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Eyes on the Street: Western Alameda Bike Lane Nirvana is Spreading

This stuff is seriously good

A cyclist going through a new protected intersection in Western Alameda. Photos: Streetsblog/Rudick

The island city of Alameda is forging ahead with protected bike lanes and intersections as it slowly converts the former Navy base in the western part of the island into housing, offices, and shops. The lead image shows one of the newest protected intersections under construction, at Saratoga and West Tower Avenue.

Streetsblog readers may recall coverage of the impressive work in Alameda's "The Point" neighborhood. That great progress is now spreading north and west on the island. The entire project features fully separated, Dutch-style sidewalk-level bike lanes connecting a new dense housing and retail development with the new Seaplane Lagoon Ferry terminal with services to San Francisco.

"The intersection of W. Tower Ave & Pan Am Way is where the City’s backbone infrastructure project for the Re-use area of Alameda Point (in progress) will meet the Site A Phase II redevelopment project (delayed)," explained Alameda's Brian McGuire. "The redeveloped areas of Alameda Point are or will be elevated two to three feet to account for sea-level rise."

That elevation and the adjoining bioswales also make for great features full of native plants.

Bike intersections in the new development feature bioswales.

In Streetsblog's view, the work going on in Western Alameda highlights the importance of good, highly competent planning in the early phases of redevelopment. Contrast this to Brooklyn Basin across the estuary in Oakland, another new development where bike infrastructure is a bit of a joke, with the city forced to retrofit unprotected bike lanes on brand new streets because the needs of cyclists were not considered (or they were considered and dismissed) in early designs.

Meanwhile, whatever ultimately gets built in Western Alameda is going to be nestled between top-notch, safe, sidewalk level infrastructure that's safe for users of all ages and abilities. It's obvious that in the planning process the first question was: how do we make this area safe for everybody, no matter how they choose to get around? Then they got to work on designing housing and other developments with that in mind.

Maybe planners from other Bay Area cities ought to head over to Alameda for a look. It's cheaper than flying to the Netherlands and there's no jet lag (or they can watch this Streetfilm). And soon there will be a ferry shuttling between Jack London Square and Western Alameda to make it even easier to get there.

Just remember the construction is ongoing, so not all the paint and markings are in place and there's still fences and construction debris here and there. More pics below:

Protected intersections force drivers to slow on turns
Bike for a beer at Almanac brewery. Note the work isn't finished, so look out for construction debris.
Did we mention it's not finished yet!

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