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Amador Valley High working ahead of expected traffic troubles

Parking shortage at start of new school year has families, neighbors on edge

With the first day of school now just a week away, Pleasanton Unified School District staff are hastily finalizing plans to help Amador Valley High School students and staff get to campus smoothly while the parking lot facing Santa Rita Road is reconfigured and a new solar panel structure is installed.

Construction kicked off several weeks ago with the removal of speed bumps and light posts in the parking lot, and the school’s old marquee sign by the main entrance. The structure that the solar panels will be fixed on went up last week, and PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon told the Weekly that crew members will install the solar panels over the next two weeks.

Work is expected to finish by mid-October; more than 400 parking spaces will be unavailable until then, which has some Amador families and neighbors anticipating unnavigable traffic and parking problems on their streets. To combat congestion around the campus and increase safety during construction, PUSD is partnering with several public and private entities to offer transportation alternatives and options.

"Our district office team has put together a variety of eco-friendly options for our Amador Valley High School students to get safely to and from school,” PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said in a statement. “We hope this short-term impact to student parking will be an opportunity to encourage more students and families to try different and more eco-friendly ways to get to and from school. This is a chance for our families and district to engage positive environmental stewardship, as we strive to model ourselves as global citizens for our students and future generations."

Families doing walk-through registration at the school this week received a flyer listing ways to get to Amador. Those services and resources are also on the PUSD website at http://bit.ly/AVHSTransportOptions and listed below as well.

Walking and biking

Students are encouraged to hit the pavement if they live close or to try biking to Amador. Additional bike racks have been added to accommodate more riders and are located at several locations at the school. There are dedicated pedestrian/bike entrances leading onto campus that can be viewed on a circulation map posted on the district website.

Wheels Bus

The Tri-Valley's Wheels has expanded service by adding more departure and arrival times on its 605 and 611 routes to accommodate A period students. The extra bus times start Aug. 12 and will operate until the Santa Rita parking lot reopens.

The first bus will arrive at Amador around 6:40 a.m. and leave at 4:15 p.m. The transit agency will also honor free rides on both routes for all Amador student IDs. Students can apply for the city of Pleasanton’s "AVHS Try Transit Program," where they will receive a free 10-day transit pass that is good for any route including the 10R. Passes are available while they last at www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/gov/avhstrytransit/.

Shuttle service

PUSD has also contracted with Black Tie Transportation for shuttle service that will be offered before and after classes. Three shuttle stops have been each added at Pleasanton Middle School, Harvest Park Middle School and St. Augustine Catholic Church on Bernal Avenue. There is no parking for students at either school but the church has 70 parking spaces for use in its lot. Shuttle schedules are posted on the district website.

Student loading

Carpooling is strongly encouraged and PUSD and the city of Pleasanton have designated six zones for student pickup and dropoff at: Black Avenue, Del Valle Parkway, the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center parking lot, Santa Rita Road next to the Aquatic Park, Santa Rita Frontage Road, and the student parking lot loop and Amador Theater lot loop.

PUSD and the city previously contemplated a loading location at Gatetree Circle, but it was removed from consideration after neighbors raised traffic safety concerns.

No student parking is allowed at the aquatic center parking lot or along Santa Rita Frontage Road. Flaggers will be onsite helping with traffic flow.

A circulation map and loading zones are on PUSD’s website.

Campus parking

There will still be some parking on campus in very limited supply and prioritized for use by pre-approved select groups, according to PUSD.

About 121 temporary parking spaces on the blacktop behind the large gym and the first level of the parking garage on the backside of campus are both reserved for school staff. The second level of the parking garage, remaining backlot and 50 spots in the front Santa Rita lot will be prioritized for regional occupational program students and seniors. District staff strongly discourage driving to campus and advise using alternative transportation options like those listed above.

Parking in adjacent neighborhoods is still limited to permit parking for residents only.

For shuttle schedules, bus routes, pickup/drop off locations, circulation map and more, visit http://bit.ly/AVHSTransportOptions.

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