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Why is the Foothill HS driveway backwards?!

Original post made by Baffled on Aug 27, 2009

Foothill HS has obviously been around for quite a few years and I've always read about the horrific traffic and accidents that occur around the school. But am I the only person in Pleasanton who sees that the traffic direction in the Foothill HS driveway is backwards?! Its no wonder cars are backed up to both Bernal and Las Positas with accidents occurring so frequently!

Why on earth does the northbound traffic drive past the school, double back in front of the school making children have to get out on the wrong/dangerous side of the car, some then the cars have to switch lanes in the driveway to get back on the correct side to turn left, and cross back over the northbound traffic to get out of the way?

With simply the cost of new signage, we could have the Foothill HS driveway heading north, with the flow of traffic on that side of the street, allowing kids to safely be dropped off directly onto the school sidewalk. This would also be better for cars heading southbound as they would only have to loop into drop-off traffic once, not twice, thus speeding up the whole process! Right now there is traffic crossing all over each other in every direction!

Also, at the exit of the PMS driveway they have installed breakaway dividers forcing the left lane to turn left and the right lane to turn right. It really helps traffic flow and prevents accidents. Why aren't these installed at exit of the Foothill HS driveway?

I can't believe in all the years Foothill has been around that someone hasn't seen that traffic would flow much safer, smoother, and quicker if the driveway traffic weren't backwards!

Comments (24)

Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:59 am

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

Baffled at one time the driveway was going the other way. Why they switched it I honestly do not know but I think it had to do with traffic congestion- but from what you said, it's horrible.


Posted by Agreed!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I'm with you! The driveway is backward! Every morning i sit in Foothill's traffic and wonder why the heck somebody doen't see that this is a horrible mess! Cars are crossing in front of each other on both the school driveway and in the traffic on the street.
Has it always been this messed up at Foothill?

You are right it could be fixed easily with just a few signs re-driecting the traffic flow in the correct direction. It would also help the environment because right now we probably have well over a thousand cars idling for at least 15-20 minutes just trying to drop kids at school. And thats twice a day for over a hundred days a year! Not to mention the cost of all the accidents that would be avoided.

But wait, don't forget that the City Council would have to review this! They would have to order a five year traffic review, then survey then entire town, then create a new "measure" for us all to vote on, then there would be a law suit and then the city council could debate it some more and ten years from now they might finally correct the traffic flow. It would cost us $3 million just to change some signs!

I guess its too much to ask for someone in power in Pleasanton to simply change some signs to fix what we have all know for years is a huge problem!


Posted by why drive?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Why don't all of you drivers let your kids WALK or ride their BIKES to school? These are not 7 yr old kids who need to be under constant supervision. Why are the people in Pleasanton so lazy that neither they nor their kids can WALK a few blocks, or even a mile, to school? Live further away than a mile? Then drop them off 6 or 8 blocks from the traffic jam and let them walk that far. If you think your kid needs your supervision all the way to school then walk with them. And we wonder why so many kids are obese, geez, just look around at all of the mommies driving them everywhere.


Posted by Grace, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm

"why drive?" -- you have quite a point there, and I agree with you fully. But you'll have a hard time convincing some of the other parents here in town that the soon-to-be-adults can actually walk... say those mothers who arrive a full hour before dismissal time to park their big SUVs smack in front of Foothill (or the other schools) at the spot they have virtually staked out and nowhere dares to tread, and then they spend the hour before dismissal chatting from one vehicle to the other or on their cell phones. Not sour grapes, but there is a point where the "I'd do anything for my precious child" goes a bit too far and passes on the cloak of entitlement.


Posted by Foothill Alumni, a resident of Mission Park
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:09 am

The reason why the circle is reversed is because of the lights that they installed back in 2005. If you pay attention to how they work, the exit to the student lots and the front circle are specifically synchronized to one another. When the light is green for the student lot, the light for the circle is red therefore letting students who turn left onto Foothill and vice versa for the circle. Before the light was there, it would take a long time for students to turn left onto Foothill Road because of all the traffic.


Posted by There should be buses, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2009 at 7:06 am

I believe not only would we help the traffic issues in all schools but we can help with pollution and accidents if we just spent money and had school buses not public buses but regular school buses where all kids would have to ride unless they were late.

Can you imagine having 10 buses vs 100 cars


Posted by silly stuff, a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2009 at 7:15 am

I have seen the mothers you speak of Grace. You can just tell that walking would be too boring for them. On the other hand, my hats off to these aging beauties for hooking up with someone who can provide them the lifestyle.


Posted by Former Foothiller, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 28, 2009 at 8:34 am

Living in the Foothill area and having been through the driveway change when my kids were in school I can honestly say that in an effort to make things better in 2005, they just traded one set of traffic problems for another. I am not sure there is a good solution except an all out campaign to get some of the cars off the road. That campaign should go all the way down to the elementary schools. How about using the little piece of land formerly meant for the 680 interchange as a drop off area for the High School? Foothill is within easy walking distance from there. Yes I know the school district doesn't own it. (I can hardly wait to see the response to that comment.)


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:49 am

SteveP is a registered user.

For all the reasons cited above (excluding all the spiteful class envy comments), we've been happy with the public bus service (line 602) for years. It's much less stressful than trying to navigate the sea of drivers competing for a small stretch of real estate in front of the school.
Try the Wheels website to figure out how close the bus route comes to your neighborhood and have your kids walk to the bus stop. Problem solved.


Posted by lyndalu, a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:20 am

I agree that when ever possible, kids should walk (if within walking distance) otherwise they should take the bus. Although, in high school, about half the students are driving age so a lot of the traffic could be from the students who drive themselves to school.


Posted by Former Foothiller, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Some kids drive out of necessity to after school jobs, club sports and other activities. When possible, carpools are the best way to go if walking or taking the bus isn't practical. But I think the original post was referring to the drop off and pick up traffic which is ridicules. I believe that the biggest impact to the neighborhood and the worst traffic problems have to do with the pick up and drop off at Foothill.


Posted by jaycee, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm

It's practically a death sentence to send your child walking/biking down Foothill Rd. with all the drivers in such a rush to get to school or work. Not to mention the newly licensed teens! And even w/out a high schooler, if you drive from Laguna Oaks, Foothill Knolls, Sunol, etc. to Hart or Lydiksen, you WILL wait in traffic. All the schools here have A LOT to be desired with their drop offs and pick ups.


Posted by lnmart, a resident of Val Vista
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm

What I love about America is that we're all afforded the freedom to choose; free to drop your kids off at school, free to drop your kids off a block or a mile away, or free to make them walk if that's what you want to do. We're also free to park our cars on public roads for an hour before school ends to chat with our friends, or make calls on our cell phones if that's what we want to do. We're even allowed to attract and marry rich spouses if that is our hearts desire. And finally, we're free to post our comments, concerns, and criticisms of other members of society that don't live up to our standards if that's what we feel like doing. Isn't America a great place to live. Even in a city with a high school parking problem.


Posted by Debbie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Been there, done that! ..and I am greatful my children have graduated, so that I don't have to deal with the traffic of ANY of the schools in town, unless I choose to. I can appreciate the frustration of all who have to drive by ANY of our schools at drop-off/pick-up times. Traffic congestion, and the drop-off/pick up situation has been a problem at least since I moved here in 1985. It has obviously gotten worse given the increase in residents. We had school buses..partly because of cost they got rid of them.. can you imagine how much school buses would cost now! I don't think there is a great solution to the problem, but maybe its time for our streets dept., and police dept, to re-look at the traffic pattern at Foothill H.S., and see if the changes they made with the direction of traffic in the drop off area, and the lights, really is the best solution... and maybe, anyone with better suggestions should approach the city with your thoughts. Good luck!!


Posted by Drive a different way, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Aug 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm

I have never driven my son to Foothill. He is now a Junior and has walked or ridden a bike the whole time. The thing I can't get past is that the people complaining about this have stated that "When I drive by" Why aren't you walking? If you are driving to work and not dropping off a kid why are you driving past there? Go a different way. I see, if you do that you will have nothing to complain about right? I would really hope that you are not complaining about all of this as you yourself are dropping off your kid. And I have to say that with all of the budget cuts the last thing we should do is spend money on signs and road painting just to shut you up.


Posted by My 2 cents, a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I'm surprised they don't have parking time limit restrictions for those waiting near the school. That along with a little help from traffic enforcement officers could go a long way in keeping traffic flowing. I have seen this in other school districts and their traffic problems are nowhere near as bad as what these posts state. Have they ever discussed closing the parking lots to exiting traffic during the most congested morning hours and to entering traffic during the most congested afternoon hours. This would encourage parents to drop off their kids a block or two away, send them on the bus or make them walk or ride their bicycle. Or make traffic a whole lot worse! Won't know 'til you try. The post from Former Foothiller about using the vacant lot as a drop off spot is a good idea. Unfortunately the school district can't afford it. I also believe if more of the students did walk to school there would be more speed limit enforcement, negating the near "death sentence" walking along Foothill now poses.


Posted by Sentiment, a resident of Foothill Place
on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

First off, if everyone would just pull into the Foothill drop off area BEFORE they stop their car and let their kid out there wouldn't be this problem (or it would be greatly reduced). But NO, people pull in, drive 50 feet and stop and block all incoming cars as their kid(s) get out (even though the area says "keep clear") Meanwhile th whole drop off/pickup area is vacant. Apparently pulling forward a couple hundred feet is much to stressful for the children.

Again, pull into the drop off area and continue until there you reach other cars or the end of the drop off area. Then stop and let your child out. How hard is that????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Pull in, drive up, move on.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Don't forget the parents that drop off lunches everyday to their children.

Honestly, let your kids grow up a little at some point.

I'm all for parent involvement and enjoying parenting while your child grows, but if you are literally preparing lunch and bringing it to your child at high school at lunch time, there are many issues at play.


Posted by Mom of three, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Who has the right to make light of parents concerns for their childrens safety?

In Pleasanton, California, on December 2, 1997, 22-year-old Vanessa Lei Samson was abducted while making her usual morning walk to work. A dark green minivan pulled up beside her, the door opened and she was gone.
Police said they parked at Foothill HS looking for a victim walking home from school.

Nearly a quarter of a century after Tina Faelz's lifeless body was found in a drainage culvert on a pathway behind Foothill High School, her family and Pleasanton police are still trying to figure out who could have killed the high school freshman.

I am sorry I can not remember the name of the missing Dublin girl, taken on her way home from school.

I don't believe in living in fear but I also don't believe in making fun of parents choices for their childs safety.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Statistically, your child has a greater chance of dying in a car accident than from getting abducted while walking to/from school.


Posted by All shook up, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 29, 2009 at 6:07 pm

The Foothill driveway is very dangerous in many ways.

Last year I was exiting the circle on a green light, a young driver intending to enter the student lot that had a green light, ran the red light at the exit to the circle and Tboned my car. He thought he had a green light because there are two lights very close together.

We were both very shook up. After listening to him I understood how very confusing the lights are and called the City traffic engineer to ask them to address the problem. I have not seen any changes.

If you have concerns about Pleasanton traffic safety please contact Michael Tassano City Traffic Engineer Tel: 925-931-5670.
MTassano@ci.pleasanton.ca.us


Posted by Maria, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm

That's true, Stacey.
And parents and teenagers driving to and from school on a hands-free cell phone have increased their odds of crashing by 4 times. In the U.S., 44, 000 people are killed in car crashes each year, and hundreds of thousands more Americans receive brain injuries and forms of paralysis from car crashes EVERY year.
Take facts and statistics into account when you're deciding what to be afraid of.


Posted by Foothill HS Traffikker, a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 30, 2009 at 9:35 am

The student parking lot should close 10 minutes prior to beginning of class at 8:12 a.m. This way the Juniors and Seniors are not clogging up the drop off group trying to squeeze through on the right as you go northbound from the knoll. Not to mention the poor driving habits these rookie driver exhibit as they simply ignore the law. How about it parents. Can you please keep an eye out for your kids and their poor driving skills before somebody gets hurt? If they left for class sooner rather than last second it will help everybody.
BTW. Foothill HS has had thousands of complaints over the years and they are so overwhelmed with it that a solution is virtually impossible.


Posted by Baffled, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

Well, I'm glad that I'm not the only one in Pleasanton who sees that the driveway is backwards. I think it is a great idea for Pleasanton to revisit the issue since they have had about four years to see that reversing the direction didn't improve traffic flow one bit.

As for dropping the kids off a few blocks away on a side street, I did consider this possibility. But then I watched these cars block the pedestrian crosswalks, do crazy U-turns in the middle of the street and barely miss the teen drivers swerving in & out of the traffic waiting in line. I've decided its safer to deal with traffic than risk my kids getting hit by a car.


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