Abel’s eNews: Park Blvd. pedestrian safety, road diet recommendations, Chinatown cleanup

Pedestrian Safety Improvements for Park Blvd.
Public Works has told us that they’re looking to see if we can make short-term improvements to the pedestrian crossings on Park Blvd. below I-580, as they prepare for more effective long-term solutions. I have asked staff to look at additional signage and to paint street crossings to help ensure they are more visible by all.

Public Works has been working on a number of efforts along Park Blvd. to reduce speeds, improve pedestrian crossings and increase safety. On upper Park (Hwy 13 to Leimert Blvd.) and lower Park (I-580 to E. 18th), the plan is to reduce the number of lanes in each direction from two to one, which can help reduce average speeds to closer to 25mph. 

With fewer traffic lanes, it will be safer for pedestrians to cross the street, due to reduced vehicle speeds and the reduced risk and better visibility of encountering only one lane of traffic. This road diet will allow us to add bike lanes. Public Works will be restriping for this new lane design as a part of a resurfacing project slated for 2017.

For the middle section of Park Blvd. (from Leimert Blvd. to I-580), the City has conducted studies and developed plans, but there is currently no secured funding for major changes. Public Works has been working on this part of Park Blvd. for several years with our schools and community, and has upgraded crosswalks and installed electronic speed-feedback signs.

This fall, Public Works will install a pedestrian-actuated, flashing crossing beacon at Park/E.38th St., a major crossing for Edna Brewer Middle School. 

The City has also submitted a proposal to the state for a “Safe Routes to Schools” grant. If we win one of those grants, we will be able to fund further improvements in 2018. 

I have also heard from other neighborhoods concerned about excessive vehicle speeds and street safety in their areas, including Trestle Glen, which may be affected by Park Blvd. changes. Road diets and traffic-calming measures are important street improvements and tools to make streets safer for everybody, and we need to ensure that improvements in one area don’t exacerbate traffic problems in other areas. We will keep you posted about community meetings on these projects this fall.

Grand Ave. Road Diet: Traffic Report and Recommendations for More Improvements
City staff have reviewed data about traffic following the installation of the Grand Avenue road diet improvements, and evaluated several recommendations to mitigate the traffic queues, such as supplemental signage and signal timing changes. Several additional street improvements are still in the works, and a complete plan is expected this month.

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Astro Tot Lot Update
More than 30 parents and volunteers got an update about park design (check out sketch of the picnic green and arbor) and fundraising progress, while the younger set had a bubble party at our July 30 gathering. Thanks to grassroots donors like those who attended this event, and a new commitment of resources from the city’s ADA Capital Improvement Program, we are thrilled to announce that we have met the KaBOOM-grant match requirement! Stay tuned for more details about how you can help design and build the new playground.



Saturday, August 20 | Chinatown Street Cleanup
10:00 am-12:00 pm | Meet at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza fountain
To help spruce up Chinatown in time for the Autumn Street Festival – two performance stages and hundreds vendors this year – on August 27-28, join Councilmember Guillén and community volunteers for another one of our street cleanups in Chinatown. Please bring your water bottle and working gloves. Let us know you will help out: Jessica Chen, clchen@oaklandnet.com


Chinatown Property Owners Remove Graffiti
In addition to our regular volunteer clean-up days, City Public Works crews have painted over graffiti on buildings, and merchants and property owners are painting over tagged walls and roll-up doors (photo) to help us make strides in tackling graffiti in Chinatown over the past year.


Saturday, August 20 | Citizenship Assistance Workshop
10:00 am-2:30 pm | Laney College Student Center
The East Bay Naturalization Collaborative will host a free “Become a U.S. Citizen” citizenship application and fee-waiver assistance workshop. Applicants will receive free assistance with step-by-step review of the naturalization process, and an application-preparation and document-packaging consultation and review. Pre-registration is recommended: sign up online or call API Legal Outreach, 510-251-2846. The collaborative also needs five bilingual volunteers to participate in the event: email Jessica Chen at clchen@oaklandnet.com to volunteer.

Sunday, August 28 | FREE Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off
9:00 am-1:00 pm | Oakland, Registration is required for address and other details
Oakland and Alameda County residents can rid their storage areas of household hazardous waste and e-waste during a special one-day drop-off event. Register ahead of time. For more info on what you can drop off

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National Night Out in District 2
District 2 had nearly 60 house and block parties for last week’s National Night Out festivities. My staff and I made the rounds to many of them – a really exciting snapshot of what makes District 2 so diverse and special. There was a wide range of live music, cultural performances – including very popular performances at Chinatown’s NNO at Lincoln Park (photo) – and fun activities for kids and for seniors throughout the district.


Strong Economy with a Beautiful View
My team and I took a tour of Oakland’s seaport, a major economic engine for the Bay Area, a couple weeks ago. The nation’s fifth-busiest port, Oakland powers more than 73,000 jobs in the region and is tied to 827,000 jobs nationwide. And look for major announcements about new airline carriers coming to our airport soon!

Did You Know? | Hollywood in Oakland
With its appealing, diverse landscapes, from a vibrant downtown to beautiful open space, Oakland looks good on film. In 2015, there were 246 total filming dates in Oakland, including feature films, documentaries, TV series and commercials. The Oakland Film Office assists location scouts and producers, notifies local businesses and secures permits to film in public areas around the city. Send us your photos of great cinematic locations and intriguing architectural closeups in District 2 (include location descriptions and street addresses): rraya@oaklandnet.com

Got a question or problem with city services? We have added a constituent-request form to our City website to help make it easier to communicate with us.