Flex Streets Initiative

The City of Oakland is exploring how streets and sidewalks might be used to help impacted businesses recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Release
Release on the Permanent Flex Streets Initiative
Date Posted: May 25th, 2020 @ 4:19 PM
Last Updated: July 1st, 2022 @ 3:20 PM

Overview

The City of Oakland’s Flex Streets Program provides streamlined permitting options for outdoor spaces to help Oakland businesses recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19. Below please find information on how to obtain a permit for your business to utilize a sidewalk, parking space, traffic lane, private outdoor space or City-owned property.

March 2021: Map of existing Flex Streets locations

Download a flyer on the Flex Street Initiative in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Renewal of Permits

Approved Flex Street permits will auto-renew.

There’s no need for approved applicants to get new copies of their permits, and no need to resubmit applications.

Resources

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Businesses Participating in the Flex Streets Program

Fire Safety Tips for Businesses Operating Outdoors under the Flex Streets Initiative

July 1, 2022 - July 31, 2022: Draft Parklet Guidelines for Public Review

November 25, 2020: Flex Streets Winterization Guidelines

November 2020: California Department of Public Health's Use of Temporary Structures for Outdoor Business Operations

California Department of Public Health's Temporary Outdoor Structures Q&A

State guidance for outdoor live events, entertainment, and performances with seated audiences.

Past City media releases and video.

Use the Sidewalks or Parking Lane

Learn the five steps to apply for use of sidewalks or parking lanes to meet Alameda County's Social Distancing Requirements.

July 1, 2022 - July 31, 2022: Draft Permanent Parklet Guidelines for Public Review

Use a Traffic Lane

Based on feedback from meetings with business owners and community leaders, our engineers are developing a roster of potential street closures that represent what our engineers feel may be suitable to maintain transit access, traffic flow and emergency response.

If you represent a group of businesses and are interested in closing a street for outdoor dining or retail, please complete the Flex Streets Initiative Street Closure interest form.

Learn the steps required to apply for use of vehicle travel lanes to meet Alameda County's Social Distancing Requirements.

For qualifying Equity Areas, equipment (barriers, signs, cones, etc.) to close a street may be available free-of-charge for the duration of the closure. Complete the Street Closure interest form to learn more.

Use a Private Parking Lot or Other Private Outdoor Areas

The City of Oakland is exploring how to provide opportunities for economic revitalization and community engagement through creative and flexible uses of privately-owned parking lots and other open outdoor areas. The initiative provides opportunities to streamline permitting requirements to provide additional space for Oakland businesses to operate as allowed by modifications to Alameda County's Shelter-in-Place order.

Learn more on this Planning & Building web page.

Vend from a Food Truck, Trailer or Pushcart

As part of the Flex Streets Program’s efforts to support businesses to operate safely and to provide the public with additional opportunities to consume food while physically distancing from others during the Covid-19 Emergency, the Special Activity Permits Division is now accepting mobile food vending permit applications from food trucks, trailers and sidewalk vendors.

Learn more on the City’s mobile food vending web page.

Use City-owned Outdoor Property

The City of Oakland is making available unutilized City-owned outdoor properties to retail businesses and restaurants which are unable to operate in the public right of way or on private property as provided under the FlexStreets program.

Learn more on this Real Estate web page.

Re-opening Resources

For planning resources and guidelines, please visit the Business Re-opening web page.