Traffic Safety and Calming

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
 

Traffic safety and traffic calming are an ongoing priority for the City of Alameda. Safe streets are streets where drivers slow down and comply with posted speed limits. The vast majority of Alameda’s streets have posted 25 mile per hour speed limits.  A variety of tools can help drivers slow down and most of these tools involve the three E’s of engineering, enforcement, and education.  The City’s approach to implementing the 3 E’s are the responsibility of the City Manager’s Office, Public Works, Police, and Transportation Planning.

Specific traffic calming measures are aimed at slowing traffic in order to improve safety for people who walk, bike, drive, or use public transit. Studies show the risk of significant injury goes up dramatically as speeds increase above 20 miles per hour. 

Traffic safety measures can be implemented along a corridor or in a single location, such as an intersection. Alameda is in the midst of implementing more than $30+ million of corridor traffic calming improvements. These include construction of complete streets to improve safety for all users at: 

 

In addition, in 2019 the City completed a traffic calming project on Main Street between Pacific and the Main Street Ferry that added bike lanes, converted the street from four lanes into two with a center turn lane, and improved  traffic signal timing. These conversions, sometimes known as a “road diets”, have been shown to reduce crashes by up to 47%.  

Traffic calming also includes installation of equipment or striping at a single location. Public Works’ annual street resurfacing program includes high-visibility ladder-style crosswalks, corner bulbouts, and intersection daylighting where red curbs are installed or extended to increase sightlines.  

Traffic calming can include temporary installations of a speed feedback sign to make drivers more aware of their speeds.  

Traffic calming can include permanent installations of flashing lights at crosswalks. These lightshave been shown to increase the percentage of drivers yielding at crosswalks from 18% to 88%. This equipment is located at the following locations:  

  • Fernside/Versailles
  • Otis (SR 61)/Mound
  • Mecartney/Belmont
  • Pacific/Fourth
  • Central/Sixth
  • Park/San Antonio
  • Park/Pacific
  • Main Street/O’ Club Parking lot
  • Fernside Blvd/ San Jose Ave.
  • 8th St./Taylor Ave.
  • 8th St./Portola Ave.
  • Webster St./Taylor Ave.
  • Park St. Webb Ave.
  • Island Dr./Maitland                                               
  • Webster/Haight
  • Atlantic Ave/Wind River Dr. (Jean Sweeney Cross Alameda Trail Crossing)
  • Fernside/Harvard (installed by May 2020)                                                                         

In the meantime, Public Works, Police, and the Transportation Planning Unit evaluate locations for traffic calming and/or other safety measures based on the location’s history of reported collisions, police citations, pedestrian and bicycle safety consideration, complete street plans and policies, public input, and relationship with existing transportation plans and improvements.  

To propose a location for traffic calming, please go here and submit a Traffic Calming Suggestion. Staff will then include this suggestion at its annual reviews. Given funding is always a constraint, staff prioritize locations where data demonstrate a traffic safety issue. This is consistent with our City Council’s Vision Zero Policy that relies on a data-driven approach. 

Regular maintenance of Alameda’s existing transportation infrastructure is a major component of traffic safety. As of January 2020, Alameda’s traffic safety system includes 139 miles of streets with pavement markings, 87 signalized intersections, 45 miles of marked bikeways, 17 miles of painted curb, 6,403 pavement marking symbols, 9,420 signs, and 6,485 streetlights. Each of these components must be maintained, repaired, or replaced to remain effective.  

Maintaining pavement is particularly important to traffic safety because poor maintenance of road pavement can result in potholes. Not only do potholes cause damage to vehicles, they can pose a serious safety risk to people who are walking or biking.   The passing of Measure BB in 2014 and SB-1 in 2017 increased funding for roadway maintenance, helping Alameda achieve the second fastest improvement (from 66 in 2014 to 71 in 2019) in pavement condition of any city in Alameda County. Alameda’s road pavement condition is now in the low range of “good” condition as determined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

Public Works’ recent focus has been on upgrading traffic signal cabinets; converting streetlights to LED; and updating and/or replacing faded stop signs, stop legends, crosswalk and centerline striping. Recent striping improvements focused on 250 intersections between Grand Street and Alameda Point. Similar improvements will come east of Grand Street in 2020.

While these maintenance improvements are significant, they are also not enough. Due to years of underinvestment, Alameda’s streets, traffic signals, striping, streetlights, and sidewalks have more than $50 million in deferred maintenance.


When complete, the Vision Zero Action Plan will define parameters for evaluating locations for traffic calming and/or other safety measures. This plan aims to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries, and will be complete in 2021. For more information, to join the mailing list, or give input, go to: www.AlamedaCA.gov/VisionZero