Crews embed lights in crosswalk at Angela and First streets

Crossing is popular during Saturday Farmers' Markets

Crews Thursday installed lights into the pavement to enhance the crosswalk at the intersection of First and Angela streets downtown, a popular crossing for those attending the Saturday Farmers' Markets.

The crosswalk improvements, which cost $26,000, were funded through the city's Capital Improvement Program. It is now the fourth lit crosswalk system in city limits. The other three are located at Santa Rita Road and Francisco Street (adjacent to the Safeway shopping center); at Valley Avenue and Northway Road (near Harvest Park Middle School); and at Valley Avenue and Laguna Creek Lane (west of Hearst Elementary School).

Workers began Wednesday installing the roadway warning lights and posting signage, where a crosswalk already exists. The enhanced crosswalk is expected to help drivers see pedestrians more clearly and help them safely cross the busy thoroughfare.

The warning lights, which project outwards to alert drivers, increase the percentage of motorists who yield to pedestrians and typically increase the distance that drivers brake for those crossing, according to a report by the Transit Cooperative Research Program and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.

Joshua Pack, senior transportation engineer for the city, said the lighted crosswalk will contain 10 in-roadway warning lights and two flashing pedestrian signs. There are also two audible pedestrian buttons which gives a warning that "vehicles may not stop," and to "cross with caution." The system will operate by solar power and wireless communication from the push buttons to the lights.

First and Angela, while being a very busy intersection, hasn't seen any reported pedestrian-related collisions in the past year, Pack said, but the city typically determines where to add enhancements after a number of people have called in to complain about the danger of particular crossings. The crossing is not only a popular route for pedestrians going to the Farmers' Markets, but also for students exiting classes at Village High School nearby as well as downtown residents and workers traveling on foot. Equally, First Street can be a bottleneck for drivers in the mornings, sometimes at lunch and in the evenings.

That's why Pack said a traffic light or stop signs wouldn't be an appropriate use for the intersection.

"When stop signs get put in, it forces the driver to stop even if they're going the speed limit and there's typically an increase in rear-end collisions," he said. "Drivers also tend to increase speed in between stops."

When Pack plugged First and Angela into the city's traffic simulation model to see the effect of a four-way stop, the model projected a dramatic impact to traffic at the intersection, resulting in an additional average delays ranging from five to seven minutes per vehicle in the morning and afternoon peak hours of traffic.

In other words, the stop signs would only be shifting the problem elsewhere.

"The resulting delays would force traffic to divert to other nearby roadways in an effort to bypass the all-way stop, and roads like Main Street, Peters, Second Street, Bernal Avenue, etcetera, would see a significant spike in traffic during these hours," he added.

A stop light, Pack said, would be a much larger expense--costing in the $180,000 range.

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Like this comment
Posted by walker
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm

This is going to be a huge improvement providing the PPD actually violates cell yappers who fly past anyone in a crosswalk. These idiots SEE the pededtrians they just refuse to YIELD to them. PPD are you up to it for a change?

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I do not think this is a good use of funds. The lights do not show up and I've watched many cars just fly through the one on Santa Rita Rd with no difference from any other cross walk. In and around town I find that both drivers and pedestrians are equally at fault for not paying attention to each other. I've had pedestrians dart out in front of my car and walk right behind me as I'm pulling out of a parking space in a very tight lot. I think they figure if they get hit it's the driver's problem and they'll just sue. We need to instill some common sense into both parties on the road. Perhaps the legal system would be better to spend funds on educating people rather than awarding money for every little thing that people don't want to take responsibility for. Putting a stop light on every corner and lights all over town is not going to help this behavior.

Like this comment
Posted by Milli
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 5:55 pm

The lighted crosswalk across from Hollywood Video on Santa Rita Road is like a sparkly invitation to a violent death.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm

The cell phone morons have working eyes that stare straight ahead, but they don't see what they're looking at, they're in their heads, they're on the phone, what do you want--their attention on the road??!!

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm

There is nothing anybody can say that will ever convince me that the Pleasanton Police Department is anything but E X C E L L E N T!

As for walker the TROLL, get lost creep! PRONTO!

Like this comment
Posted by sue
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Why not a STOP sign, much cheaper.

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Sue, on the surface it sounds as if a Stop sign would be cheaper, and in initial monetary/labor outlay, it most certainly is. In terms of having each car in all directions stop for very few pedestrians a very few times of the day or week, it's a very substantial waste in terms of fuel stops/starts and traffic flow. I'm not a traffic engineer, but I think I see the logic of this flashing crosswalk device. If it can increase visibility and save lives at the same time that it keeps traffic flowing at the non-used times, I think it's a good deal.

Like this comment
Posted by Kiley
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:43 am

Wherever some people think a flashing crosswalk would be a good thing, there should be a light. A light a pedestrian can activate, like the one across form Amador High School. The flashing crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security. Drivers blow right through those things, people are on the phone.

Like this comment
Posted by Downtown Mom
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

As a downtown resident, this intersection needs something and with all of the Livermore/580/680 cut-thru drivers, a light and stop sign are not viable. As a pedestrian AND driver, I have been on the both ends of a close call at that intersection. At night, as a driver, it is virtually impossible to see pedestrians. Pedestrians often cross at night, with downtown diners, fairgoers, concert in the park, etc. and this will definitely help call attention to the crosswalk. I am a huge supporter of the lighted crosswalk, but will still not let my guard down with my kids or myself while crossing...nothing is a panacea, but this will be a huge help--thanks City of Pleasanton for using funds for this important safety issue!

Like this comment
Posted by street crosser
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

The intersection of Angela and 1st is totally different than the Santa Rita speedway. The new crosswalk will be on a 25mph street, not one that people drive 45mph on. Pleasanton police to a fine job, maybe they should step things up at these crosswalks and other crosswalks near schools, to enlighten drivers who are unaware of the laws. These lights are not an opportunity to let down one's guard, but an alert to notify drivers that someone is probably in the crosswalk. Like at a traffic signal: when the light turns green; do you go immediately because you are correct, or do you make sure the person on the cell phone or speeding is not going to smash you? This is not an economic issue, this is community safety issue.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom Gallagher
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:16 am

It is about time that some action is taken. This is one of the most dangerous intersection in town. I am not sure it will help in the daytime . The selfish idiots, who have no respect for pedestriants, will still ignore the crosswalk, It will help considerably at night.
Also the lighting at that intersection is very poor. The city put in the new lights between Stanley to Angela. They should have continued to Bernal. Also the PPD should patrol that intersection more.
I also agree that a stop sign or stop light would be better. Maybe we would reduce the cut through traffic.

Like this comment
Posted by walker
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm

What we really need is a stoplight that continually flashes yellow until a pedestrian hits the switch. Then it should immediately cycle to red for at least 45 seconds. Whoa, think of the ways we could mess with the stupid cut-throughs. Just stand at the corner and walk back and forth, constantly cycling the light to red. Find another street to garbage up you speeding cut-throughs!

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

That's a VERY busy corner, especially on Saturdays with the Farmer's Market, and when there are events a block away at Wayside Park. I'd recommend a traffic light, actually.

Like this comment
Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Why would we need a $50k stoplight system?? Hire a senior citizen with an orange vest, a hand-held stopsign [a la school crossing guards] and pay them $8 hr. during events or the busiest time of day.

ps. they ought to be armed with a paintball gun and shoot at any car which fails to stop. Cops citywide would be authorized to cite any driver driving a car with paintball blotches!! That'll teach 'em.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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