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Eyes on the Street: Short but Sweet Jingletown/Fruitvale Ave. Bay Trail Connector Almost Done

A little connector will make it much easier to walk between Jingletown and the shopping center in Alameda. Photos Streetsblog/Rudick

It may not look like much in the pictures, but an important little connector on the Bay Trail is nearing completion in the Jingletown neighborhood in Oakland.

Jingletown is a focus of new housing development, with thousands of new apartments and town houses already built. One of the features of the community, nestled just across the estuary tidal canal from eastern Alameda, is a pretty section of waterfront trail between Park Street and Fruitvale Avenue.

Close to shopping, but a long walk (or a very short swim)

The housing is also within sight of a large shopping center, complete with a grocery store, coffee shops, a pet store, and restaurants. The nearest bridge is on Fruitvale Avenue, but, like so many things in the Bay Area, walking to the shopping center from the housing is made needlessly long, as illustrated in the map below.

A new Bay Trial connector at Alameda Avenue eliminates this big detour, at least on the Oakland side (above the tidal canal).

There's a freight train spur along Fruitvale that cuts off pedestrians and cyclists. The portion that goes to Alameda however is long abandoned (the tracks are rusted and overgrown and the rail bridge is stuck in the upright position). But the tracks are fenced off and on an embankment, cutting off the Jingletown waterfront portion of the Bay Trail. All of which means what should be a very reasonable walk to the grocery store is instead a 40 minute hike round trip.

A view of the new section of Bay Trail that will soon connect Jingletown to Alameda via the Fruitvale Ave. bridge

Fortunately, Oakland has nearly completed a long overdue little concrete ramp to bring the Bay trail up and across the old rail right-of-way to the sidepath on the bridge, resulting in a walk that should take about ten minutes in each direction. This is part of a larger project called Fruitvale Alive, which includes a sidewalk level bike lane basically running from the Fruitvale BART station to the same location.

Unfortunately, the Alameda landing of the Fruitvale Avenue bridge is still pretty pedestrian hostile, with long chain-link fences still forcing people to take a long circle around the shopping center's parking lot. But that's been solved for the moment with some wire cutters (see below).

It shouldn't be this hard to walk to the store.

Meanwhile, of course, Caltrans and ACTC has continued to spend hundreds of millions making it easier to drive between Oakland and Alameda, as previously reported, with giant flyovers and freeway widenings. At the same time that it's nice that this new little pedestrian connection is finally nearing completion, it's amazing that such a relatively easy fix was left undone for so many years while all that car-oriented infrastructure was built. Unfortunately, pedestrian and bike infrastructure continues to be the last consideration in too much of the Bay Area.

Streetsblog will not publish tomorrow/Friday, Nov. 10 for Veteran's Day. We'll be back Monday, Nov. 13.

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