Great turnout July 8 at the Grand Avenue community workshop, with almost 80 people attending, and showing strong support for staff’s proposal to take Grand Avenue down from 4 lanes to 3 lanes and add bike lanes north of Mandan. There was also support to expand the staff proposal and continue the proposed bike lanes south from Mandana to Lake Park, with many speakers supporting separated, protected bike lanes. There was also good support for back-in angle parking, as shown in the image below.

Staff Proposal:

Do a road diet on Grand Ave between Fairview and Mandana, with one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes, and improved pedestrian crossings with median refuge. Staff are not proposing to change anything south of Mandana because to do so would require additional traffic analysis and cost, which could delay the project. The Grand Lake community has a great opportunity to make Grand Ave a more people-friendly street, and make a statement about the type of neighborhood they want to call home and the quality of life they want for their families and the businesses of the district.

What you can do:

  1. Send an email to Project Manager Phillip Ho ( and cc Councilmember Abel Guillen (, stating your support of adding bike lanes to Grand Ave and making pedestrian crossing much safer.
  2. Attend the Saturday, July 25 | Walk the Grand Ave. Road Changes
    10:00-11:00 am | Meet in front of The Star on Grand, 3425 Grand Ave.As a follow-up to this week’s community meeting to review the proposed road diet for Grand Avenue between Elwood and the Piedmont border, Councilmember Guillen and City staff will lead a “walk audit” to show locations of changes in lane striping. Meet at 10:00 am for an informal hour-long walk/talk ending by 11:00 am at the Piedmont border. Clickhere for more info about this plan to increase pedestrian and bike safety, and improve traffic flow.
  3. Check out Oakland’s Website for Grand Avenue Improvements

Why Back In/Head Out Angle Parking is Better

Back-in/head-out diagonal parking is superior to conventional head-in/back-out diagonal parking. Both types of diagonal parking have common dimensions, but the back-in/head- out is superior for safety reasons due to better visibility when leaving. This is particularly important on busy streets or where drivers find their views blocked by large vehicles, tinted windows, etc., in adjacent vehicles in the case of head-in/back-out angled parking. In other words, drivers do not back blindly into an active traffic lane. The back-in maneuver is simpler than a parallel parking maneuver. Furthermore, with back-in/head-out parking, the open doors of the vehicle block pedestrian access to the travel lane and guide pedestrians to the sidewalk, which is a safety benefit, particularly for children. Further, back-in/head- out parking puts most cargo loading (into trunks, tailgates) on the curb, rather than in the street.

Here is a report on back-in/head-out angle parking.


Grand Ave currently
Grand Avenue is intimidating and unpleasant for many people, especially the stretch of Grand Ave near 580. It does a poor job of connecting nearby neighborhoods with Lake Merritt and to wonderful Grand Lake businesses.

A little background: Oakland repaved Grand Avenue in summer 2014, but city leaders are now reconsidering whether there are better ways to make it safer to walk across, safer to bicycle on, easier to drive and park, and more inviting as a neighborhood main street for people to visit, hang out and spend some money.

In addition, Piedmont has written into its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to reduce Grand Avenue to one through-lane in each direction and adding bike lanes.

WOBO is kickstarting round 2 of the Grand Ave campaign. We have plans in the summer of 2015 to conduct deep outreach to bring the best ideas to the table for the City to consider.

To learn more and or to pitch in on this campaign, contact Christopher Ulrich at

  • Sign up here to get email alerts about projects on Grand Avenue

A balanced street for all users

Grand Avenue Concept-02jc-scene 3-FINAL-no logo
Grand Avenue can look like this, this year! Help us make it happen, and make your experience on Grand Ave much more fun and inciting to return

Bicycling has tripled in Oakland over the past 12 years as our City has become a top 10 city nationally for the number of people bicycling. As the rate of bicycling grows, people need a safe space to ride. And an inviting space to ride is going to encourage thousands more people to try bicycling.

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland supports a 4 to 3 redesign of Grand Avenue through the Grand Lake commercial district. With this redesign, there will be one through-lane in each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes and diagonal parking. The street goes from 4 through lanes to 3 lanes (2 through and 1 center turn lane), much like the road diet on Lakeshore Avenue, shown below.


  • Significantly improves pedestrian safety because pedestrians are crossing one lane of traffic at a time, and have a refuge island in the middle, allowing them to cross one lane at a time
  • Calms traffic by allowing the more prudent drivers to set the pace of traffic and provides a buffer between oncoming traffic in the outer lanes
  • Significantly improves bicycle safety and encourages more bicycling by creating a dedicated space for people bicycling
  • Helps drivers by giving bicyclists a dedicated space in the road, thereby reducing concerns of hitting a person on a bike
  • Streets with 3 lanes vs 4 lanes have 30% fewer crashes and calmer traffic
  • Can improve capacity for through traffic. Grand Avenue carries approximately 16,000 cars/day. Lakeshore Avenue nearby carries 24,000 cars/day and received a 4 to 3 road diet in 2009 as part of Measure DD. A 4 to 3 redesign of Grand Avenue will work better for drivers
Lakeshore Ave road diet 3 ver2
Lakeshore Avenue currently, after receiving a 4 to 3 road diet in 2009 as part of Measure DD. Lakeshore Avenue carries 50% more traffic than Grand Avenue, and functions just fine.
  • Easier for motorist to enter and exit the street
  • Emergency vehicles have better access thanks to the center turn lane
  • Safer for drivers because speeds are slower, lane changing is eliminated, and the center turn lane provides a buffer between on-coming traffic
  • Retail activity goes up when streets are made more walkable and more bikeable because people shop more often and spend more money overall when they walk and bike to shop. Good for business
  • A redesign provides additional opportunities to green the street by adding planter boxes and artwork in center refuge islands

Current plans for sharrows on Grand Ave [3.1 MB pdf]

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