Submit an Application for Use of a Vehicle Traffic Lane

How to apply to use a vehicle travel lane to allow businesses to meet Alameda County's Social Distancing Requirements

Posted: September 2nd, 2020 1:29 PM

Last Updated: January 20th, 2021 8:04 PM


Thank you for your interest in the City of Oakland’s Flex Streets - Street Closure program! This aspect of the program is intended to support business and organizational operations during COVID-19 by repurposing one or more vehicle traffic lanes for space for outdoor operations as permitted by the Alameda County Health Orders. If the area is represented by a Business Improvement District (BID) or other merchant organization, the district or organization should submit one unified proposal.

If you’re interested in using the sidewalk or parking spaces for business operations, you can find more details here.

1) Complete an interest form

To get started, please complete this form.

City of Oakland staff will be in touch within 2-3 business days to confirm details and work with you on the following next steps. You will be assigned a City of Oakland staff contact to support you through the process.

2) Develop a traffic control plan

Note: steps 2 and 3 can happen simultaneously.

The applicant will need to develop a Traffic Control Plan (TCP) and acquire the appropriate barriers and signage needed to implement the TCP. The City will provide more details based on the individual application.

Depending on the complexity of the proposed project, and whether the applicant meets the City’s equity priority areas*, the applicant will receive support on the development of a TCP or be asked to work with an expert to complete a plan.

Barriers and signage will be provided by the applicant, however, the City will endeavor to provide barriers and signage to applicants and projects in equity priority areas.*

3) Planning the details

Note: steps 2 and 3 can happen simultaneously.

The actions in this step are critical to planning a successful Flex Streets’ Street Closure, and will form a large portion of the final application materials.

  • Community Support: The applicant will need to notify 100% of the businesses/properties along the corridor of the planned Street Closure and demonstrate support from 67% of those who respond. Documentation of support can be written or electronic, given COVID-19 concerns. A signature sheet can be found here, and upon request your City of Oakland staff contact can provide a sample flyer to be left at properties.
  • Site Plan: A site plan describes how you’re planning to use and program the space, and how any potential access issues will be addressed. This consists of:
    • Access: A description of how site access will be addressed if there are parking lots along the corridor or if the street closure may interfere with any required regular deliveries to businesses, curb cuts, driveways, etc.
    • Set up and usage: How are you planning to use and/or program this space? For instance, what types of authorized activities will take place on the street (e.g., outdoor dining, outdoor retail, outdoor recreation)? What will be the hours of operation? Which businesses will use this street
    • Drawing of site plan: Templates will be provided by your City of Oakland staff contact. This drawing will include where tables and other structures are located, and a demonstration of how the site will be ADA accessible (see guidelines here) and meet fire code.
  • COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan: Consider how you will guarantee social distancing and sanitary conditions once your planned activities are underway in public space. In addition, It is essential that you have a plan, supplies, and staffing in place—ahead of time—to ensure the health and safety of your customers and your employees. How will you clean and sanitize furniture after every use? Document your plans in the Site-Specific Protection Plan Guidance & Template.
  • Is there an AC Transit route along your street? If yes, staff will facilitate AC Transit’s review of the proposal to ensure adequate space for bus operations and that transit service/reliability isn’t adversely impacted.
  • Add the City of Oakland as an additional insured: See this document for instructions/additional information

4) Final City Review

Once there is identified community support, a traffic control plan and a site plan, your City of Oakland staff contact will advance your proposal for in-depth internal review across departments.

5) Final Application Materials

The following documents must be submitted to your City staff contact who will forward to the Department of Transportation’s Right of Way Permitting Division. Your staff contact will support you in providing templates and other application materials.

  • Obstruction permit
  • Traffic Control Plan
  • Tailored Site Plan
  • Site Specific Protection Plan (template here)
  • Demonstrated engagement (template here)
  • Certificate of Insurance (instructions here)
  • Signed Conditions of Use agreement

6) Installation process for Equity Priority Areas*

For applicants in equity priority areas* that are borrowing materials from the City of Oakland:

  • The applicant will be required to sign an agreement committing to return all materials at the end of their Street Closure program.
  • City staff will instruct the applicant on how and where to set up any borrowed traffic controls to meet the Traffic Control Plan (TCP).
  • For installations that aren’t in place 24/7, the applicant will be required to install, remove and store all materials for each installation.

*Equity Priority Areas

City assistance may be provided for Traffic Control Plans (TCPs) and/or materials for businesses and organizations not located in a BID area and located in the "high" and "highest" priority communities based on resources and capacity (as defined using factors like race and income in the image below and here:, and for communities experiencing disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 as defined by Alameda County Public Health Department here (defined as the top two tiers of COVID-19 rates): Additional support may be considered for organizations not based in medium-high and high priority communities in limited cases. For instance, a non-profit whose clientele includes a majority of high priority community members, but isn’t located in a high priority community may still be eligible for City assistance.

Map of equity priority neighborhoods, defined using factors like race and income to assist the City in establishing priorities.
Map of equity priority neighborhoods, defined using factors like race and income to assist the City in establishing priorities.

Additional Resources