City Responds to Broadway Road Diet Concerns Raised at April Meeting

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

On Monday, April 18, Oakland city staff and consultants held an open house to present and receive comments on the Broadway Road Diet, Rockridge Safe Routes to Transit project and upcoming Rockridge Bay Area Bike Share stations. Although the two roadway projects have been presented at multiple community meetings in the past, about 50 people came to the open house, some to voice concerns, others to find out when the projects will be constructed.

Most of the comments received concerned the Broadway Road Diet (Broadway Terrace and Ocean View Drive) slated to resurface the roadway, reconfigure the lanes from four vehicle lanes to three (one lane in each direction plus a center turn lane), add high visibility crosswalks and a "HAWK" (pedestrian-activated traffic signal) at the Lawton/Rockridge Boulevard intersection, and install bicycle lanes.

Public comments ranged from concern that removing two through travel lanes will worsen congestion to excitement that Broadway will no longer divide the neighborhood, allowing residents to cross on foot without fear of being hit by a car. Some residents wondered why bicycle lanes are being added at the expense of motor vehicle lanes when so few people bicycle along the corridor, and asked whether this decision would impede access for fire trucks and ambulances during peak traffic periods.

In response, city staff and their consultants made the following points:

The project was initiated in response to long-standing neighborhood complaints about pedestrian safety crossing Broadway and speeding vehicles in this residential area. Its primary goal is to make these crossings safer, while a secondary benefit is to improve bike safety. In other projects around Oakland, when safe bike facilities are created, more cyclists use them than previously biked on the roadway.

Traffic studies show that during the most congested 15 minutes of weekday afternoons, five intersections along Broadway will have a minor increase in delay as a result of the project, ranging from five to 40 seconds. At other times there will be less or no change in congestion.

With respect to emergency access, staff consulted with the Fire Marshall who also attended the open house and spoke with concerned residents. OFD supports the project because the center two-way turn lane will improve emergency response during congested periods.

The city plans to begin construction of the Broadway Road Diet in the fall of this year.

For more information or project updates, contact the city's Caldecott projects consultant, Victoria Eisen, at victoria@eisenletunic.com or 510/525-0220.