The City of Oakland Slow Streets Program was launched in April 2020 as part of the City’s Covid-19 response. It was intended to support safe physical activity and alleviate overcrowding in parks and on trails by discouraging through traffic on certain local streets.
Phase 1 - Implementation: The program was rolled out over a period of three months. “Soft closure” barriers were installed to support the use of over 21 street miles throughout the city for physically distant walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, and biking.
Another phase of the program, Slow Streets: Essential Places, was launched in May 2020, which installed intersection improvements at 21 locations to support residents’ safe access to essential services such as grocery stores, food distribution sites, and Covid-19 test sites. The City is working to improve the design and materials used at these locations to provide better protection for pedestrians.
In fall of 2020, the City received a grant from Smart Growth America to work with artist Jonathan Brumfield to pilot a solution for more aesthetically pleasing, sturdy Oakland Slow Streets barricades that better reflect East Oakland culture and still support safe distancing while traveling and exercising during the pandemic. Brumfield, in partnership with East Oakland residents, built a set of four barricade planters and a set of corresponding culturally-relevant signage.
Phase II - Program Evaluation and Context Specific Changes: As of July, 2020, there have been no new Slow Streets. Based on findings from the Interim Findings Report, existing corridors are being evaluated and context specific changes based on feedback will be made. In recognition that Slow Streets are not working the same for every neighborhood, surveys are being sent to every resident/business along each slow street corridor soliciting feedback on that specific corridor. Corridors are being reached out to in order of priority level as defined by the Geographic Equity Toolbox and maintenance needs as materials for upgrades become available. Based on the feedback, Slow Street signage and barricades will either be upgraded to more durable materials and other context specific changes made or the Slow Street will be removed. The status of each corridor, and the received feedback, and the plans for each corridor will be posted here as it becomes available.