Martin Luther King Jr Way Paving Project

At the May 19, 2022 BPAC meeting, OakDOT Transportation Planner Colin Piethe presented on the Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr Way Paving Project. An excerpt of the presentation is below, followed by the full presentation and summary of discussion.

“There were 65 collisions on MLK Jr Way from 47th Street to 61st Street from 2015-2020 including one fatality in 2015 at 60th Street.

Project Goals:

  • Reduce vehicle collisions, curb unsafe driving
  • Improve safety and comfort for people walking, especially crossing at major intersections
  • Increase the visibility of people walking and biking
  • Identify if now is the time to implement the Bike Plan recommendation to install a protected bicycle lane on MLK Jr Way

Relevant Repaving Dates:

  • MLK Jr Way – 2024
  • 55th Street – 2026
  • 52nd Street – 2026
  • Dover Street – 2026
  • Genoa Street – 2026

Next Steps:

  • Outreach – Spring 2022
  • Reach consensus on preferred alignment – Summer 2022″

Presentation

Summary of discussion

  • Regarding Martin Luther King Jr Way, bicyclists and pedestrians in the area may be going to destinations in Berkeley, including the Lorin commercial district on Adeline St, Ashby BART, and Berkeley Bowl. Coordinate with the City of Berkeley’s plans to make these connections. Berkeley has an extensive plan for Adeline St that includes separated bike lanes.
  • The businesses on Martin Luther King Jr Wy may benefit from a slower street that is accessible by more modes. At least one business has had multiple drivers crash into its building.
  • 52nd St is a very important link to reconnect the neighborhoods divided by Highway 24. Children’s Hospital and Caltrans are important stakeholders in helping to complete this connection.
  • The project needs to address speeding, crashes, and pedestrian safety irrespective of whether the project includes a bikeway.
  • Consider providing bicyclist access on parallel routes—Genoa St and Dover St—but improve these parallel routes, including their crossings of 55th St.
  • There was a fatal crash on Martin Luther King Jr Way at 55th St in January 2021 which was not included in this project’s crash analysis. The analysis is based on 2020 and prior years. Because of the lag time in traffic crash records, the 2021 calendar year was not used in the crash analysis.
  • Genoa St is challenging as a parallel route because drivers do not stop at the stop signs on cross streets.
  • Regarding Martin Luther King Jr Way, it is very difficult to cross and it is in fact the widest street in District 1.
  • Trees are causing the sidewalk to buckle making it difficult for seniors and people with strollers.
  • There is no crosswalk along Martin Luther King Jr Wy for crossing West St.
  • Narrow the street and add bulb-outs to slow drivers and make pedestrians more visible.

General comments on both the Martin Luther King Jr Way Paving Project & 27th and Lakeside Streets Project:

  • For both projects consider vertical elements to slow drivers, including bulb-outs and centerline treatments.
  • These projects can be discussed again in the future when more project details are available and when insights from the community input process are available.
  • Less consideration should be given to the “feasibility” of transportation projects. The primary goal should be making streets safe.
  • Caltrans is working at the state‐level to reform its procedures for making streets safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. Local jurisdictions including Oakland should push Caltrans in this reform and hold Caltrans accountable to their complete streets policies.
  • It would be helpful for projects like these to: (1) evaluate and improve pedestrian wait times at traffic signals; and (2) lower the posted speed limits.

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