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Crown Harbor Homeowner Association

Central Avenue Project Workshop

The city of Alameda Public Works department has a grant to develop a concept proposal to improve Central Avenue. The planned improvements include reducing the number of traffic lanes to make room for a bikeway and enhance pedestrian access.


Public Meeting

Community Workshop #2

  • When: Thursday, June 4
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Location: Encinal High School Cafeteria (210 Central Avenue)

Email from Crown Harbor resident Don Gibson

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I attended the Alameda Traffic Commission meeting last Wednesday (May 27). Burny Mathews also attended the meeting.

My summary:

The City is highly motivated to create bike lanes on a portion of Central Ave. via a road diet. This road diet would reduce the number of traffic lanes from 4 to 2. The affected portion of Central Ave. is from Pacific Ave./Main St. to Sherman St./Encinal Ave. In addition to what is noted on the Crown Harbor website, I would add that if the vehicles take a longer period of time to enter Central Ave., then the vehicles would block the sidewalks and bike paths for a longer period of time — an undesirable safety environment. At the Alameda Traffic Commission meeting, the city confirmed the obvious and provided some traffic estimates:

  • There will be an increase in the time to travel this portion of Central Ave. At the peak travel hours, travel time will immediately increase from about 7 minutes to as much as 15 minutes.
  • Due to various factors, the traffic demand on Central Ave. may increase from a present amount of 9300 cars/day to 16,000 cars/day in the next 10-20 years.
  • One prediction is that in 2035, the time to travel this portion of Central Ave. will be 48 minutes.
    • The intersections, especially Webster and Central, will require a significant re-design effort so the traffic congestion is minimized.
    • The City acknowledged that there are about 250 private entrances to Central Ave. However, the City did not suggest that these entrances were a traffic issue. (Crown Harbor is one entrance.)
  • The Schedule for this project is listed on the Crown Harbor web page.

Residents of Crown Harbor need to create a presence to influence this program. I am inviting interested members of the community to attend with me the

Community Workshop #2 — Date: Thursday, June 4.

As I understand, we will be able to form groups and develop positions during the workshop that will be presented to the City. Of course, nothing speaks louder than a large crowd. So if you are interested, drop me an email or just show up.

See you on Central Ave.


Excerpts from Responses to Don's Email

  • "Clearly, this proposed alteration would be detrimental to many people, and I fail to see how the recreational needs of a few cyclists outweigh the needs of those who use this route daily to either commute or drop kids off at the schools. I am sure that it will lead to congestion and frayed nerves, increasing the likelihood, not reduction, of accidents. I am all for sensible use of painted bike lanes, but not these extremely expensive schemes that offer no benefits to the residents of the area. Furthermore, with the additional developments of the naval air station, it is imperative that we have dual lanes each way. It is bad enough in the mornings now, when parents are dropping off at Paden and Encinal."

  • A similar lane reduction near where I work in San Francisco has resulted in "increasing traffic jams, slowdowns, and the resultant chaos of blocked pedestrian crosswalks and endangerment of pedestrians, cars, and bicycles alike" even though "you could wait 3-4-5 minutes before you notice even a single biker in that wide bike lane."

  • "We have a home on Shoreline Drive, and I am sorry to report that at the community meetings regarding the Shoreline Dr. project there seemed to be overwhelming opposition from the neighbors affected and it did not matter much. A few modifications were made based on community input, but it seemed that the project was going through no matter what the citizenry wanted... except of course the bicycle coalition. We learned that the City could not just widen the walking path as that property belongs to the Park district, and it was too expensive, so they had to take the space from the street. The increase in accident/incident costs were apparently not factored in."

  • "Why do we need to lose 2 car lanes to provide 2 bike lanes? They should at least keep a center left turn lane, i.e., keep 3 car lanes. That being said, the bikes have a right to use a car lane now. With 4 lanes, cars can easily pass."

  • "The planned 'diet' for Central will probably be good for our property values. The street will be a better walking/pedestrian street making our neighborhood nicer. And parents will be more comfortable letting their kids walk/bike to school, possibly reducing some morning traffic. But there needs to be a practical alternative for the traffic that undoubtedly will be increasing as the point is developed. You can't put all the main arteries on a diet when demand is going up. We'll have heavy traffic crisscrossing through the west side neighborhoods."

  • "The best answer to Alameda's need for more car and bike traffic lanes is to keep Central Avenue's four lanes but turn two other streets (Lincoln and Santa Clara?) into one-way traffic for bikes and cars. There are a number of other streets that should now become one-way as well. Alameda needs a TOTAL reconfiguration of ALL its traffic lanes, and one-way streets are the best answer to alleviate the city's present and future traffic problems."


Meeting Report from Don Gibson

Don Gibson, as well as many other Crown Harbor tax payers, attended the meeting. See Don's Full Report for all of the details. A summary appears below:
  • The City acknowledged that with the road diet, the traffic delays and congestion at Webster and Central will be very substantial.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) parking specifications require an 8 foot width, but all of the Central Avenue Project design options are only a 7 foot width.

  • Because the Central Avenue Project includes 200+ entrances/exits from Central Avenue, like for example Crown Harbor, the City stated that they "could not model the impact of private driveways" in their planning.

  • One way to enhance the safety for entrances/exits to/from Central Avenue is to not allow parking for 20 feet on both sides of the entrance. This is a traffic standard. With over 200+ entrances, the 20 foot standard would significantly reduce available parking.

  • The City's evaluation of some areas may be incomplete/inadequate:

    • Central Avenue is a Truck/Transit road, and the impact of this type of traffic on a road diet should include the impact of UPS/Fed-Ex, etc. delivery trucks.

    • The growth in the ferry and Alameda Point traffic will increase the traffic on Central Avenue.

  • The City should evaluate other street options (e.g., Lincoln, Pacific, Santa Clara) before proceeding with the Central Avenue Project.

  • The City should study the results of the Shoreline road diet for some period of time before proceeding with another project.

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