Transportation Safety FAQs

Recently, there have been a number of collisions in Alameda with vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrians. In the last six weeks, five collisions occurred with students on their way to school. Collisions can happen for a number of reasons, including speed, being distracted, and unsafe behaviors. But there are also a number of things we can do to make the island a safer place to get around. This FAQ begins to outline a few of the questions we are hearing about transportation safety and some of the programs we have in place. Please share your feedback and questions using the form in the right sidebar, and we will continue to update this page.

What is the City’s Police Department doing about enforcing school areas?

There is nothing more important to the City than the safety of our residents. We take the recent collisions very seriously, and are committed to helping ensure Alameda is a safe place to walk and bike to school. We will have enhanced police enforcement in school areas at the beginning and ending of the school day that will rotate without notice to help change behaviors and keep everyone safe.

Working with AUSD and the City's Planning, Building, and Transportation and Public Works Departments, the Police Department will participate in on-site post-collision meetings where children have recently been hit by cars. This same response team will meet after any future collision when a child is involved to go over when and how the collision happened and any potential short- and long-term safety improvements, from the standpoint of engineering and maintenance, enforcement, and education efforts. 

In addition, The Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit will communicate and raise awareness about safety issues and will work in partnership with AUSD and Safe Routes to Schools champions to protect the island.

How is the City communicating about transportation safety?

The City Council will vote on adopting Vision Zero on November 5, and part of that effort will include a broad public safety campaign that will emphasize safe driving, bicycling, walking, and more.

What is the City doing to make our streets safer?

The City is engaged in both short-term and long-term work to improve the island’s safety. In the short-term, we are doing more daylighting in targeted areas, including on Lincoln near Walnut. We are looking at opportunities for traffic calming improvements. And we are increasing bike lanes islandwide. In the long-term, we recently launched our Active Transportation Plan development, which is kicking-off with an Open House on November 7. Visit activealameda.org for more information. In 2020, the data collected from this project will be used to recommend both short-term and long-term improvements for safety.

What is the City’s Active Transportation Plan?

Alameda’s Active Transportation Plan will be a consolidated bicycle and pedestrian planning document. For this Plan, active transportation includes people biking, walking, and using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, pedal and electric scooters, electric bikes, skateboards, and other similar wheeled vehicles. Basically, anything that could legally use the sidewalk or a bicycle lane or path! The Active Transportation Plan will be a great vehicle to get data on collisions so we can take action.

What is the Vision Zero Policy?

Vision Zero is a traffic safety strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries using a data-driven, multi-disciplinary, and safe systems approach that also increases safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. In the City, between 2011 and 2018 an average of two people died and 10 suffered severe injuries per year; and over half of the fatalities were older people walking. The recommended Vision Zero Policy aims to reduce those numbers by declaring Vision Zero as the City's guiding principle for transportation planning, design, and maintenance, and directing specific implementation actions. It recognizes that while human error will always occur, a combination of education, enforcement, and engineering measures can reduce collisions and prevent collisions from causing death or severe injuries.

Vision Zero is an international movement that provides a framework for reducing traffic deaths and life-changing injuries to zero. A core principal is that traffic deaths and severe injuries are unacceptable and preventable. Vision Zero is a multi-disciplinary approach that includes education, enforcement, and engineering measures; and focuses on safety for all road users, including drivers and their passengers.

How many collisions in Alameda result in people getting seriously injured? 

Between 2011 and 2018, 16 people died and 82 people suffered severe, life-changing injuries on City streets, an average of two deaths and 10 severe injuries per year. Of those 98 people, 33% were walking, 29% were riding bicycles, 21% were in motor vehicles, and 17% were riding motorcycles. Of those killed, half were walking when the crashes occurred. In addition, more than 1,750 people reported pain or endured mild-to-moderate injuries from traffic collisions of all modes during this time period, plus there are an unknown number of unreported collisions and near-misses. For detailed data, see the table below.

Vision Zero recognizes that while human error will always occur, designing safer streets can reduce collisions and prevent collisions from causing death or severe injuries. For instance, measures that reduce motor vehicle speeds can save lives: a person walking has only a 50% chance of living if hit by a car traveling 42 miles per hour, but that same person has a 90% chance of living if the car is traveling 23 miles per hour.

Where can I find information about traffic incidents and collisions?

Starting this fall, the Alameda Police Department will begin posting monthly traffic incident reports on the Police Department page on the City’s website.   

What actions will the City take to implement Vision Zero? 

The policy requires that the City create a Vision Zero Task Force to be made up of a broad range of City departments, which will establish a shared understanding of the Vision Zero approach and integrate Vision Zero into all aspects of transportation planning, engineering, enforcement and education. Many departments will need to be involved in the process, including Planning, Building and Transportation; Police; Public Works; and the Fire Department. Other key stakeholders, including the Alameda Unified School District, will also be invited to participate.

With the support of the consultant team, the City will create a Vision Zero Action Plan with measurable actions to increase street safety. This work will be based on an analysis of all traffic collisions and their causes, to help identify trends and those actions that will have the greatest impact on reducing traffic deaths and severe injuries.

The Vision Zero policy also requires the City to review and change several specific transportation engineering and design standards and policies, including revised or new standards for motor vehicle travel lane widths; street width for fire access; bike lane and buffer design; crosswalk placement and design; and rapid installation bulb-outs. In early 2020, staff plans to bring these updates to the Transportation Commission for input and then to the City Council for adoption.

How do I get involved?

What is happening along Central Avenue?

The Central Avenue Safety Improvement Plan includes a reduction from four lanes to three travel lanes, a center turn lane, bike lanes, a two-way separated bikeway in the west end, street trees and rain gardens, and intersection improvements such as curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, and new crosswalks.

What is happening along Clement Avenue?

This Clement Avenue project consists of a bikeway, curb extensions, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, sidewalk/curb ramp improvements, railroad track removal and street trees.

What is happening along Otis Drive?

The goals of the Otis Drive project are to reduce speeds and flooding and to improve safety for all users including a four to three lane conversion, a bikeway, bus stop improvements and street trees.

When is the Cross Alameda Trail being finished?

The Cross Alameda Trail, to be 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.