Oakland, CA – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Council President Kaplan, Councilmember Dan Kalb and the Oakland Department of Transportation announced today a new effort to make it safer to walk and bicycle in Oakland, by designating 74 miles of neighborhood streets to bikes, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and local vehicles only, across the city starting Saturday, April 11. This program will start with a pilot effort launching Saturday, 4/11/2020 with signage along the following four street segments:
- West St: West Grand – 14th Street
- Arthur St from Havenscourt Blvd - 78th Ave, connecting to Plymouth St from 78th – 104th Avenue
- E 16th St: Foothill Blvd – Fruitvale Ave
- 42nd St: Adeline - Broadway
The Oakland Slow Streets plan is intended to make it safer to walk and bicycle throughout the city, with sufficient space for physical distancing, while reducing the clustering of foot traffic at parks and on outdoor trails, which have experienced extremely high usage since the Shelter-in-Place order began. This will also create wider spaces than our current sidewalks, to assist people in complying with distancing to protect public health while walking.
Roughly 74 miles of road will be closed to through motor vehicle traffic, representing nearly 10 percent of the city’s roads. Emergency vehicles and residents who live on those streets will still be able to access the roads by motor vehicle. The roads are aligned with Oakland’s existing and proposed Neighborhood Bicycle Routes, and are equitably distributed across the city (see map).
“In this unprecedented moment we must do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of all families across our city,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “Closing roads means opening up our city. It gives our residents the opportunity to get outside and walk, bicycle, or run through their neighborhoods and get around in a safer way.”
“I am pleased that we are working together to take action to help protect public health, while making it safer for people who are walking, and those using bicycles and wheelchairs, by expanding the spaces available for these uses,”said Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who also serves as Oakland’s representative on the Alameda Countywide Transportation Commission.
“Given the emergency physical distancing requirement, coupled with fewer cars on our roads, we need to acknowledge that people will be outdoors for a little personal exercise, and our responsibility is to make sure that it happens in as safe a manner as possible,” said Councilmember Dan Kalb, chair of the City’s Public Works Committee.
“In these challenging times, I want to especially appreciate the hard-working City staff, in our Department of Transportation and Oakland Public Works, who are taking action to help maintain and protect the health of our community, and provide essential public services,” OakDOT Director Ryan Russo said. “Oakland Slow Streets is mostly intended to remind the few drivers that are doing essential travel to expect pedestrian, joggers, parents and children on the road. We urge them to drive slower on every street but especially Slow Streets.”
The City is underscoring the importance of safe transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers are alerted to drive slowly and safely along these routes and all streets. While vehicle traffic may be lower, more people are out walking, jogging, and biking all throughout the City.
The City of Oakland will work closely with neighborhood residents and community organizations to install signs and temporary barricades along Oakland Slow Streets and at key intersections.
Residents will also be encouraged to print Oakland Slow Street signs and post them in their neighborhoods. These will be available on the City’s project webpage in the coming days: www.oaklandca.gov/projects/oakland-slow-streets.
As a clear reminder, Oakland Slow Streets is intended to promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet by creating new low-traffic, low speed streets to allow residents to safely pass one another, and creating a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling and biking. The Alameda County Public Health Department recommends that residents wear cloth face masks while in public.
The City of Oakland will continue to monitor CDC guidance on outdoor recreation, transportation, and physical distancing, and will adjust this program as needed.
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