At the December 2, 2021 Infrastructure Committee meeting, Joe Wang and Brian Sukkar gave a presentation [PDF] on the Sideshow Prevention Pilot Project. Notes from the presentation and discussion are below.
- The program started in late spring-early summer. Sideshow activities increased by a lot during pandemic.
- Oakland PD reached out to OakDOT for help, and OakDOT reached out to other jurisdictions to learn from their experiences.
- Contra Costa had been using large-sized Botts Dots (rounded ceramic markers), but isn’t any longer.
- Also meeting with SF and LA staff on their installations.
- Pilot project quick-build installations started in 2021.
- Intersection locations: MacArthur/35th, Foothill/Fairfax, MacArthur/High St
- Squeeze down intersection to make it smaller via hardened centerlines
- Botts Dots installations in the intersection to make it harder for cars to spin on the surface
- Tried this many years ago but stopped—Didn’t prove to be effective at stopping sideshows back then
- Trying different patterns at each of the three locations to experiment with what works, and to avoid conflicts with bicycle paths of travel
- At Skyline/Keller different “FG300” plastic posts and interlocking plastic curbs were used instead, to narrow intersection.
- At Derby Ave dead end at waterfront in Jingletown, a 2-foot rolled centerline curb was installed.
- Other locations high on Oakland PD’s priority list were in Caltrans right of way, and Caltrans denied the installations.
- How effective have the Botts Dots been so far? How has maintenance been?
- Hasn’t stopped people from doing sideshows, but crowds & gatherings so far have been smaller at pilot locations.
- Neighbor at Derby Ave says centerline curb resulted in sideshow moving to the intersection, but not stopped.
- Committee member noted that biking through MacArthur/High location has been difficult to navigate, maneuvering around Botts Dots and avoiding cars at the same time.
- Opportunity to provide an official venue? Similar to Santa Rosa. Sideshows are still happening at pilot project locations.
- City is trying to do a better effort at tracking sideshow locations. Separate 311 category is being added for reports.
- Deterring sideshows at wide intersections could result in them moving to narrower and even more dangerous locations, as opposed to stopping them altogether.
- What is the cost associated with the pilot projects?
- Roughly $10-15k per intersection
- City council allocated one-time $650k going forward
- Project elements that improve safety 24/7 should be promoted, like hardened center lines which have multiple benefits on top of sideshow deterrence.
- Is there a rapid response clean-up after sideshows, such as to restore street markings, replace posts, etc.?
- No easy way to clean up after sideshows—no easy way to restore street, but reporting damage is encouraged.
- General support from committee members expressed about centerline hardening and intersection-narrowing efforts, but not for Botts Dots installations.