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It's so "easy" to shop in Pleasanton

Original post made by Tim on Oct 20, 2009

Yesterday, at 9:15AM, I left from Kamp and Stoneridge and drove 3 miles across town to the Office Max. FOURTEEN traffic lights and 15 minutes to go 3 miles, that's an average of 12 miles per hour.

Comments (34)

Posted by poster boy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

well Mayor Hosterman did say when she ran for office that she was going to solve the traffic problem. Although I thought she meant she was going to do something about the volume not the speed.

Posted by traaffic is worse, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:59 am

What Hosterman did was put Mike Tassano in charge of traffic (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) He set up the lights on First St to be green for 2 minutes or more all day every day. The lights for streets crossing First, such as Neal, are set to 15 seconds of green after waiting 120 seconds on red. That allows one car, at best, to turn onto or cross First St per light. Any wonder why 4 people have been hit in the crosswalk, walking on a green light, at First and Neal? Drivers know that they will have to wait a minimum of 2 minutes for another chance and they rush into the intersection, not looking for the walkers.
This light pattern is without regard for whether there is even a single car driving on First St. The cross streets and crosswalk walkers wait at least 2 minutes every time. I waited for the full 2 minutes at Neal, without a single car on First St, at midnight the other night. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I will not even get into the idiocy of the cycling of the left turn light from Bernal eastbound onto First Street northbound.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Let me guess, you hit all the red lights through Hacienda Business Park? There isn't enough volume through the Park to make synchronization have any effect apparently. And to think that some think getting off 680 at Stoneridge to cut through Pleasanton is going to be fast...

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 20, 2009 at 10:04 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Oh yea, and if lights were synchronized on Stoneridge, you'd have complaints about cycle times like above.

Posted by Lois, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Office Max store employess are required to be hooked up to a hose that drains them of personality and life force prior to their first day of work. It's very effective.

Posted by poster boy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

and people wonder why no businesses thrive downtown. you cannot get there in a reasonable period of time and are better off going to Dublin. Wait til they put Stoneridge through to Livermore and you want to see a back up because they will have to put a stoplight at Newton and another at Dennis and then another 200 yards further down.

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Having stoplights like that is also one way to eliminate cut through traffic. So we can't have it both ways, though I wish we could as well, but that's not the way the math works. If you eliminate all the lights, then people on longer trips will cut through from 580 to 680, increasing the volume of traffic and creating a different problem. So you wouldn't hit the stoplights on your trip, but it would take you just as long because of the volume of traffic. Or maybe you would hit the stoplights because only so many cars could get through per cycle, regardless of the cycle but there would be the potential for more cars to be out there.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Pleasanton has gotten absolutely ridiculous with its light system. Tell me why we need a light at every street corner! Going down Bernal - especially when you need to get to school is ridiculous. If you make one light you stop at another. If you don't make one light you don't make most. It can take 20 minutes to get from Main Street to Foothill easily. Can't we come up with a more sophisticated way to deal with traffic other than a stop light. Why would we need to hire someone with experience - college educated - to determine that if you put a stop light on every corner you can control the flow of traffic.....anyone can do that.

Posted by Marc, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm

I agree we have too many street lights, and there is a lack of synchronization. I remember, though, a while back some residents raised the biggest stink because of roundabouts put in their neighborhood. It seems like roundabouts in certain places like residential areas could be a great solution and compromise. They make street lights unnecessary while allowing you to continue going your way and slowing down speeders.

Oh wait, I think the latter ones may have been the ones that had the roundabouts taken out!

Posted by Jim, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I defy you to come up with a reasonable explanation for the useless and dangerous new signal on Vineyard (at the bottom of the hill just south of the Nursery). That one will cause a major wreck soon.

Posted by Officer Friendly, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:10 am

Oh whats the hubbub? Just drive 55+mph. & you'll never hit another red light timed or not.

Posted by Michele, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:36 am

Really? A blog needs to be started to complain about how long it takes to get from one end of Stoneridge to another? If it's so bad, make that right onto Santa Rita and hop on the freeway. It's not that serious.

Pleasanton isn't the only city with a ton of traffic lights. Have you driven through Oakland lately? Now THAT is rediculous.

Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:39 am

I don't think this is a very valid argument about the issue of shopping downtown. It doesn't take very long to get down Santa Rita or across from Bernal from the freeways.

However, this town is entirely too small to take 15 minutes to get across. Whoever's planning the traffic lights (including Stoneridge) should be embarrassed by their efforts as they've done a terrible job. They've chosen to make it hard for commuters to cut across town for the few hours a day that are commute times at the cost of the residents trying to get around.

If you live in Ruby Hill and want to work out at Club Sport you better pack a snack for the trip.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:42 am

When a light changes to red, and there's not a car or person in sight in either direction, something's wrong. I have lived in Pleasanton about 25 years and being able to get from one end of Hopyard to the other has now become ridiculous. The lights used to be synchronized so that if you maintained a certain legal speed you would hit most of them green. And, I'm not talking about commute times where the "make it tough on everybody" mentality seems to be prevalant in this town. The traffic light synchronization needs a fresh look -- the current traffic coordination is abysmal.

Posted by Ron, a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:50 am

I like to whine and complain on this forum. I'm important and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. Blah blah blah. Get a life.

Posted by ByeBye Hippy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 9:20 am

Since Mike Tassano has been in his position, traffic flow has gone from poor to horrible. It seems Pleasanton has adopted CalTrans Think, first implemented by Gov. Moonbeam Brown and his head of CalTrans, Adrian Gian-turkey, which is to make auto travel as miserable as possible. It appears that the Hippy Mayor has adopted CalTrans Think, and is now imposing it on Pleasanton.

Just another reminder for the next election for Mayor, VOTE HER HONOR, THE HIPPY MAYOR, OUT OF OFFICE!!!

Posted by Missy Chrissy, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 9:25 am


You are so right. Over the last few months I have come to realize that so many things that are not right with Pleasanton these days have a common thread - the Hippy Mayor. It really is time for the voters to give her her walking papers. Maybe she would then run for Mayor of Berzerkly.

Posted by Dollop, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

I think the jury is still out on whether the Traffic Planner is under the spell of the Clueless Mayor or just incompetent. Whichever it is, Pleasanton traffic control could be better done by my 12 year old.

Posted by traaffic is worse, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 9:59 am

The common theme is that the braindead mayor has filled offices with incompetent people, such as Tassano. The error in a few of these posts is that Tassano tries to make the cut-through commute hard on the cut-throughs. He does not. He tries to make cut-through traffic on First St flow endlessly while the cross street traffic waits. If he only had the brains to see that having someone at Neal and First wait for a full 2 minutes when NOT ONE SINGLE CAR goes by on First St is worse than just stupid. Wake up Tassano! Cut-throughs do not drive First St 24/7. Time the lights according to traffic and/or put in triggers to cause the light to change. Sitting at red lights for long periods when there is no cross traffic has caused more than one person to just drive right on through the red light.
I say gut the entire city hall and start over, how much worse could it be? And start them off with salaries that are half of what they get now.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 21, 2009 at 10:08 am

Those of you making mean-spirited comments about Mike Tassano should be ashamed of yourselves. The man needs no defending from me, but I should say that if you think he makes his traffic model decisions lightly or in a vacuum without data, you are wrong. Traffic calculations are a science and a complicated one at that. Furthermore, he initiated the formation of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission in order to promote alternative transportation so you people would get out of your cars. That would be the ultimate solution to traffic. Try it once in awhile. sheesh.

Posted by traaffic is worse, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

Birdland Frank -- the comments are not about Mike personally, I do not even know him, but about his absolute lack of competence regarding the cut-through traffic. Why should First St have 2 full minutes of green, all day every day and all night every night, when the cross streets have cars waiting and there is not a single car on First? I walk everywhere downtown and have the same problem with the lights. The cross streets get 15 seconds of green AFTER waiting for the 2 minute red light to change. Pushing the crosswalk button is no help. I generally walk down to Angela where it is not a genuine traffic signal but the crosswalk flashing lights do allow me to cross without waiting for two minutes.
Tassano needs to see what his timing has done to First St, and it is not good. Ask the four people who have been hit in the crosswalk this past year. They might not have been hit if the left turning cars from Neal onto First had not been in such a hurry because the green light is ONLY 15 SECONDS!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I would think that the four people who have been hit would give an answer regarding the drivers, not Tassano.

Posted by poster boy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

stacey, the point is that there are so many lights and the reds are so long and the greens so short that people are getting frustrated and trying to make it through the intersections. what really fries my a..... is people who cross the street in front of you and walk like they are in compound low. i drive a huge delivery truck with an air horn and when they are doing wait until they are right in front of me and then lay on the horn............pretty funny watching them jump and move a bit quicker.

Posted by traaffic is worse, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Agreed -- the drivers are the ones actually at fault. But Tassano's stupid light timing sets up the problem.
Have you watched the left turn light from Bernal eastbound onto First northbound? You can be sitting in the turn lane with cross traffic (Sunol/First) on green. Then when you (and the westbound Bernal drivers) should get the turn light -- the westbound turners and straight through drivers get it and your turn light cycles on at the very end of the program, if at all. That happens even when there are no drivers in the westbound Bernal lanes! How stupid is that?!? Again, time of day does not matter. I have been in that turn lane at 2 AM and waited for all of the non-existant westbound Bernal vehicles to have their green while my turn light stays red.
There is just no rational thought given to the traffic problems. If Tassano is responsible for traffic then he needs to go. Whether or not he is a "nice guy" the fact is that he is not competent in the traffic management department.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Traffic moves really well on Santa Rita with the synchronization. One can get off at 580 and make it through all green lights to West Las Positas. Sometimes you're lucky and get the green light there too. I'd call that competent in traffic management. It just sounds like the opinion is based on perspective.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Dear Birdland Frank, Your "get out of your car" suggestion was so valuable. Next time I am buyibg a printer at Office Max, I'll just ride my bike over there and strap it on.

Posted by ChicoState, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Traffic Lights?? Seriously!? Ride a bike, Carpool, Wake up 20 minutes earlier. Most of the people on this forum seem to forget what a privilege it is to live in Pleasanton. Take it from someone who grew up there and now lives elsewhere, I wish traffic signals were at the top of my list of things to complain about. My tuition in school was raised 32% this semester while 45 of my class sessions have been furloughed. I'm just saying, my education has been compromised because Californians have lost sight of what is really important for the general benefit of society. Maybe it's time for everyone to reevaluate their priorities.

That said, Pleasanton is an amazing place! I only hope that I am able to return someday and contribute to the community which contributed so much to me!

Posted by poster boy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm


so help us a bit here. what have we adult californians lost sight of that has compromised your education and what do you think would best serve society. Also please tell us what should be done and how the priorities should be changed? Keep in mind our high unemployment and low tax revenue situations.

Posted by Mike Tassano, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Traffic Signal timing in Pleasanton.

It is apparent that there are more questions than answers here in this forum, so I think it is important to clarify a few details about the signal timing and operation here in Pleasanton.

We coordinate several arterials during the week and Santa Rita Road on the weekends (10 AM to 6 PM) During the week our signals on Santa Rita are in coordination from 7 AM to 7 PM. Hopyard is coordinated for the same time frame (although several signals are taken out of coordination during the lighter times of the day). First Street is coordinated from 6 AM to 9:30 AM and from 3 PM to 6:15 PM. Stoneridge (near 680) is coordinated from 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM. Valley Avenue is coordinated from 3:00 PM to 7:15 PM and linked to Santa Rita's southbound left turn.

All of our coordination plans run off a 120 second cycle length. This means that all movements at the intersection are served in 2 minutes (there are times where not every vehicle will be served in that movement, which is due to intersections failing in level of service – ie intersection is too small for the number of people that wish to travel through it).

All other times of the day, all of our signals are operated based on vehicle presence (called free operation).

Our determination to coordinate is based on vehicle volumes. The intent of coordination is to minimize the average delay experienced by all motorists driving through the intersection. When using coordination to minimize average delay, the motorists on the lower volume streets may experience longer delays as they wait for their turn in the 2 minute cycle. Example: First Street and Neal Street During the PM peak hour there are 1500 vehicles driving on First Street compared to 200 vehicles on Neal Street. With 7.5 times the traffic on First Street compared to Neal Street, the time allocation can't be equal. The time allocation for this intersection is 90 seconds for First Street and 30 seconds for Neal Street. There is rarely enough traffic present to keep the signal on Neal Street green for 30 seconds, so as soon as all of the vehicles are served on Neal, the signal will leave the Neal Street movement (we call this an early release) and return to First Street. Again this is the operation during coordination times listed above. If the signal is unresponsive at midnight, then it is likely due to a malfunction as opposed to coordination.

There were several specific complaints that I can address – some I need more information (please call or send me email if I did not address your specific question or concern)

Travel from Ruby Hill to Club Sport – Yes this is a long trip. Most of this route is not coordinated and those routes that are coordinated you are only on for 1 or two signals so that by the time you are in with the rest of the coordinated vehicles, you are turning off of the roadway. The only thing I can do to improve that route via coordination is to implement coordination on all of Stoneridge. We have done this in the past, but what we found was that very few trips actually travel from 1 side of Stoneridge to the other. Most have a destination somewhere in the business park which means, similar to your trip on Santa Rita, the time for most on Stoneridge is only a few cycles and the volume is better served on a free operation.

First/Sunol @ Bernal Intersection – During the peak hours this signal operates at a Level of service E and F (both below our City standard of D), which means that at times not everyone is going to get through the intersection. The signal operation was accurately described in the post. Northbound runs first: then westbound through + left: then westbound and eastbound: then eastbound + eastbound left. We operate with the westbound before the eastbound for 2 reasons, first, the northbound through fills up all space to the north of the intersection, if we started with the eastbound left, there would be no place to go, and vehicles would simply be stuck in the left turn lane. Allowing westbound to go before eastbound allows the traffic congestion to the north of the intersection to dissipate slightly so the eastbound left turn movement will have some capacity to get through the intersection. Second, allowing the westbound movement to run before the eastbound allows additional time to the eastbound movement when westbound traffic is light (see example of early release above).

I am sure there are other comments and concerns regarding our signal system and I encourage you to send me an email or give me a call to discuss them. I have spoken with several of the people posting here and am very willing to listen and try to fix the inefficiencies you see in our circulation system. If you see something that does not make sense or makes you question the operation, please don't hesitate to contact me through our web site or via phone. Our goal in Pleasanton is to provide an efficient system to all users of the roadway and I like to and need to hear from the residents when they are experiencing frustration.

Mike Tassano
Director of Transportation
City of Pleasanton
(925) 931-5670

Posted by poster boy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm


what are you going to do on Stoneridge now that it has been approved to go all the way to Livermore? Will you install additional lights on Newton as well as Dennis? If so, will you remove the traffic calming islands just before these lights as it would seem redundant?

Posted by I'm with Lois, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Good point Lois about Office Max

I bought a paper shredder there once, cost $25. Broke in about a week. Brought it back to replace, they wouldn't do it since due to "wear and tear". Then tried to sell me some special paper, stuff to put on the shredder, etc. Cost more than the shredder did. Wrote to the main office, sure I'll hear pretty soon (was about 18 months ago). Never went back.

Tim, try a new store closer to home.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Wow, thanks Mike for your time in responding. Pretty gracious I might add.

P.S. Calling someone incompetent is "personal".

Posted by Michelle, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Oct 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Dear Mike,

I agree with 'Anonymous', a very gracious response.

I'm certainly no expert on traffic, as many of the other posters here appear to be, but I do subscribe to the idea that many things in life are a trade-off, and based upon your response, traffic coordination appears to fall into that category.

If you read these Town Square postings even occasionally, as I do, you will see that the pattern of traffic here is often negative, and you can even begin to see a pattern to the writing and writers, even though they may post under varying names.

As I said, I'm no expert and so won't comment on your professional abilities, but based on your posting it appears that there's a well though-out reason for the way things are the way they are, and I hope you don't take the comments here too much to heart.

At some point you hope that people will find that there's a more direct and productive way to elicit change in your world than to launch grenades in from the sidelines.

Unfortunately, if you work for our fair city, you are fair game. It's another of life's trade-offs, I guess.

Good luck (and don't let the haters get you down.)

Posted by Patti, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I do not know how he can say that very few people travel from one end of Stoneridge to the other. This is the route most people use to get to the Mall. I would also be interested in knowing the stoplight plan once Stoneridge is extended which I feel is a waste of money and will just create more congestion.

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