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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.
Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
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 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.
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 26+ locations.
Photo by Maurice Ramirez
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. Alameda's High Injury Corridor Daylighting Project is increasing visibility on our most dangerous streets.
Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
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.
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.
Source: Northeastern University
The City is in the planning and building stages of multiple major street safety projects. An overview of current projects is in the 2023 Capital Projects Map. You can also find project information on the Transportation webpage and in the 2021-2023 Capital Budget.
Central Avenue: 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: Built in segments, this will be 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: 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: Create a complete street along the abandoned railroad right-of-way along Tilden Way and the eastern terminus of Clement Avenue, as well as the most eastern segment of the 4-mile east-west Cross Alameda Trail.
Grand Street Pavement Resurfacing & Safety Improvements: New high visibility crosswalks, flashing beacons, daylighting, and other improvements as part of a resurfacing project.
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.
Lincoln/Marshall/Pacific Avenue Safety Improvement Project: Street design improvements on this corridor from Broadway to Main Street, 3.1 miles.
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.
Mecartney Road/Island Drive Improvements: Analysis and outreach effort to improve this key Bay Farm Island intersection, bringing it up to current best practice standards for safety, adjacent bus stops, path crossings, and aesthetics.
Northern Shoreline near Posey/Webster Tubes: Seeking funding to bolster the seawall barrier at this entry point for coastal flooding during a 100-year flood event.
Pavement Management: Maintaining pavement on 128 miles of streets in Alameda.
Safe Routes to School Infrastructure: Completing and implementing School Safety Assessments around all public and private K-12 Alameda schools.
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.
Veterans Court Seawall: Addressing flood risk at this location, which is expected to be one of several entry points for coastal flooding during a 100-year flood event on Bay Farm Island.
Willie Stargell Avenue: Seeking grant funding to make improvements between Main and 5th 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.
Cross Alameda Trail - Main Street to Constitution Way: 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. Completed in 2020.
Otis Drive: The 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.
Other Transportation Projects (Not led by City)
Doolittle Drive: Addressing flooding at this entry point for coastal flooding at the 100-year flood event.
Encinal Avenue: This Caltrans project consists of restriping and improving State Route 61 (Encinal Avenue) between Sherman Street/Central Avenue and Broadway with resurfacing, a road diet from four lanes to two lanes, a center turn lane and bike lanes.
Oakland Alameda Access Project: Improvements to the Jackson Street on-ramp and off-ramp, Sixth Street, Webster Tube entrance from 5th & Broadway, and pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the Webster and Posey Tubes and to adjacent streets in Alameda and Oakland, plus elimination of the Broadway off-ramp.
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.
Pavement resurfacing is a particularly 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.
All children should be safe traveling to school, whether they walk, use a wheelchair, bike, scoot, ride in a car, or drive. Yet Alameda crash data finds that a disproportionate percentage of crashes involving school-age youth occur near schools. The City improves street safety around schools through the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Project and as part of its broader street improvement efforts. With over 20 K-12 schools in Alameda, a number of them are on or near the High Injury Corridors that the City prioritizes for safety investments.
Wondering what the City has done and is planning for street improvements around your child’s school? The Street Safety Improvements at Alameda K-12 Schools report includes past, planned, and proposed improvements around 22 public and private K-12 schools. It also outlines the City’s efforts to support street safety education, encourage students to walk and bike, and help lead the crossing guard program.
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 see ongoing traffic safety issues 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.
Federal Highway Administration resources
National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
Per the Alameda Vision Zero policy, the City references NACTO design guides, and uses them as applicable, in the design of all transportation projects.