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Oakland - "Revive Chinatown" Pedestrian-Oriented Improvements Project

Client: City of Oakland

Chinatown’s pedestrian flows had been long in conflict with heavy Webster Street (SR-260) traffic to the Posey Tube and Alameda.  Developed through a community workshop process, the Revive Chinatown Plan led by CHS Consulting created a blueprint for better and safer vehicular and pedestrian circulation over multiple city blocks.  FTS applied urban design treatments to the Plan's safety improvements to specifically reinforce Chinatown’s district identity and enhance its visitor appeal.

The improvements added high-visibility diagonal crosswalk markings, corner bulb-outs, countdown timers, and streetlights.
 

Before

  • Chinatown sidewalks were heavily used, crowded, and poorly lit at night.
  • In 2002, Chinatown intersections had the highest rate of pedestrian-auto accidents in Oakland.
  • Quickly-implemented “scramble” intersections had long crossing distances whose standard MUTCD markings were hard to see.

Assignment

  • Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort at intersection crossings.
  • Increase sidewalk space at corners to enable more pedestrians to wait comfortably for the walk signal.
  • Select cost-effective means of adding streetscape amenity and district identity with pedestrian safety improvements.

Outcomes

Built
  • Construction was completed in July 2008 and was positively received by community members and elected representatives.
  • 4 major Chinatown intersections at Webster, Franklin, 8th, and 9th Street were reconfigured in a “scramble” format with additional diagonal crosswalks, re-timed signals, pedestrian countdown timers and bilingual signs.
  • “Scramble” intersections created a cycle where all traffic stops and all pedestrians may cross (including diagonally).
  • Corner “bubs” with decorative red paving increased sidewalk waiting room and shortened crossing distances.
  • Crosswalks were designed by FTS with decorative red and yellow imperial Qing Dynasty patterns using cost-effective “Streetprint” material.
  • Supplementary decorative pedestrian-height streetlight poles brighten nearby sidewalks at night.

In collaboration with:

CHS Consulting, T.Y. Lin International, SFE Landscape Architects