Sometimes City Councils want better bike lanes. That was the case in Alameda last week when it’s City Council approved a road diet with a combination of bike lane designs on Central Avenue. A huge turnout of supporters made the difference. However, on the busy blocks near the intersection of Webster Street, Councilmembers were not satisfied with sharrows–they want to see a safe bike lane. So do those supporters. We are working with Bike Walk Alameda to have protected bike lanes as shown here extended throughout the project.
At its March 4 meeting, Alameda City Council supported a road diet with a combination of bike lanes on Central Avenue that would make the wide street with relatively low traffic volumes much safer for residents to cross and kids to walk to school. However, there were still many safety concerns about the bike lane designs on the blocks near Webster, where school children bicycling will be asked to avoid heavy right-turning traffic from Central on to Webster. Staff’s recommendation at this intersection to essentially dodge traffic pleased no one. Mayor Spencer voiced concerns about the narrow bike lanes along most of the project. The road diet concept of staff’s recommendation for the larger project was approved for moving forward, but many design details still need to be worked out.
The Plan needs additional planning money to get to ‘30% design’ and to come up with more options at the intersection of Central and Webster. Revisions at this location will eventually go back to City Council for further design review, with at least one redesign include a safer design with continuous bike lanes.
Of the speakers who spoke over two evenings of Council hearing, 55 residents supported the plan and 18 opposed the plan. Overall, at least 2/3’s of residents voicing an opinion support the project. No doubt, the business community opposed the plan, while feigning support of bicycling and safer streets.