Seattle, New York City, Milwaukee, LA and now Emeryville and hopefully Berkeley: Oakland’s slow street program has set an example for many cities. This past weekend, Oakland added 5 miles of new slow streets, for a total of just under 10 miles, while on April 20 Emeryville significantly repurposed Doyle Street for safe and enjoyable walking with much less traffic. In Oakland, residents enjoyed some tranquility on Brookdale Ave., 11th Ave., 32nd St., and Dover St. In addition, neighbors took it upon themselves to calm Bayo St. in the Laurel District and Genoa St. and Dana St. in North Oakland. Parents in Maxwell Park closed off their block of Brookdale Ave. for a “play, art and healing space” zone for neighborhood kids. We expect Oakland to continue to add more miles of streets in the coming weeks. If you would like to see the program expanded to your neighborhood, let Oakland know.
In Emeryville, Councilmembers Ally Medina and John Bauters pushed for Doyle Street traffic calming. Doyle Street was chosen as a part of a broader approved plan to better connect Berkeley’s Ninth Street boulevard with Emeryville’s new park and bike ped bridge over the railroad tracks to Bay Street.
In Berkeley, our local partners Walk Bike Berkeley are pretty darn close to convincing city officials to agree to their original ask from a month ago to transform Berkeley’s boulevards into people first streets, allowing for local traffic as Oakland does. Lend your voice of support with their online petition for car-free streets.
Bike Walk Alameda is also pushing for traffic calmed neighborhood streets, and similarly has a petition for input from residents. If you live or work in Alameda, sign their petition asking for more street space for Effective Social Distancing.
While Oakland’s slow streets are working well in some neighborhoods, the slow streets of 16th Street in Fruitvale and Plymouth/Arthur in deep East Oakland have not been accepted by residents. A-frame semi-barriers have been removed or destroyed on these two streets. In addition, another tragic pedestrian fatality occured this past weekend on 35th Avenue, just beyond the new Brookdale slow street, underscoring the urgency to slow cars down. Oakland has long-term plans to add some flashing lights to 35th Avenue, much more is needed, and right away. Here is our update from January 2019 on the immediate need to slow traffic on 35th Avenue and an August 2018 Streetsblog article on Deontae Bush’s death.