This year Alameda City Council adopted the Transportation Choices Plan (January 2018) to focus on ways to move people from single occupancy cars to mass transit, carpooling, biking and walking.
As stated in the plan: “Goal 1 is to decrease drive-alone trips across the estuary in the morning by increasing non-drive alone trips by twelve percentage points from 27% to 39%. This relates to an increase of 2,500 additional walking, bicycling, transit, and carpool morning peak-hour person trips at estuary crossings (in 2030). Goal 2 is to increase the share of walking, bicycling, transit, and carpooling trips in Alameda by increasing non-drive alone trips by five percentage points from 37% to 42%. This relates to an increase of 3,300 walking, bicycling, transit, and carpool person trips in Alameda throughout the day (in 2030).”
Alameda has already made progress towards these goals as shown in the chart below on commute-to-work data for Alameda. In 2015, the drive alone rate was 60%, public transportation usage was at 17% and bike/walk totaled 5% for commutes to work. In 2016, the drive alone rate dropped to 59%, public transportation increased to 18% and bike/walk increased to 7%.
There are several strategies City Staff has proposed to move towards these goals. The two most noticeable today are the bike-share and car-share programs.
Most of us have seen the green and yellow LimeBikes around town. LimeBike’s pilot program ran from October 2017-April 2018. In April 2018, a community survey was done to gauge the success of the pilot. 78.54% of the respondents were “very supportive” or “somewhat supportive” of the program. That represents 1,182 out of 1,505 respondents.
At the May 1, 2018, City Council meeting staff recommended that the dockless bike share concept continue in the city and that a Request for Proposal (RFP) be issued to all dockless bike share companies interested in offering their program to Alamedans. Mayor Spencer made a point of ensuring that the upcoming RFP addresses the law requiring helmets be worn by children under 18 and the problem of bikes being parked in unsafe places.
GIG CAR SHARE
The Gig Car Share pilot program was approved at the May 1, 2018, City Council meeting. The pilot will run for one year. Gig Car Share is a division of AAA. Their proposal will bring 20-50 Prius Hybrids (with bike racks on the roof) to the main island of Alameda with no cost to the City. Much like LimeBike, a smart phone is required to use a Gig Car and the Gig Car Share app must be downloaded to rent a car. The app will provide the driver with a real-time map showing the location of available vehicles. Once the driver has found an available vehicle, the app will register the driver and will measure the distance and time the car has been used. No parking will be allowed in areas where there is a 2-hour maximum parking restriction, a parking meter, or street sweeping within 12 hours, if this is the final parking spot for the driver. If the driver is continuing to use the car, it may be parked in any space normally used for cars, provided the driver pays for any parking meters as with a privately owned car.
When the driver has finished using the car, the app will show where the car may be parked legally. There are parking spots around BART and in Oakland, Berkeley and Albany, so the potential to use the Gig Car for a commute is appealing, especially for first-mile, last-mile transit hub access.
The cost of driving a Gig Car is $15/hour or $2.50/mile, whichever is less. Debit and credit cards are accepted. Insurance is included. There is a $250 deductible for AAA members and a $750 deductible for non-AAA members. The minimum age for drivers is 18 and a valid driver’s license is required for all drivers.
U.C. Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) is a collaborative of six campus groups: the University of California Transportation Center, the University of California Energy Institute, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Energy and Resources Group, the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies, and the Berkeley Institute of the Environment. TSRC has concluded that car sharing benefits can include: decreased vehicle use and ownership; increased transit ridership, biking, and walking; cost savings to individuals and employers; energy savings and air quality benefits; and reduced parking demand at participating transit stations, member employer sites, and residential locations.
OTHER TRANSPORTATION NEWS
At the April 17, 2018, City Council meeting, the Council approved a Project Initiation Document (PID), the first step in a joint Caltrans/City of Alameda project to make modifications to State Route 61 (Central Ave.) between Main Street/Pacific Avenue and Sherman Street/Encinal Avenue. This is the beginning of potential bike lanes the length of Central Avenue from High Street to Pacific Avenue.
OTHER CURRENT CITY INITIATIVES INCLUDE:
- Free bus pass pilot program for students at Island High School;
- Cross Alameda Trail construction;
- Otis Drive corridor improvements;
- New Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal;
- Harbor Bay ferry terminal access and bus service improvements;
- Alameda Transportation Management Association service implementation;
- Marketing the Alameda Loop Shuttle; and
- Clement Avenue/Tilden Way project initiation.