News


Council approves efforts to cut speeds, traffic on Black Ave.

Street will be narrowed at crosswalks, aquatic center

The Pleasanton City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to start making major modification on Black Avenue to curb speeding and possibly reduce traffic volumes.

The council accepted a multi-age list of changes recommended by Traffic Engineer Mike Tassano and endorsed by a neighborhood task force. Many of the changes are being made in response to scores of complaints from homeowners that "their street" has become a "throughway" and "raceway."

Last fall, city staff conducted a neighborhood traffic calming program kickoff meeting that was attended by more than 50 residents. Traffic engineers determined after the meeting that there was sufficient neighborhood interest to pursue measures that could address the complaints.

The changes, to take place over the coming year on a one-mile stretch of Black Avenue between Hopyard and Santa Rita roads, will include:

Installation of curb "bulb outs," curb ramps, cross walks and crosswalk signs on Black Avenue where it intersects with Tanglewood Court and Greenwood Road to improve pedestrian visibility and safety.

Installation of a crosswalk, crosswalk signs, pedestrian ramps and a "neckdown" in front of the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center to channel pedestrians to a single crossing that will provide better visibility and safety.

Installation of 25 mph pavement markers adjacent to speed limit signs.

Installation of a trial "speed lump" at one location to tests its effectiveness in reducing speeds.

Lower a radar speed sign to increase its visibility to motorists.

Development of a parking policy for regional events at the aquatic center to reduce traffic congestion in the neighborhood.

Submitting a request to the post office to reduce its use of Black Avenue.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said the cost of the project is estimated $405,000.

Most of the changes will have to await approval of the new fiscal year 2014-15 budget, which would take effect July 1.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Emmett
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

I completely agree with and support the Black Avenue residents. I hope the same consideration can also be granted the residents of Foothill Road and their neighbors. As with Black, Foothill is also now an undivided residential street with driveways emptying directly onto the roadway and multiple school zones along its route. In addition, Foothill has many blind curves, little to no shoulder, and an even higher speed limit than Black. As evidenced by the numerous accidents, including multiple fatalities, that have occurred on Foothill, I believe it's time to implement "traffic calming" measures there, as well, starting with a reduced speed limit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I live on Hansen and hope our street gets the same attention as Black Avenue. As a new father it horrifies me when I see cars recklessly speeding down our road right in front of children and two major parks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BILL
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Good for you folks on BlacK Ave for taking on the city & getting some action to curb your traffic problems.I would welcome the city to look into
a much worse situation we have on Payne Rd.The cut through traffic is at speeds that are far above safe & since Pleasanton turned our street into a
soccer ghetto we can not even park in front of our homes ,during summer and into early fall.Double parking in street is a constant problem during these times.Maybe folks in Val Vista should speak up & perhaps a enviormental report by city can make some positive changes to make this street safer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Anyone notice the common thread here? It seems that every neighborhood suffers because of the rudeness and awful behavior of our very own (except for the cut-throughs) Pleasanton neighbors.
Everyone drives too fast, talks and texts while driving, fails to yield to pedestrians, and on and on and on. Those on Payne Rd cannot park in front of their homes during soccer games. Try living on First St. We cannot park in front of our homes during Saturday market, First Wednesdays, Firehouse Art Center events and of course Friday concerts. On those Fridays we are lucky to be able to park in our own driveways because other residents of this town either park IN our driveways or BLOCKING our driveways.
Again, the common thread? Rude, careless and just plain stupid behavior by our very own Pleasanton residents. Do you really think that the city council can legislate reasonable behavior among these cretins? Someone suggested a full out effort by the PPD to cite unsafe drivers. I agree with that. But just wait for all of those caught breaking the law to scream that they are being persecuted by cops who "have much better things to do than write speeding tickets".
It all comes down to the fact that our very own neighbors and fellow citizens cannot behave in a reasonable way and some people now think the city council should legislate them into submission. Those same people think that teachers are responsible for teaching their kids discipline. Think about who is really the problem here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacee
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I am very glad to see city of Pleasanton FINALLY put painted crosswalks at W. Angela@Peters but would still love to see a 4 way stop there. Drivers go too fast on peters to ever slow down for the people crossing peters while walking to the Farmers market or main street. Peters is considered the fast route compared to Main Street. Peters needs more stop signs and Angela def. needs one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Yer gonna love the speed bumps! Your BMWs and MBs are gonna bottom out when you cross over them at anything over 5 MPH!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

They are speed lumps not bumps and are easily negotiated at 25mph which by the way is the speed people should be driving. Crellin Rd has seven (7) speed lumps the neighborhood loves them and they are safer for them. None of them with BMW's or MB's seem to have a problem. If people traveling down Black Ave adhered to the posted speed limit there would not be a need but they don't, so there is a need. There are so many children that travel on and traverse Black Ave that something had to be done. Seven (7) educational facilities, three (3) parks and two (2) swimming facilities are on and within a block of a Black Ave. Not only are these children going to and from school, but there is soccer practic and games, La Crosse practice and games , football practice and games, baseball practice and games, swimming lessons along with huge regional meets that account for A LOT of children at all times of the day and week. The remark regarding speed "bumps" is rediculous at best.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

Emmett wrote: "I completely agree with and support the Black Avenue residents. I hope the same consideration can also be granted the residents of Foothill Road and their neighbors. As with Black, Foothill is also now an undivided residential street with driveways emptying directly onto the roadway and multiple school zones along its route."

I disagree. I live in west Pleasanton near Foothill and I think that the current 35-40 mph limit is fine. Foothill is not at all like Black Avenue. Black Avenue is a residential street. Foothill Road is not a residential street and has few house driveways directly connected to it. As for "multiple school zones", there is only one school that I know of that is on Foothill Road (Foothill High School). The other nearby school, Lydiksen Elementary, is about 2 blocks off of Foothill. Traffic on Foothill Road is not a big safety concern for students at Lydiksen. There is a stoplight at the nearest intersection, and since Foothill is on the western edge of Pleasanton, hardly any students walk to school along Foothill Road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SpeedLimits
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

Speed limits aren't the problem. Let's address the real problem: bad drivers. Bad drivers won't slow down even if you lower the speed limits.

Also, lower speed limits just slow us all down. It already takes too long to drive across town.

Finally (and fortunately), the city can't legally set speed limits arbitrarily. They have to comply with state law and set them based on traffic speeds.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by duh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

Did anyone notice that when the city did away with the left turn lane from Safeway on to Valley, the traffic on Black increased... duh! Remove that restriction and i'd be a lot of the problems would go away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

Crellen road is now like Mr Toad's Wild Ride in Disneyland. Just watch all the drivers swerve in and out to get one set of tires in the gap between the humps. If all your tires go over the humps, you need to be going less than 25 MPH. The cut-outs are in the road so that fire trucks are not slowed down and can make their response time. If you are in an ambulance, I guess they can just give you more pain medication before navigating those roads.

If we want people to slow down by putting obstacles in the way we can save a lot of money by just not fixing the potholes, or have public works come out with jack hammers and beat-up the roads so that your car will fall apart at excessive speeds. No different than putting speed bumps/humps in every neighborhood that feels people are speeding in (i.e., all of them).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Emmett
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:50 am

I appreciate Sam's response to my comment, but I would suggest he take a drive along Foothill and pay closer attention to the signage. Between 580 and Bernal, the speed limit is clearly and consistently marked as 45 MPH, excepting the two marked school zones (Foothill Road north and south of Highland Oaks Drive is indeed a marked school zone for Lydiksen) and the two suggested slow zones where there are blind driveways and a housing development entrance. In fact, according to Pleasanton Traffic Engineer Mike Tassano, the "Critical Speed" (defined as the measured speed of 85% of the drivers) along this stretch of Foothill is 44-47 MPH. If indeed Sam does drive between 35-40 MPH on Foothill, then I applaud him and cite his safe driving as proof (though unintentional) of the need for lower speed limits on Foothill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Heads Will Roll
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

The root problem is that there are insufficient arterials to handle the traffic that needs to move faster than 25 mi/hr. The solution better not be putting in speed bumps. Some heads will roll on the City Council if that is done. The Council needs to look at the fact that there are few options for the people to get from north and west Pleasanton to the downtown area without using Black or Hopyard, and most ridiculous of all Old Stanley. So they better come up with ways of fixing the real problem. Like I said, if they put speed bumps on Black, Council members will get "bumped".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Emmett wrote: "I appreciate Sam's response to my comment, but I would suggest he take a drive along Foothill and pay closer attention to the signage. Between 580 and Bernal, the speed limit is clearly and consistently marked as 45 MPH, excepting the two marked school zones...."

I live in the Oak Hill neighborhood close to Foothill high and my remarks were primarily in reference to the stretch of Foothill in the vicinity of Foothill High and extending up to where it passes by the Mall and crosses over I-580. I assumed that your comments were primarily directed at this stretch of road as well, since you referred to "multiple school zones" . The only two schools that I am aware of along Foothill Road are along the stretch of Foothill Road that I just described. I may have to refresh my memory, but I'm pretty sure that the speed limit is not more than 40 mph along most all of this section of Foothill Road.

As you know, Foothill Road is very long and extends all the way to Sunol. I'm not too familiar with that stretch of road and perhaps the limit there is 45 mph. But since there are few houses and intersections along that long stretch, I wouldn't think that there is a high accident rate along that stretch. In fact, when teaching my wife how to drive I used that stretch of road for teaching basic steering skills because I thought it was relatively safe compared to city streets.

It would be interesting to see a map showing the locations of Pleasanton traffic accidents over the years, so that the relative danger of Foothill Road compared to other Pleasanton roads could be directly compared but I haven't been able to find one yet.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

The root problem is not the lack of arterials, the root problem is that the posted speed limit of 25 mph isn't obeyed. Roads have speed limits for a reason and, particularly in school zones, they should be obeyed. Unlike aging, 40 mph isn't the new 25 mph. And for what it's worth, specifically relating to Black Ave, the issue has been under examination for over a year and these are the proposed solutions. I live on Black and am pleased there is a plan to be put in place. If you don't like the idea of speed bumps, then inconvenience yourself and drive on Valley.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Again, "Heads Will Roll", they are lumps not bumps and are very easily negotiated at 25 mph which is the posted speed limit thru this residential, school and child heavy area. As Enis said, "use Valley Ave" or you could use Del Valle Parkway which was it's initial intention. If people were intelligent, courteous, unselfish and law abiding then lumps would not be needed. Guess what? You get lumps.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Heads Will Roll
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Eric and Ennis,
Guess what. If we get speed bumps, Council members heads will roll, and the bumps will be removed. Ennis, you are dead wrong. The reason people speed on Black and several other streets is absolutely that their Pleasanton lacks arterials. People get pissed off when they need to get somewhere in a timely manner and have no way to get there but on 25 m/h streets. If and when the bumps go in, the initial measure (before the bumps get removed) will be to loudly honk the horn in a long sustained blast. Should be nice around 2 am.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Emmett
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Yes Sam, the speed limit on Foothill Road is 45 MPH between Bernal and 580, including the stretch in front of Foothill High, and near your neighborhood. South of Bernal, into Sunol, the speed limit actually drops to 40 MPH. I don't know of any accident mapping sites, but if you take a drive along Foothill, you'll notice a number of makeshift memorials to drivers and bicyclists who have tragically lost their lives in accidents over the years. I don't know if Foothill has a higher number of accidents than other roads in Pleasanton, but the combination of a winding road, a large number of teen drivers, and a highway-like speed limit tends to make accidents on Foothill more serious than typical.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Heads will roll, what a childish threat. The lump will in no way inhibit your traveling the speed limit. Good grief.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

@Emmett

OK, Emmett, not to belabor the point but Foothill Road does make a sideways and downward jog as one drives south between the Stoneridge Drive and W. Las Positas intersections. You can see the jog quite clearly on the map. In this vicinity the speed limit is reduced to, I believe, 35 mph. My memory may be poor, but I'm constantly reminded of this reduced speed limit zone when I drive south on Foothill because there is a sign with flashing yellow lights alerting drivers to slow down. Beyond this zone, the speed limit may increase to 45 mph - I dunno because I usually get off at West Las Positas.

I have less experience with Foothill Road between W. Las Positas and Bernal, but based on my traveling on that road so far I feel that the current speed limit on that section (45 mph?) is safe and I feel comfortable driving at the limit in good weather conditions. However, I'll make one exception to that statement: In my opinion there is one intersection in Pleasanton that I feel uncomfortable with and that I feel is the most dangerous intersection that I know of in Pleasanton. That intersection is at Muirwood Drive and Foothill Road, and I think that making a left turn from Muirwood onto Foothill is rather dangerous given the present speed limit there and the fact that there is a blind curve just south of that intersection. I will occasionally go to that intersection and make a left, but when I do I'm on heightened alert. It would be good if the speed on Foothill were further reduced there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by mariposita
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

The homes on Black were built around 1966; Black Avenue has been a residential street since then. The speed limit for any residential street is 25 mph, regardless of which streets it may connect, and it's 25 for a reason. The families who live on and near Black are community members, your neighbors and friends. And we watch in fear as inconsiderate speeders put all pedestrians at risk, particularly children walking to and from school. Perhaps you think you have the right to speed on our street because of where it is. Sorry, but nothing justifies that attitude regardless of how important you may think you are. Pleasanton is supposed to be a community of character and you threaten to blow your horn down our street while our children sleep because you have a problem with speed bumps? Residents knew, when we decided to live on Black, the potential traffic issues we'd have to contend with. If we were to stand idly by and do nothing about the dangerous conditions we see each and every day, PW's next feature on Black could well be a story of a traffic fatality. Obviously, some people care about nothing other than the inconvenience of complying with a residential speed limit, but how would they feel about a great number of non-residents zooming recklessly along their neighborhood streets? I remember a comment from earlier this year telling us, "you live on a thoroughfare, get over it". Please understand that the heart of the matter is that Black Avenue is a residential street and it has been since most of you moved here. The problem is that too many reckless, careless people drive on it like it's Hopyard or Santa Rita and we're not the ones who need to get over the fact that it isn't.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Emmett
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Thank you Sam, for noting the S-curve on Foothill between Muirwood and Highland Oaks Drive. This curve, known locally as "dead man's curve", was the original reason I contacted the Pleasanton Traffic Engineering Department some months ago. The speed limit is indeed reduced from 45 to 35 MPH on that curve because of the severity of the curve, the lack of shoulders, and the blind driveway at the base of the hill.

However, the speed limit is only an "advisory" speed limit (as indicated by the yellow signage, as opposed to the standard white speed limit signs). An advisory speed limit is one that is "recommended but not enforced". In other words, you can drive 45 MPH through that curve and you would not receive a speeding ticket. Are you driving safely? That's debatable, but as someone who drives north on Foothill every day, I hold my breath when I approach that curve, knowing that, with no shoulder and a wall to my right, if a car came south just a bit too fast, there would be no way to avoid a head-on collision.

Thank you again Sam, for bringing this dangerously designed curve to the public's attention. Hopefully this discussion will lead to some long-overdue changes.

BTW, if you follow along Foothill using Google's street view, you'll clearly see all of the 45 MPH speed limit signs. They're placed just past the Canyon Way, Stoneridge, Highland Oaks, and Old Foothill intersections.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2013 at 12:27 am

@Emmett

Thanks for the info Emmett. Good to learn something new on these boards for a change. I wasn't aware that there were such things as "advisory" speed limits or that that S-curve had been the focus of attention.


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Posted by Katherine
a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:30 am

The old Foothill Rd was much more dangerous. The section between Sunol and Castlewood area is really the only part that is still original now. It has always been known for accidents.

The real question here is why in the world would Sam use this section of Foothill to teach his wife how to drive? Was this in the 1970's, or is she still a teenager? Even still, when the road is straight, people will speed even more and you may think it's safe but you are sadly mistaken because that "long stretch" has been the scene of many major accidents. Seems to be rather hypocritical for someone that loves to quote and nitpick everyone else here. It's really quite a curious choice for driver training locales don't you think? If you really care so much about public safety on public roads wouldn't it stand to reason that a public road is not a good platform for a novice to encounter the trial and error that is required to learn to handle a vehicle safely? Or are you and your family some sort of exceptions to the rules due to your own circular logic?

Exempli gratia: The road has few houses or intersections so it is relatively safe.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

The aforementioned S-curve between Muirwood Dr (North) and Highland Oaks is inarguably a fantastic example of horrible engineering. A sharp turn while going up or downhill has taken my breath away many times when driving that stretch.

My favorite is when a bicyclist is riding northbound (uphill) on that stretch. There is no bike lane, and not enough room for a car and anything else. And nowhere for the cyclist to ride onto the sidewalk, which would be the prudent move. So the wise drivers drive really slow behind the cyclists, and it can take a long time for the cyclist to get up the hill. The impatient drivers cross the double yellow line to pass the cyclists, which moves them into oncoming southbound and downhill traffic.

In this section, a ramp to the sidewalk should be made for the cyclists, though I realize many would not use it. I also believe some sort of soft barriers should be put up in the center line, like the vertical tubes you see after the Bay Bridge toll plaza, to discourage crossing the double yellow line.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

Katherine wrote: "Exempli gratia: The road has few houses or intersections so it is relatively safe."

Ooooh, you know Latin! OK, I surrender! I know when I've been beaten in a debate.

Seriously, though, I found Foothill Road between Bernal down to Sunol to be a rather good place to practice during non-commute times, or at least it was 10 years ago. Please share with us what non-public (and yet publically accessible) road in Pleasanton you think is better for practice by beginning drivers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

The point was regarding your flawed logic and not a latin demonstration. So while a road may be straight or dotted with a few homes, this fact alone doesn't equate to safety. With all the preaching about Foothill Rd., you'd think that a safer location would've been chosen to instruct a novice driver!

The licensed driver can easily take the beginner to an empty parking lot after hours or a rural area or a racetrack where driver training is offered. The best place to instruct a new driver is on the track where they can learn how to react in a slide, cornering, braking, shifting, judging speed etc. That way you have a better chance to stay safe when it comes to navigating the public roads. There's so many cars on the roads today that novices should avoid driving in traffic until they are truly ready for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Katherine wrote: "The point was regarding your flawed logic and not a latin demonstration. ...The licensed driver can easily take the beginner to an empty parking lot after hours or a rural area or a racetrack where driver training is offered. The best place to instruct a new driver is on the track where they can learn how to react in a slide, cornering, braking, shifting, judging speed etc."

Aha! A "racetrack"! Why, of course! Silly me, how could I overlook the option of taking my student driver to one of our famous Pleasanton "racetracks" to learn driving? Once again, I bow obsequiously to your superior logical reasoning abilities, Katherine. Please tell us: Which of the countlessly many "racetracks" in Pleasanton do you recommend for driver training? I'm sure that parents throughout Pleasanton are eagerly awaiting your answer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Thank you Mariposta, couldn't have said it better myself. There is a common thread with many of the comments - people in Pleasanton drive too fast on most streets, not just Black Ave. PPD should be a part of the solution. As for Mr. anonymous chest thumping, delivering threats directed at the Council and your fellow citizens, how about taking a constructive approach and getting involved in the committees that address these issues so your opinions can be heard and be considered in the solution. Better yet, let the city know your address so we can put a big, fat, multi-lane 'arterial' through your front yard and you can be amazed at the drivers who hit 50 mph in front of your house. I promise, really, cross my fingers, not to honk at the speed bumps....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 22, 2013 at 12:26 am

Sam, Did I ever say a racetrack in Pleasanton? No I did not, and are you so spoiled that you two couldn't have ventured more than a couple of miles from the Manor? Or is it that the safety of others doesn't count when it intersects with your preferable lifestyle? It would appear that the only thing that you are really well versed in is sidewinding and trying to shift the topic away from the hypocrisy of your prior statements.

The fact that you chose one of the most dangerous local roads as your chalkboard for your wife to learn is a perfect example of your comical yet exemplary logic right?

For the neophytes, Pleasanton did have racing and drivers training for years right off of Bernal at the fairgrounds. The Police also used it for driver training. Sam, don't you remember that? ...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

Sam and Katherine, either get a room or get a divorce. Your one-upmanship dance is boring.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 22, 2013 at 9:08 am

We're just having a little fun, Ed. All in the holiday spirit. As for dealing your boredom, I suggest starting a new hobby or going out and doing some volunteer work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mitch
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Sam,

I hear your looking for a racetrack in town. May I suggest Black Avenue? = P


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 27, 2013 at 10:02 am

My neighbors and I discussed this and we agree: Leave Black Ave. alone. Slow cars down by issueing tickets to speeders. Tom (Pleasanton resident in Del Pradoarea)


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