Embarcadero Road Traffic Calming Study
The Embarcadero Road Traffic Calming Project is the first phase of the City's Residential Arterial Traffic Calming Project, which aims to develop, design and construct physical changes to five streets: Embarcadero Road, University Avenue, Charleston Road, Arastradero Road, and Middlefield Road. The overall purpose of the project is to reduce the impact of traffic and improve the quality of life along these residential arterial streets. Specifically, the improvements are intended to reduce speeding, improve safety, and enhance the aesthetic character of the streets, without appreciably affecting current traffic patterns and volumes. This first phase is to prepare the feasibility, planning and schematic design work for Embarcadero from the 101 Freeway to the Alma Street underpass.
An extensive public process was used to develop the two alternatives described in this report. An advisory group of 22 staff members, board and commission members and citizens counseled the consultant team throughout the process. A half-day hands-on design workshop, attended by some 65 citizens, was used to create the initial design concepts. Based on the input from the participants at this public workshop, the consultant team developed two design alternatives, which share the following characteristics:
• the incorporation of one-lane roundabouts at principal intersections with the exceptions of Bryant, Louis and Middlefield,
• the provision of marked bicycle lanes in each direction for the full length of the street, except in the blocks immediately adjacent to Middlefield,
• the modification of the geometry of the intersections with side streets to slow traffic as it enters and leaves Embarcadero and to reduce the pedestrian crossing distances at the side streets,
• the creation of bulb-outs to protect the parking lanes along the eastern reach of the street and reduce pedestrian crossing distances,
• the replacement of the existing street lights with pole-mounted fixtures along both sides of the street, providing improved visibility for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The significant difference between the two designs is that Alternative #1 uses the center of the street for a dual left-turn lane and Alternative #2 incorporates a raised median with street trees and planting. The features of Alternatives #1 and #2 can best be seen in the plans, sections, perspective sketches and photographs of scale models shown in Figures 1 to 13.
A second public meeting was held to present the two alternatives to the community, answer questions and hear public comment. Each member of the audience received a post-it dot to be attached to his or her preferred scheme. A third category, called "minimal change", was made available for those who were not in favor of either of the two proposed design alternatives. The final tally of preferences was:
Alternative #1, Central Turn Lane: 2.5 dots
Alternative #2, Tree-lined Median: 43.5 dots
Minimal Change: 5 dots