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Revamped Grand Street Design Unveiled

Including analysis of Grand Street injury collision data

Local residents filled the social hall at the Mastick Senior Center for a community workshop on Wednesday, May 31, to learn more and share feedback about an updated street design concept for Grand Street.

In November 2022, City Council approved a redesign for Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Encinal Avenue. After opposition from Grand Street residents, City staff hired Parametrix—the transportation consultant behind the Lincoln/Marshall/Pacific and Otis Drive projects—to “take a fresh look at the entire Grand Street corridor” from Shore Line Drive to Clement Avenue, according to City Manager Jennifer Ott.

Alameda Post - a map of the block of Grand Street between Dayton Avenue and Clinton Avenue with proposed changes, including raised pavement markets to notify cars of a curve in the road which accommodates various features like bike lanes and parking to be installed
A representative block of Grand Street under the original, Council-approved design. Image City of Alameda.

Planning, Building, and Transportation Director Andrew Thomas explained the corridor’s potential to be safe and low-stress for all road users, particularly for students walking or biking to school and senior citizens crossing the street.



“Grand Street is not safe,” Thomas declared. But his statement was met with boos and jeers from hecklers in the crowd who questioned whether the existing conditions of Grand Street are truly so severe.

Looking at the numbers

For a closer look, the Alameda Post analyzed injury collision data for Grand Street between January 2011 and December 2020. The City’s Vision Zero Action Plan lists Grand Street as a “high injury corridor,” a category of roadways that experiences a higher crash density and severity compared to other streets. At least 95 injury collisions occurred during this ten-year timeframe. The charts below summarize the causes and severity level of those collisions:

Alameda Post -a pie chart of the "Cause of Injury Collision by Traffic Violation Grand Street, 2011-2020." The largest number of instances is "Automobile Right of Way, 30". The second largest is "Unsafe Speed, 18." Next are "Traffic Signals and Signs, 11," "Pedestrian Right of Way, 8," Driving or Bicycling Under the Influence, 7," "Improper Turning, 6," "Wrong Side of Road, 5," and "Other, 3."
Data source: Transportation Injury Mapping System. Created by Ken Der.
Alameda Post - a pie chart labeled "Injury Collision Level of Severity Grand Street, 2011-2020" The largest section, taking up almost three quarters of the chart, is "Injury Complaint of Pain, 67." About a fifth of the chart is "Injury Other Visible, 21." "Injury, Severe, 6" takes up a sliver. And the smallest category is "Fatal, 1."
Data source: Transportation Injury Mapping System. Created by Ken Der.
Alameda Post - a pie chart labeled "Motor Vehicle Injury Collision with... Grand Street, 2011-2020." Over half the chart is taken up by "Parked Motor Vehicle, 49." The next largest section is "Bicycle, 22." After that are "Fixed Object, 10," "Pedestrian, 7," and "Other, 7."
Data source: Transportation Injury Mapping System. Created by Ken Der.
Alameda Post - a map of the City of Alameda and Bay Farm with dots throughout the islands listing severe crashes and non-severe crashes. There is a fairly even distribution throughout the island with concentration on major roads like Park and Webster. The map says "41% of severe crashes occurred in a Socially Vulnerable Community while only 30% of Alameda's roadways are within a Socially Vulnerable Community."
Crashes in Alameda, 2009-2018. Image City of Alameda.
Alameda Post - a map of Alameda that says "73% of crashes occurred along 20% of Alameda's roadways. The High injury corridors are highlighted on the map and listed in Tier 1 through Tier 3. The high injury corridor Tier 1 roads include sections of roads such as Park Street, Grand Avenue, Webster Street. An example of a Tier 3 corridor is the section of Shore Line Drive by the beach.
High Injury Corridors in Alameda. Image City of Alameda.
Alameda Post - a large, hearty potted plant sits by a light pole on the side of the road. It has a white cross painted on the pot and the worn off letters appear to say "Sam Sause, In Memory" or similar
A memorial still stands at the intersection of Grand Street and Otis Drive for Sam Sause, who was hit and killed by an AC Transit bus in December 2014. Photo Ken Der.

New designs for Grand Street

Moving forward, a revamp of Grand Street will likely occur in phases, split among three segments:

  • Segment A: Shore Line Drive to Otis Drive.
  • Segment B: Otis Drive to Encinal Avenue.
  • Segment C: Encinal Avenue to Clement Avenue.

Segment A is fully funded and will proceed for construction by 2024, based on the Council-approved original concept. It was not the focus of Wednesday’s workshop.

Parametrix developed three new alternatives for Segments B and C. Each features pedestrian improvements, parking on both sides of the street, and bicycle lanes raised to the sidewalk level. Below is a summary of how each alternative differs from each other and the original concept:

  • Applying the council-approved concept to Segments B and C results in a parking loss of 60% to 70% with an estimated cost of $7.1 million.
  • Alternative 1 features a raised, two-way bikeway on the east side of Grand Street, with a projected parking loss of 5% to 15% and an estimated cost of $13.3 million.
  • Alternative 2 features a raised, one-way bicycle lane on both sides of Grand Street, with a projected parking loss of 10% to 30% and an estimated cost of $16.6 million.
  • Alternative 3 is a reimagining of Grand Street that enhances Alternative 2, with a projected parking loss of 10% to 30% and an estimated cost of $24.4 million.
Alameda Post - a photo of Grand Street with rendered features of proposed road changes. This original design includes a one-way bike lane on both sides of the road, protected by periodic barriers on one side and parked cars on the other
The original, council-approved concept if extended north towards Clement Avenue. Image Parametrix.
Alameda Post - a photo of Grand Street with rendered features of proposed road changes. This alternative includes a two-way bike lane on one side of the road only and street parking on both sides of the street
Alternative 1. Image Parametrix.
Alameda Post - a photo of Grand Street with rendered features of proposed road changes. This alternative includes a one-way bike line on both sides of the street and street parking on both sides of the street in between traffic and the bike lanes
Alternative 2. Image Parametrix.
Alameda Post - a simple drawing of Grand Street as a proposed alternative. It includes a one-way bike line on both sides of the road. There is also proposed landscaping in between the bike lane and the parking lanes. There are two lanes for traffic, two lanes for parking, two landscaping strips, two one-way bike lanes, and two sidewalks. This is the most involved and expensive option.
Alternative 3, which would require major utility work to implement. Image Parametrix.

City staff revealed a preference for Alternative 1, which allows for more separation between cyclists and cars and lower parking loss while still being the least expensive of the alternatives. Alternative 3 was immediately eliminated as prohibitively expensive; it was presented only as a “what if” scenario for a Grand Street designed from scratch.

Two Grand Street residents, who asked not to be named, expressed concern that the raised bike lanes would introduce new collision conflicts and suggested additional flashing lights and crossing guards as a simpler solution. Carol, a resident of Grand Street near Encinal Avenue for more than 50 years, questioned whether the design can accommodate future requests by residents to install new ADA parking spots.

Eric and Julie, who live near Wood Middle School, and ZK, a frequent cyclist, generally supported the new alternatives, but also wondered whether such a high level of investment on the corridor is necessary.

“As a Grand Street resident, Option 1 is definitely the preferred proposal,” read a written note posted anonymously on a wall exhibit of the proposed designs. “It is a great balance for pedestrians, bikes, and autos.” Another note, referring to Alternatives 1 and 2, stated, “Both of these are great improvements. NO CHICANES.”

City and consultant staff, who were scattered across the room, eagerly responded to concerns and questions of those in attendance. Bri Adams, a civil engineer with Parametrix, explained that although raised bicycle lanes introduce new conflicts, driveways and intersections will have their red curbs extended to increase visibility. Additionally, crosswalks on side streets will be raised to sidewalk level to encourage turning drivers to slow down.

“The curb provides much more safety than bollards,” added Senior Transportation Coordinator Rochelle Wheeler, noting that this level of investment is critical to achieving the goals set forth by the Vision Zero Plan.

Additional opportunities for public comment will be available during a Virtual Open House on June 13, or by using a comment form on the City’s website. The Transportation Commission will discuss the project at its meeting on June 21.

Ken Der is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact him via [email protected]. His writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Ken-Der.

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