In a continuation of its December 6 meeting held Tuesday, December 20, City Council approved a resolution to adopt the Active Transportation Plan (ATP). The ATP functions as an eight-year roadmap to promote walking and bicycling as preferred modes of transportation for all ages and abilities. To achieve its core mission, the plan outlines a series of infrastructure projects and design principles citywide to reduce traffic injuries and collisions, encourage mode shift away from single-occupancy vehicles, and improve connectivity and public health citywide.
City of Alameda Senior Transportation Coordinator and ATP Project Manager Rochelle Wheeler described the ATP as the culmination of three years of extensive outreach and engagement, eliciting feedback from more than 50 public events, meetings, and workshops. Through these channels, Alamedans voiced their desire for safer and more comfortable walking and biking facilities and highlighted vehicular speeding on local streets as a key concern. A survey found that more than half of residents—55%—would drive less if biking or walking were safer.
Of the nine public commenters on Tuesday evening, most generally supported the ATP vision of encouraging active mobility. Several speakers hailed the scope of the long-awaited plan, while others expressed concerns over the effectiveness of outreach strategies as well as the possible loss of parking on corridors like Grand Street, for which improvements were approved by Council in November.
Following public comment, Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer discussed new traffic injury data, which reveal collisions on Alameda roads resulted in two killed and 15 severely injured (KSI) thus far in 2022—see Item 14: Correspondence from Staff. She concluded that the data seems to indicate that existing bike/ped projects in Alameda have had little or even the opposite effect in improving safety. She called for additional police enforcement of speeding instead.
Councilmember John Knox White disagreed, attributing the rise in KSI collisions to poor driving habits that include speeding or drunk driving. Councilmember Malia Vella concurred, noting that “we cannot control vehicle design at the city level, but we must do everything we can to make sure that our roads are as safe as possible, especially for our little ones,” she added, as her young child made a cameo on camera. Proposed design elements under the ATP would create permanent, self-enforcing street designs instead of relying on traffic cops, who can only be positioned in certain locations at certain times.
The Council approved the Active Transportation Plan by a vote of 4-1, with Herrera Spencer objecting, along with the following amendments proposed by Knox White—the last legislation of his tenure on City Council:
- Prioritize and include an Eighth Street/Westline Drive bicycle and pedestrian trail project as part of the “2030 Low-Stress Backbone Network,” as it would provide a key connection between the Shoreline Drive trail and forthcoming cycle track on Central Avenue
- Santa Clara Avenue (west of Webster Street) and Orion Street should remain “Slow Streets” until projects on parallel streets are complete, rather than temporarily reopening for construction work on Central Avenue and streets in Alameda Point
- Include language to clarify that a low-stress bicycling and walking facility across the Miller-Sweeney (Fruitvale) Bridge can be implemented in the near-term, without the need to wait for a retrofit or replacement of the Bridge.
With the ATP in place, 32 active mobility projects have been prioritized for planning, funding, and implementation by the year 2030—see the full list in Chapter 8 of the ATP. Annual monitoring will take place to track progress.