Alameda’s Clement Avenue Safety Project Moving Forward
Protected, two-way cycle tracks, better sidewalks, but intersection danger may remain
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The advocates over at BikeWalkAlameda (BWA) scored a major victory at the Alameda Transportation Commission recently, when they won approval for the Clement Avenue Safety Improvement Project, which will improve biking and walking between Broadway and Grand.
From BWA’s web page:
On July 24, 2019, the Transportation Commission voted 5-1 in favor of the two-way protected bike lane (Option 3) plus a bonus for vehicular cyclists who still want to ride on the street–put sharrows down so drivers don’t yell at them! This comes before City Council on Sept. 17, so mark you calendars! And then, hopefully, construction in 2020.
“The Clement Ave project from Grand to Broadway is another piece of the puzzle that will create an amazing Cross Alameda Trail (CAT),” wrote BikeWalkAlameda’s Lucy Gigli in an email to Streetsblog. “The CAT is envisioned to be a walking and biking trail for everyone of all abilities. It will stretch from the east end of the island all the way to the west end new ferry terminal (over four miles – protected).” According to the City’s web page, construction could be completed as early as the end of 2020.
Also according to BWA’s web page, this is the longest portion of the Cross Alameda Trail. The project will also fix narrow sidewalks, remove old railroad tracks from the pavement, add street trees, and make the area a much more enjoyable place to bike and walk.
“BWA has been advocating for a long time for the completion of the CAT, and the two-way protected bike lane on Clement will be a major piece of that vision, bringing us one step closer to a complete bikeway from Fruitvale to Alameda Point,” wrote Bike East Bay’s Susie Hufstader in an email to Streetsblog. “It was fantastic to hear strong support from the Transportation Commission and we’re looking forward to advocating for City Council approval in September.”
She added that because the Clement project is a segment of the future trail, “a two-way cycle track will create a seamless experience without the need for multiple transitions. And, because of the large Alameda Marina development property and the Naval offices there, the number of driveways and crossings is low.”
“The two-way protected bike lanes have been chosen for a few of our streets because they work well on an island,” added Gigli. “You get way fewer cross streets to deal with when one side of the street is the end of the island. For example, on Clement from Oak to Grand there are currently no cross streets on the north side. Compare this with nine cross streets on the south side. That makes a big difference. ”
It does, and, indeed, because it is an island, two-way cycle tracks make sense on the perimeter, such as on Shoreline Drive.
But Clement does have some cross streets, notably Oak, Park, and Everett. Oak and Everett don’t really go anywhere north of Clement, so there won’t be much cross traffic, but Park sure does, and that could be a problem.
Incredible care is going to have to be taken at these intersections, and designs will need to be refined and improved, at least going by the preliminary drawings (see image above at Park and Clement Avenue, with heavy cross traffic, lots of turning movements, and, apparently, no protection for cyclists through the intersection). Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator, City of Alameda, wrote in an email to Streetsblog that, “yes, we will be looking into protected intersections when we do the more detailed design.”
BWA and Bike East Bay will have to keep an eye on those intersections, Park especially, to make sure robust protected intersections end up in the final designs.