Pleasanton council to debate redesign of downtown parking lot

Also: City's 125th anniversary ceremony, LGBTQ Pride Month proclamation & new Ambassadog

The Pleasanton City Council is set to discuss giving final direction on the plans for redesigning and expanding the city's downtown parking lot on the former railroad property between Bernal Avenue and Abbie Street on Tuesday night.

City staff are looking for input from the council on their design concept -- which calls for adding 81 new stalls to the municipal lot, plus other renovations -- after the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee recommended the council rework the plans to make the trail within the lot wider, likely by reducing the number of new parking spots.

"The proposed design maximizes parking, while providing a bicycle and pedestrian concrete walkway that at several pinch points are still the same width as the entire (Firehouse Arts Center) parking lot concrete trail, and complies with the 8-foot minimum width requirements as indicated in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, but without the recommended 2-foot buffer on each side of the walkway," Steve Kirkpatrick, the city's director of engineering, said in his staff report to the council.

The city-owned lot on the south end of downtown, generally parallel to Main Street, currently contains 59 diagonal parking spaces in a dirt/gravel strip in the so-called transportation corridor -- former Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way running through downtown that the city purchased from Alameda County in 2008 to increase parking and trail connectivity.

The council in 2017, as part of prioritizing more public parking throughout downtown, supported a proposed project to redesign the Bernal-to-Abbie section of the transportation corridor to create a lot more similar to the Firehouse Arts Center parking lot that was also built in the old railroad corridor.

City officials have allocated $3.2 million for the project, and city staff and contractor HMH Engineers are ready with partial designs (known as "65% complete plans").

Their plans call for creating a two-way drive aisle, a 90-degree parking configuration on each side, a concrete walkway and landscaping improvements while creating a total of 140 parking spots.

The project would also include a retaining wall, site lighting, electric vehicle charging stations, drainage improvements, stormwater treatment, curb, gutter, asphalt pavement and striping, according to Kirkpatrick.

When city staff took the plans to the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee for review in March, the committee majority thought the designs too unevenly favored parking over cyclist and pedestrian needs, specifically opposing the trail that maintained 9 feet in width, other than several pinch points at 8 feet wide, according to Kirkpatrick.

The committee voted to recommend the project be redesigned to "consider both parking and bicycle/pedestrians more equally," he said. Though not formally endorsing a specific new layout, the committee did discuss widening the trail by mixing 90-degree parking with parallel parking -- instead of all perpendicular, as city staff urges.

For their part, Parks and Recreation Commission members acknowledged the committee's concerns and recommended other options be explored to increase trail width, but they did not make a formal motion requesting the plans be changed, according to Kirkpatrick.

He points out several key factors at the site don't really allow engineers to create a layout on city property that widens the trail without losing parking stalls, including the available city land is only 75 feet wide (compared to the Firehouse lot, which is 100-foot-wide). For those reasons, and more, city officials stand by their original recommendation for the parking lot layout.

Still, staff will present the council with alternatives to consider such as a smaller lot, diagonal parking (31 new spots), eliminating landscape buffers, or the mixed perpendicular-parallel parking suggestion from the committee (48 new spots).

Council members will be asked to make the call Tuesday night on whether to advance the current plans for completion or send staff and consultants back to the drawing board to create a new layout with a wider trail.

The parking lot is the main discussion item on the council's regular meeting agenda, scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber at the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

In other business

* The council will open the meeting with a ceremony recognizing the 125th anniversary of Pleasanton's incorporation as a city -- which occurred on June 18, 1894.

The public ceremony at 7 p.m., which follows a community reception at 6:30 p.m., will include a recognition of the city's history, a review of the very first council meeting minutes and a performance of an original song by Pleasanton teen Lauyrn Hedges.

* Council members will present a proclamation declaring June as LGBTQ Pride Month in Pleasanton.

* They will also honor Jeffrey Williams as Pleasanton's 2019 Ambassadog, a program partnership with the Valley Humane Society to recognize one local pup as the city's canine representative for the year.

* The council will consider final adoption of the city's two-year operating budget (which calls for $192.3 million in expenditures for 2019-20 and $196.1 million for 2010-21) as well as the city's four-year capital improvement program (CIP), which recommends $168.3 million worth of projects between 2019-20 and 2022-23.

The budget and CIP, which were initially reviewed by the council during a public hearing two weeks ago, are listed among Tuesday night's 18-item consent calendar -- a collection of items deemed routine and voted upon all at once unless pulled for separate, individual consideration.

Other consent items include a resolution approving new rates for solid waste, recycleables and organics materials collection; a $918,000 contract with CleanStreet for citywide sweeping services in streets and city-owned parking lots; and a design approval for the new, $108,000 tot lot playground proposed for the west side of Valley Trails Park.

* Sitting as the Board of Directors of Pleasanton's geological hazard abatement districts (GHADs), council members will consider approving annual assessments for the GHADs in Oak Tree Farm, Moller Ranch, Laurel Creek Estates and Lemoine Ranch Estates.

* The council will also meet in closed session at 6:15 p.m. to discuss a pending workers' compensation case.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Jun 17, 2019 at 6:03 pm

What is with that large crater on the middle of Santa Rita Rd with the broken pipes near the intersection of Rosewood?

Also, the city is looking pretty ratty with all the weeds. What's up with the dead trees and shrubs and weeds being left in the medians? The city is certainly showing the neglect in its maintenance and our once beautiful city looks run down.

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 17, 2019 at 7:09 pm

"He points out several key factors at the site don't really allow engineers to create a layout on city property that widens the trail without losing parking stalls,"

There are no other proposed routes through downtown appropriate for all ages. Why are we creating the bare minimum for pedestrians and cyclists on the only route? What about seniors who might want to use the completed trail from the senior center on a powered chair or tricycle?

The Iron Horse trail is crowded at 10ft with shoulders, and we think 8ft without shoulders is okay in a downtown trail? You'll just see

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 17, 2019 at 7:19 pm

*You'll just see me keep biking on the road, and I'm not even a speedster.

4 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 18, 2019 at 9:57 am

Why not build a multi level parking garage? It can be designed to blend in and you will have land leftover to do a better job on a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. Multi level means more parking spots too. Take note of Livermore, they did a great job! Sad to see our city so behind the times.

17 people like this
Posted by Brad
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 18, 2019 at 10:22 am

Brad is a registered user.

Bicycling is good - BUT bike riders want everything THEIR way without watching their own safety or own best interest or paying for improvements. Let them start obeying the traffic laws . I just saw a rider ride through red traffic signal at Stoneridge & Johnson at 5:45 am. How about riders riding 3-4 abreast on Foothill Rd and none riding within the bike lanes- AND riding through stop signs without looking direction. How about riding through red lights an Hopyard & Valley.

9 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2019 at 11:15 am

Flightops is a registered user.

Bikers are some of the worst offenders of our traffic laws, good call “Brad” I’ve witnessed just about everything you point out, it’s only a matter of time before these bikers become everyday statistics.
Now that pleasanton has followed Dublin’s lead how about we jump out ahead and declare a “ veterans pride “ month, I don’t really care which month just pick one and set a precedent for a change.

3 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm

It never ceases to amaze that anytime anything related to bicycles is talked about, the top comments are always “I saw a cyclist do this!” and related anecdotes, as if it is the responsibility of law abiding cyclists to police the crazies. As if bike riders are this class that are all a mind-melding collective about what they want.

This facility is serving an entirely different class of user than your über confident road cyclist. This is primarily for kids and for families to ride on. This is for people that don’t even bike today because they don’t feel safe.

This parking lot is being built with general taxes, so the point about “paying” is not relevant, and in either case cars don’t pay the full cost of roads much less pollution.

11 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 19, 2019 at 8:44 am

Jack is a registered user.

Please maximize the parking on this one... The Downtown merchants and patrons deserve it...

6 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm

I can’t walk too far especially with packages and kids. We need more parking downtown close to Main Street. Bicyclists just want to speed through from trail to trail for exercise. I don’t see many actually biking to downtown for restaurants to warrant taking away some 30-40 stalls!!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2019 at 12:38 pm


"I don't see any people swimming across the river, why should we build a bridge?"

This cyclist wants to bike slowly into downtown Pleasanton via Stanley and all the way through.

It's not "taking away" 30-40 stalls, it's building 80 additional vs 40 additional, in a parking lot that already only fills to 60% capacity at its current size.

This parking lot isn't going to solve Main street parking issues. They're separate problems.

2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm

sjd, if you require going through our downtown and beyond...take Highway 84.

2 people like this
Posted by Reality Bites
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Reality Bites is a registered user.

@ Pete - you want sjd to ride on Hwy 84? Are you kidding me? I hate driving on 84 let alone ride on it and I have been riding for 40 years. It is not a bike friendly rode.

3 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2019 at 7:04 pm

Exactly...! 84 is have someone from Livermore whose expertise is required within their own downtown(Livermore). sjd made some excellent in, "appropriate for all age groups". Parking is a necessary requirement on the South end of town...and the Iron Horse Trail does just fine...except where service/maintenance intertwines with County/Zone 7 and City of Pleasanton. 9' is good for downtown. Or go to the meetings a former mayor once told me...nothing happens from a blog.

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm

I’ve been tirelessly working on the Livermore downtown plan too, as well as repaving projects (the bike lane as part of the repair on Jack London, for example)

I was at the meeting yesterday. But I’m on here because I’m trying to convince others it was not the right result, because apparently 15 people, Bike East Bay, EBRPD, and the statewide Rails to Trails association wasn’t enough to convince your city council to make it a usable trail instead of a sidewalk.

It might be 9’,” directly next to a retaining wall with no shoulder, maybe, if staff can find a way to do it, but it will involve likely another retaining piece. Two walls, no landscaping, still not to the standard written into multiple plans over the last 15 years. All for a parking lot that isn’t even 70% full during peak hour.

3 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:33 am

Maybe you are best to stick to Livermore downtown planning and not Pleasanton. It sounds like you are a relatively recent transplant who gets on committees, complains, criticizes anyone who disagrees with your mission(s) and then moves out of the area. A lot of posters have been here for decades

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:53 am


I will not stop trying. It is an imperative that we allow alternative forms of transportation for climate change and for reasons of equity.

In other regions of the country and world this would probably be the same jurisdiction.

I do not criticize anyone who disagrees with my mission, I criticize people who do not have the facts and who throw away years of work by informed citizens at a moment’s notice. I have pointed out data and facts to back up my assertions. And while I’ve only been here for 3 years, the other people at the meeting with me have been here for decades too.

3 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:34 pm

Wow, three years and you have all the facts already! I sure called this one. Many in my circle including myself have served over the 30 years on committees and task forces. We’ve seen many changes and understand the background on parking, bicycle use, noise, etc. Our downtown a wonderful place that just did not happen overnight. Please don’t tell us you know everything and have all the answers if we don’t agree with you.

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 21, 2019 at 7:30 am


Stop. Read. People who have been serving on the bike/ped/trails committee who have been here for decades, like you, voted unanimously against this plan. The people who were there at council were by and large long time residents.

But being here for a long time doesn't give you a monopoly on facts. No one brought up their own study of parking use in this lot, nor radii to businesses nearby explaining why the lot is not used. They did not present a viable alternative route for the ability group this is targeting. One of the councilmembers even expressed surprise after the meeting that improving alternative routes like Peters as called for in the draft Downtown Plan would necessarily remove parking there, in an area where the parking actually is full at peak hour per city data.

You keep putting words in my mouth like "claiming to know everything." There's a difference between having facts and claiming to know everything. But the people who showed up on Tuesday who were against the bike plan used no data at all, and logically shoddy justifications for throwing out the work of the committees over the years. You yourself have presented nothing here otherwise and are simply attacking me, and it shows.

5 people like this
Posted by Fifty Years Here
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 21, 2019 at 9:07 am

Fifty Years Here is a registered user.

sjd, facts are great, as are well meaning and active citizens, but there's no substitute for a knowledge of history for having lived through it. Can you picture a time when Pleasanton's Main Street was 80% bars and gas stations? Can you envision a day when Old Bernal was the only Bernal? (My mom used to try to "get air" in her Camaro at the train crossing there!) Could you point out the location of Sunol Hay and Grain, the Round-up Room, or the original Rose Hotel? Can you name the dining establishment nearest the parking lot discussed in this article?
So while you show up to meetings with bike path dimensions and maps and charts, I show up with the memory of a burger once grilled on that site, slathered in a unique mustard based sauce, with the feeling of lint under my finger nails as I struggle for the nickel that will allow me to upgrade a medium Fresca, as I sat down on a red picnic table in front of the B.J. Corral. Yes! The B.J. Corral!

7 people like this
Posted by been there
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 21, 2019 at 9:34 am

I'll try posting again as my last two have been rejected or not posted for some reasn.
I'd like to suggest a parking garage on the site in question. The bike trail could be incorporated on the ground level and might include bike parking. It could be as wide as needed. Then the upper levels could accomodate more cars and reduce the burden on street parking. We are very much behind the times when it comes to creating a thriving downtown. Other communities such as Napa, Menlo Park, Los Altos have successfully utilized long narrow lots behind the main street to provide free public parking.

Another solution if at-grade parking is still preferred, then widen the bike lane by making it a ONE WAY drive lane.

We'd better do something meaningful and QUICKly about the lack of parking downtown, or the people will take their business to Dublin or Livermore where they already have plenty of good free parking for shops, restaurants and businesses.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

I’d say we better figure out our downtown really quick before the developers finish taking over our downtown and build more stack and pack housing ! What is going on with our PDA and our City Council ?? HELLO, the citizens are talking, can you hear us??

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

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