Oakland Adding Safety Measures Around Essential Businesses

Matt Bigler
May 22, 2020 - 5:37 pm
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Imagn/USA Today

There's a new aspect of Oakland's grand experiment in "slow streets.” The city is rolling out extra pedestrian safety measures around places determined to be essential services. This would include grocery stores, medical clinics and testing centers - all "essential places" that many residents are frequenting during the pandemic.

“What you’re going to see over these next few weeks is immediate, very cost-effective interventions, to make the passage to these essential places much safer” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Schaaf said that means traffic cones, signs, barricades...and high visibility crosswalks like the one that was just painted in front of Ali Obad's grocery store on Bancraft Avenue.

“This is a great start, everything will help,” said Obad.

But not everyone is convinced the idea will help slow drivers.

“It’s a good idea to put the things in the middle to slow the traffic, but I still think it’s a waste of money,” said one regular customer of the ShopRight Market, “I’ve seen these things in place, and I’ve still seen people drive crazy up and down the street.”

The city has identified 75 essential places that could receive similar safety treatment in the coming weeks.