of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection. Bike boxes give cyclists a safe and visible place to wait for a green light.
What are the benefits?
  • Cyclists are grouped together, allowing them to cross the intersection more quickly and reducing waiting time for vehicles.
  • Cyclists are more visible to drivers, helping to make driving more intuitive and predictable.
  • Bike boxes make it easier and safer for cyclists to make a left turn following a red light.
  • Bike boxes prevent drivers from blocking crosswalks.
How will this benefit Alameda?
  • Bike boxes at the Otis Drive intersections with Westline Drive and Willow Street will make traffic flow more predictable for drivers while increasing safety and convenience for cyclists.

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Roundabouts

The City Council approved a roundabout at the Otis Drive/Grand Street intersection as part of a second phase of the Otis Drive Safety Improvement Project and not as part of this initial 2020/2021 construction.  Roundabouts reduce the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82 percent when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, per the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.  Roundabouts result in lower vehicle speeds, generally 15-25 miles per hour, around the roundabout.  Crashes that occur will be less severe because of this reduced speed and the more “sideswipe” nature of crashes.  Pedestrians are generally safer at roundabouts, and are faced with simpler decisions at a time. Videos and presentations on roundabouts are as follows: