With a few months of Oakland Slow Streets in the ground, OakDOT took a step back to critically evaluate how the more than 20 miles of Slow Streets Corridors and 15 Slow Streets Essential Places safety improvements were or weren't working across the City, with special attention given to the realities of Oakland's inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities, and the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Oakland's Latine and Black communities. This Interim Findings Report documented OakDOT's successes and challenges with the two goals of: 1) evaluating and stabilizing the Slow Streets Program for the duration of the pandemic; and 2) gleaning insights to inform post-pandemic planning, which would advance safe and more livable streets that support healthy, thriving communities and a more equitable Oakland.
Key findings from the report included:
- Oakland Slow Streets created space for physical activity without impeding essential street functions.
- Oakland Slow Streets received a lot of positive support.
- Support and use of Oakland Slow Streets varied by demographic and geographic group with the highest levels of support from higher income, White, and North Oakland residents. Essential workers and Deep East Oakland residents shared that the program was not meeting their needs and felt the program conﬂicted with public health messaging.
- Oakland Slow Streets communications were not reaching enough Oaklanders at the time of the report.
- Trafﬁc safety was a more important transportation issue during the Covid-19 pandemic than creating space for physical activity for many Oaklanders, especially those in high priority neighborhoods where telecommuting wasn’t as prevalent. Cones and barricades were not sustainable materials for implementing partial street closures for the duration of the pandemic due to maintenance and replacement materials costs.
Recommendations for continuing the program past Shelter-In-Place included:
- Evaluate existing Slow Street Corridors and make context-speciﬁc changes depending on feedback from the neighborhood.
- Continue the Slow Streets Corridors and Essential Places Program through the end of the Shelter-In-Place order.
- Channel the enthusiasm for Slow Streets into equitable and sustainable programs like pop-up Slow Streets and neighborhood level trafﬁc calming.
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