Grand Ave Marquis final
Thank you Grand Lake Theatre for your insane enthusiasm promoting this important safety project

City Council Meeting October 20

Grand Ave road diet goes to City Council Tuesday, October 20 for approval. Council meeting starts at 5:30pm, and Grand Ave is on the Consent Calendar as item S7.23. So it should come up quickly. While not a perfect project by far, it is a step in the right direction. Please come and support and ask for back-in angled parking and completion of the bikeway all the way to Lake Park Drive.

Here is the Council agenda: Oakland City Council Agenda-Oct 20

Public Works Committee

Proposed design for Grand Ave north of Mandana Blvd
Proposed design for Grand Ave north of Mandana Blvd

Oakland Public Works Committee unanimously approved a road diet with bike lanes on Grand Ave, from Jean St to Mandana, as proposed by staff. Our ask for back-in angled parking, rather than pull-in as approved, was not even discussed, as there is too much concern over the novelty of it in Oakland. There was strong support from several councilmembers to see a followup project to extend the bike lanes down to Lake Park Ave, where bike lanes pick up.

Here’s the Staff Report going to Public Works on Oct 13

A few speakers spoke against the project, saying things like “this is not San Francisco,” “only 1% of people bike in Oakland,” and “bicyclists can’t follow the rules of the road” — the usual noise from concerned residents who struggle to imagine a better Oakland where people walk and bike around town, and local businesses thrive as a result. Council listened to their concerns but the super-majority of public support for the project allowed forward thinking and reason to prevail.

We are not giving up on back-in angled parking and continuing the project toward downtown. But a followup project will most likely need to be directed by the new Department of Transportation, which is in the works but won’t be up and running until the 2nd half of 2016. We will keep you posted on new DOT developments.

What you can do:

Send an email today to Councilmember Abel Guillen and to Project Manager Phillip Ho, and thank them for getting this phase 1 of the project moving forward and ask them when the project will be completed. And remind them that Oakland residents want the project continued to Lake Park Ave, and want to see back-in angled parking utilized in Oakland.

Walking tour of Grand Ave July 25

Good public attendance at two community workshops and a walking tour, and hundreds of emails to Oakland Public Works evidence strong support for staff’s proposal to take Grand Avenue down from 4 lanes to 3 lanes and add bike lanes north of Mandana. There is also majority 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 and support for back-in angle parking, as shown in the image below, but staff is simply not able to take on a much bigger project of this sort.

Summary of Public Input to Date

Of 217 total public responses to the proposed project on Grand Ave, 172 responses expressed explicit approval or disapproval:

  • 115 respondents (67%) support Phase 1 project
  • 51 respondents (30%) oppose the project
  • 6 respondents (3%) only support the project with modifications

The top five most common concerns included:

  • a preference for back-in angled parking (30)
  • a desire to extend the project boundary south to Interstate 580 (i.e. Lake Park Ave) (22)
  • a preference for protected bike lanes (21)
  • concerns over increased traffic congestion (17)
  • concerns over increased delay from parking maneuvers (11)

Great work everyone helping with public outreach! Please keep the pressure on by sending an email today and asking your friends to do the same. Grand Ave is one of Oakland’s great streets, and is should be a great street for walking and bicycling.

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

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

  • 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

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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