In advance of the May 7 meeting at which City Council will consider physical design changes to stop sideshows at Alameda Point, Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer has already been redesigning the physical changes.

Forty-nine pages of emails show the councilmember quizzing staff and suggesting changes.

It's not that long. Many of the pages are copies of the same emails repeated and threaded together. But I can't help but list the full count of pages in the PDF.

At her request, a roadway planned to be designed with lanes each 12 feet wide β€” to slow cars and prevent drivers from doing "donuts" β€” will instead have lanes that are 13 feet in width. The councilmember-cum-traffic-engineer says that the additional width will make it safer for motorists to pass cyclists.

As an amateur traffic engineer myself, I doubt that. Rather, I think the wider roadway width will allow drivers to comfortably drive at faster speeds.

City of Alameda's relevant policies β€” the Policies on Street Width, Lane Width, Crosswalks and Bulb-outs to Promote Safe, Livable Streets and Environmentally Sustainable Transportation Choices β€” agree with my own interpretation. That policy is worth a read β€” it's quick and easy to skim.

A recent study from Johns Hopkins public health researchers further documented the safety benefits of narrower auto traffic lanes. It was covered on NPR, among many other news outlets.

Alameda city staff were following that policy when they proposed the original 12 feet lanes:

City staff began with 11 foot lanes (to accommodate trucks and AC Transit Line 96) and then they added another 1 foot to "provide shy distance" from the "vertical curb" to be installed. So the equation of 11 feet + 1 foot = 12 feet.

But here in Alameda one must not forget the equation that shapes a surprisingly large number of local topics: [OFFICIAL CITY POLICIES] - [WHATEVER COUNCILMEMBER TRISH HERRERA SPENCER WANTS] = [THE OUTCOME FOR EVERYONE IN THIS CITY OF NEARLY 80,000 PEOPLE]

The traffic engineer on Alameda City Council