Staff from the City of Alameda Transportation Planning Division and Kittelson & Associates, Inc. held a virtual community workshop for the Clement Avenue/Tilden Way Project on Tuesday, October 11. Nearly 30 attendees joined this second round of outreach to learn about the latest progress on the project, which proposes to extend the Cross Alameda Trail and to install a roundabout that will replace the existing intersection at Blanding Avenue, Tilden Way, and Fernside Blvd. Video of the workshop is available to view online.
Clement/Tilden project explained
The project will be a small but crucial piece of the Cross Alameda Trail, which was designed to provide a safe and protected crosstown bicycling and walking route from Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal to the Miller-Sweeney Bridge. Major portions of the Trail have been completed along Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway and Clement Avenue, as well as through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The Clement/Tilden Project will address the gap between the T-intersection of Clement Avenue with Blanding Avenue and the Miller-Sweeney Bridge by extending the Trail through property formerly owned by Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) along Tilden Way.
The project proposal includes two alternatives for the extension. Alternative A continues the Cross Alameda Trail and open space to a new midblock crosswalk across Tilden Way. Alternative B also includes a westbound-only extension of Clement Avenue beginning at a new intersection at Tilden Way. Both alternatives would feature a new roundabout intersection at Blanding/Tilden/Fernside, which is proposed to be uncontrolled (no signals or stop signs). Travel in both directions of Tilden Avenue would be narrowed to one lane to optimize roundabout operation and visibility of pedestrians and bicyclists. Greenery and park space is also proposed to be installed in the former UPRR right-of-way, including the possibility of a dog park at the foot of the Miller-Sweeney Bridge.
Kittelson’s Mike Alston highlighted safety and accessibility improvements for all modes of travel as key priorities of the project. In his presentation, Alston detailed a history of collisions in the project’s vicinity and the City’s “high injury corridors” designation of Blanding and Clement avenues as motivation for the project. The proposal aims to reduce points of conflict between vehicles, vehicles and pedestrians, or vehicles and bicyclists at intersections by installing a roundabout and other safety features. Additionally, the extension of Clement Avenue (Alternative B) would establish a new connection to the truck route network within the City, allowing for improved truck access from the bridge.
Public commenters were overwhelmingly in favor of the project, particularly for Alternative A. Many speakers applauded the bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements as long overdue, and said the roundabout would make it safer to cross the street due to enhanced visibility. Nearby residents welcomed the additional green space, noting that there currently are few recreational opportunities in the neighborhood.
However, several commenters expressed concerns about the roundabout design and its capacity, especially given the one-lane configuration without signals. They noted that traffic could potentially back up from the Miller-Sweeney Bridge into the roundabout when the bridge is raised, creating gridlock in the intersection. The restriction of Pearl Street and Fernside Drive intersection to “right-turn-only” also concerned some community members.
The Transportation Commission will vote on an updated concept presented by Kittelson & Associates on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Pending the Commission’s approval, the City Council will discuss the project in February or March of 2023. Full details on the Clement/Tilden Project are available on the City of Alameda website.
Ken Der is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact him via [email protected]. His writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Ken-Der.