Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2021-1478   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 12/7/2021
Title: Adoption of Resolution Adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan; and Adoption of Resolution to Make Significant Safety Improvements to Alameda Streets in 2022 and Beyond to End Fatalities and Serious Injuries. (Planning, Building and Transportation 20962740)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Vision Zero Action Plan, 2. Exhibit 2 - Public Engagement Summary, 3. Exhibit 3 - Public Feedback Summary and Changes, 4. Resolution - Action Plan, 5. Resolution - Safety Improvements, 6. Correspondence from City Manager, 7. Presentation, 8. Correspondence - Updated 12-8, 9. Councilmember Daysog Slide

..Title

 

Adoption of Resolution Adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan; and Adoption of Resolution to Make Significant Safety Improvements to Alameda Streets in 2022 and Beyond to End Fatalities and Serious Injuries. (Planning, Building and Transportation 20962740)

 

..Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Alameda Vision Zero Action Plan (“Action Plan”) aims to eliminate fatal and severe injury traffic crashes by 2035. The City of Alameda’s (City) Vision Zero policy, adopted in late 2019, requires the City to develop this Action Plan and makes safety the highest priority in transportation efforts. Per the policy, a Vision Zero Task Force (“Task Force”) comprised of community members, regional stakeholders, and multidisciplinary staff guided development of the Action Plan.

 

The Action Plan, which will be updated once every five years, contains an introduction to the Vision Zero approach; an analysis of ten years of Alameda crash data, including High Injury Corridor maps; over 50 actions aimed at increasing traffic safety; and performance metrics to measure success. The actions speak to prioritization and design of street safety investments, public safety campaigns, the City’s state legislative agenda, and more.

 

Staff conducted an intensive public engagement period for the draft Action Plan in July and August 2021, including presentations to five City boards and commissions. The Task Force approved a series of changes to the draft based on public feedback. Most significantly, the vision’s target year was changed to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2035 rather than 2040. This more ambitious goal will require funding and staffing for expeditious street safety improvements.

 

On October 27, 2021, the Transportation Commission unanimously endorsed the Vision Zero Action Plan, including the 2035 goal year. Based on Transportation Commission feedback, staff changed Action 4.4 to include targeted enforcement actions in areas with high concentrations of establishments that serve alcohol.

 

Staff recommends that the City Council approve a resolution adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan. The Action Plan is attached as Exhibit 1 and its seven appendices, including the detailed crash data analysis, are available at www.alamedaca.gov/VisionZero#section-2 <http://www.alamedaca.gov/VisionZero>.

 

In light of eight traffic deaths in 2020 and 2021, including Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, staff also recommend that the City Council adopt a resolution committing the City to making significant safety improvements to the public roadway network in 2022 and beyond. This resolution affirms details for an ambitious slate of projects already funded in the 2021-2023 Capital Budget.

 

BACKGROUND

 

From 2009-2018, an average of two people died and ten suffered severe injuries per year from crashes on Alameda streets. Since then, one person died in 2019; four in 2020; and three lost their lives so far in 2021. These severe injuries and deaths affect families, loved ones, and broader communities. Not one of these severe injuries or deaths is acceptable.

 

Vision Zero is an international movement with a goal to eliminate traffic crashes that result in deaths and life-changing injuries. It encompasses all people who use roadways, whether they are walking, using a wheelchair, biking, taking transit, driving, or traveling as a passenger in an automobile. Vision Zero is a multidisciplinary, data-driven effort that prioritizes equity. With Vision Zero, the City aims create an environment where human error does not cause death or severe injury. This systems approach focuses on “upstream” factors including street design, policies, laws, and operations.

 

In November 2019, City Council adopted the Alameda Vision Zero policy, which set the goal to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries and made safety the highest priority in transportation efforts. The policy required that a multidisciplinary Vision Zero Task Force guide development of an Action Plan that is data-driven, implemented equitably, and includes actions aimed at eliminating fatal and severe injury crashes.

 

The City worked with Toole Design (“Toole”), a leader in the Vision Zero realm, to help develop the Vision Zero Action Plan. Toole executed the crash data analysis, created the High Injury Corridor maps, and worked with staff and the Vision Zero Task Force to draft the Action Plan.

 

In August 2021, the Vision Zero Network recognized the city as a Vision Zero Community, adding Alameda to their map at <https://visionzeronetwork.org/vision-zero-communities>. This national advocacy organization only recognizes communities that demonstrate commitment to eliminating traffic deaths and severe injuries, make systems-level changes to increase traffic safety, work to increase equity in traffic safety, and more. Failure to adopt a Vision Zero plan would likely result in losing Alameda’s status as a Vision Zero Community.

 

Caltrans will also require municipalities to have Local Road Safety Plans in order to apply for the next cycle of Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grants, and adoption of the Vision Zero Action Plan will fulfill this requirement.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Crash Data Analysis

 

The Action Plan includes a crash data analysis summary in Chapter 3, as well as a longer report in Appendix F: Detailed Crash Data Analysis. Major findings from 10 years of crash data (2009 to 2018) include:

                     The top two behaviors most associated with severe injury and fatal crashes were unsafe speeds and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

                     Younger and older victims (ages 10-24 and 65-84) were over-represented in severe and fatal crashes compared to other age groups.

                     People walking and biking were also disproportionately vulnerable in crashes: while they made up 39% of Alameda’s crashes, they were in 62% of Alameda’s fatal and severe injury crashes.

                     Over 60% of severe injury and fatal crashes occurred on arterial streets.

                     Most injury crashes occurred at un-signalized intersections, but signalized intersections were overrepresented:  7% of intersections are signalized but 22% of crashes happened at signalized intersections.

                     Improving safety around schools is important:  63% of crashes involving younger victims (ages 18 or younger) occurred within a quarter mile of a school while only 38% of Alameda’s streets are located within a quarter mile of a school.

                     People in socially vulnerable areas have a somewhat disproportionate risk of severe injury and fatal crashes: 41% of these crashes occurred in a socially vulnerable area while only 30% of Alameda’s roadways are located within a socially vulnerable area.  

 

Toole also developed High Injury Corridor maps that show the stretches of road with the highest crash densities, weighted by severity. Almost three-quarters of crashes occurred along High Injury Corridors, though they only cover 20% of Alameda’s streets.

 

Over 50 Actions to Increase Safety

 

The Action Plan includes over 50 actions aimed at achieving the following vision: “People of all ages and abilities can travel safely using any mode, and traffic deaths and serious injuries are eliminated by 2035.” The Action Plan prioritizes actions that rely on street design changes, followed by education, to improve traffic safety. While police enforcement plays an important role, the Action Plan works towards creating an environment where it feels natural to comply with traffic safety laws, both due to street design and the behavior of other road users. Prioritizing street design interventions over enforcement measures aligns with recommendations from Alameda’s Committee on Police Reform and Racial Justice. See Exhibit 1 for the full Vision Zero Action Plan.

 

The following are descriptions of sample actions.

 

Prioritize resources:

                     Prioritize street safety investments on High Injury Corridors, supplemented by community input (Action 4.1)

                     Use the Socially Vulnerable Populations map to prioritize investments, while also engaging with equity priority communities (1.1)

 

Choose effective street safety improvements:

                     Use Federal Highway Administration crash reduction factors to choose interventions (4.3)

                     Study roundabouts and signal improvements (4.6 & 4.12)

                     Conduct a best practice scan on infrastructure rapid response programs reacting to severe injury and fatal crashes (4.10)

 

Conduct community education:

                     Conduct a citywide safety campaign (3.1)

                     Disseminate materials about impaired driving to bars, breweries, distilleries, etc. (3.8)

                     Hold an annual Traffic Safety Open House (3.9)

 

Increase safety for children:

                     Implement a School Zone program with 15 or 20 mph limits on streets allowed per the California Vehicle Code (4.14)

                     Conduct School Safety Assessments at all K-12 schools and implement results (4.15)

                     Offer bicycle and pedestrian safety education in schools (3.10/3.11)

 

Focus traffic enforcement:

                     Focus enforcement on moving violations associated with severe and fatal crashes (4.4)

                     Conduct targeted enforcement along high injury corridors, in school zones, and near areas with concentrations of restaurant and bar establishments (4.5)

                     Advocate for state legislation enabling speed enforcement cameras and creating an income-based traffic fine structure (4.11 & 1.5)

 

Guide implementation and monitor performance:

                     Turn the Vision Zero Task Force into the Vision Zero Advisory Committee, a group that provides guidance on Vison Zero Action Plan implementation. Ensure diverse representation. (1.2)

                     Provide an annual Vision Zero Status Report to the Transportation Commission, City Council, and the public (5.1)

 

The annual report will include the performance measures found on page 30 of Exhibit 1, with measures to track the following:

                     Crashes and injuries by mode and whether victims were children or older adults

                     Street design projects to improve roadway safety

                     Police enforcement efforts

 

Based on the Vision Zero policy, the City has already begun implementing some elements of the Action Plan, such as prioritizing High Injury Corridors. Projects in the 2021-2023 Capital Budget were prioritized and selected, in part, according to whether they fell on High Injury Corridors. Because of this prioritization, the Capital Budget includes funding to plan a major street safety improvement project on the Lincoln corridor, which is a Tier 1 High Injury Corridor. For a list of related projects, see Appendix D: Vision Zero Capital Projects List, which can be downloaded at www.alamedaca.gov/VisionZero#section-2 <http://www.alamedaca.gov/VisionZero>.

 

Public Input on the Draft Vision Zero Action Plan

 

The draft Vision Zero Action Plan public engagement period ran from July 12 - August 6, 2021. The community was invited to participate via an online survey, in-person and virtual events, and public comment during presentations to five City boards and commissions. Staff and community members publicized the Action Plan using the following methods: a press release and an article in the Alameda Sun; 100 flyers posted throughout the city; six mailings; social media posts; and outreach and presentations to community groups. Community groups that shared the information with their members include the Alameda NAACP, Alameda Black Achievers Alliance, Alameda Housing Authority, Bike Walk Alameda, West Alameda Business Association, Downtown Alameda Business Association, and more. A list of outreach activities, and their reach, is available in Exhibit 2: Public Engagement Activities Summary.

 

Community members who gave feedback on the draft Action Plan generally supported its direction. Three-quarters of survey respondents agreed that the Action Plan set appropriate goals to achieve its vision. Nearly 90% agreed with prioritizing High Injury Corridors over other streets, and 70% agreed with prioritizing street design solutions over enforcement (although many comments on other questions called for more traffic enforcement). Members of the five City boards and commissions who received presentations were broadly supportive of the Action Plan, with particular engagement and enthusiasm from the Social Services and Human Relations Board, the Commission on Persons with Disabilities, and the Planning Board. Exhibit 3 contains a summary of public feedback from the survey, boards and commissions, and other communications.

 

Table 1. Percent agree/disagree with prioritizing High Injury Corridors over other streets

 

 

However, respondents did call for some changes to the Action Plan, most notably the year that the City aims to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries. The draft Action Plan included a goal year of 2040, but over 80% of respondents called for an earlier year. Based on this feedback, the Vision Zero Task Force decided to change the year to 2035, acknowledging that this ambitious vision will require ongoing public, Transportation Commission, and City Council support for major street safety improvements. The Task Force also agreed on a series of other changes based on feedback from the community and members of City boards and commissions. These are outlined in Exhibit 3: Public Feedback Summary & Changes Based on Public Feedback.

 

Transportation Commission Endorsement

 

On October 27, 2021, the Transportation Commission unanimously endorsed the Vision Zero Action Plan. With this endorsement, they noted feedback requesting actions related to car racing and enforcement for intoxicated driving. Based on this input, staff revised Action 4.5 to include targeted enforcement “near areas with concentrations of restaurant and bar establishments”. Car racing can be addressed in the existing Action 4.4, which “focus[es] enforcement on dangerous moving violations, including speeding, reckless driving, and other moving violations associated with severe crashes.” In addition, the 17 actions under Goal 4 all aim to decrease speeds and crashes.

 

During the meeting, Commissioners also noted that the High Injury Corridor maps seemed to differ from maps showing dots for crash locations. Toole affirmed that the High Injury Corridor maps are accurate and were created using best practices in the field; and they stated that it is difficult to visualize high injury corridors by looking at simple crash location maps. A full description of the methodology can be found on page 52 of Appendix F: Detailed Crash Data Analysis, available at the following link: www.alamedaca.gov/Vision-Zero#section-2 <http://www.alamedaca.gov/Vision-Zero>

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

City Council can choose to:

                     Adopt the Vision Zero Action Plan without changes

                     Adopt the Vision Zero Action Plan, noting changes

                     Decline to adopt the Vision Zero Action Plan and instruct the City Manager to return with a revised Action Plan

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

Implementing the Vision Zero Action Plan, and working to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2035, will require the City to make traffic safety a major funding priority in every budget cycle for many years to come. The City will need to continue to invest in, and seek outside funding for Capital Budget projects related to traffic safety. These projects include Street Safety; Safe Routes to School Infrastructure; Pavement Management; Signs, Pavement Markings, and Curb Painting; Traffic Signals and Systems; and specific projects for major corridor and intersection safety improvements. In addition, continued and increased funding will be needed for programmatic efforts like traffic safety education campaigns. Implementing the Action Plan will require increased staff time in the Transportation Planning Unit and by transportation engineers at Public Works. In late August 2021, the City filled a new two-year Senior Transportation Coordinator position to, in part, oversee implementation of the Action Plan.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The Vision Zero Action Plan is required by the Vision Zero policy adopted in 2019. The following policies and goals also directly or indirectly call for Vision Zero in Alameda:

                     A September 3, 2019 Council referral included a call for a Vision Zero policy.

                     The 2018 Transportation Choices Plan’s Projects 2, 9, and 30 all include creating a Vision Zero Safety Policy/Plan, marked high priority in all cases.

                     The 2017 Safety and Noise Element of the General Plan, Policy SN-5, states: “Ensure that the City prioritize public safety through the implementation of a Vision Zero policy to reduce annual pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries resulting from collisions with faster moving vehicles and unsafe street design.”

                     The 2013 Complete Streets Policy called for a “transportation network with infrastructure and design that allows safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users.”

                     The 2010 Transportation Element of the General Plan Objective 4.1.1 calls for “safe and efficient movement for people, goods, and services” by improving safety of pedestrian crossings; enhancing general pedestrian safety; providing bike facilities throughout the City; ensuring that people with disabilities can use transportation facilities; and improving safety for all modes.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

Approval to develop planning documents is statutorily exempt from further review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3), the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Any future physical changes to the environment or roadway network that requires discretionary action by the City will be subject to future environmental review.

 

CLIMATE IMPACT

 

The vision, goals, and actions in the Vision Zero Action Plan align with City goals to shift to more sustainable modes of transportation, as adopted in plans like the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and the Transportation Choices Plan. By making our streets safer for vulnerable road users, the Vision Zero Action Plan supports the City’s goals to increase walking and bicycling, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Adopt a Resolution adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan; and Adopt a Resolution committing the City to making significant safety improvements to the public roadway network in 2022 and beyond to end fatalities and serious injuries.

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager concurs with the Planning, Building and Transportation Director’s recommendation.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building, and Transportation Director

 

By,

Lisa Foster, Senior Transportation Coordinator

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Annie To, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Alameda Vision Zero Action Plan

2.                     Public Engagement Activities Summary

3.                     Public Feedback Summary & Changes Based on Public Feedback

 

 

cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager