by Sam Levin
How can the City of Oakland improve Telegraph Avenue? Officials are now seeking input from the public on the city's efforts to redesign the corridor as part of its Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets Project. The goal of the project, which is a collaboration between the city and the Alameda County Transportation Commission, is to "improve transportation safety and comfort on Telegraph Avenue between 20th Street and 57th Street for all modes of travel." That project area extends through downtown Oakland, Uptown, Koreatown-Northgate, and Temescal.
Residents interested in the project can offer feedback through this survey, which closes on Friday, January 31.
City officials will consider the survey's results as they develop several design proposals in the coming months. The goal is to share ideas this spring and seek construction funding for specific projects after that. More than 400 people have already responded to the survey, according to an email circulated last week from the Complete Streets program manager.
The project is likely to focus on ways to improve Telegraph for pedestrians and cyclists. As the city notes on its project website, "Despite its importance for non-motorized transportation, the current configuration of Telegraph Avenue disproportionately serves automobile traffic at the expense of other roadway users."
For starters, there are no dedicated bike lanes along the corridor and frequent pedestrian crossings without signals. From 2007 to 2011, there were 223 crashes that resulted in injuries on Telegraph Avenue (between 20th and 57th streets). Of those incidents, 29 percent involved a cyclist and 27 percent involved a pedestrian. Four of those cases involved fatalities, all of whom were motor vehicle drivers or passengers, according to city data.
"As it currently operates, the project corridor has safety challenges for all modes, including speeding, a lack of space for bicyclists, inadequately-sized bus stops, and difficult pedestrian crossings," reads the project's draft vision statement.
The city has published detailed data on the current conditions and challenges and plans to host a community meeting in March to discuss draft proposals and another in July to present final draft designs.
You can fill out the survey here by the end of the week. In addition to seeking feedback on cycling and pedestrian safety, the survey also calls for suggestions to improve its draft vision statement. Currently, it reads:
The Telegraph Complete Streets Implementation Plan will consider the design and operation of Telegraph Avenue for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and motorists between 20th and 57th Streets (i.e., project corridor). As it currently operates, the project corridor has safety challenges for all modes, including speeding, a lack of space for bicyclists, inadequately-sized bus stops, and difficult pedestrian crossings.
A redesign of the Telegraph Avenue project corridor must strive to improve the safety of all modes, improve comfort for walking and bicycling, balance the needs and convenience of all modes, and consider both through-travel and access to corridor destinations.
Considerable planning and design work has been completed through previous studies and projects. To the extent feasible, the Complete Streets Implementation Plan will build on past work to put to implement best practices for urban street design on Telegraph Avenue through both near-term and longer term action items.