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File #: 2019-6463   
Type: New Business
Body: Transportation Commission
On agenda: 1/23/2019
Title: Approve the Central Avenue Webster Street Options for Further Analysis and the Two-way Bikeway Extension between Paden School and McKay Avenue
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Workshop and Email Compiled Comments, 2. Exhibit 2 - Public Opinion Survey Comments, 3. Exhibit 3 - Two-way Bikeway Extension between Paden School and McKay Avenue Plan View, 4. Exhibit 4 - Webster Street/Central Avenue Intersection Photos, Plan Views and Maps, 5. Presentation

Title

 

Approve the Central Avenue Webster Street Options for Further Analysis and the Two-way Bikeway Extension between Paden School and McKay Avenue

 

 

Body

 

BACKGROUND

 

The purpose of the Central Avenue project is to make Central Avenue safer for Alamedans in cars, on bikes and walking along this 1.7 miles of Central Avenue between Pacific Avenue/Main Street and Sherman Street/Encinal Avenue.  The study area is designated as Caltrans State Highway 61 between Webster Street and Sherman Street.  Central Avenue is in school and recreation zones, is an island arterial and a truck and transit route.  The Central Avenue study area has a disproportionate number of injuries from collisions compared to other streets in the City.  The concept phase between 2014 and 2016 included an outreach process, options analysis and partial design for this corridor.

 

In 2016, the City Council approved a concept to improve Central Avenue except for the Webster Street/Central Avenue intersection, which they requested staff to return with a safer option that works for the area.  The approved concept includes a reduction from 4 to 3 travel lanes, a center turn lane, bike lanes in the Gold Coast area, a 2-way separated bikeway adjacent to 3 schools in the west end and Bay Trail section, traffic signals at Third Street and Fifth Street, curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, new crosswalks and street trees/rain gardens.

 

In 2017, the City received confirmation of funding from the Caltrans Active Transportation Program for $7.3 million and from Alameda County Transportation Commission’s federal/state funding for $3.5 million, which totals $10.8 million in federal and state grant monies for construction.  When factoring in the local match requirements, the total monies available for construction total over $12 million.

 

In 2018, the City Council approved a consultant team - led by CDM Smith - to fund a Project Initiation Document (PID), which is a required next step for projects on a state highway.  The purpose of the Caltrans-required PID is to define the project’s scope, cost and schedule and to obtain conceptual approval by Caltrans before proceeding to further design, environmental review and construction.  The community engagement process has focused mainly on the Webster Street/Central Avenue intersection and the key stakeholders of West Alameda Business Association and Bike Walk Alameda, and included a community workshop on December 5, 2018 (Exhibit 1 as comment summary and video link: <http://alameda.granicus.com/player/clip/2294?view_id=6>), a public opinion survey (Exhibit 2) and a web site (<https://alamedaca.gov/public-works/central-avenue-complete-street>).

 

The purpose of this Transportation Commission meeting is to seek approval on the draft options to study for the Webster Street/Central Avenue intersection in early/mid 2019 and to request an extension of the two-way bikeway between Paden School and McKay Avenue.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

This discussion section has two parts based on the two requests for approval by the Transportation Commission:

1) Extension of the two-way bikeway between Paden School and McKay Avenue.

2) Draft options to study for the Webster Street/Central Avenue intersection in early/mid 2019.

 

Extension of the Two-way Bikeway between Paden School and McKay Avenue

The extension of the two way bikeway between Paden School and McKay Avenue would provide a more protected bikeway to cover the entire San Francisco Bay Trail between Boat Ramp Road and McKay Avenue, and it also would cover a larger Paden School enrollment area.  The 2016 approved concept has a two-way bikeway between Pacific Avenue/Main Street and terminating at Paden School.  The City staff and consulting team request to extend the two-way bikeway east from Paden School to McKay Avenue, which is a total of 1,650 feet or 1/3 mile and is consistent with workshop results (Exhibit 3). 

 

This two-way bikeway extension would allow more students to travel to/from the local schools in a physically separated bikeway, and would allow people bicycling to travel between the South Shore area and the west end without interacting with vehicles except at a few driveways on the south side of Central Avenue.  The conflicts between people bicycling and driving at driveways are less frequent in number and are at reduced speeds compared to the conflicts with the current bike lane concept.  Due to these reduced conflicts with the recommended two-way bikeway, staff expects that the mode shift potential to be similar to Lincoln Middle School, which already has a physically separated bikeway adjacent to its school and sees over one-third of its students bicycling to/from school compared to Wood School at 15 percent.

 

As a result of the lower vehicle speeds crossing the bikeway to access driveways as compared to the vehicle speeds on Central Avenue travelling along the corridor, collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/bicyclists are anticipated to be less severe with the two-way bikeway than with Class II bicycle lanes.  A report in 2011 by the AAA Foundation titled Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death illustrates the correlation between vehicle speeds and the risks of death and severe injury in collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/bicyclists.  The study showed the risk of severe injury to pedestrians/bicyclists to be 50 percent when vehicles are moving at 31 miles per hour (mph) but only 10 percent when vehicles are moving at 16 mph.  Similarly, the risk of death reaches 25 percent when vehicles are moving at 32 mph but is only 10 percent when vehicles are moving at 23 mph.  The data supporting the study indicates a risk of death of 1-2 percent for pedestrians/bicyclists in collisions with vehicles moving between 5 and 10 mph, which is the anticipated speed of a vehicle entering or exiting a driveway and a risk of death of 12 percent, roughly eight times higher, for pedestrians/bicyclists in collisions with vehicles moving 25 mph, which is the posted speed limit of Central Avenue, and a risk of death of 20-26 percent, roughly 15 times higher, for pedestrians/bicyclists in collisions with vehicles moving between 30-33 mph, which are the current average traffic speeds along the corridor. 

 

Community member comments on the potential to extend the two-way bikeway to McKay Avenue totaled 396 respondents, and are shown in Exhibits 1 and 2 and summarized as follows:

                     Want a more protected two-way bikeway - 69 percent of survey respondents totaling 273 respondents of workshop comment cards and on-line survey responses;

                     Unsure and need more information and analysis - 4 percent of survey respondents totaling 15 respondents; and

                     Do not want to extend the two-way bikeway - 27 percent of survey respondents totaling 108 respondents.

 

 

 

Draft Options to Study for the Webster Street/Central Avenue Intersection

City staff and the consultant team are recommending moving forward with studying four different options for Webster Street/Central Avenue intersection in early/mid 2019, and is seeking Transportation Commission approval.  The four options are as follows and are shown in Exhibit 4:

 

Two-way Bikeway Option (City Staff/Consultant/Bike Walk Alameda Option)

The Two-way Bikeway Option, which is preferred by City staff, the consultant team and Bike Walk Alameda based on the safety and feasibility knowledge to date, entails the following:

                     A parking protected Class IV two-way bikeway would be constructed on the south side of Central Avenue from McKay Avenue to Eighth Street, which would be out of the way of the heavy turning movements adjacent to Croll’s.

                     The traffic signal at the intersection of Central Avenue and Webster Street would be modified.

                     Curb extensions, crosswalk enhancements and bus stop improvements would be included.

                     Parking would remain on both sides of the street.

                     Accessible parking spaces would be added to ensure ADA compliance.

 

No Build with Sharrows Option (WABA Option)

The No Build with Sharrows Option, which is preferred by the West Alameda Business Association, entails the following:

                     Continue the existing conditions with two motor vehicle travel lanes in each direction.

                     Bicyclists would continue to ride in the travel lanes with vehicular traffic.

                     Pedestrian crossings along Central Avenue would remain as currently configured.

                     Left turns would continue to be made from a general travel lane as opposed to a center turn lane.

                     Parking would remain on both sides of the street.

                     This option would include “sharrow” markings, which are bicycle stencils in the motor vehicle travel lane to alert drivers of bicyclists.

 

Sharrows and Bike Lane Option

The Sharrows and Bike Lane Option entails the following:

                     The four vehicular lanes would remain east of Webster Street by Croll’s and O’Reilly’s where the vehicular traffic is the heaviest.

                     Class II bicycle lanes would transition to bicyclists sharing the travel lane with vehicular traffic to the east of Webster Street.  Instead of bike lanes, this section would include “sharrow” markings to alert drivers of bicyclists in the travel lane.

                     Three vehicular lanes and bike lanes would exist west of Webster Street by the liquor store and the Neptune Plaza shopping center.

                     The traffic signal at the intersection of Central Avenue and Webster Street would be modified.

                     Curb extensions, crosswalk enhancements and bus stop improvements would be included.

                     Parking would remain on both sides of the street.

                     Accessible parking spaces would be added to ensure ADA compliance.

 

Continuous Bike Lane Option

The Continuous Bike Lane Option entails the following:

                     Class II bicycle lanes would be constructed in both directions on Central Avenue between McKay Avenue and Eighth Street, which would remove one travel lane.

                     There is potential to restrict parking during peak travel times adjacent to Croll’s to allow for a double right turn lane from Central Avenue to Webster Street.

                     The traffic signal at the intersection of Central Avenue and Webster Street would be modified.

                     Curb extensions, crosswalk enhancements and bus stop improvements would be included.

                     Parking would remain on both sides of the street.

                     Accessible parking spaces would be added to ensure ADA compliance.

 

Community members provided input on these options at the workshop and via the corresponding on-line survey (Exhibits 1 and 2).  City staff and the consultant team will address these comments in the analysis in early/mid 2019.  This Webster/Central Avenue area analysis will include the evaluation of local traffic impacts associated with the project such as:

                     Travel delay including a visual simulation;

                     Time savings with signal timing improvements;

                     Safety of all travel modes including refined geometric analysis based on topographic survey and including the consideration of vertical speed control elements such as speed cushions with wheel cutouts for emergency vehicles and buses;

                     Parking impacts using a topographic survey and including improved loading zones, accessible parking and intersection visibility best practices;

                     Site-specific accommodations such as at Golden House Adult Development Center; and

                     Environmental review.

 

City staff and the consultant team will return to the Transportation Commission in mid/late 2019 with the Webster Street/Central Avenue area study option results and a recommended preferred option for approval.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no impact to the General Fund.  The total expenditure for the PID effort is not to exceed $557,000, which is in the City’s CIP Budget for fiscal years 2017-19 and is funded by Measure B/BB for $407,000 and Developer Impact Fees for $150,000.  More monies will be needed to cover the consultant and Caltrans review costs for subsequent project approval, environmental review and design phases that are needed for construction.  City staff is updating its cost estimates to include the extra level of effort required during the pre-construction phases for projects on the State Highway System.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

This action does not affect the Alameda Municipal Code.  This Central Avenue concept included an extensive community based planning process that began in 1991 with the City’s General Plan and continued with the concept phase from 2014 to 2016, the Citywide Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2017 to 2019 and the current PID phase.  The Central Avenue concept also is consistent with the following City documents:

                     The City Council approved the City Design Element of the General Plan (1991) with policies maximizing access to the shoreline, which includes Central Avenue to “enhance the meeting of land and water.”

                     The City Council approved the Transportation Element of the General Plan (2009), which lists Central Avenue as a transit priority street, a bicycle priority street and a truck route, in school and recreation zones and as an island arterial, and lists other priorities that are addressed in the Central Avenue concept such as multimodal, safety and environmental improvements and considering needs for individuals with disabilities. 

                     The City Council approved the Pedestrian Plan <http://alamedaca.gov/public-works-key-documents> (2009) that prioritized the Central Avenue improvements as medium-priority pedestrian projects.

                     The City Council approved the Bicycle Plan Update <http://alamedaca.gov/sites/default/files/document-files/bikemasterplanupdateweb.pdf> (2010) that prioritized the Central Avenue bikeway project as a high-priority project.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3).

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Approve the Central Avenue Webster Street Options for Further Analysis and the Two-way Bikeway Extension between Paden School and McKay Avenue

 

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Acting Director of Planning, Building and Transportation

 

By,

Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Workshop and Email Compiled Comments

2.                     Public Opinion Survey Comments

3.                     Two-way Bikeway Extension between Paden School and McKay Avenue Plan View

4.                     Webster Street/Central Avenue Intersection Photos, Plan Views and Maps