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Owens Drive lane reduction remains in place, for now

Original post made on Mar 8, 2017

A stretch of Owens Drive across from the BART station appears on track to stay at one lane, at least in the short-term, after the Pleasanton City Council declined to alter the new configuration Tuesday after hearing from residents lamenting the loss of the old three-lane layout.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 12:30 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

How is it not possible to restore it to 3 lanes? Of course it is. Cement can be removed. It depends on the willingness of the city to hear its residents, instead of hearing (most likely) a developer.

I have always thought Pleasanton made good decisions, most of the time.

Two really bad moves that come to mind though: the above issue, and putting a Chick-a Fillet where they did. What a mess it has created!

Posted by concerned
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 8, 2017 at 10:26 am

The ironic thing is this was designed as a transit development next to BART but they took out city roadway to give more parking for the development. If it were truly transit oriented development, they would not need this extra city property for parking.

City Employee 1: Let's approve a transit oriented development next to BART so it will not put more cars on the road.

City Employee 2: Sounds great. While we are at it, let's give that development some city land so it can increase the development's parking. We all know that transit-oriented developments still produce as many cars and trips as other developments in town, plus students for our schools, but if we call it transit-oriented, people think there will be less traffic and it will be easier to get approved.

Posted by Hansen Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Hansen Curious is a registered user.

A few questions for the City Council:

1. Why were two lanes of Owens Drive in front of BART gifted to the developer? What did we, the taxpayers, gain from this gift?

2. If the new parking spots in front of the development are actually built on City land, then do we, the tax-payers, have the right to park in those spots when we ride BART?

3. The article indicates the BART parking lots on Owens will be developed in the future and Owens narrowed to two lanes in the West bound direction. If the parking lot is developed, where do you expect BART users to park?

Posted by Karen
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Karen is a registered user.

I recall that the City wanted retail there and they required the diagonal parking and lane reduction to accomodate that street parking when the apartments were built. It was not a gift to the developer, it was simply a bad decision foisted on the development design by the then commissions and council to create a transit oriented mixed use area near BART. . Councilwoman Brown fails to understand that the city can not now after the fact require the developer to do the widening. That $1M estimated work would be on the backs of the taxpayers and to pretend otherwise is a classic case of alternative facts. People need to figure out other routes like Chabot and back to Hopyard if they dont want to wait 10-12 more seconds per the traffic report. As a taxpayer, Im not paying to fix a perceived inconvenience. Id rather use $1M of our hard earned money to fund important things.

Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

@ Hansen curious. 3 great questions!!! Would like to add a 4th- If the developer had only been allowed to put buildings on that lot that fit that lot would they still need to take away our public streets for their gain?? I have never seen this done in any other cities in the Bay Area, we may have set a new precedent where the taxpayers buy the land, put the streets and infrastructure in then give it to the developers for their own gain!! Now we find out that the Bart parking lot may soon go away to more developers and Owens will be further narrowed? Maybe I'm missing something here but didn't our tax dollars pay for that parking lot also?

Posted by Hansen Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

Hansen Curious is a registered user.

@ Karen - I respectfully disagree. The developer was given a footprint to work within by the City. The footprint in this case was not only the dimensions of the empty lot, but included two lanes of Owens drive. The gift from the City to the developer was the ability to build additional units and meet the City's requirement to developed mixed-use units. Without the gift from the City, the developer would not have been able to build as many units and not be able to maximize their profit.

The City gave away public property to enrich the developer (and possibly themselves through kickbacks and/or campaign contributions).

Posted by Shpcapt
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

Shpcapt is a registered user.

This was a bad decision by the City and I see it as a free gift to the developer. But like everything else the City staff and the majority in the council does not give a damn if the residents get inconvenienced. Maybe the best solution will be to make two lanes on both sides. Secondly why are we making this are pedestrian friendly? That should be downtown.

Posted by Karen
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2017 at 10:49 am

Karen is a registered user.

Dear Hansen - thanks for being respectful in your disagreement. I think the cost to the builder to re-construct the new street ( curbs, drainage, signal relocation, etc) would probably be the trade off for any new units which was by the way needed for RHNA per the affordable housing lawsuit. Plus it appear the vacant retail space was also another builder cost and will unlikely be profitly leased if Dublin transit center is any example. The point is, the City required it so to have the developer now go back and fix it at another $1M is not fair nor legal. Perhaps the City can do a better program of posting alternate routes since many people use only Owens to get to the freeway. I still dont understand why they dont turn right and go back to Hopyard or go to Stoneridge to El Charro.

Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

I'm 99% sure the developer overbuilt on that lot for maximum profit and not because the city or state or Feds required them to do so! Somebody really sharpened their pencil on this project and now it's all money in the bank. If I add a low income rental unit on my property can I bump it out into my street and maybe over pass my property line into my neighbors yard, I'll even throw in a small retail store on the bottom floor! It's great to be a builder in this town, anything goes.

Posted by Hansen Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 9, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Hansen Curious is a registered user.

It appears from the City Council meeting this past Tuesday the same situation is going to occur in the near future. This time, the City and BART are giving away the tax-payer funded BART parking lot off Owens to developers. Will the development include a parking garage or will it go the same way as in Dublin where the BART parking lots were converted to housing units forcing BART riders to park over a mile away?

The BART parking lot will be developed into high density housing, the City will gift the developer one, possibly two lanes of Owens Drive, and the tax-payers will be left with no where to park and a further narrowed Owens drive.

Posted by Really
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Really is a registered user.

Here's the real truth - the City MADE the developer include the retail space. The Developer was opposed to this as there is no market for it. THEN, the City (both former council members and former and current staff) MADE the developer add the parking and make the lane reduction - at the Developer's cost. There was no GIFT to the developer. It was an additional COST that they had to absorb. When it comes to development - there are never and GIFTs to Developers - it's all cost until they can get the project to market after risking MILLIONS of $$ and time and then HOPEFULLY, the will make a profit and then pay TAXES to support all of the GIFTS that government makes to everyone else.

Posted by Sachin B
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Sachin B is a registered user.

Owens drive is huge safety issue for walkers, drivers and all.We need the 3 lanes back. Pls do show for on March 14, Tuesday night at 6:00, at the Operations Center, 3333 Busch Rd and speak. We will also ask for request an 'Amendment to the Hacienda development agreement that will not allow future lane reduction without a public vote'. Also below is a copy of letter I sent to the Mayor and council, after the Mar 7 meeting. Pls do sign the online petition.
Web Link
To: City Council Member

Re: The Narrowing of Owens Drive
Attention: Mayor Thorne

Thank you for putting Owens drive on agenda and having a discussion.
We understand this decision was made in 2011, but as you have learned from multiple speakers, its a big safety issue and a nightmare for commuters going for work and earn their livelihood using BART.

Thee time has increased from a few seconds to several minutes thus taking up to 10 times to travel to.

None of us got your point that narrowing the road helps walkers/bikers. For example, Santa Rita and Las Positas, Hopyard near Pleasanton Sport park are our best examples, where we have 3 lanes each with many more walkers crossing safely.

When a walker has to cross 3 lanes such as Santa Rita, he/she is very careful. At Owens where narrowed, people think its just one lane, and rush across the walk wait signal, to catch the train, as traffic engineer admitted. That is why most cities create a walk over bridge in front of BART.

Thank you for acknowledging the emergency vehicle issue. Owens drive is unique as it has John Muir Urgent Care and Valley Care hospital at opposite ends. Even if one person in ambulance is struck and suffers due to this, it is one too many.

Again, I request you to acknowledge this serious problem and take it up in the next plan meet to widen Owens now; not wait 6 months. What we have now, I believe, has not happened anywhere in California and we all should not put Pleasanton on the map.

Appreciate your support.

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