Uploaded: Wed, Feb 4, 2009, 7:56 am
Sullivan pulls plug on council meeting after 3-1/2-hour hearing
Hot button debate on Stoneridge Drive extension now set for Feb. 24
In an extraordinary but not unprecedented move, Pleasanton City Councilman Matt Sullivan pulled the plug on consideration of a development plan for Staples Ranch last night, arguing that the discussion was far a-field from what the City Council had publicized for its meeting.
Sullivan's action came close to 11 p.m. after more than 150 had filled the council chambers for what many thought would be the council's approval of the 124 acre site. The public hearing started about 7:30 p.m. with 20 speakers addressing the council.
After a short break requested by Sullivan, the council resumed its meeting to start its review of the comments and the 100-plus pages of documents. City staff, following the Planning Commission's action earlier, recommended approval of the development plan
Sullivan said the pubic discussion and comments by some council members were swerving away from just approving the broad Staples Ranch plan and an accompanying environmental impact report to focusing on the possibility of extending Stoneridge Drive.
For years, completion of Stoneridge Drive as called for in the General Plan has been a hot button issue for Pleasanton politicians, with many living along the roadway opposed to extending it to El Charro Road, where motorists could also travel onto I-580.
After hearing some of the speakers and seeing few from the neighborhood that would be affected, Sullivan used his councilman's right to continue a council meeting one time. City Atty. Michael Roush confirmed to several frustrated council members that Sullivan had the right to stop the meeting since no proposal had yet been made on the development plan and EIR.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said the council will meet again on the plan, when the Stoneridge Drive issue will also be discussed, on Feb. 24. Residents in a wide area who could be affected by connecting Stoneridge Drive to Livermore will be notified by mail.
Posted by Short Cut Seeker,
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm
I was really mad when my favorite Castro Valley short cuts was closed off by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors back in 2005. I'm from Mountain House and once Stoneridge is opened up, I hope the traffic lights are timed so all of us can keep moving and not get backed up at all the redlights. Since the Castro Valley shortcut is closed, I'm glad I'll be able to make up the time by cutting through Pleasanton.
Know any shortcuts?
Commuters face longer waits as popular I-580 bypass closed
By Erin Sherbert
Record Staff writer
October 27, 2005 6:00 AM
Some Bay Area-bound commuters will have to find new shortcuts to get around the traffic backed up along Interstate 580.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors decided earlier this month to close a popular commuter shortcut in Castro Valley to reduce the amount of commuter traffic spilling onto residential streets.
"The intent is to encourage people to stay on the freeway," said Seth Kaplan, chief of staff for Supervisor Nathan A. Miley, whose district includes Castro Valley.
The problem is not unique to Castro Valley. As freeways become more congested between San Joaquin County and the Bay Area, tens of thousands of commuters look for alternative routes on city and county roads to bypass highway traffic jams.
But such traffic is not only putting wear and tear on residential and rural roads, it is causing delays and traffic backups for local residents, officials say.
Mountain House resident Paolo Giusto says he is always looking for the best shortcut to get around traffic on I-580. Giusto knows he is not saving time by taking back roads all the way to the Pleasanton BART station, but he said he does it anyway.
If anything, it saves him the frustration of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway, he said.
"Timewise, it doesn't make a difference," Giusto said. "But at least I am moving rather than being stuck on the freeway."
In Tracy, commuters account for as much as 30 percent of rush-hour traffic along 11th Street. But city officials say there are no plans right now to monitor traffic lights and deter commuters from using this street as a shortcut around Interstate 205.
Although it might get commuters off city streets, officials fear it would also inconvenience local residents, said Kul Sharma, Tracy's city engineer.
"That is a big concern," Sharma said.
In Castro Valley, when traffic gets backed up on I-580 or Highway 238, many commuters exit Strobridge Avenue, cut through the Baywood District and drive residential roads all the way through Hayward to the San Mateo Bridge, Kaplan said.
By year's end, Strobridge Avenue will become a one-way street, closed to westbound traffic. It will remain closed until improvements are made to relieve traffic jams, including the widening of Highway 238, Kaplan said.
The decision to close Strobridge isn't the first time a municipality has cracked down on commuter shortcuts. In Pleasanton, commuter traffic was so problematic along Vineyard Avenue that local residents were late bringing their kids to school, city officials said. As a result, the City Council decided to make green traffic lights short and scarce during peak commute hours, said Mike Tassano, Pleasanton's traffic engineer.
"If they know they are going to have to stop for who knows how long and 580 is not looking so bad, they are more inclined to sit on a slowly moving roadway then sit at a traffic signal," Tassano said.
But in Livermore, the city has an opposite approach. Instead of making commuters wait at traffic signals, city engineers timed the lights so commuters receive green lights all the way through the city, getting them in and out as quickly as possible, said Mohammad Pournia, Livermore's transportation manager.
"They are coming in, and there is no stopping it," Pournia said.