The Alameda in Berkeley to be put on ‘road diet’

The Alameda is set to go on a "road diet". Photo: Office of Transportation.

The Alameda is set to go on a “road diet.” Photo: Office of Transportation

Starting Aug. 12 for approximately two weeks, The Alameda from Hopkins Street to Solano Avenue will be put on a “road diet.” It will be restriped from four lanes to three, with outside lanes for traffic, a center lane for left-hand turns, and dedicated bike lanes for cyclists and right turns.

Once complete, The Alameda will have a cross section similar to Marin Avenue. The work extends from Solano to just south of Hopkins and involves grinding out existing lane markings, laying out the new marking locations on the asphalt (cat tracking), city approval of the layout, and installation of permanent thermoplastic markings.

The Alameda will remain open to traffic with localized lane closures and shifts as the work proceed, but parking along this stretch will be prohibited during construction. Officials say there may be traffic delays but no road closures.

The Alameda’s “road diet,” headed by the Office of Transportation and Councilman Laurie Capitelli, comes out of a three-year process that explored ways to make The Alameda safer for pedestrians and bicyclists with minimal impacts on auto traffic.

The project’s goals include improving pedestrian safety, improving the safety of left turns, improving safety for exiting parked cars, creating bike lanes, and reducing traffic speeds, along with the specific goals of providing room for The Alameda residents to back out of their driveways and getting rid of the southbound merge lane below Hopkins.

In 2005, Marin Avenue was put on a similar diet, in which a stretch of the road was downsized from four travel lanes to two, and a two-way turn lane and bicycle lanes were added to improve safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. However, injury accidents actually increased after the diet, according to one analysis, implying that this type of fix is not necessarily effective for every street.

Public Works contacts for this project are Colleen Andreetta, 510-981-6424 or candreeta@cityofberkeley.info; Ahsan Kazmi, 510-981-6416 or akazmi@cityofberkeley.info; and, after hours, the Public Works Customer Service line at 510-981-6620.

Julia Hannafin is a summer intern at Berkeleyside and a student at Columbia University studying creative writing and American studies. She writes for the music blog The Metropolitan Jolt.

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  • Zelda Bronstein

    Yes, I am on the Transportation Commission mailing list.

    And since you bring up that commission, I will note that the night it held its own hearing on the proposed Marin changes was also the night that the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association was having its candidates’ forum (it was in the fall of an election year). We–I was on the TONA Board at the time–asked the commission to continue its hearing to another date so that people who wanted to attend the candidates’ forum would also have an opportunity to weigh in on the Marin reconfiguration. No dice.

    So please stop lecturing me (of all people) about staying informed.

  • amy

    I live on Hopkins Street two doors down from The Alameda and I am very relieved that this particular traffic calming endeavor is in place, even though it will create more sitting traffic in front of my house. My experience in the last 25 years has shown me that even good citizens drive poorly when faced with the two lane merge in this area. The traffic diet has fixed it, as far as I can tell. It has not however, fixed the pedestrian safety problem altogether, as someone was hit crossing the street yesterday by a driver turning left onto The Alameda. Probably a distracted driver.

  • batard

    if my recollection is correct, the traffic engineer at the time was a contractor who has since moved on. Don’t know how the traffic folks are staffed now, or who’s agenda these projects are serving.