Embarcadero West Rail Safety and Access Improvements

Addressing long-standing local and regional transportation needs with improved safety, access, and reliability improvements for the movement of people and goods along the Embarcadero West Rail Corridor.

Status:
In Process

About

Background

Oakland’s Embarcadero West is a vital transportation corridor in the Bay Area, connecting the Port of Oakland—a global gateway for the Northern California Megaregion—to the rest of the nation. Embarcadero West is a one-mile city street accommodating freight trains, passenger trains, motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians with no physical separation between these transportation modes. Approximately 65 trains a day use this corridor operated by Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and Amtrak/Capitol Corridor. This rail corridor is one of the largest bottlenecks for both UPRR and Amtrak, which see frequent delays from vehicles inadvertently getting stuck on the tracks. Decades of community engagement and planning have resulted in multiple state grant awards that will fund this project through the next phases of engagement, final design, and construction.

Upcoming opportunities to learn more and give feedback on this project will be announced on this webpage. Click here to sign up for email updates.

 

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Project Scope

Embarcadero West Rail Safety and Access Improvements will significantly increase multi-modal safety and accessibility along the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, while reducing delays for freight and passenger rail. The project is currently in early design with the goal of incorporating these proposed improvements:

 

  • Reconstruct and upgrade eight at-grade crossings on Embarcadero West between Market Street and Oak Street including new railroad and pedestrian crossing arms and equipment, directional signage, pavement delineation, high-visibility crosswalks, bulb-outs, and intersection safety lighting to increase safety and protect freight and passenger rail operations.
  • Install fencing between intersections to physically separate trains and all other road users.
  • Install new traffic signals with preemption (as required by UPRR) at the Broadway and Oak Street intersections with 2nd Street.
  • Slow vehicle speeds and eliminate left turns across the railroad tracks by installing traffic diverters at each intersection. Creating right-turn only intersections on westbound Embarcadero West will minimize incidents where drivers inadvertently travel off pavement onto the railroad tracks. Drivers will still be able to travel straight across the tracks to destinations along the waterfront.
  • Construct a multi-use path on existing eastbound Embarcadero West that will:
    • Reenforce newly implemented No Left Turns across the railroad tracks.
    • Accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, scooters, and other micro-mobility users, creating a low-stress connection between major transit stops and the city’s network of bike lanes.

The multi-use path is proposed between Market Street and Webster Street and will also accommodate emergency vehicles and authorized service vehicles. 
 

  • Replacing parking on Clay Street between Embarcadero West and 2nd Street and Embarcadero West between MLK Jr Way and Clay Street with wider sidewalks and a multi-use path.
  • Redevelopment of the overweight vehicle corridor between Middle Harbor Road to Market Street to accommodate permitted trucks between 80,000 – 95,000 pounds. This will restore direct overweight truck access and eliminate their current reroute on 7th Street through West Oakland. This project is expected to produce several benefits, including:
    • Reduced traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) coming specifically from heavy container truck traffic in residential neighborhoods.
    • A reliable 24-hour ingress/egress route for emergency service vehicles, potentially saving valuable response time when there is a fire or demand for emergency medical care at the Port or along the waterfront.
    • Reduced travel time delays for heavy container vehicles which currently travel circuitous routes to and from the Port through residential areas.
  • Study the feasibility of future grade separated crossings over Embarcadero West on streets between Adeline Street and Clay Street.

Embarcadero West Rail Safety and Access Improvements will also upgrade blocks perpendicular to the rail corridor between Embarcadero West and 2nd Street on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Oak Street and on Market Street between Embarcadero West and 3rd Street. These upgrades will include increasing street lighting and regrading the street which will add to improved multi-modal safety, sight distance, and accessibility. 
 

This project is funded by:

California Assembly Bill 128, Regional Measure 3 (RM3), and the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP)

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Past Engagement and Outcomes

  • 2019 Oakland Bike Plan. This Plan proposes a Class 1 bike path on Embarcadero West between Brush Street and Clay Street. See interactive Existing and Proposed Bikeways map.
  • 2019 Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP). This plan proposed a rail safety project on Embarcadero West between Market Street and Oak Street that would install crossing treatments and fencing at each intersection and transform Embarcadero West into a “quiet zone” and an enhanced pedestrian corridor (which would provide a safer connection between Howard Terminal to Jack London).
  • 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.
  • Final and Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Waterfront Ballpark District. As a result of the comments received on the Draft EIR, the Embarcadero West Rail Safety and Access Improvements become a larger set of recommended improvements in the Final EIR.

Page Last Updated: March 25, 2024