On April 18, City Council endorsed a design concept to improve safety and mobility along the Lincoln Avenue/Marshall Way/Pacific Avenue Corridor. This corridor between Alameda Point and the East End is over three miles long, serves schools, commercial districts, and parks, and is a high-injury corridor. As such, the City has prioritized it for improvements.
The design concept includes:
- Road diets with bike lanes: The design calls for reducing most of the corridor from four lanes to three to allow for bicycle lanes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says road diets reduce crashes by up to 47% and improve flow because through vehicles are separated from left-turning vehicles.
- Roundabouts: A roundabout is planned at Lincoln Avenue, Fifth Street, and Marshall Way and long-term at Lincoln Avenue, Wilma Chan Way, and Eighth Street. Roundabouts reduce severe injury and fatality crashes by 78%, reduce delay, provide landscaping and flood reduction, and have lower maintenance than signalized intersections.
- Resurfacing: The City plans to repave Lincoln Avenue between Eighth and St. Charles streets and between Park Street and Broadway
- Neighborhood greenways: Neighborhood greenways prioritize pedestrians and bicyclists and are low-volume, low-speed, local streets where bicyclists and motorists share the road. The City plans neighborhood greenways on Pacific Avenue and on Lincoln Avenue between Park Street and Broadway.
- Pedestrian crossing, signal, and bus stop improvements: Planned crossing improvements include high visibility crosswalks, advanced yield/stop markings, and flashing beacons. Signal improvements will include left turn arrows and leading pedestrian/bicycle intervals. Bus stop improvements will include islands, benches, and consolidated bus stops for faster operation.
- Green infrastructure: The City plans to add street trees, stormwater gardens, and landscaped medians to improve aesthetics and provide flood and heat reduction.
The City will maintain parking except adjacent to roundabouts, intersections, and select driveways to improve visibility.
All but one commenter favored the concept, though some requested specific changes. Cyndy Johnsen and Denyse Trepanier of BikeWalk Alameda voiced support but wanted improved safety features at the Wilma Chan intersection and better separation between transportation modes at roundabouts. Drew said making it easier to cross Lincoln would unite communities, and Zac welcomed better bike connections. Kristy said the improvements would encourage parents to let kids bike to school and liked that roundabouts move cars through intersections with less stopping.
Jim said the most important transportation project should be safe evacuation, and this project does nothing to address that. He added that turning Pacific Avenue into a neighborhood greenway would increase greenhouse gas emissions by causing vehicles to travel farther to certain destinations.
Council voted 4-1 in favor, with Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer objecting based on evacuation and traffic flow concerns. She opined that these types of improvements have been causing a rise in accidents due to traffic constriction. Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft responded that the rise in accidents has been due to excessive speed and that the improvements are designed to slow automobile speeds while improving flow.
Council authorized an agreement with Parametrix, Inc. to implement design work likely to improve the City’s chances of obtaining grants to complete the design and perform construction. Although the concept will phase in over time, pedestrian crossing improvements will occur immediately on Lincoln Avenue at Walnut Street.
To view Parametrix concept illustrations, see the Meeting Agenda, Item 7B, Exhibits 1, 2, and 3, and Presentation.
New Alameda Landing affordable housing and park
In other business, Council voted to replace a requirement in the Alameda Landing Waterfront Master Plan to build a commercial retail facility at the northern terminus of Fifth Street. Instead, the developer, Pulte Homes, will build a 2,500-square-foot park and two single-family detached homes that are deed-restricted for low-income households (those earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income or $109,600 annually for a family of four).
Pulte Homes requested changing the lot’s use due to concerns that a retail building would be underutilized. Bay 37 residents wanted the space to be used entirely as open space, but staff recommended using part for low incoming housing. Council voted 3-2 in favor of staff’s recommendation. Vice Mayor Tony Daysog and Councilmember Herrera Spencer voted against, with both favoring the 100% open space option.
Contributing writer Karin K. Jensen covers boards and commissions for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at https://linktr.ee/karinkjensen and https://alamedapost.com/Karin-K-Jensen.