-By Caryl O'Keefe
Two groups of Complete Streets workshop participants were led by consultants on “walking audits” Saturday morning, along Buchanan St and San Pablo Ave (SPA). About 20 people in each group walked from Ocean View School to various points and described their experiences.
The non-signalized SPA crosswalk at Washington was pronounced “dangerous,” with parents saying they did not allow their children to cross there on the way to school. The bus shelter on the southeast corner of the SPA/Solano intersection occupied too much sidewalk. Participants noted that buses northbound on SPA would hold up less traffic if the bus stop were at the northeast corner (where AC Transit wants it). Someone pointed out an off-street parking space on SPA that is positioned so that exit requires backing onto the sidewalk. The entrances and exits to the ARCO station at SPA and Marin are seen as problematic for safety and traffic flow.
And so it went, block after block. Nonetheless, consultants were optimistic about opportunities for design enhancements. In addition to the information from the walking audits, consultants also got information from discussions with a wide range of stakeholders earlier in the week. Stakeholders included the business community; public entities along the streets such as UC, AUSD, USDA; Albany Fire and Police Departments; City staff who are liasons to City committees; etc.
After lunch the participants clustered around huge maps of Albany and posted comments right on the maps. There were some differences of opinion; for instance, some wanted bike lanes on SPA, while others did not see how bike lanes on SPA could be safe. The map comments will aid the consultants’ development of design concepts.
The consultants’ Complete Streets Plan Concepts presentation is Wednesday Dec 12, at Ocean View School at 7pm.
More information on the City’s website.