The 3-2 vote to approve the Stoneridge extension was notable for several reasons. First, it was a difficult, yet decisive decision by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and councilmembers Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio on a controversial issue that has troubled the community for too long. They deserve credit for carefully evaluating the reasons for deciding now to extend the roadway, which include:
* The major Staples Ranch development might not move forward as planned unless the extension is built, as required by Alameda County, the Staples Ranch owner and developer.
* The development, with its major auto row planned by Hendrick Automotive, a large retail center, a two-story ice rink to be built, paid for and operated by a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks, and a privately owned and operated 600- to 800-unit independent, assisted living and skilled nursing care center, will be the largest since the Stoneridge Shopping Center and Hacienda Business Park were developed in the 1980s.
* Both construction and the operations after they're built will provide millions of dollars in jobs and tax revenue for Pleasanton at a time when other projects of this kind are being postponed or abandoned.
* The extension of Stoneridge Drive, long advocated by Dublin, Livermore, Alameda County and Caltrans puts Pleasanton back on the "good neighbor" list and likely to gain their needed support to press forward on widening Highway 84 over Pigeon Pass to connect commuters between I-580 and I-680. This, more than any other traffic plan, is expected to significantly decrease cut-through traffic on Pleasanton streets.
It's important to note that Tuesday's decisive decision by a majority on the Pleasanton council was made for the good of Pleasanton, and shows the flexibility of strong leaders to recognize that circumstances change. The roadway is needed and will bring benefits to Pleasanton, Livermore and the greater Tri-Valley and especially to all of us who work, live and do business here.