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File #: 2022-2099   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/21/2022
Title: Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Proceed with the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project Final Concept and Adoption of Environmental Findings. (Transportation 20962740)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Recommended Street Configuration, 2. Exhibit 2 - Alternative Street Configuration, 3. Exhibit 3 - Survey, 4. Exhibit 4 - Survey Results, 5. Exhibit 5 - Community Workshop Notes, 6. Resolution, 7. Presentation, 8. Correspondence - Updated 6/22

Title

 

Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Proceed with the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project Final Concept and Adoption of Environmental Findings. (Transportation 20962740)

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project is a plan to improve the condition and operations on a 0.7 mile segment of Grand Street in central City of Alameda (City).  The project goals are to improve safety for all users, improve mobility for all modes, including AC Transit buses; and improve pavement condition for enhanced street operations and user experience.  The corridor is identified as a high-injury corridor in the City’s Vision Zero Plan. 

 

On May 25, 2022, the Transportation Commission unanimously recommended that the City Council proceed with the staff recommended resurfacing and restriping plan.  The Transportation Commission recommended striping plan is shown as Exhibit 1. .  

 

The project webpage is www.alamedaca.gov/GrandStreet <http://www.alamedaca.gov/GrandStreet>

 

BACKGROUND

 

City staff is working with NCE and Fehr & Peers to develop improvement plans for the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project, which is partially funded by the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which distributes federal transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration to projects and programs throughout the Bay Area. This project is included in the State Transportation Improvement Program, with $827,000 in federal funds for construction in Federal Fiscal Year 2022-23.  The City will need to expend the federal funds by October 2023 to receive reimbursement for project expenses.  The project limits are Grand Street from Shore Line Drive (just north of the intersection) to Encinal Avenue (just south of the intersection), and excluding the concrete bridge deck between Otis Drive and Palmera Court. The intersection of Grand Street and Encinal Avenue will be resurfaced with a Caltrans project expected to begin in mid-2022.

 

Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Encinal Avenue has been identified as a high priority for safety and mobility improvements.  The Grand Street segment is approximately 0.7 miles long and is a major north-south multimodal corridor.  It is identified as a high-injury corridor with high crash intersections at Otis Drive and at Shore Line Drive in the City's Vision Zero Action Plan and General Plan.  Wood Middle School, Rittler Park and the Alameda shoreline are adjacent to Grand Street, and Franklin Elementary School, Franklin Park, and St. Joseph’s School are within ¼ mile of Grand Street.  Grand Street connects with existing bicycle facilities on Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive and will connect with future bike lanes on Encinal Avenue that Caltrans will install in the next year.  AC Transit currently serves Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive.

 

On Grand Street, vehicle speeds are often higher than the 25 miles per hour (mph) posted speed limit, with 32 mph for 85th percentile speed.  Crash data from 2015 to 2019 showed that 35 percent of injury bicycle crashes involved children. Approximately 55 percent of children cyclists were observed riding on the sidewalk or in the parking shoulder. 

 

Observed parking occupancy was approximately 30 percent of capacity.

 

DISCUSSION

 

On May 25, 2022 the Transportation Commission held a public hearing to consider the proposed restriping plan for Grand Street.  Approximately 26 people spoke in favor of the recommended restriping plan and 15 people spoke in opposition.  Upon considering all the testimony, the Transportation Commission voted 5-0 to endorse the recommended restriping plan.

 

The recommended striping plan is designed to implement General Plan goals to reduce serious injuries and deaths on Alameda public streets and to support active transportation modes of transportation as critical to addressing climate change.   The recommended restriping plan implements the following General Plan policies:

 

Policy ME-6 Vulnerable Users. When designing, redesigning or resurfacing streets, provide safe and convenient access for vulnerable users, including children, seniors, people with disabilities, and people walking and bicycling.

 

ME-6 Actions:

Safety First. When designing streets, the safest treatments should be considered the default starting point and be degraded only if necessary and after documenting rationale for the approach.

 

Space Priorities. When allocating public right-of-way space, the first consideration shall be for people walking, bicycling, and using transit. Space for on-street parking shall be the lower priority

 

Self-Enforcing Design. Design streets and rights-of-way to support vehicle speeds of 25 miles per hour or less, efficient bus movements and safe bicycle and pedestrian movements, to reduce the need for active enforcement and the risk of bias.

 

Policy ME 14 Action H Low-stress Bikeways. Prioritize low-stress biking infrastructure such as separated bicycle lanes, bicycle boulevards (Slow Streets) and bike trails, which is comfortable for the majority of the community. Build these facilities with enough width to comfortably and safely support all people and devices into the future, including cargo bikes, electric bikes, and scooters, all operating at different speeds. Provide separated bicycle lanes instead of unprotected, standard bicycle lanes, unless not feasible, and optimize the experience of bicyclists on bike boulevards by minimizing stop signs along these routes by opting for mini-roundabouts or similar treatments that allow bicyclists to travel unimpeded while slowing vehicle speeds.

 

The recommended plan includes the following improvements:

 

                     Repair and resurfacing of the street.  The street resurfacing includes curb and gutter repairs to address storm water flow, and improved curb ramps and intersection grading for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility.

 

                     Pedestrian safety improvements.   Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) at the Wood Middle School mid-block crossing and at the intersection of Grand Street and San Antonio Avenue.  Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) can reduce pedestrian crashes up to 47 percent, and can increase motorists yielding rates up to 98 percent.  In addition to the flashing beacons, both options include high visibility crosswalks, which can reduce pedestrian injury crashes by 40 percent and advanced yield or stop markings and signs, which can reduce pedestrian crashes up to 25 percent, daylighting and curb extensions to improve pedestrian safety.  Both options include a reduction in on-street parking to accommodate daylighting of intersections consistent with adopted City Council policy. 

 

                     Transit improvements.  Enhanced bus stops. AC Transit provides service on Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive.  Bus islands at Grand Street and Shore Line Drive (north of the intersection) and at Wood Middle School (midblock between the pedestrian refuge island and Otis Drive) will be added.

 

                     Speeding.  Narrower automobile travel lanes to reduce speeding.

 

                     Separated Bike lanes.  Class IV separated bike lanes between Shore Line and Encinal.  North of Otis Drive, the bike lane is located adjacent to the curb. The parking lane is placed between the bicycle lane and the moving vehicle land to separate the bicyclists from moving automobiles.  Due to the width of the street north of the lagoon bridge, it is not possible to provide parking on both sides of the street for the entire street segment.  Therefore, the plan provides separated bike lanes along the curb lanes with parking alternating between sides on each block.

 

                     Parking.  Reduces the number of public parking spaces on the street. However, the remaining number of public parking spaces aligns with the observed peak occupancy, as shown in the table below.

 

Segment

Parking Supply With Concept

Peak Parking Occupancy  (Weekday PM)

Palmera/Dayton

4

4

Dayton/Clinton

7

8

Clinton/San Jose

4

4

San Jose/San Antonio

7

6

San Antonio/Encinal

10

6

 

Access for People with Disabilities. Provides the following Americans with Disabilities (ADA) improvements: two new bus islands for bus boardings/alightings with ADA compliant curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks with minimal cross slopes to facilitate usage by people in wheelchairs, upgraded truncated domes/detectable warnings at street corners to alert people with visual impairments, shorter pedestrian crossings to reduce exposure to motor vehicles, flashing beacons with accessible features by Wood School and on Grand Street/San Antonio Avenue as well as a designated on-street disabled parking space by Wood School and Rittler Park.  More on-street disabled parking spaces are possible to install on the side streets along the corridor upon request.    

 

Conclusions:

 

In conclusion, staff believes the recommended design will reduce injuries, reduce automobile speeding, and increase the comfort and convenience for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages, which in turn supports the City’s climate action goals. 

 

The City Council has already approved the expenditure of funds for the Grand Street Project.   The attached resolution authorizes the Interim City Manager to proceed with the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project, including final design and construction consistent with the recommended restriping plan.  

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

The City Council may consider a range of alternatives:

 

                     Separated Bike Lanes.  Approve the recommended concept for the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project with separated bike lanes and authorize the Interim City Manager to proceed with design and construction, consistent with the staff recommendation. 

 

                     Striped bike lanes from Otis to Encinal.  This alternative concept was considered by the Transportation Commission.  It would replace the separated bicycle lanes from Otis to Encinal with striped bike lanes, similar to the existing condition.  This alternative retains the parking on the street next to the curb and place the bicycle lane between the parked cars and the moving cars, which is similar to the current conditions.  This alternative provides less safety for bicyclists, but preserves a larger number of the public parking spaces.  This Alternative is shown in Exhibit 2.

 

                     Stop Work.  Given the time limits for the use of the outside funding for the project, if the City Council declines to approve either concept, the City will likely to lose the Federal funding earmarked for these improvements and Grand Street would not be resurfaced.   At some future date, a majority of the City Council could approve a  restriping and improvement plan, however, it would also require a renewed process to re-secure the necessary funding from outside agencies. Given these cost and time constraints, staff would not recommend proceeding with construction and bid documents for either option pending a future decision by the City Council.  

 

                      

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project (C11000) is funded by Measures B/BB, Alameda County’s transportation sales tax, which is administered by the Alameda County Transportation Commission.  Additional funding is provided by the second round of the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which distributes federal transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration to projects and programs throughout the Bay Area.

 

The expected project costs are as follows:

 

Project Phase

Estimated Cost

Environmental Clearance and Design

$335,600

Construction (including 20% contingency)

$2,100,000

Additional grading and material cost for separated bike lanes north of Otis Dr.

$400,000

Construction management and staff costs

$250,000

Total Project Cost

$3,085,600

 

The OBAG 2 federal grant funding is expected to contribute $827,000 to the project cost, with the remaining funds provided by local sources, including Measure B/BB.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

As described above, the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project is consistent with the General Plan (2021) citywide mobility goals, which are:

 

                     Equity: Provide for the mobility needs of all Alameda residents, workers, and visitors regardless of income, age, ability, or neighborhood.

 

                     Safety: Eliminate fatalities and severe injuries on Alameda’s streets, sidewalks, crosswalks and trails by 2035.

 

                     Choices: Expand and improve alternatives to low occupancy automobile trips to incentivize mode shift to more environmentally sustainable modes of transportation while recognizing the diverse needs for mobility.

 

                     Sustainability: Reduce the impacts of transportation systems on the environment, and transition to a more resilient transportation system to address the impacts of climate change.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

The project team submitted required environmental clearance documentation to Caltrans and received a signed California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption/ National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Categorical Exclusion Determination Form in September 2021.  Caltrans determined that this project has no significant impacts on the environment as defined by NEPA.  As such, the project is categorically excluded from the requirements to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under NEPA.

 

The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project is 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.  In September 2021, Caltrans determined that this project has no significant impacts on the environment as defined by NEPA. As such, the project is categorically excluded from the requirements to prepare an EA or EIS under NEPA. 

 

CLIMATE IMPACT

 

Since vehicle miles traveled in Alameda is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda, City staff is expecting that the proposed improvements to Grand Street would have a positive climate impact.  The concept is being developed to make it safer and more convenient to ride a bicycle, use the bus and walk and to reduce congestion and idling motor vehicles.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a Public Hearing to consider adoption of resolution authorizing the Interim City Manager to proceed with the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project Final Concept and Adoption of Environmental Findings

Andrew Thomas, Director of Planning, Building and Transportation

Robert Vance, Public Works Deputy Director/City Engineer

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Margaret O’Brien, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Proposed Street Configuration (Recommendation)

2.                     Street Configuration (Alternative)

3.                     Online Survey - Questionnaire

4.                     Online Survey Results

5.                     Community Workshop Notes

 

cc:                     Dirk Brazil, Interim City Manager

Erin Smith, Public Works Director