http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2008/01/18/committee-oversees-bicycle-pedestrian-plan


Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 18, 2008

Committee oversees bicycle, pedestrian plan

Group will meet for next two years developing citywide plan

by Janet Pelletier

"Bicycles should be equal to cars," is how Bill Rose sees it.

The bicycle advocate and member of Valley Spokesman, a local bicycle enthusiast group, will help oversee along with six others, a comprehensive plan for bicycle and pedestrian routes throughout the city.

It's an undertaking that was approved by the City Council in September and got under way recently. The city plans to fund the preparation of a master plan that will layout such issues as what bike lanes need improvements on city streets, how to efficiently connect segments of the Iron Horse Trail, address where new bike lanes are needed and offer suggestions on how to improve overall bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The money comes from a $111,000-grant from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA).

The group, called the Bicycled Pedestrian Advisory Committee, is made up of seven members: representatives from the Parks and Recreation Commission, Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Planning Commission and four at-large members.

At Monday's committee meeting, the group reviewed work proposals from three consultants interested in being hired to develop the plan. After scoring each consultant, the committee decided that Alta Planning and Design and Fehr & Peers will present their proposals at the next committee meeting Feb. 4.

One of the issues the members plan to tackle during the formation of the master plan is bicycle advocacy. Youth representative Melissa Ott rides her bike to school. One such problem she's encountered is waiting an inordinate amount of time at the Mohr Road-Santa Rita Road intersection to cross Santa Rita to get to school. She said she doesn't understand why there isn't a striped crosswalk but yet bikes are allowed to cross there.

City traffic engineer Mike Tassano, who is one of the city's staffers heading up the meetings, explained that despite logical thinking that striped crosswalks are safe, they aren't. In fact, he said they give pedestrians and bicyclists a false sense of security when actually, the city has recorded more accidents between vehicles and those crossing when a crosswalk is striped as opposed to when it's not. The city has tried working with the police department on pedestrian "sting" operations--where an officer pretends to be a pedestrian crossing the street--but stopped conducting them after officers had a few close encounters with cars.

One officer said she was done after her hand was on the hood of a car in one particularly close call, he said.

"It was unsafe for officers and it didn't change driver behavior, so now (police) focus efforts on educating students at schools about safety," Tassano said.

The group will also utilize the Community Trails Master Plan for guidance.

Comments

Posted by Melissa Ott, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 18, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Thanks to the Pleasanton Weekly for covering the recent Bicycle Pedestrian committee meeting. As mentioned in the article, I am a high school student on the committee. I just wanted to clarify that the intersection I mentioned in the meeting is not the Mohr/Santa Rita intersection, which is striped, but rather the new Iron Horse Trail crossing at Mohr Avenue. Although there is a signal pedestrians can push that triggers flashing yellow lights, it is most of the time ineffective and drivers do not stop. The other reason I asked about a crosswalk is because in other communities, the Iron Horse Trail is marked by crosswalks on streets.

The committee is interested in hearing feedback so we can create a Bicycle Pedestrian plan that meets the needs of the community. If you have comments or questions, feel free to attend a meeting. Our next meeting is February 4th at 6:30 PM in the City Council chambers at 200 Old Bernal Avenue.


Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 21, 2008 at 2:01 pm

I think the committee folk should also talk about law enforcement for riders. I have experienced, way to many times, bike riders darting across the street just to beat the cars. It's unsafe and I have seen many riders do this. It's only a matter of time when someone gets hit by a car. The police need to hang out around Harvest Park and see the amount of kids that dart in the middle of the street, as well as the intersection. Last week I saw 4 kids run to the median while oncoming traffic had a green light. Scared the poo out of me! Isn't there a helmet law as well?


Posted by Greg Visscher, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 22, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I read the story in the Pleasanton Weekly and am interested in how I can become involved in the Bicycled Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Last Feb, I presented an idea I conceived about improving the Arroyo Mocho to allow for better utilization by bicyclists and joggers. The idea is compelling but so far I have been unable to get our city to take notice and consider the plan.

If anyone knows how to reach Bill Rose, Melissa Ott, or Mike Tassano, please have them contact me at gregv@microsoft.com.

Thank you,
Greg Visscher
Pleasanton Resident
(and West Region Director for Microsoft)


Posted by Janet Pelletier, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2008 at 11:35 am

Greg, you can contact City Traffic Engineer Mike Tassano at mtassano@ci.pleasanton.ca.us.