Last Wednesday, Alameda's city Public Works department and its contractors finished all planned updates to Park Street (according to a verbal update by city staff at Wednesday evening's Transportation Commission meeting).

I was holding off on making any judgements of the new bike lanes and parking arrangements on Park Street until that work was fully finished. Now that it's finished... well, instead of figuring out my own thoughts and writing them up, I'll just open this post to comments.

What do you think?

I previously wrote when the latest Commercial Streets program changes were implemented on the small core of 4 blocks of Webster Street. The URL for that post summarizes what I wrote in that post: "the-doordash-parking-zone"

For reference, here are the physical changes that have been made to Park Street in this latest cycle of the Commercial Streets program:

  • unprotected bike lanes on Park Street from San Jose Ave up to almost to Lincoln Ave (I think the lanes peter out at Webb St) with very selective areas of green paint, and also very selective use of some plastic bumps attached to the pavement to mark areas where auto drivers shouldn't go
  • on-street public parking is now against the curb, with a few more designated handicap spots and loading or no-parking zones
  • parklets have been culled (with a few businesses opting to remove theirs), a few "double wide" parklets have been rebuilt to fit closer to the curb, a few parklets have been rebuilt by businesses to be more attractive, and all remaining parklets have been surrounded by green concrete barriers; "no parking" signs have been affixed to the concrete barriers where the unprotected bike lanes run alongside the parklets
Bike lanes or cycletracks that are "low stress" and permanent along Park Street (and/or Oak Street) are scheduled to be planned by 2030 "for future construction post-2030" (per the Alameda Active Transportation Plan).

Also for reference, the city is working on on-going programs that will continue to shape the way driving and parking (and illegal double-parking) work (or don't work) in downtown Alameda:

  • parking supply and pricing: the City has grant funding from MTC to improve parking operations around downtown Alameda (with a more thorough inventory of actual parking spots, counts of actual usage, and a systematic update of parking pricing with a goal of hitting 85% occupancy rates for parking on Park St at peak times) and the City has dedicated a million dollars of its own capital funds to improve the downtown parking garage (to make the parking garage a more attractive and safer option for people who want to park for longer or who need to park somewhere for the entire day)
  • enforcement: Alameda city Public Works staff are now responsible for parking enforcement (instead of the Police Department). However, there are still some situations where sworn (and armed) police officers are required to write tickets. There are also some specific types of parking enforcement that are not being handled by either Public Works or Police. And the hours that Public Works staff currently enforce around downtown Alameda do not cover the full range of hours that local business operate. (I won't mention what specific situations are not being enforcement and what the current enforcement hours are, so as to not encourage scofflaws :) I hear second-hand that Public Works staff are currently considering how to improve enforcement policies and operations.
  • transit signal priority and signal optimization: MTC is also giving grant funding to optimize traffic signals along Park Street between Otis Drive and Alameda Ave. Four intersections will be improved (I'm not sure which exact ones) so that when an AC Transit bus approaches the intersection, it issues a radio or infrared message to the intersection control system, and the bus's direction of travel is giving a green light next in the sequence.

Even if you find the physical changes to the design of Park Street underwhelming, these other "levers" of programs and policies with respect to parking and enforcement and intersection operations will hopefully receive ongoing attention to make Park Street operate as best as it can for walkers and bikers and bus riders — and also for law-abiding drivers who want to find a spot without too much circling.

All that said, please feel free to share your own impressions of Park Street below...

Park Street: What do you think?