As part of its 2017-2018 work plan, the Pleasanton City Council prioritized initiating an El Charro Road feasibility study and traffic modeling in partnership with the Alameda County Transportation Commission – a move that saw supporters and detractors both on the council and within the community.
To promote further public debate on the topic, the Pleasanton Weekly invited Councilwoman Kathy Narum and PleasantonVoters.com president Kelly Cousins to share their opposing viewpoints for a point/counterpoint on studying an El Charro Road extension.
Facts (not fear) should drive decisions
By Kathy Narum
I have been involved in local politics for nearly two decades, and as one of your elected council members, I know the best decisions are driven by facts.
The council recently adopted its two-year work plan, which is based on previously established priorities and policies, as well as your comments and input. Because traffic is among one of this region's most pressing issues, I recommended moving forward with a study on the potential traffic impacts of extending El Charro Road at I-580 to Stanley Boulevard.
How we reduce cut-through traffic on city streets and encourage safer alternative transit opportunities are challenges we must face and resolve, and the answers need to be driven by facts.
Some believe connecting El Charro to Stanley would increase cut-through traffic -- others the opposite -- which is why a traffic analysis will provide us with that information.
That this modeling study originated in the now-shelved east side development proposal doesn't mean we shouldn't conduct a feasibility study to examine traffic mitigation measures. Careful gathering of the facts, including soliciting public input, takes time, which is why I placed the study on the work plan well in advance of the final workshop and why I support doing this work.
I do not support development of the east side until we have a new state-certified housing element in 2022. I do, however, believe the east side will eventually be developed -- how and what kind and when remain open questions.
The information we gather from this traffic study (which can be funded in part with Measure BB funds) will help us answer all of these important questions. I will continue to work with members of our community to address these issues and look forward to hearing from you.
* Editor's note: Kathy Narum has served on the Pleasanton City Council since May 2013.
An El Charro extension offers no benefit to Pleasanton
By Kelly Cousins
Hundreds of community members made it very clear through 300 emails to the City Council and by speaking at public meetings that we do not support a plan for massive residential developments in East Pleasanton.
Additionally, we do not support an extension of El Charro Road from I-580 to Stanley Boulevard. It is imperative to wait and see the full impact from 2,000 new apartments and houses already under construction and how it will affect school overcrowding and traffic congestion.
Recently, the council unanimously conceded to voter pressure and deferred planning of the east side for the next two years. Shortly before the close of the public meeting, however, council members Narum, Pentin and Thorne approved a last-minute feasibility study for the construction of an El Charro Road extension. This critical addition to the city's work plan was approved without adequate notice and input from the public.
An extension of El Charro has many negative impacts. It facilitates building the largest residential development in Pleasanton and it would be a conduit to I-580/East Dublin area, bringing even more traffic to our city streets.
The estimated cost of El Charro is a staggering $90 million -- the equivalent of three new elementary schools. Who foots the bill? Perhaps our half-cent sales tax, Measure BB funds, could be used but how does this benefit Pleasanton with more cut-through traffic? Isn't it funded by our tax dollars?
This is a lose-lose proposition. Extending El Charro from I-580 to Stanley Boulevard does two things: It funnels cut-through traffic from I-580/680, and it is a first step for a massive east side development.
Pleasanton residents can direct and influence the future of our city. Email your concerns to CityCouncil@CityofPleasantonCa.gov and visit www.PleasantonVoters.com to learn more about what is going on in Pleasanton.
* Editor's note: Pleasanton resident Kelly Cousins, Ph.D, is president of PleasantonVoters.com.