Building Safer Streets

On the Street

Encinal Avenue Before

Encinal Avenue Before

Encinal & High before

Encinal Avenue After

Encinal Avenue After

Encinal & High after

Lincoln and Versailles Ave Before

Lincoln and Versailles Ave Before

Lincoln & Versailles before

Lincoln and Versailles Avenue After

Lincoln and Versailles Avenue After

Lincoln & Versailles after

Keep an eye out for safety improvements on Alameda streets! From major construction projects to striping improvements to ongoing maintenance, the City of Alameda works to make our streets safer all year long. Click through these before and after photos to see examples of safety improvements.

What is a Safer Street?

To achieve our Vision Zero goals, the City is working to create roads where everyone can get around safely, whether they travel by bus, car, bike, foot, wheelchair or other mobility device. A safer, complete street encourages people to drive at safe speeds and offers safe, comfortable passage for people walking and biking. The City uses crash data to prioritize street investments, focusing on its High Injury Corridors and on interventions that reduce dangerous behaviors like speeding and failing to yield to a pedestrian.

One element of a safer street is reduced speeds. Studies show that the risk of severe injury or death goes up dramatically as speeds increase above 20 miles per hour. Most of Alameda’s streets have posted 25 mile per hour speed limits, but some were originally designed in ways that promote higher speeds. The City is working to redesign many of these streets so that it feels natural and easy to drive at safer speeds.

Driving 20 mph = 10% pedestrians die; 30 mph = 40% die; 40 mph = 80% die

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Safer Streets Toolbox

There are many tools that improve street safety, from high visibility crosswalks to bike lanes to road reconfigurations. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation maintains a good list on their Vision Zero Safety Toolkit page.

Here are just a few examples of street safety improvements used or proposed in Alameda, as guided by our safer streets policies.

High visibility crosswalks

Ladder and continental crosswalk markings are highly visible and have been shown to improve yielding behavior.

Bulb-outs/curb extensions

Bulb-outs extend the curb at street crossings, enhancing safety by increasing pedestrian visibility, shortening crossing distances, and slowing turning vehicles. They can be created with concrete or paint and bollards.

Bulb-out made with paint and bollards, with ladder-style crosswalk

Flashing lights at crosswalks

Flashing lights at crosswalks (known as Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons, or RRFBs) have been shown to increase the percentage of drivers yielding to people walking in crosswalks from 18% to 88%. Alameda has these in 17+ locations.

People in a marked crosswalk with a push-button sign activating lights

Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Daylighting

Daylighting increases visibility at intersections by painting red curbs at the corners, enabling drivers to see motor vehicle and bicycle traffic in the cross street, as well as pedestrians entering the crosswalk.

Shows that cars parked near intersections blocks drivers from seeing pedestrians stepping into the crosswalk

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Road reconfigurations

Transforming a four-lane road into three lanes, with two lanes of auto traffic and a center turn lane, has been shown to reduce crashes by 19-47 percent while not causing traffic congestion. It increases safety for people crossing the street and often creates room for bike lanes.

Otis Drive with center turn lane, two lanes of auto traffic, and bike lanes.

Roundabouts

Modern roundabouts can reduce fatal and severe injury crashes by 90-100%, per the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. This is because they decrease conflict points, control speeds, and eliminate high-injury crash types, like “t-bone” crashes.

Roundabout conflict points = 8 vehicle and 8 pedestrian; intersection conflict points = 32 vehicle and 24 pedestrian

Source: Northeastern University

Projects

The City is in the planning and building stages of multiple major street safety projects. More projects can be found on the Transportation webpage and in the 2021-2023 Capital Budget.

Central Avenue: The concept for this project includes a reduction from four to three travel lanes, a center turn lane, bike lanes in the Gold Coast area, a two-way separated bikeway in the west end to Washington Park, street trees/rain gardens and intersection improvements such as roundabouts, curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands, rectangular rapid flashing beacons and new crosswalks.

Cross Alameda Trail Overall: This project, which is being built in segments, is envisioned as a premiere cross-town, low-stress four-mile bicycling and walking corridor that will connect the west side of the island to the east, from the Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point to the Miller-Sweeney (Fruitvale) Bridge.

Clement Avenue: This project consists of a two-way bikeway on the north/estuary side of the street, curb extensions, sidewalk/curb ramp improvements, and railroad track removal. It forms a 1.2 mile segment of the Cross Alameda Trail.

Clement Avenue/Tilden Way: This project will use the abandoned railroad right-of-way along Tilden Way and the eastern terminus of Clement Avenue. It will also build the most eastern segment of the 4-mile east-west Cross Alameda Trail, and will directly connect to the Clement Avenue Safety Improvement project, which also is part of the Cross Alameda Trail.

Cross Alameda Trail - Main Street to Constitution Way: This project, completed in August 2020, provides off-street biking, walking, and jogging trails on Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway from Webster St to Main St, as well as one block of two-way cycle track on Atlantic from Webster St to Constitution Way.

High Injury Corridor Daylighting Project: By painting red curbs at intersections along Alameda's most dangerous streets, this project will increase visibility and reduce crashes.

Maitland Drive Traffic Safety Improvements: Safety upgrades on Maitland Drive between Mecartney Road and Harbor Bay Parkway, such as daylighting, bicycle "sharrow" markings, and lane demarcation.

Otis DriveThe goals of this project are to reduce speeds and flooding and to improve safety for all users including a four to three lane conversion, bike lanes, bus stop improvements, and street trees.

Sidewalk Repair: The Alameda Municipal Code identifies the adjacent property owner as being responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, curb, gutter, and driveway approaches. However, the City's practice is to repair sidewalks damaged by street trees.

Willie Stargell Avenue: The City will be seeking grant funding to make improvements to Stargell Avenue between Main and Fifth Streets, including separate walking and bicycling paths in the vacant right-of-way north of the roadway, intersection safety and access improvements at the crossings and transit queue jump lanes at either end of the project.

Maintenance for Safety

Regular maintenance of Alameda’s existing transportation infrastructure is a major component of traffic safety. As of 2021, Alameda’s traffic safety system included 139 miles of streets with pavement markings, 89 signalized intersections, 50 miles of marked bikeways, 17 miles of painted curb, 6,403 pavement marking symbols, 2,918 curb ramps, 9,420 signs, and 6,800 streetlights. Each of these components must be maintained, repaired, or replaced to remain effective.

Street resurfacing is an important safety tool: not only do potholes damage cars and risk the safety of people walking and biking, but resurfacing provides an opportunity to install elements like high-visibility crosswalks, corner bulb-outs, and intersection daylighting.

Maintenance projects

More maintenance projects are outlined in the City's 2021-2023 Capital Budget.

Pavement management plan maps

Construction crew smoothing new street pavement

Report a Problem

If you see a street safety issue or maintenance need, let us know via SeeClickFix!

Choose the “Street Safety Concern” option to report a location where you feel unsafe or have narrowly avoided a crash. Your report will be used in combination with crash data and equity indicators to prioritize street safety investments, and will help the City end traffic deaths and serious injuries.

For maintenance issues like cracked pavement, faded paint, inoperative street lights, or broken street signs, please choose the associated option. Maintenance is a major component of street safety, and we appreciate your help monitoring these issues.

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