File #: 2021-790   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 4/20/2021
Title: Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Approving the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project Final Concept and Adoption of Environmental Findings. (Planning, Building and Transportation 91815)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Final Concept Roll Plots, 2. Exhibit 2 - Proposed Roundabouts, 3. Exhibit 3 - Traffic Operations Analysis Report, 4. Exhibit 4 - Community Comments from the Virtual Open House, 5. Exhibit 5 - Community Comments from Social Media and Email Correspondence, 6. Exhibit 6 - Educational Roundabout Presentation, 7. Presentation, 8. Resolution, 9. Supplemental Memo, 10. Correspondence - Updated 4/21



Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Approving the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project Final Concept and Adoption of Environmental Findings. (Planning, Building and Transportation 91815)



To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council




The Central Avenue corridor between the Main Street/Pacific Avenue intersection in west Alameda and the Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street intersection in central Alameda is a high injury corridor.  Despite the 25-mile per hour speed limit, average speeds on this 1.7-mile corridor are over 30 miles an hour.  Over a five-year period, prior to the pandemic, 63 collisions occurred on this public roadway that is a main thoroughfare for over 4,000 students who attend at least 10 schools in the project vicinity and for people bicycling to the ferry terminal, Alameda Point, Webster Street area and along the San Francisco Bay Trail.  Twenty nine of these collisions resulted in injuries.  Six collisions were between automobiles and pedestrians, and five were between automobiles and bicyclists. 


In accordance with City Council direction, City of Alameda (City) staff has been working with the community, a team of nationally respected design and safety consultants, and Caltrans for eight years to develop a plan to improve the safety of the Central Avenue corridor for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and automobile drivers.  As a result of this collaborative work, staff is now recommending a redesign of the street that is projected to reduce the number of collisions by almost 35 percent on the corridor.  The proposed reconfiguration will reduce speeding while also reducing travel time for automobiles and buses, due to the improved design of the public right-of-way, including the intersections.  At this time, staff is recommending that the City Council approve the final concept, and direct staff to complete the design work, which would allow construction to begin in 2022.   




The recommended Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project Final Concept is the result of an eight-year collaborative effort directed by the City Council that began in 2013 when the City Council approved submittal of a Community-Based Transportation Planning (CBTP) grant application to Caltrans for the project.   The award of the grant was followed by these City Council actions:

                     In February 2016, the City Council approved an initial concept for the Central Avenue project and directed staff to continue the design development process with Caltrans and to work with the neighboring community to provide safer improvements for the Webster Street area;

                     In October 2016, the City Council approved a federal grant application submittal to the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which the City won so as to fully fund the construction at $10.8 million in combined grant monies;

                     In June 2017, the City Council approved $557,000 of the Central Avenue local match monies for fiscal years 2017 to 2019 as shown in the Capital Improvement Program;

                     In January 2018, the City Council adopted the Transportation Choices Plan, which included the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project to address the climate crisis and to increase the safety and convenience of walking, bicycling, carpooling and using transit within Alameda;

                     In April 2018, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement with Caltrans and a contract with CDM Smith to prepare the Caltrans required Project Initiation Document (PID) since the eastern part of the corridor is a state route;

                     In March 2019, the City Council approved a revised Central Avenue concept between Paden School and McKay Avenue extending the safer two-way bikeway;

                     In March 2019, the City Council declared a climate emergency calling for an immediate and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate;

                     In June 2019, the City Council approved $2.5 million in Central Avenue expenditures from local and federal funding sources for fiscal years 2019 to 2021 as shown in the Capital Improvement Program;

                     In September 2019, the City Council adopted the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, which encourages Alamedans to choose transit, walking and biking over driving alone to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.  The Climate Action and Resiliency Plan establishes the creation of safe and convenient bicycle facilities as a primary strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda. 

                     In November 2019, the City Council approved a CDM Smith contract amendment for the Central Avenue project approval and environmental phase (PA&ED) and the final concept - plans, specifications and estimate phase (PS&E);

                     In November 2019, the City Council declared that Vision Zero, which focuses on eliminating fatal and severe injury collisions, is the citywide guiding principle for transportation planning, the design of streets and sidewalks, and the maintenance of the public rights-of-way making safety the highest priority when balancing competing needs and demands for space within the public right-of-way; and

                     In May 2020, the City Council approved the Caltrans Cooperative Agreement for the PA&ED and the PS&E.


On November 18, 2020, the Transportation Commission recommended City Council approval of the final concept on a 5-0 vote.




Project Objectives. The Central Avenue Safety Improvement project final concept implements the City Council’s 2017 Transportation Choices Plan, 2019 Climate Action Plan, 2019 Vision Zero Policy, 2019 Intersection Daylighting Policy, and 2019 Lane Widths Policy by achieving four overarching objectives:


1.                     Reduce collisions and improve safety for all modes of travel and for all members of the community including school children, seniors, people with disabilities, bicyclists, transit riders and automobile drivers;  

2.                     Improve bicycle and pedestrian access and safety between West Alameda and Central Alameda and along the San Francisco Bay Trail;

3.                     Reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

4.                     Reduce automobile delay and improve traffic operations and travel times.


Design Changes and Safety Benefits: To best meet the project objectives, the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project final concept (Exhibits 1 and 2) includes pavement resurfacing, landscaping improvements such as street trees and the following changes to the roadway:


Turning Lane Safety Improvements: The four-lane configuration will be restriped to a three-lane configuration with two travel lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane.  According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the recommended re-configuration will improve safety for people driving, walking and riding bikes, by:

                     Reducing rear-end, sideswipe and left turn collisions by at least 19 percent and up to 47 percent and reducing collisions of all types by approximately 29 percent; 

                     Improving speed limit compliance by three to five miles per hour, which reduces the severity of collisions;

                     Improving travel flow by separating left-turning vehicles from the flow for through traffic;

                     Decreasing the number of vehicle travel lanes for pedestrians to cross;

                     Allowing for better visibility of pedestrians crossing the street; and

                     Improving safety for bicyclists when a bikeway is added.

Intersection Safety Improvements and Roundabouts: To increase safety and to reduce delay, all signalized intersections will be retimed, and traffic signals will be replaced by roundabouts at four intersections: Main Street/Pacific Avenue, Third Street/Taylor Avenue, Fourth Street/Ballena Boulevard and Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street.  According to FHWA, roundabouts:

                     Reduce fatal and serious injury crashes by 78 percent to 82 percent compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections;

                     Result in lower vehicle speeds as vehicles reduce speeds to 15 to 25 miles per hour to negotiate the roundabout;

                     Reduce the severity of collisions due to reduced speeds and reduced possibilities for “head-on” collisions or “T-bone” collisions that can occur at signal-controlled intersections;

                     Improve safety for pedestrians due to shorter crossings and fewer turning movements at those crossings; and

                     Are more efficient, less costly and can be more aesthetically appealing.


For the roundabouts, the recommended planting is the Coast Live Oak, raised above street level on mounds in the roundabout centers, as it is a native species that is desired by community stakeholders and is also consistent with the Street Tree Master Plan.  Street trees and rain gardens will be added as budget allows at west end locations that lack green infrastructure.


At this time, the available funding for the project only will allow the first two of the four roundabouts to be installed at Main Street/Pacific Avenue and at Third Street/Taylor Avenue.  As future funding is identified, the second two roundabouts (Fourth/Ballena Boulevard, and Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street) may be installed.  The Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street roundabout includes closing Sherman Street south of the roundabout due to space constraints, and creating a cul-de-sac that provides for vehicle turn around and for emergency vehicle access.  See the Alternatives Section of this report for more information on City Council alternatives relative to roundabouts.


Safer Travel Speed and Reduced Travel Time: The proposed project is designed to reduce speeding, increase safety, improve traffic operations, and reduce the time needed to travel the length of the corridor.  Adding the turning lanes, retiming signals, and introducing roundabouts reduces speeding along the corridor, reduces the number and severity of collisions, and decreases travel time along the corridor by over four minutes in each direction.  


Converting a stop controlled or signal-controlled intersection to a roundabout significantly reduces delays at those intersections.  For example, at the Central Avenue and Pacific Avenue/Main Street intersection and at the Central Avenue and Third Street/Taylor Avenue intersection, the roundabout improves the projected level of service (LOS) from LOS F to LOS A.  For additional information, see Exhibit 3 - Traffic Operations Analysis Report.


Bicycle Safety Improvements: A two-way, protected bikeway will be added on the south side of Central Avenue from the intersection of Main Street/Pacific Avenue to the intersection of Eighth Street/Central Avenue connecting Alameda Point, Encinal School, Paden Elementary School, Webster Street and Washington Park.  Painted bicycle lanes will be added on both sides of the street between Eighth Street and Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street.  


According to FHWA’s Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, Rider Type Classification system, “Interested but Concerned” residents are people who are interested in cycling more, but would need more comfortable facilities to do so.  In Alameda, the “Interested but Concerned” group is almost 50 percent of all residents according to a statistically significant survey conducted as part of Alameda’s Active Transportation Plan in 2019.  The Central Avenue bicycle safety improvements are designed to serve Alameda’s large “Interested but Concerned” population. 


Pedestrian Safety Improvements: Shorter, high visibility pedestrian crossings, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps, raised crosswalks at Burbank Street, Page Street and Ninth Street, and flashing beacons at Lincoln Avenue and Page Street will be added.  All intersections will be “daylighted” per the City Council’s 2019 daylighting policy to ensure pedestrian safety.  


The staff/consultant team met with blind and visually impaired community members in Alameda and, based on their input, provided tactile maps of an example roundabout to individual community members and made the tactile maps available at the three libraries in town.  The City staff/consultant team will continue to work with blind/visually impaired community members and accessible mobility experts when developing all of the pedestrian facilities at the roundabout intersections to create safe and clear paths of travel.  The components will vary for each crossing depending on site specific characteristics, and may include the use of elevated high visibility crossings, color contrasting, fencing, curbs or planters to create well defined pedestrian sidewalks and crossing routes.  Flashing beacons and auditory signals also will be considered to provide safety enhancements while avoiding confusion or desensitization that could result from overuse.


Bus Stop Improvements: Consolidated bus stops at Central Avenue/Page Street will replace bus stops at the Webster Street and Eighth Street intersections to simplify these intersections. Consolidating bus stops at Central Avenue/Page Street will improve safety and reduce traffic delay by removing the bus stops at the Webster Street and Eighth Street intersections and by moving bus stops further east to better align the bus stop spacing.  Central Avenue/Weber Street bus stops will move to Central Avenue/Ninth Street.  Central Avenue/Caroline Street bus stops will move to Central Avenue/St. Charles Street. 


Webster Street/Central Avenue Improvements: The intersection of Webster Street and Central Avenue required additional study due to the large number of turning movements at this location, to accommodate bus turning and stopping movements, and the need to support local business customer parking and truck delivery needs.  At the Webster Street district, the recommended concept includes:


                     A separated, protected Class IV two-way bikeway on the south side of Central Avenue from McKay Avenue to Eighth Street, which removes bicyclists from the heavy automobile and transit turning movements on the north side of Central Avenue at Webster Street; 

                     A modified traffic signal at the intersection of Central Avenue and Webster Street to reduce automobile delay;

                     Pedestrian curb extensions, crosswalk enhancements and bus stop consolidation at Central Avenue/Page Street; and

                     Additional accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities.


Public On-Street Parking: The recommended concept does not remove or obstruct access to any private parking on private property.  However, providing a safe street for pedestrians, school children, seniors, transit and automobile drivers requires space, and it requires clear lines of site.  Consistent with the City Council 2019 Vision Zero and Lane Width policies, the recommended concept for the re-design of the public right of way gives the highest priority to the safety of people walking, bicycling and using transit.


Retaining space for on-street parking was a lower priority in the final concept.  However, in an effort to minimize the loss of parking, the final concept preserves or adds parking wherever possible, but the end result is that most blocks experience a net loss of spaces.  The project as a whole will remove approximately 135 on-street public parking spaces along the 1.7-mile corridor, which represents about 26 percent of the on-street parking supply.  


Approximately 50 of the 135 spaces are removed to comply with the City Council’s 2019 intersection daylighting policy.  “Daylighting” an intersection by removing parking that is too close to the crosswalk enables drivers to see pedestrians that might be in the crosswalk.  The other spaces are removed to provide for the protected two-way bicycle lane, standard travel lane widths of 11 feet to accommodate buses and trucks, bus stops and a standard 8-foot parking lane.   


The segment of Central Avenue that experiences the greatest net loss of parking is between Fourth Street and Eighth Street.  The parking loss estimates by block on Central Avenue in this area is as follows:

                     Fourth Street to Fifth Street loses 19 spaces by Paden School, which is offset by approximately 6 new spaces west of Fourth Street in the new median. 

                     Fifth Street to Sixth Street loses 20 spaces.

                     Sixth Street to Webster Street loses 21 spaces. 

                     Webster Street to Page Street loses 15 spaces. 

                     Page Street to Eighth Street loses 9 spaces.

                     Eighth Street to Burbank loses 5 spaces. 


Public Planning Process: The final concept for the Central Avenue Safety Improvement project is the result of an extensive eight-year public planning process, which included in-person public workshops prior to COVID-19, on-line surveys, focus group meetings and Virtual Open Houses (<>).  City staff provided extensive public notice of these events by distributing public notices to adjacent properties, providing announcements to email list servs and the project web page - <>, flyers posted along Central Avenue, social media and local news media outlets, and direct communications with key stakeholders including the West Alameda Business Association, Bike Walk Alameda, Alameda Unified School District, AC Transit, Caltrans and the Association of Bay Area Governments for the San Francisco Bay Trail.  Exhibits 4 and 5 provide the comments received as part of the Virtual Open House and via social media/emails, respectively. 


Transportation Commission Recommendations: On November 18, 2020, the Transportation Commission recommended City Council approval of the final concept with a 5-0 vote, with the following comments and suggestions:

                     Support for the project and the emphasis on safety;

                     Support for roundabouts and the need to ensure education and support for people with visual impairments;

                     Minimize tree removals and maximize tree plantings;

                     Look at ways to mitigate parking loss and traffic diversion;

                     Appreciate the robust public process that has spanned over many years;

                     Ensure adequate public outreach continues; and

                     Maximize transit performance. 


On January 27, 2021, the Transportation Commission discussed an educational presentation on roundabouts, which is provided in Exhibit 6.




The City Council may:


1.                     Approve the recommended Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project final concept, as recommended by staff.

2.                     Approve the recommended final concept, with specific amendments or modifications specified by the City Council.


Staff anticipates that the public comments at the City Council public hearing will focus on two issues: the roundabouts and public parking loss.  These changes would reduce the loss of public parking along the entire corridor from 135 spaces to about 90 spaces.


Roundabout Options: The final concept includes roundabouts at four intersections: 1) Main Street/Pacific Avenue; 2) Third Street/Taylor Avenue; 3) Fourth Street/Ballena Blvd., and 4) Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street.  Due to limits on the construction budget, the City is only able to build two of the four roundabouts at this time.  Staff is recommending that the City Council approve all four roundabouts, and direct staff to secure funding to build the remaining two roundabouts at a future date.  Staff is recommending that the roundabouts at 1) Main Street/Pacific Avenue; and 2) Third Street/Taylor Avenue be the first two roundabouts to be constructed, because the safety analysis showed that these two intersections have more safety issues. 


Staff received a number of concerns about roundabout #4 at Encinal Avenue/Sherman Street/Central Avenue.  This is an unusual, 5-legged intersection.  Given the unusual configuration, the final concept recommends a roundabout, which creates a cul-de-sac on Sherman Street south of the roundabout.  Residents in the vicinity are concerned that the cul-de-sac will cause cars to divert onto nearby streets.  The consultant team has developed an alternative design, which would create a northbound slip lane from Sherman Street onto Encinal Avenue going eastbound instead of the cul-de-sac (see the presentation).  Relative to the existing condition, the “Slip Lane” roundabout alternative would be safer than retaining the existing 5-legged intersection, but it would not be as safe as the recommended “cul-de-sac” alternative, and it would be more challenging for large trucks to navigate the intersection.  The cul-de-sac option is recommended by the City staff/consultant team to facilitate large vehicle turning movements at the roundabout and to reduce vehicle conflicts in the roundabout to maximize the safety benefits of the roundabout at this intersection. 


On Street Parking Options: The Transportation Commission and staff have received concerns about the loss of public, on-street parking.  The City Council could reduce the loss of on-street parking in the vicinity of Paden Elementary School (from Fourth Street to McKay Avenue) by reducing the travel and turn lane widths from 11 feet to 10 feet, the parking lanes from 8 feet to 7 feet and the cycle track from 12 feet to 10 feet.  These changes would reduce the loss of public parking along the entire corridor from 112 spaces to about 86 spaces.   


Staff did not recommend the reduction in lane widths because this segment is a truck route and a transit route, where an 11-foot travel lane and 8-foot parking lane is preferred, but not required.  From a safety perspective, staff believes that the recommended final concept is a safer design, and the collisions that may result from the narrower lanes would be from vehicles “sideswiping” each other due to the restricted travel and parking spaces, as opposed to collisions related to speed or visibility, which are generally more severe collisions.




In total, the project is estimated to cost approximately $15 million with 74 percent of the costs funded by federal and state grants. The remaining pre-construction work for environmental clearances and design drawings was already approved in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for fiscal years (FY) 2019-21 in an amount of $3,055,300 (CIP 91815). Construction, which is planned to start in 2022, will be funded by two federal grants in the amount of $11.7 million. For the construction phase, the City will be required to contribute $1.4 million in local match monies, which is expected to come from Measures B/BB or Vehicle Registration Fee, and will be subject to future City Council appropriation approval. 




The Central Avenue project is consistent with the following City Council adopted Plans and Policies:

                     The General Plan Transportation Element and Safety Element policies.

                     The Transportation Choices Plan.

                     The Climate Action and Resiliency Plan.  

                     The Pedestrian Plan.

                     The Bicycle Plan. 

                     The Vision Zero Policy.

                     The Daylighting Policy.

                     The Lane Widths Policy.




In 2016, the City Council approved the initial design concept for the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project and found the project to be categorically exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  At this time, staff is recommending that the City Council reaffirm its previous finding and determine that the final concept is categorically exempt from CEQA review. 


The Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project final concept remains categorically exempt pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301(c) Existing Facilities (Minor alterations to existing facilities including bicycle facilities) and Section 15304(h) (Minor Alterations to Land and the creation of bicycle lanes on existing public rights of way), each as a separate and independent basis.  In addition, CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 (Projects Consistent with a Community Plan, General Plan, or Zoning) applies to the project, which is consistent with the General Plan, Transportation Choices Plan, Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, and zoning, and does not have any significant effects that are peculiar to the project which are not addressed by uniformly applied development policies or standards.  CEQA authorizes the City to combine multiple exemptions to find a project exempt, and to rely on and cite several different exemptions to support a determination that CEQA review is not required for a particular activity.  The project is categorically exempt under CEQA and qualifies for National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) categorical exclusions because the project includes design features which are part of the project, as described below, and ensure that the project does not have a significant effect on the environment:


Environmental Justice: The project will increase public safety and connectivity for all community members and especially for community members living and working along or near the corridor who do not own a personal automobile or who do not drive such as children, seniors or low-income populations.  No disproportionally high or adverse impacts are anticipated to the identified environmental justice populations.  City staff targeted environmental justice populations with flyers in English, Spanish and Chinese.


Construction Noise and Vibrations: During construction, some heavy equipment will be used for excavation, paving and installation of proposed improvements typical of street resurfacing, curb extensions, and sidewalk reconfigurations.  The construction activities will cause temporary increases of noise and vibration within and adjacent to the project area, which will not cause excessive vibrations that would damage buildings or nearby infrastructure due to the limited number of excavations.


Cultural Resources: The majority of the anticipated excavation work will occur within soils that have been previously disturbed by existing utilities and road construction work.  The only excavations that are anticipated to require disturbing native soil include potential light pole foundations or utility pole relocations.  The drainage improvements and flashing beacon foundations are at a depth where some minor disturbance of native soil is possible depending on the location.  In the event of discoveries of buried or concealed heritage resources, ground disturbance activities shall cease in the area of the find and the project sponsor shall consult a qualified archaeologist for recommended procedures.  Excavation activities may be observed by a Native American Archaeologist to help identify potential sensitive resources during construction. 


Paleontology: Part-time monitoring and spot checks will be conducted during excavations greater than six feet deep, which have the potential to impact native Pleistocene-age portions of the dune sand deposits, including Merritt Sand.  If native Pleistocene-age deposits are observed during spot checking, full-time monitoring should be implemented in those areas, excluding drilling less than three feet in diameter and vacuum truck excavations.  Spot checking and monitoring are not recommended during excavations entirely within previously disturbed soils, artificial fill or younger Bay Mud.  In the event of unanticipated paleontological resource discoveries during project related activities, work should be halted within 25 feet of the discovery until it can be evaluated by a qualified paleontologist.


Drainage/Flood Management: Drainage improvements, including green storm water infrastructure, are part of the project to alleviate flooding issues and to provide water quality improvements.  The drainage system within the project corridor drains to the San Francisco Bay, a Water of the State.  No jurisdictional wetlands, streams/streambeds, channels, etc. will be impacted by the project.  Drainage improvements and storm water management facilities are planned, but no changes to the existing surface or subsurface drainage patterns are anticipated as project modifications will be designed to perpetuate existing drainage facilities.  New connection laterals will be required to perpetuate existing drainage patterns, but no major culvert structures are anticipated.


Hazardous Materials: The project footprint is low-risk with respect to hazardous waste concerns because no recognized environmental conditions were identified on the project footprint and only de minimis environmental conditions were identified within the search radius.  In addition, the Contractor will be required to implement industry standard precautionary measures to address potential exposures to hazardous waste materials during construction such as a health and safety plan for site workers and the community, a soil management plan, a hazardous materials management plan, and spill prevention, control and containment.


Visual Resources: The project will not negatively impact the visual environment or any designated scenic resources.  The project will increase visual access to waterfront resources because of improved ingress and egress to the bay and improved ADA considerations as its designation as part of the San Francisco Bay Trail between Main Street/Pacific Avenue and east of Fifth Street by Crown Drive at the Bay Trail trailhead.  The proposed landscaping features such as the roundabouts and green infrastructure also will improve its visual character.  No designated scenic resources will be impacted by the project including the historic London Plane trees, which will be protected.


Vegetation/Tree Removal: The project will minimize the loss of trees, and is expected to require tree removal at the following intersections: Main Street/Pacific Avenue/Central Avenue, Fourth Street/Ballena Blvd/Central Avenue and Encinal Avenue/ Sherman Street/Central Avenue, and potentially at other spot locations, removing less than 12 trees of the more than 1,320 existing trees along the corridor.  The tree removal will be in compliance with the City tree ordinance in the Alameda Municipal Code Section 13-21.  The majority of the existing street trees will be protected in place in that less than one percent of the existing trees are expected to be removed.  Street trees are planned to be added as part of this project consistent with the City Street Tree Master Plan including in the centers of the roundabouts, which will be shown in the landscaping plans.  A tree survey was conducted and special protective measures are being developed, especially for the large heritage trees lining much of Central Avenue.  Privately owned landscaping that must be removed, or is damaged during construction, will be replaced, or compensation will be negotiated.  Replacement plantings will be funded by the roadway contractor, and will include a one to three-year establishment period.  


Land Use and Community Resources: No permanent right-of-way acquisition is proposed, although some temporary construction easements will be required to properly construct improvements near property lines or that connect to private improvements.  These temporary easements will include documented construction protocols that minimize impacts to adjacent properties and users.  The proposed project will not shift in land use patterns.  The project will reduce speeding, which will reduce traffic noise in the neighborhood and improve community character and cohesion; therefore, no adverse impacts to community character and cohesion are anticipated.  It also will serve as an important part of the San Francisco Bay Trail constructing a one-half mile section of it.


Transportation. The project will not result in any additional vehicle miles traveled.  In fact, the project is designed to support safe and convenient mode shift and to reduce automobile congestion and automobile greenhouse gas emissions by creating a safe and convenient alternative to automobile travel across the city.  In addition, a reduction in the availability of public on-street parking is not an impact to the environment under CEQA.


Air Quality: The proposed project will not increase local or regional vehicle miles traveled nor would it alter the fleet mix of the vehicles using Central Avenue.  The annual average daily traffic is expected to be lower on Central Avenue under the Build Alternative compared to the No-Build Alternative, resulting in a beneficial decrease in criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions along the traffic corridor.  Nevertheless, some traffic may be shifted to parallel roadways, resulting in an insignificant change in emissions.  Short-term and temporary construction emissions would occur over an estimated one-year period, resulting in a slight increase in criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions.  There would be long-term beneficial operational effects from reduced delay and congestion on the roadway.  Construction-related emissions would be controlled by standard minimization measures required by Caltrans and the BAAQMD.  This project is exempt from regional (40 CFR 93.127) conformity requirements but required a project-level analysis of carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) hot spots.  Following interagency consultation with the Bay Area Metro Air Quality Conformity Task Force, the project was found to not be a project of air quality concern and a PM hot spot analysis was thus not required.  A CO analysis was completed following the CO Protocol and it was determined that the project would not create a CO hot spot.




Vehicle miles traveled in Alameda is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda.  In 2020, automobiles are estimated to generate approximately 70 percent of Alameda’s greenhouse gas emissions.  The Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project implements the City’s Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (2019), which highlights the need for sustainable transportation such as increased bicycling and walking and for the reduction of solo driving so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The project also improves the resiliency to the impacts of climate change with drainage system upgrades and best practice stormwater management treatments such as rain gardens, street trees and pollutant reduction measures to mitigate flooding and the water quality impacts of storm water runoff.




Conduct a public hearing and approve the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project final concept as recommended by the City staff/consultant team.




The City Manager concurs with the Transportation Commission recommendation of approval of the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project with one exception.  I recommend that the City Council approve with an amendment to remove the Sherman/Encinal Roundabout from the project approval.  I understand that the concept design calculates lowering likely collisions, however due to the uniqueness of that intersection, I believe further evaluation would be needed prior to placing the proposed roundabout at that location as designed.  My previous experience with design and construction of roundabouts provides concern on the impacts in that intersection based on historical use of the intersection.


Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building and Transportation Director



Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Annie To, Finance Director



1.                     Final Concept Roll Plots

2.                     Proposed Roundabouts

3.                     Traffic Operations Analysis Report

4.                     Community Comments from the Virtual Open House

5.                     Community Comments from Social Media and Email Correspondence

6.                     Educational Roundabout Presentation


cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager