As Oakland remakes key Downtown corridors such as Telegraph, Harrison, and 20th, big changes are also in store for 27th Street. Oakland recently submitted a grant application to the state Active Transportation Program to fund complete streets improvements along 27th Street. The project offers an exciting win-win for all street users by reducing conflicts and delays through streamlining messy intersection designs, widening sidewalks, and providing protected bike lanes.
The needs of 27th Street are evolving as Uptown’s economic revitalization accelerates. While 27th Street currently experiences modest pedestrian and bicycle volumes, this will soon change: over 2,000 housing units have been proposed along or near 27th Street as a result of the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan. Improvements are therefore much needed for the street to function safely and efficiently for everyone.
While there are many things to like about the City’s plans, the reconfiguration of four intersections between Broadway and Grand is where the project excels. In contrast to the Lakeside Green Streets project, which maintains bloated car-oriented intersection designs, the City will tighten the intersection geometries on 27th Street. Several high-speed slip lanes will be removed at Broadway, 26th/Valdez, Harrison/24th, and Grand, which will dramatically improve conditions for people walking and biking and expand space for public plazas. The redesign of access to 24th Street at the 27th/Harrison/24th intersection is also noteworthy in that it will reduce cycle lengths and intersection delay for all users – a big improvement over the extremely long existing signal cycle.
Oakland has an excellent recent track record of winning Active Transportation Program grants, so the odds seem good that these improvements to 27th Street will move forward in the coming years. It’s great to see the City hitting its stride on a number of complete streets projects; the development of OakDOT should further enhance these efforts and support more streamlined project delivery.