Sideshow Prevention Pilot Project

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.


Presentation notes

  • 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.

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