On the Street: Timing (and input) is everything

2 people on bikes Grand Ave

OakDOT representatives met with Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) members at GABA’s monthly meeting on May 1.  The members weren’t shy about sharing their opinions while seeking answers to several questions.  The questions raised were about OakDOT’s proposed plan to modify Grand Avenue to create physically separated bike lanes, which would decrease parking and vehicle lanes (see articles in the April and May SPN editions for further background). 

OakDOT released its proposed preliminary plan in 2022, and after GABA pushed back, updated it in April 2023 with a plan that added back eight spaces so that the total reduction in parking would be 43 spaces, including the removal of all parklets.  OakDOT hadn’t provided an update for several months and GABA members feared that the project could be moving forward based on the last plan they had seen.  They loudly expressed their frustration and belief that the loss of parking, with added traffic congestion resulting from reducing lanes, would seriously damage their businesses, and that from their perspective OakDOT doesn’t want to recognize this.  Credibility seemed an issue.

Charlie Ream was the lead OakDOT representative at the meeting and assured GABA that the project had been on pause while the city was reconsidering the entire Grand Avenue project (from Broadway to Mandana) and taking steps to hire a consultant for the eventual design.  Mr. Ream, who is very involved and familiar with the project, said that OakDOT has not yet committed to a design and that a range of possibilities remain open – from the concept presented to something with less impact and reconfiguration.  He emphasized that Measure KK funding makes it possible for Oakland and the community to benefit from a substantial street improvement project – a unique once in 20- to 30-year opportunity, and that it is essential to ‘get it right’.  He asked for suggestions as to the changes GABA members think would make for a positive outcome but none were offered.

He claimed that the city is quite aware of the many stakeholders opposed and others strongly in favor.  Mr. Ream emphasized that community input is important and valued and that OakDOT would renew its public outreach once the consultant is hired.  He encouraged GABA members and any others who want to be kept informed to sign up for email notifications on the OakDOT website.

There was a positive discussion between OakDOT and GABA’s members about how they can provide OakDOT with their questions, concerns, and opinions.  GABA is in the process of obtaining survey input from their businesses, customers, and clients and will submit that information to OakDOT.

Here is a summary of OakDOT’s anticipated process and timeline as described by Mr. Ream and subsequently confirmed:

Project Implementation – Next Steps & Beyond

  1. Process proposals, make award to successful consultant & execute contract
  2. Obtain new traffic count data and perform additional traffic analysis
  3. OakDOT and consultant develop a set of feasible design alternatives based on traffic analysis, community outreach to date
  4. Perform community outreach and engagement related to design alternatives to select a preferred alternative
  5. Continue with detailed design and community outreach throughout the life of the design process
  6. Final Design and OakDOT approval / Public Works Bidding Process
  7. Approval by Oakland City Council / Award construction contract
  8. Construction

Note:  it is unclear when and how the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission will participate and provide recommendations or approvals.

Timeline

June / July, 2024Hire/contract/onboard consultant
August / September 2024Obtain new traffic counts and other data; commence renewed Community outreach
Fall 2024 / Winter 2025Finalize design alternatives and conduct public outreach and engagement process to select preferred alternative
2025Final Design
2026Construction (TBD)

Splashpad News will provide periodic updates as this project progresses.  Stay tuned.


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Comments

One response to “On the Street: Timing (and input) is everything”

  1. “Credibility seemed an issue.”

    On which side, exactly?

    Once again, the science refutes every one of the concerns presented here, and once again, the author declines to note this.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/bike-lanes-good-for-business-studies-better-streets-2024-3

    “As someone whose family had a small business when I was growing up, I know how invested you get in it,” says Joseph Poirier, a senior researcher at the urban-planning consultancy Nelson Nygaard. “It’s your whole life. Anything you think could threaten that, even if the government and their consultants tell you it’s not going to be a problem, is very scary. It makes sense.”

    It’s also wrong. Four decades’ worth of research proves it. I know this because I’ve read every study and report I could find that looked specifically at the economics of bike lanes since 1984 — 32 research articles, to be exact. The results show that making streets friendlier for bikes — and sidewalks friendlier for pedestrians — is actually good for business. The rise of “complete streets” and “road diets,” as urban planners call them, has been a huge boon to businesses in cities.

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