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Removal of Parking on Alameda

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Please review the information and discussion on this webpage.  Scroll down to view County Plans if No Parking is passed.  

This seems to many to be a breach of trust. County had made it clear to the entire community that no parking would be lost (Jan 30th, 2020 Community meeting at Las Lomitas). They had previously planned to remove over 25 parking spots along Alameda and some along Santa Cruz. It should be upsetting to most that such a public promise of no parking park loss and reneged upon with these plans to excessively remove parking.

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This proposal went before the County Board of Supervisors on May 19th.

Proposed removal of 6 parking spaces between Prospect and Harkins

Proposal to remove the majority of parking between Prospect & Harkins on Alameda


In June of 2019, Prospect residents submitted a petition to County Public Works (PW) to improve line of sight when exiting Prospect. The application requested that parking space on northwest side of Alameda de las Pulgas at Prospect be removed. That was nearly a year ago and since then several important considerations have occurred.    

1) County trimmed the over growth and cleared the NW corner on Prospect/Alameda - That helped a bit.

2) County has kicked off the process for implementing a 4-3 road diet to reconfigure the entire Alameda roadway (see Alameda webpage and discussions). This will address many key safety issues, including the issue that Prospect residents experience.

 

Impact -- pros and cons:

County has sent out a proposal (Feb 2020) to not just limit parking at the NW corner on Alameda at Prospect, but to eliminate ALL parking for most of the area between Prospect and Harkins.   County's proposal raises several issues and concerns and there are long term impacts that should also be acknowledged and considered.  In short, here are some of the concerns and discussion points:

  • While trimming the over-growth helped significantly, it did not totally remedy the issue for some Prospect residents
  • Removing ALL this parking is extreme and sets a drastic precedent for virtually every driveway and side street to have all parking removed
  • With all parking removed, County plans to swerve all SB traffic towards the curb (see notes at bottom of this page)
  • The key safety issue residents experience when exiting Prospect are speeding motorists, this proposal does NOT address this issue
  • The 4-3 road diet will address the issue (and other safety issues) for Prospect and all residents (see below)
  • Removing parking has a negative impact on safety for all users of Alameda (see Safety notes)
  • Only those handful of homes within 300' of that area near Prospect were notified (yet this affects safety for all Alameda users and those residents of nearyby streets)
  • Impact issue:  when a wedding, wake, party, or other event occurs, where do visitors park?  This area, while not highly used, is greatly needed overflow parking for this area of the community

 

Better Safety via a Better Proposal:
The proposal mentions the crosswalk as an additional parameter, although this was not part of the parking restriction request.  The Proposal’s concern for the crosswalk is misguided and appears fabricated.  A better solution for both Prospect St and the mid block Liberty Park crosswalk would be simply keep Southbound Alameda to the 1 lane it currently is (right before Harkens) for a short block longer and, in the  interim, not to start the 2nd lane configuration until after Prospect.   
 
Pertaining to reducing speeding and pedestrian safety, this Better Solution has huge advantages.  Currently Alameda expands to 2 lanes just 100’ BEFORE the crosswalk.  That just does not make safety sense!  This means cars are accelerating and changing lanes, making motorists more distracted.  It creates extra risk and danger.  Pedestrians have to cross an extra lane, stay in the crosswalk longer (because it is longer), and try to be safe when motorists are speeding while being more distracted, and where cars in one lane block the adjacent lanes view of pedestrians using the crosswalk. 
 
Instead, over all safety could be greatly improved by simply delaying the expansion to 2 lanes for 1 short block;  in other words,  start the expansion of Alameda to 2 lanes AFTER the crosswalk and that should mean after Prospect.  That solves all problems without loss of parking.  It addresses the main speeding issue.  And, it retains the parking which is proven to be a key traffic calming element and provides an important pedestrian safety buffer. 

 

How does retaining Parking improve Safety?

The general consensus of National and Community Safety organizations and the Federal and State highway / transportation administrations is that retaining street parking provides many safety advantages and therefore is encouraged. With Parking:

  • Pedestrians have the additional buffer of parking between them and the cycling/motorist traffic
  • Allocating parking reduces the width of the roadway and therefore the travel lane width
  • With parking and the narrower travel lanes, motorists naturally perceive the road as more residential and naturally drive at a slower speed
  • Parking is considered one of the core elements in Traffic Calming that reduces speed of traffic (naturally)

Overview of Current Proposed Road Diet:

Here is what County discussed at the Jan 30th meeting pertaining to the Alameda road diet.  The presenter, from Kimley Horn, stated that no parking is lost by the 4-3 road diet.  That was good news as County upto that point was planing on removing over 25 parking spaces.   The 4-3 road diet cut a way (cross section) looks like this (drag the vertical white bar left and right to see current configuration vs road diet:

Notice that the above road diet preserves parking on both sides of Alameda, adds a much needed center turn/merge lane, provides a dedicated bike lane with buffer, and adds upgraded ADA compliant sidewalks.  

This road diet actually addresses the line of sight issues for Prospect neighbors and makes it far safer to exit Prospect, as the road configuraiton is easier for side streets and driveways to enter/exit the Alameda traffic flow due to a single lane of traffic to navigate, use of the center merge/turn lane to negotiate turns one traffic lane at a time, motorists have much better visibilty because motorist traffic substantially further away from streets and driveways.

 

County Plans of No Parking:  An Important Exception!

Here is an important but [somewhat] hidden exception to the road diet safety improvements above.  This  exception directly affects Prospect and Liberty Park neighbors:  County's plans to remove ALL parking between Harkins and Prospect and not use the road diet configuration shown above.  This seems a significant step backwards, at least from a pedestrian and resident safety perspective: longer crosswalks, removal of the parking safety buffer for those using sidewalk, and a much wider appearing roadway further agrivating the speeding issue. For Prospect residents, it would seem this would be a worsening of the problem and it adds obstacles to left turns.  The following shows County's plan, from the Jan 30th meeting that shows parking removed (even though it was said that no parking would be):

County Plans if All Parking Removed at Prospect-Harkins

 For those of you interested in crosswalk safety, please view a community solution to the Liberty Park crosswalk that is substantially shorter and reduces the danger by removing one of the turning conflicts

Comments

Few cars regularly park on this part of Alameda (I've seen two cars parked on that block in two weeks, one for only an hour, an Uber guy resting) - has a study been done to track the frequency of the large vehicles parking there? Is this a seasonal problem, or a specific day of the week? Could a "no-stopping or standing" signed be put up specifically geared toward taxi/limousine/rideshare vehicles?

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