Park Blvd Gridlocked During Recent Construction and Single Lane, A.K.A Road-diet

March 27th 2018 Smart Cities: Gridlock woes: Traffic congestion by the numbers

The proof is in – our roads are gridlocked, so why would any city department of transport want to make the problem worse by removing capacity – in short, they would not UNLESSS THEY ARE NEGLIGENT.

“Traffic congestion is an ever-growing problem across the United State and the world, especially in medium- and large-sized cities. Beyond being a nuisance, congestion takes a tangible toll on drivers; getting caught in traffic repeatedly has obvious financial costs, but it also has physical costs from the stress, such as high blood pressure and weight gain. The toll isn’t just on drivers, either. Economies take a hit because of workers’ lost time and resources, and because of citizens avoiding certain areas or businesses that are plagued by traffic trouble. Plus, more drivers on the road means more vehicle emissions, which lead to pollution and other environmental concerns. Smart Cities Dive compiled some striking numbers that show the impact of traffic congestion on cities and the public.”

Source: read the report


Response to OakDOT March 19th 2018 Letter

A March 19th communication from OakDOT (which was dated March 8th) set out to “correct misunderstandings”and “clarify the actual status of potential improvements” for the “Park Boulevard Pedestrian, Bicycle and School Safety Study”, so here we will review what they said and correlate to what we actually see, have read and have been told through email and conversation with community meetings, exchanges with planners, OakDOT staff, and council representatives.

Correct Misunderstandings

OakDOT Said:

OakDOT evaluated a road diet and concluded a bike lane would improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and not increase travel times in the corridor

We Say:

  • They did not study speed
  • They did not study important intersections.
  • They did not study volumes in connecting streets
  • They said to work it would require closing off medians at many intersections, causing “micro-shifts” to other roads
  • They had not assessed how traffic would divert though Oakmore and Trestle Glen to reach current destinations once medians are closed
  • They did not review existing incident data to show the reported problems they were trying to fix even existed (they do not )

OakDOT Said:

If funding is identified, the city would then conduct a detailed traffic study

We Say:

  • So, they concluded that travel times would not be effected, but now say they have not done a detailed traffic study – so, basically they cannot conclude anything at all at this time.
  • Yet they say more planning required to avoid “serious delays” – what delays – they already concluded there would not be any ?
  • Also, don’t be fooled when they say there are no funds – there is funding such as KK and Senate Bill 1 which will take gas tax and use to fund other projects.

Current Status of Potential Improvements to Middle Park Boulevard

OakDOT Said:

Developed options based on what community members asked to study in 2016 and 2017

We Say:

  • No, they did not. The majority of the community members asked them to study why the project was required, provide evidence of the issues, and how this would impact the adjoining neighbors – none of which they did since they did not do comprehensive studies
  • They did not study all viable options including Speed Sensitive Signals which would improve safety without reducing capacity

Next Steps on Middle Park Boulevard

OakDOT Said:

Community walkthorugh

We Say:

  • We are waiting – hopefully this will include real action based on what the community is asking – and that is spot improvements to target some cross-walks by schools, and provide the maximum benefit to the majority – not the minority

Next Steps on Trestle Glen Road

OakDOT Said:

The concerns are one of the reasons the city embarked on community outreach

We Say:

  • No the city did community outreach only because an enraged community constantly fought OakDOT and the council to be heard
  • Why are you not mentioning this anger has now grown – where is Oakmore mentioned – they were also engaged thanks to us fighting back

Upper Park Boulevard

OakDOT Said:

Road-diet would slow down traffic without creating delays

We Say:

  • Not true – the way a road-diet slows traffic is through congestion
  • Planners already said (for Middle Park Blvd) a road-diet will not slow traffic without signals every 1200 feet
  • The single lane will create a backup (proven by Caltrans work), and the only way to reduce this is to increase signal timing at Highway 13, causing more dangerous backups there
  • And all of the despite the fact that THE ACCIDENT DATA DOES NOT PROVE IT IS REQUIRED

Lower Park Boulevard

OakDOT Said:

The project will go ahead in 2017, a road-diet to improve safety

We Say:

  • Yet the vast number of incidents on Lower Park Blvd are pedestrian by the school, where they will not add light controlled crossings, and the road will remain 3 lanes



Does the Data Support Road Diets to Improve Safety?

In every road-diet Oakland has pushed forward, the number one reason that was given is SPEED – so is this really a major factor? According to the data NO IT IS NOT! Speed was a factor in only 5.12% of incidents! The major factor of pedestrian incidents is either right of way at 29.43%, or pedestrian violation at 14.95%. This more than anything else highlights that the biggest need for pedestrian safety is light controlled crossings, to regulate the flow of both vehicles and pedestrians properly – ROAD DIETS WILL NOT DO THIS!

Below are graphs and maps showing all incident data in Oakland between Jan-1-2006, and Dec-31-2016 where a motor vehicle was involved in an incident with a bike or pedestrian.

All of Oakland

All Motor vehicle and bike or pedestrian incidents, 2006 to 2016, count shows number at that location

Incident Summary


Injury Summary



Pedestrian Incidents

Smartphone Use

Several studies are now considering the effect of SmartPhone use and pedestrian injuries. A 2017 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association correlates cellphone use, and also marijuana use with an increase in pedestrian incidents, so we may expect more distracted pedestrians/drivers/cyclists and injuries with the passing of Proposition 64.


Master Bicycle Plan Do-over

In 2007 Oakland prepared a master bicycle plan to determine which roads would have class 1/2/3/3a/3b bike paths. The plan was accepted and reaffirmed by a city council vote in 2012, you can see that plan here, and the full city website here. On this original plan some of the now proposed road-diets such as Park Blvd, were never designed this way but instead used shared road approaches such as Sharrows . Now, the city has established a new group called Let’s Go Oakland to update this master plan. This group collaborates with Bike East Bay, so they will obviously be lobbying for many more road-diets. In fact, their first “survey” was heavily biased to suggest that the majority want more road-diets which we know is a lie. Complete their survey and make it clear about what we want, and be careful about the intentional bias they are using as you answer the questions.

We need to get involved now, don’t be complacent because the bike collation has heavily funded lobbying power, and despite the fact that in the Bay area, less than 5% of people bike, we are constantly losing 50% of our road area to road-diets.

Follow the money – ask why the bike collation is funded by city governments, and also by the same traffic consultants, such as Fehr & Peers and Kittelson and Associates who are performing traffic counts and road designs for Oakland, including Park Blvd. Does this seem appropriate to you –  it is apparent that OakDOT, the traffic consultants, and the bike collation are in a coalition to support each other – and of course, they each benefit from this getting taxpayer money to fund their activities, without taxpayer approval. A clear conflict of interest which needs to be recognized and ended – this is not how a taxpayer-funded city government should be run, time to wake up and take action.

Conflict of interest – traffic consulting firms fund the bike coalition



Is There Anything That We Can Do About This?

“Yes We Can”! We are not helpless, we can fight back and fight for what is really important – SAFETY – but safety using the proper solutions, carefully considered and designed for each situation. We must not let our voices be drowned out by the bike coalition using the same script they are using in cities all across the country, pushing their agenda for exclusive road areas just for their use. They use arguments that “road-diets improve safety”, to try and convince those unsuspecting people that they are a panacea for every safety ailment, yet the data does not support this – in fact, there are many studies which now show road-diets in the wrong locations actually increase incidents and injuries. Their other favorite argument is “we are taxpayers, so we are entitled to use the road also” – yes, we agree, use the road, share the road, but do not take 50% of our roads away for your exclusive use AND expect to continue using the rest of the roads also.

The way we need to fight back is to get involved, join us, share your ideas & thoughts, become part of the national movement which now has formed, and is growing to help gather data, feedback, and successful approaches, including ballot measures, and litigation when necessary to prevent and turn back this minority supported scheme destroying our cities.

More than anything we need to examine the saftey data to truly understand the fact and fiction that is communicated to us, whether from OakDOT, planners, bike coalition, or indeed “Keep Oakland Moving” – our goal is safety for all, and we encourage an informed decision – we are here to expose the facts, not hide or distort them.

Success Stories

LA – 6th street – CANCELLED !

LA – Playa del Rey – REMOVED !

Oakland [TBD] – Next with your help !