City of Oakland rolls out Slow Streets program to enable safer walking, cycling

Roughly 74 miles of road will be closed to through motor vehicle traffic

April 10, 2020
City of Oakland Slow Streets bike plan
Image: City of Oakland

The city of Oakland today announced a new effort to make it safer to walk and bicycle in Oakland by designating 74 miles of neighborhood streets to bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and local vehicles only across the city.

The program—dubbed the Oakland Slow Streets plan—will take effect starting Saturday, April 11 as a pilot effort with signage along four street segments.

The city says the Slow Streets plan is intended to make it safer to walk and bicycle throughout the city, with sufficient space for physical distancing, while reducing the clustering of foot traffic at parks and on outdoor trails, which have experienced extremely high usage since the shelter-in-place order began in the state of California. This will also create wider spaces than the city's current sidewalks.

Roughly 74 miles of road will be closed to through motor vehicle traffic, representing nearly 10% of the city’s roads. Emergency vehicles and residents who live on those streets will still be able to access the roads by motor vehicle. The city says the roads are aligned with Oakland’s existing and proposed Neighborhood Bicycle Routes, and are equitably distributed across the city.

“Oakland Slow Streets is mostly intended to remind the few drivers that are doing essential travel to expect pedestrian, joggers, parents, and children on the road," Oakland DOT Director Ryan Russo said in a statement. "We urge them to drive slower on every street but especially Slow Streets.”

The city is underscoring the importance of safe transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program to promote physical distancing of at least 6 ft by creating new low-traffic, low speed streets to allow residents to safely pass one another, and creating a safer environment for people walking, wheelchair rolling and biking. 

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SOURCE: City of Oakland

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