2019/2020 Traffic Safety Incidents and Response
Based on a series of collisions involving school aged children in the fall of 2019, the City Manager’s Office convened a staff response team, including membership from the Public Works Department; Police Department; Planning, Building, and Transportation Department; the City Manager’s Office; and AUSD.
a. Immediate Response. The response team visited the sites of all child-involved collisions in the fall 2019, along with principals of nearby schools when available. Based on findings from these visits, City staff are implementing traffic safety improvements at 25 locations, installed in two phases starting in December 2019 and concluding in February 2020. See here, Traffic Safety and Traffic Calming Immediate Actions(PDF, 197KB) for details. Improvements consist of refreshing and enhancing high-visibility crosswalks, the addition of stop bars to encourage vehicles to stop farther back from crosswalks, additional red curb at intersections to improve visibility (daylighting), and additional signage.
In November, the Police Department conducted targeted traffic enforcement near schools and issued 400 citations during the month of November. Unfortunately this level of enhanced enforcement required significant overtime, which is not a sustainable strategy with current police staffing and resources.
b. Near-Term Actions. Staff are developing a list of priority intersections and locations for traffic safety and traffic calming improvements based on collision history, known high conflict areas, and recent public input. Each candidate intersection will be evaluated for potential improvements. Improvements may include rapid and relatively inexpensive modifications such as high-visibility crosswalks, painted bulb-outs, striping configuration changes, daylighting for improved visibility with extended red curbs at intersections, pedestrian signal heads with countdown timers at all traffic signals in the City, lengthening pedestrian intervals and an all-red phase if possible, and potentially rectangular rapid flashing beacons at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. The initial phases of installation are planned to occur the summer of 2020.
The Police Department completed an Office of Traffic Safety (State of California) grant application to fund additional targeted enforcement at high conflict and school zone areas.
c. Additional Long-Term Traffic Safety Efforts. While near-term projects are in design and construction, staff will also be seeking other traffic safety improvement projects throughout the city. For example, as part of the Countywide Safe Routes to School Program, School Safety Assessments have been completed by the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) with the support of the City. The City will continue to partner with ACTC to complete additional assessments to cover all elementary and middle schools in Alameda. As assessment plans are completed, staff will seek funding opportunities and develop city-wide school safety improvement projects. Traffic safety around all schools in Alameda is a priority for the City and staff will continue to address all traffic safety concerns in our school zones.
Many of the priority intersections identified as Near Term projects will require expensive alterations in order to improve traffic safety. Signal modifications such as the addition of a protected left turn movement require detailed traffic analysis, design, and funding. Geometric modifications to an intersection can also significantly improve safety but often require changes to the sidewalks, medians, islands, and drainage which are more complex and time consuming to design and expensive to construct. Street lighting improvements, especially at intersections will also be considered. Staff will evaluate and prioritize these priority intersections both independently and as part of a roadway corridor. Together with the Vision Zero Plan and Active Transportation Plan this information will be used to seek public support and funding for these, and other, comprehensive projects.
Immediate Actions to Improve Traffic Safety