8th Street in Chinatown and Old Oakland is a street of historical, cultural, and current significance. Chinese people first came to Oakland in the 1850s, living in at least four different areas until they settled at the corner of 8th and Webster Streets by the 1870s where a business center sprang up. This corner remains the center of the Chinatown Commercial District today.
Over the past 150 years, the Chinatown community went through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Executive Order 9066, and the destruction of Madison Square among other racial segregation and displacement injustices. Today, 8th Street is adjacent the proposed Lake Merritt BART Transit-Oriented Development which will bring hundreds of housing units (including affordable housing units) and commercial space to Chinatown. 8th Street is also on Oakland’s High Injury Network, meaning it has some of the highest concentrations of traffic collisions in Oakland.
To provide better connectivity in Chinatown, this project proposes the following pedestrian and transit improvements on 8th Street between Oak Street and Washington Street:
- Sidewalk tripping hazards will be removed and sidewalk waiting areas will be maximized within 30 feet of intersections.
- Intersections and driveways will be daylighted with red curb to improve sight lines that make pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles more visible to each other.
- The existing temporary intersection crossing improvements will be upgraded to permanent concrete features for pedestrians and bicyclists at the 8th and Madison Street intersection.
- ADA-compliant passenger loading zones will be expanded, and new bike racks and street trees will be installed in front of the two BART building entrances at the south side of 8th Street, between Oak Street and Madison Street.
- Wayfinding signage will be installed to enhance the pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit.
- Pedestrian lighting will be upgraded to improve safety and visibility.
This project is currently in the planning phase.
Past Engagement and Outcomes
- 2014 Lake Merritt Station Area Plan. This plan bulb outs, upgraded crosswalks, and sidewalk amenities including pedestrian lighting and street trees. The plan also recommended lane reduction from four lanes to three lanes east of Harrison Street and the addition of buffered bike lanes. Long term recommendations included a street conversion from one-way to two-way or keeping the street one-way and widening the sidewalk.
- 2017 Pedestrian Plan. This plan proposed bulb outs at each corner of the 8th Street and Harrison Street intersection, daylighting of intersections, leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), longer crossing times for pedestrians, and implementing a road diet.
- 2019 Oakland Bike Plan. This plan proposed buffered bike lanes between Harrison Street and Madison Street and protected bike lanes between Madison and Fallon Street. See interactive Existing and Proposed Bikeways map.
- 2019 Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP). This plan proposed a two-way street conversion with an enhanced pedestrian environment and loading areas.
- Draft Howard Terminal Transportation Plan. Building upon prior planning efforts, the public was engaged in the conceptual development of the projects in 2019 and 2020 through “on the ground” surveys that reached hundreds of Oaklanders in high priority neighborhoods adjacent to the waterfront, a series of community workshops, and stakeholder meetings as summarized here:
- In-person engagement included surveys, community meetings, and stakeholder meetings focused on West Oakland, Jack London Square and Chinatown. Over 500 surveys were conducted in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and happened on-board buses, at transit hubs, and on high-traffic corridors for a total of over 200 hours on the ground. In addition to in-person surveys, online surveys were also advertised to Oaklanders with a specific focus on the 94607 zip code (including West Oakland, Old Oakland, Chinatown, and Jack London Square). The people who took the surveys, according to the demographic questions, were representative of the City’s demographics.
- Four community meetings with about 30 attendees each were held in the neighborhoods of focus, including West Oakland, Jack London Square, Chinatown, and a maritime stakeholder-specific workshop.
- Ten key stakeholder meetings were held with leaders of each community where projects are proposed to be implemented, and with transportation advocates.
- Staff made multiple presentations to the Bicyclist and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.