Over the past decade, the city of Alameda has been working steadily to improve its bike-friendliness.
Bike-friendly cities are not unusual in California; the college towns of Davis and Santa Barbara are perhaps the best known , but there are lots of others.
But here's a fascinating article about the latest steps being taken closer to (my) home: Eyes on the Street: Alameda’s First Fully Protected Intersection.
Alameda will soon join the ranks of cities with a fully built out, Dutch-style protected intersection. Construction is well underway at Otis and Grand, a previously notorious junction.
A big part of the new design is the use of a Corner Refuge Island, which is certainly not new to Alameda. Refuge Islands have been popping up all over The Island City over the past few years, most notably along the state beach but in many other locations as well.
The StreetsBlog page points to a City of Alameda page where most of the details are spelled out: Otis Drive Traffic Safety Improvements.
The StreetsBlog page also embeds a very clear video explaining the concept, from Nick Falbo's ProtectedIntersection.com
We had only been living in Northern California for a few years when Critical Mass began. At the time, there was an often-tense mixture of consciousness raising and confrontational agitation for change. I have close friends who participated in Critical Mass, for many good reasons, even though they later abandoned that effort.
It seems in a way a shame that it has taken three decades to get from the point where people had to stage protests and demonstrations in order to get attention to these problems, but on the other hand taking the positive perspective: look how far things have come in just three decades!
Now the announcement of significant traffic pattern changes to favor a bicycle-friendly and pedestrian-friendly way of life is barely noticed, receiving more nods of acceptance and understanding than frowns of antagonism.
The particular section of the city is about out of my regular bicycle range from my house, but someday I will make a trip over there and enjoy using the Corner Refuge Island myself.