The City of Oakland celebrated today the awarding of $14.5 million in federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants to fund transformative projects on Broadway and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, restoring access for historically redlined communities to access the waterfront with projects that support reliable public transit and safe walking and biking.
The Reconnecting the Town project puts into action Oakland’s planned and funded commitments to improve physical mobility and digital infrastructure across barriers as part of the City’s broader efforts to undo the harm from decades of injustices, in parts of town historically impacted by redlining. New fiber cable will extend access to wireless internet for parts of West Oakland that currently lack access to OakWIFI (free public WiFi service), a neighborhood that has historically lacked access to public goods and services.
Funded improvements include:
This project will extend existing priority bus lanes currently installed in the heart of downtown, creating new priority lanes stretching to the waterfront and to Grand Avenue.These lanes will separate buses from general purpose traffic, resulting in a more reliable, efficient transit system, and improve intersection safety along one of the City’s high injury corridors (just 6% of streets where over 60% of severe and fatal crashes occur) through the following improvements:
- Transit-only lanes from Embarcadero to 11th Street, and 20th Street to Grand Ave
- Pedestrian-oriented freeway underpass improvements including lighting and sidewalk widening
- Removal of the “porkchop” slip turn at 6th Street and Broadway
- Transit signal priority and all new signals
- Pedestrian bulb outs at key intersections, high visibility continental or “ladder style” crosswalks throughout
- ADA accessibility upgrades
- OakWIFI/fiber installation
Martin Luther King Jr. Way
This project will increase the safety and visibility of people walking and biking and reconnect Downtown Oakland to the waterfront through new pedestrian improvements, bike lanes and traffic calming. Matching funds will be provided by an Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant. Improvements include:
- Pedestrian improvements including sidewalk upgrades, accessible curb ramps and curb extensions, intersection safety improvements and railroad crossing improvements
- Between Embarcadero West and 14th Street, this project will install buffered and/or protected bike lanes that will create a safe, separate path of travel for people on bikes/scooters from motor vehicle traffic
- OakWIFI/fiber installation
- OakWiFi fiber installed from Brush Street to Mandela Parkway
"We were thrilled to award more than $14.5 million to the Reconnecting the Town project. Reconnecting the Town will improve safe transportation options downtown with new bikeways and bus lanes that will help connect people to jobs and opportunities," said U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation Carlos Monje, Jr. "These are the types of projects we look forward to supporting with even larger investments in the future – thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This law is the most significant investment in jobs and infrastructure in many of our lifetimes and will help make Oakland and America more competitive in the 21st century."
“Oakland is leading the charge to Build Back Better,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “Today we’re celebrating the first step to reconnect our downtown with our waterfront thanks to a generous grant from our U.S. Dept. of Transportation. We’re also seizing this moment to extend our vision of a safer and more accessible waterfront by announcing TOWN for All, a transformational infrastructure project that will connect residents in neighborhoods from West Oakland to Chinatown with our gorgeous shoreline, and create a greener, safer, and more accessible Oakland for generations to come.”
“Reconnecting our historically sidelined communities and restoring their access to the benefits of Oakland’s waterfront is essential in and of itself – but it’s also incredibly important to give everyone the infrastructure that lets them choose the mode of travel that works best for them,” OakDOT Director Ryan Russo said. “Transit, walking, cycling – these are modes many of our priority communities use to travel, and these improvements will help make those modes of travel safer and more dignified for all.”
The ‘Reconnecting the Town’ project funded by this grant is part of a larger vision known as TOWN For All – an acronym standing for “Transforming Oakland’s Waterfront Neighborhoods.” TOWN for All is a comprehensive package of infrastructure improvements that will provide safer, more sustainable and more equitable access to the waterfront for all Oaklanders. This suite of projects accelerates the implementation of longstanding transportation plans and projects with an equity lens.
- Active Transportation & Transit: 1.4 miles of new transit-only lanes and 10 miles of new sidewalks, bike lanes and trails connecting the greater downtown and West Oakland to the waterfront to encourage walking, biking and transit.
- Rail Safety & Goods Movement: Rail corridor and roadway improvements to help efficiently move trucks and cargo in and out of the Port of Oakland, reduce traffic congestion and truck idling, and improve traffic safety.
- Parking & Traffic Management: Comprehensive suite of parking system upgrades and intersection improvements to manage on- and off-street parking and traffic.
Together, these improvements will connect Oakland. Stronger, safer, and more pedestrian-, cyclist-, and transit-friendly connections are needed to overcome the barriers that have historically separated Oaklanders from their waterfront. A network of new and improved complete streets will provide equitable, sustainable access to new waterfront amenities, while protecting and enhancing goods movement in and out of the nearby Port of Oakland.
The enhanced connections will also provide safer, more reliable ways for existing workers in the area to get to work, and for workers to access the 5,532 jobs in Jack London Square that include 755 manufacturing, warehouse, and transportation jobs and more than 1,600 jobs in healthcare, education, and recreation. Additionally, the cumulative projects will result in long-term job creation at the prevailing wage, and will benefit Oakland businesses and workers who suffered economic hardship from a decline in economic activity during the COVID-19 economic downturn.
The City of Oakland wishes to thank and acknowledge some of the many stakeholders, partners, and leaders who contributed to the vision so far by supporting this project:
- Bike East Bay
- Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
- Jack London Improvement District
- Prescott Neighborhood Council
- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
- U.S. Senator Alex Padilla
- Congresswoman Barbara Lee
- CA State Senator Nancy Skinner
- Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
- Oakland Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas
- Oakland Councilmember Carroll Fife
- Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit)
- Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC)
- Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
- Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
- Port of Oakland
- Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA)
- Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County, AFL-CIO
- State Building and Construction Trades Council