Tomorrow the Alameda (city) Transportation Commission is hearing the rethink of the rethink of Grand Street. Below is a public comment that I emailed in.

(Yes, I have more pointed questions about the process and politics of this project; but no, there's no use in writing up any other thoughts at this point other than just engaging with the "Council-approved Concept" and the "Alternatives" being presented to the Transportation Commission.)

If you live, work, walk, bicycle, and/or want to lower the odds of accidentally hitting someone with your car in Alameda, see Bike Walk Alameda's webpage with tips on how to email or call in with your own public comment of support. As always, you're welcome to copy any snippets or ideas from below if it's of use in your own public comment.

Dear Transportation Commission members and Planning staff,

To reiterate what has been said many times, Grand Street is an important north/south connector for people traveling by all modes around Alameda.

Source: staff and consultant presentation for June 21, 2023 meeting of the Alameda city Transportation Commission

Alternative 1

To just focus on the options being presented at this TC meeting: Alternative 1 is the ideal design to meet the needs of the vulnerable road users from students on bicycles to seniors on foot, while still providing ample on-street curb parking for residents of the blocks with multi-family and public uses.

Alternative 1 along all three segments of Grand would serve as a  "backbone" for a low-stress bike network across Alameda — the kind of network that parents would feel comfortable sending their kids out to cycle to school, and the kind of network that adults of all ages would see as an enjoyable alternative to using a car to drive to a drugstore or a similar kind of errand.

Source: staff and consultant presentation for June 21, 2023 meeting of the Alameda city Transportation Commission 
Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Alameda, and short trips are the most common of auto-based trips by Alameda residents — it's all those short trips by gas cars where we have the most to gain by encouraging pollution-free modes of transport

Paying more local funds for more benefits

However, the best plan is of no benefit for any of us if it's just a plan.

A key question for Alternative 1 is how implementation would be funded for Segment B. According to the staff report:

If local funds are not identified for Segment B, construction would be delayed until grant funds are secured, possibly in 2026 or 2027.

There's a real risk that by switching to Alternative 1 for the entire corridor, the segment of Grand between Otis and Encinal will have the exact same faded paint for unprotected Class II bike lanes and at-grade crosswalks  as the end of this decade approaches.

Source: Google Street View

Perfect as the enemy of the good

Please consider encouraging City Council to only adopt Alternative 1 in place of the existing Council-approved Concept for Segment B if the difference in cost is covered by local city funds.

If City Council is uncomfortable covering the difference in cost for the added benefits, then the Council-approved Concept for Segment B is still a reasonable outcome of incremental improvements.

Please don't have the perfect be the enemy of the good in terms of improving the safety and utility of Grand Street.

Thank you for your time,
Drew Dara-Abrams

Rethinking the rethink of Grand Street