Paseo Padre Parkway Safe and Complete Street

Project Background

The City of Fremont plans to implement a traffic safety project along Paseo Padre Parkway between Driscoll Road and Washington Boulevard. Originally the project was scheduled for implementation in 2019, but it was deferred until after the completion of the I-680 Northbound Express Lane and BART to Berryessa Extension projects, which provide congestion relief in the I-680 corridor. The proposed project will address a history of speeding and major traffic crashes in the corridor. Between 2013 to 2020 experienced three major traffic crashes, including two crashes resulting in a severe injury and one crash resulting in a fatality. Of these crashes, two involved unsafe speed and one involved a vehicle attempting to turn onto Paseo Padre Parkway that hit a bicyclist.

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Project Elements

The proposed project would include the following elements to transform Paseo Padre Parkway into a safe and complete street:

•    A reconfiguration of the roadway that reduces the current two lanes per direction to a single lane per direction between signalized intersections.

•    Adding buffered bike lanes with green markings in “conflict zones”

•    Narrowing travel lanes to 10 feet wide for speed management.

This section of Paseo Padre Parkway carries an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) volume of 13,300 vehicles per day. National guidance suggests that streets with an ADT under 15,000 vehicles per day are good candidates for reduction to a single lane per direction.

The project would retain all parking and would not reduce the number of lanes at major signalized intersections (Driscoll Road and Washington Boulevard). 

Project Benefits

The project will have the following benefits:

•    Improved safety – reducing 4 lane roadways to 2 lanes per direction and narrower travel lanes are proven safety countermeasures that reduce speeding and reduce crashes associated with lane changing. A single lane per direction will eliminate the potential for vehicles driving at unsafe speeds to weave through traffic, eliminate unsafe passing maneuvers, and reduce the number of lanes that pedestrians must cross.

•    Closes gap in the City’s bicycle network – the Paseo Padre corridor is a key bicycling connection between Fremont’s Civic Center and the Mission San Jose neighborhood. Paseo Padre is also an important route as it provides a crossing of I-680 where bicyclists do not need to ride through a freeway interchange. A combination of bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and separated bike lanes with green delineators currently exist along Paseo Padre Parkway to the north and to the south of this segment and along Washington Boulevard and Driscoll Road.

•    Safe routes to schools – Paseo Padre Parkway is part of recommended bicycling route for students at Hopkins Middle School and Mission San Jose High.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the project affect the congested I-680/Washington/Paseo Padre area?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic traffic has been well below normal at the I-680/Washington Ramps Even if traffic levels increase as more people return to work and more normal travel patterns resume, the project will not affect access to the on-ramps as a lengthy dedicated right lane will still be provided on southbound Paseo Padre Parkway approaching Washington Boulevard.  The Paseo Padre Parkway corridor between Washington Boulevard and Driscoll Road currently experiences high speed, free flow traffic with very little delay or congestion.  The project aims to reduce vehicle speeds that have directly led to a number of severe injury crashes.  

How will the project affect traffic bound for Hopkins Middle School at the Paseo Padre/Driscoll intersection?

The project will not change the number of vehicle lanes on Paseo Padre Parkway approaching the Driscoll Road intersection.  The project will still provide two northbound vehicle lanes and the ability to make an unimpeded right turn. Hopkins Middle School is planned to open in phases for the remainder of the 2021 school year and fully open in the fall of 2021 subject to guidance by Fremont Unified School District.

Why is the City implementing narrower travel lanes?  Do narrower travel lanes make roads less safe?

Fremont is implementing 10’ wide travel lanes on arterial roadways as a measure to manage speed and improve safety for all road users, consistent with its Vision Zero traffic safety policy.  Previously, many Fremont streets had lane widths of 12’ or greater, which is the design standard for high speed freeways carrying interstate trucks.  In general, wide lanes enable “freeway speeds” on local streets.  National research and studies indicate that 10’ travel lanes on local roadways result in reduced vehicle speeds and lower crash rates.  Fremont has seen a more than 35 percent reduction in severe injury and fatal crashes since it adopted its Vision Zero policy and began implementing “safe and complete street” design standards (including narrower lanes) in 2015.

Why is the City allocating so much roadway space to bicyclists when there are so few bicyclists today?

The proposed project seeks to increase safety for all road users.  Paseo Padre Parkway is one of the City’s Safety Priority Streets – the 10 percent of city streets on which 90 percent of fatal crashes have occurred.  The City has received numerous complaints from residents who live along this section of Paseo Padre Parkway related to excessive speeding.   The reduction in travel lanes and narrower lanes are primarily intended to reduce excessive speeding and shorten crossing distances for pedestrians.  Narrowing vehicle travel lanes provides additional space that is then added to the bike lanes.  The addition of bike lanes and bike lane buffers will also make it easier for residents living along Paseo Padre Parkway to park in front of their homes and safer for them when they get out of their parked cars.    

How will the City ensure residents are able to turn out of their neighborhoods on to Paseo Padre?

The project should make it easier for drivers to make left turns out of their neighborhoods.  Adding buffered bike lanes will make it possible for drivers to “creep out” further from the intersection increasing their sight distance to other vehicles.  

How would the project ensure emergency vehicle access?

In an emergency, drivers can pull into the bike lane buffer to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Why can’t the City accommodate bicyclists on neighborhood streets rather than busy arterials (such as cities like Palo Alto have done)?

Fremont has a street network in which neighborhood streets often do not provide continuous, direct connections across the City.  Paseo Padre Parkway is a particularly important bike route connecting between the City Center area and Mission San Jose neighborhood that does not require traversing a freeway interchange.

Why can’t the City enforce speed limits rather than redesigning streets?

The Fremont Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit does patrol this section of Paseo Padre Parkway as part of its focused speeding enforcement on known “hot spots” but it has limited resources that do not enable it to be in all high priority locations at all times.  Redesigning the street so that excessive speeders cannot weave between lanes and make unsafe passing maneuvers will ensure that dangerous behavior does not happen when PD cannot be present.  During a recent typical week, this section of roadway saw more than 1000 drivers traveling at over 45 mph (more than 10 miles over the speed limit). The City has installed a radar feedback sign in the NB direction of Paseo Padre Pkwy near Mento Drive intersection which is on a grade. The radar feed back sign will remind motorists to drive the speed limit and provides speed monitoring information for the City's traffic enforcement unit. 

What is the City doing to address increased traffic from development activity and regional commuters?

Fremont has an extensive program to modernize its traffic signals to ensure that drivers can move through intersections efficiently, even as motorists travel at safer, slower speeds between intersections.  Additionally, the increased traffic congestion in Fremont is rooted in a regional jobs-housing imbalance that will require regional transportation solutions. In 2020, the I-680 Express Lane project opened a 4th vehicle lane on northbound I-680, which has the greatest potential to relieve the Fremont community of freeway cut-through traffic and as employees gradually begin to return to work.  Also in 2020, the BART extension to San Jose opened providing services further into Silicon Valley, where most Fremont residents work.  The combination of regional projects and our local measures are expected to reduce the freeway cut-through and traffic congestion issue in the area.   

Next Steps

The City has scheduled to implement this work through its Bikeway Improvement Project in the summer/fall of 2021. Additional updates will be posted to this project website. For questions or comments on the proposed changes, please contact Transportation Engineering at traffic@fremont.gov or call (510) 494-4745.

Existing configuration  

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Proposed configuration 

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