Tri-Valley leaders meet to discuss traffic problems and solutions

2018 Tri-Valley Transportation Summit takes aim at congestion

Regional leaders gathered last week to discuss traffic congestion at the 2018 Transportation Solutions Summit in Pleasanton, and while many solutions were offered, leaders agreed the best way to tackle the issue was through continued collaboration between local municipalities.

Issues panelists discussed included the amount of truck flow streaming throughout the region, commute times, overflow into city streets, traffic from the San Joaquin Valley and the formation of a regional light rail for commuters.

"It takes collaboration and not just among local governments ... If you don't collaborate, whether it is across partisan lines or across regional lines, we will not get the job done," Assemblywoman Catharine Baker said at the forum. "Every single person on this stage knows how to collaborate, we just have got to spread and multiply it as much as possible."

The event featured a panel discussion and Q&A segment by leaders from across the region, including Baker, BART board member John McPartland, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley (the event's moderator), Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Livermore Mayor John Marchand, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne. The Bay East Association of Realtors hosted the event at the Rosewood Commons Conference Center on Oct. 3.

"In the Tri-Valley region, traffic congestion, commute options, cut-through traffic all directly impact the quality of life. Bay East has brought together this group of elected leaders at this exclusive event to share with the public their perspectives on what the future of transportation, and the quality of life, will be like in the Tri-Valley," said David Stark, public affairs director for the association.

While panelists covered a variety of topics, conversation soon turned to the controversial Assembly Bill 2923, which will allow BART to construct and govern housing units on its land within a half mile of its stations. Many local leaders including Baker opposed this decision, lamenting the loss of control local municipalities will have over the planning of their streets.

"It shows us an example of what government should not do, which is make a problem likely worse," Baker said. "Instead of collaborating, it's taking from local agencies that know how to do housing, and giving it to a transit agency which is struggling just to meet its primary mission. We will have to work together and I am eager to lead the way on this, on how we can not only mitigate problems but make sure that the progress that we've made locally, (is not) going to go backwards."

McPartland also viewed concern over the legislation, and said it is unfortunate that large population centers such as San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco have made the decision for the Tri-Valley.

"The power goes where the money flows. The large municipalities that have the majority of the power are solving their own problems and they are doing it at the expense of the highways and of the Tri-Valley area," McPartland said. "2923 basically empowers BART to build high-density, high-rise affordable housing, wherever, whenever and however it wants too... Communities need to be vocal and continue to fight and create solutions, so we don't have to compete head to head with those large interests."

The leaders were optimistic about other projects though. Thorne confirmed that funding has been secured for the completion of Highway 84, which he says will break ground in 2022, hopefully sooner.

"It's great because it only took us 30 years to get here," Thorne said, chuckling. "But that having been said I am really pleased to announce that (Regional Measure 3), that you folks voted for, will complete the funding needed to finish Highway 84 all the way between 580 and 680."

Thorne added that the securing of adequate funding would not have been possible without the collaboration and support of local officials, in addition to the community of voters.

On a more cautionary note, Thorne maintained that the issue of traffic may spiral out of control if leaders do not install realistic solutions soon.

"I think that if we are not careful, the free economy is going to take care of it for us and companies will not stay here," Thorne said. "If we keep increasing the cost of housing, if we don't have enough transit to make things work, we are going to lose our businesses."

The summit was recorded by TV30 and will be aired tonight at 7 p.m. and Saturday morning at 7 a.m. on TV28.

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3 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

Carol is a registered user.

Mayor Thorne notes a concern about corporations leaving due to traffic and housing prices. But he just voted to increase fees which are over $140,000.00 between city, school and water for each new home with no reduction for higher density, smaller units near BART where the business park is located.

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Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2018 at 9:48 am

justwondering is a registered user.

Carol, the $140,000 is based on a 3,000 square foot home.

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Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 11, 2018 at 8:50 am

Frankie is a registered user.

This amount is based on a 3,000 sf house according to the article. Fees are adjusted but not exempted for smaller houses at the increased rates if I understand correctly. Water and traffic fees for example are per home or lot. And the school district always demands more money beyond the State mandate and the City demands more money for affordable housing than the local ordinance. Both agencies call it a “gift”. We need to follow the money to see these monies are being properly spent at least.

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Posted by Barry
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:27 am

Barry is a registered user.

If Highway 84 is to be really effective, why does Livermore and Pleasanyon put all those signals in on Isabel to allow left turns. Look at Vineyard Avenue and Isabel. What a mess of a backup. Keep it an expressway and limit it to right turns only at most intersections except for primary streets. It takes so long, I dont bother anymore and drive through Pleasanton which I thought was a reason to build 84– limit cut through traffic

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Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 11, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Speaking of following the money what happens to all the “in lieu of parking” fees the city collects for letting all these new developments put in less than minimal parking? Squeezing these multiple units onto small lots without allowing for parking onsite for overflow parking only means our streets will have to absorb all these extra vehicles while allowing the builders maximum profit, wake up city planning.

2 people like this
Posted by Barry
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Barry is a registered user.

Map, in lieu parking fees are favored by the City because presumably residents will take BART therefore not need a car, and because the City is behind in meeting its share of housiing per the State. I suppose it makes sense in a super urban area, but not here. Dont blame the developers. I think they would rather provide adequate and realistic parking than pay in lieu fees for limitied parking because it makes apartments or condos more difficult to sell for a price high enough to cover all the land purchase, fees, units designated for low income residents (zero profits but passed on to the market rate buyers), and construction and labor expenses. Its a social engineering approach favored by no-growthers like Matt Sullivan who was the champion of the apartments across from BART which restricted Owens Drive to two lanes and limited the amount of residential parking.

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