File #: 2019-6590   
Type: New Business
Body: Transportation Commission
On agenda: 2/27/2019
Title: Otis Drive Traffic Calming and Safety Improvement Project Workshop and Survey Debrief
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Presentation, 2. Exhibit 2 - Otis Drive Survey Summary, 3. Exhibit 3 - Otis Drive Community Workshop #1 Summary



Otis Drive Traffic Calming and Safety Improvement Project Workshop and Survey Debrief




To:                                          Honorable Chair and Members of the Transportation Commission


From:                     Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator





In 2017, the City identified Otis Drive, between Westline Drive and Willow Street (1 mile), as a high priority for traffic safety improvements, and designated $500,000 in the 2017-2019 Capital Improvement Program for the initial phase work.  Otis Drive also is listed in the citywide transportation plan as a Vision Zero corridor with a goal to reduce citywide traffic deaths and severe injuries to zero.  The current phase of the Otis Drive Traffic Calming project consists of developing design concepts, preparing materials for and facilitating public outreach and stakeholder meetings, and obtaining concept approvals, environmental clearance and final design of the initial phase work. 


In fall 2018, the City conducted a survey and obtained City Council approval to hire Parisi/CSW Design Group for outreach, planning and design services.  In January 2019, the City held community workshop #1.  The next steps include a second community workshop on Wed, March 20, a Transportation Commission request for approval of a design concept with a target date of Wednesday, May 22 and a City Council request for approval of a design concept with a target date of Tuesday, July 3.


The street is classified in the Transportation Element of the City of Alameda’s General Plan as an Island Arterial, which are streets intended to provide cross-island access for local intra-island trips through generally residential neighborhoods. It also is identified as a bicycle priority street and as a primary transit street, as the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) operates daily bus service in the corridor.


Otis Drive is 64 feet wide, curb to curb, and currently operates with two lanes in each direction, on-street parking along both curbs and no bike lanes. Safety concerns include excessive speeds, challenging crossings for pedestrians and a lack of bicycle facilities. The goals of the project include:

                     Reducing driving speeds within the 25 miles per hour limit

                     Improving safety for all users

                     Adding bicycle facilities to connect to Wood School, the beach, Alameda Hospital and with existing bike lanes on Westline Drive and Grand Street

                     Improving bus stops

                     Improving streetscape, such as gateways and landscaping

                     Reducing impacts of flooding/sea level rise







City staff and the consultant team - Parisi/CSW Design Group - are gathering existing conditions data and community input from workshops, online surveys and written and verbal correspondence to design a safety improvement concept for Otis Drive.  Subsequent stages will include concept development and a comprehensive analysis in early/mid 2019 with an expected approval date for a preferred concept in mid-2019, final design in late 2019 and construction of the initial high priority, low cost calming strategies in 2020.  The project web page link is as follows: <>


Existing Conditions Summary

As shown in Exhibit 1, Otis Drive was built in the late 1950s during an auto-oriented era.  Vehicular speeds are at 33 miles per hour for the 85th percentile speed, which is used to determine speed limits, and have been recorded at up to 75 miles per hour west of Grand Street.  Over the past five years, there have been 38 collisions on Otis Drive between Westline Drive and Willow Street, and 13 of them were injury or fatal collisions, which includes one fatal collision on Otis Drive at Grand Street.  The traffic volumes are less than 10,000 vehicles per day west of Grand Street and 14,600 vehicles per day east of Grand Street during the weekdays with lower volumes during the weekends.  There are five bus stops along this section of Otis Drive with four of the stops as located west of Grand Street.


Survey Results

The City conducted a survey with almost 600 respondents in August and September 2018 (Exhibit 2).  The respondents stated that they find most challenging when using Otis Drive the following three issues: traffic speeds, safety of people bicycling and safety of people walking.  The most common topics mentioned in the open-ended question responses included safety, opposition to change and traffic speeds.  Community members who do not want change, do not want bike lanes, do not want the street to be configured like Shore Line Drive or want Otis Drive to remain a high-capacity vehicular-oriented street for cross-island access.


Workshop Results

The City held a workshop with over 60 community members participating to discuss concerns related to speeding and safety while walking, bicycling and driving on Otis Drive between Westline Drive and Willow Street.  The workshop topics also included ideas for safety improvements and traffic calming.  City staff received comments via email, phone, in person and comment cards as shown in Exhibit 3.  The top three responses on the question pertaining to issues on Otis Drive were: speeding, lack of pedestrian crossings and lack of bicycle facilities.  The top two responses on the question pertaining to measures to implement were center left-turn lane and the installation of bicycle lanes.





The funds for this project are budgeted in the Public Works Department’s account for Capital Improvement Program (CIP #91818). Funding sources include Measure B/BB Local Streets and Roads and local Developer Impact Fees. There is no impact to the General Fund.





The proposed Ordinance does not affect the Alameda Municipal Code. This action is in conformance with the transportation element of the General Plan.


The City Council approved the Transportation Element of the General Plan (2009), which lists Otis Drive as a transit priority street and a bicycle priority street, in school and recreation zones and as an Island Arterial, and lists other priorities that will be addressed in the Otis Drive project, such as multimodal, safety and environmental improvements and considering needs for individuals with disabilities.





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





Discuss Otis Drive Traffic Calming and Safety Improvement Project Workshop and Survey Debrief



Respectfully submitted,

Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator




1.                     Presentation

2.                     Otis Drive Survey Summary

3.                     Otis Drive Community Workshop #1 Summary