Supporting City Sideshow Prevention Efforts with Pilot Engineering Treatments at Heavily Impacted Locations

Sideshows and related dangerous driving behaviors including “donuts” are a significant safety and quality of life concern for Oakland residents – as well as the region, are impacting our streets, and are a vexing challenge for local governments.


There is no established best practice or evidence of effective engineering treatments to prevent this type of dangerous driving behavior, and any of the hundreds of intersections in Oakland are theoretically a potential location for sideshows, “donuts” or stunt driving. The City of Oakland has been working with agencies throughout the region to develop, test and implement strategies to mitigate this growing concern.

Because there are no established best-practice strategies to prevent sideshows, the City has embarked on an inter-departmental pilot led by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the City Administrator’s Office with support from the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) to see if we can implement engineering strategies to support enforcement efforts at some of the most impacted intersections in Oakland.

This work was discussed as part of the Mayor’s Town Hall in April 2021, which included a presentation on OakDOT’s sideshow pilot by OakDOT Director Fred Kelley.

Pilot Projects

Updated: May 2023

The pilot focuses on installing engineering treatments to try to prevent sideshows/donuts/dangerous driving at locations identified as heavily impacted by OPD, depicted in the map below. The 13 locations identified by OPD and the current status for each are as follows:

  1. 35th Avenue/MacArthur: Installation was completed on July 9th, 2021.
  2. Fairfax/Foothill: Installation was completed on August 18th, 2021.
  3. High/MacArthur: Installation was completed on October 15th, 2021.
  4. *42nd Avenue/International Blvd: Installation was completed on October 19, 2022.
  5. *42nd Avenue under I-880 (known as “the Pit”): Caltrans' installation was completed on June 16th, 2022.
  6. 106th Ave/MacArthur: Installation was completed on September 28, 2022.
  7. 55th Ave/Foothill: Installation was completed on August 31st, 2022.
  8. 82nd Ave/MacArthur: Installation was completed on August 23rd, 2022.
  9. Seminary Ave/MacArthur: Installation was completed on August 29, 2022.
  10. *98th Ave/International Blvd: Intersection is in Caltrans right-of-way and treatments are subject to state approval
  11. 66th Ave/International Blvd: Installation is planned for Spring 2024
  12. 15th Ave/International: Installation is planned for Fall 2024
  13. 66th Ave/Coliseum Way: Installation is planned for Fall 2024
  14. 16th Ave & International Blvd: Installation is planned for 2024

Click here: Interactive map

*Intersection is in Caltrans right-of-way and the installation of treatments requires state approval

In addition to the above fourteen intersections, the District 4 and District 6 Council offices specifically earmarked funding for more locations for sideshow prevention improvements. Those additional locations are MacArthur/Coolidge, and MacArthur/Fruitvale, which were identified in 2021, and MacArthur/Ritchie which was identified in 2024. OakDOT proceeded with installation at MacArthur/Coolidge which is represented on the map. At MacArthur/Fruitvale, OakDOT determined that sideshow prevention treatments are not feasible due to the constrained size of the intersection and open space required by buses to turn between Fruitvale and MacArthur, including by buses on lines 20, 21, 39 & 96. MacArthur/Ritchie and 45th/Market is planned for installation in 2025 as discretionary projects. More information about the status of earmarked and discretionary project locations can be found on the following webpage: 

Map of locations where sideshow prevention pilot measures have been installed.
Map of locations where sideshow prevention pilot measures have been installed.


Hardened centerline treatment with safe-hit posts
Hardened centerline treatment with safe-hit posts

Hardened Centerlines are plastic curb, delineators-placed on the top of street centerlines. They may also include mini rubber speed bumps. This treatment works to reduce the area in the intersection for dangerous driving behaviors, and often has broader safety co-benefits.

Hardened centerline treatment extending into the intersection
Hardened centerline treatment extending into the intersection

They reduce vehicle speeds while turning, when crashes – including those involving pedestrians – are more likely to occur. This type of treatment must be installed in areas outside of travel paths

Preliminary data suggests the effectiveness of hardened centerlines on discouraging sideshows depends on the characteristics of the intersection being treated, and how much we are able to "reduce" the space available for sideshows to occur. This includes the geometry of the intersection and the operation of larger vehicles turning through the intersection such as buses. These characteristics will dictate the length of hardened centerline we can install without impacting the regular flow of traffic, including how far the hardened centerline may extend into the intersection. This will in turn impact how much we are albe to "reduce" the space available for sideshows

Next Steps and FAQ

Identifying future locations for engineering improvements to deter sideshows will continue to be informed by an assessment by OPD and OakDOT regarding whether the above improvements are effective at deterring sideshows at the pilot locations, and work to create a list of locations impacted by sideshows and dangerous driving behaviors as reported and responded to by OPD.

The sideshow prevention pilot’s ultimate objective is to eliminate sideshows at the pilot locations. As such, OakDOT is coordinating with OPD to assess whether large sideshows continue at the pilot locations and whether they relocate to other locations. Oakland is monitoring large sideshow activity based on OPD reports at locations where treatments have been installed. We are also monitoring maintenance needs of treatments, and getting qualitative feedback from stakeholders including Oakland’s Bicyclist and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

The pilot is currently working to roll out five locations per “phase” and the duration of the program will depend largely on the effectiveness of the treatments and available resources. Oakland has set up a new category in the City’s 311 Call Center and website to specifically track public requests for sideshow prevention measures. City departments who receive requests directly from the public will now begin to enter or redirect these requests to 311. These requests will inform future location selection for the pilot, which will continue to be driven by OPD data on large sideshow locations.

City staff continue to communicate with other local jurisdictions about this topic to stay on top of emerging practices, as staff are not aware of any transportation agency having found an engineering cure-all solution—one that is cost-effective, replicable to keep up with spread and relocation, and not met with unintended consequences for cyclists, motorcyclists, and normal traffic movements.

The City is committed to contributing to the overall work to prevent sideshows in Oakland. From what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions, advanced enforcement tools and creative legislation lead the way with engineering complementing a multi-faceted approach. Engineering solutions need to be effective, cost-effective and replicable – and prioritized at most impacted locations and relative to other critical safety needs facing Oaklanders. At this time, engineering solutions attempt to balance preventing donuts and preserving functionality of our streets for all road users.

We will continue to update this webpage to share information with the public as this work progresses.

More Information on Oakland Sideshow Prevention Efforts

Oakland Police Department Sideshow Detail