With several thousand new residents moving into new apartment complexes being built to comply with court- and state-mandated housing requirements, concerns over the adequacy of Pleasanton schools, water capacity and especially traffic are dominating local public discussions.
In response to neighborhood complaints, roadway changes have already been made on Sycamore Road and Alisal Street, where speed humps and new flashing radar speed signs have been posted, resulting in speed drops for golf course and other traffic from 39 mph on Alisal and from 37 mph to 31 mph on Sycamore.
Uphill and downhill speeds dropped from an average of 36 mph to 27 mph after speed bumps were installed at five locations on Crellin Road in the upper Vintage Hills section of Pleasanton. Just by posting the radar speed signs on Old Stanley Boulevard, a popular link between Stanley/First Street and Main Street in downtown Pleasanton, speeds were reduced from 36 to 32 mph.
Those who drive on Black Avenue are seeing major traffic calming efforts underway as taxpayer funds are being directed to make the road a less-favored route to travel. Among the changes being made in the $405,000 project are curb "bulb-outs," which will provide very narrow lanes at some intersections and crosswalks, a roadway "neckdown" in front of the aquatic center (which will do much the same), at least one speed bump, 25 mph pavement markings painted on the roadway and possibly another electronic sign to show motorists' speeds.
Michael Tassano, city traffic engineer, said Black Avenue is unique in Pleasanton and those who live along the route -- some of whom have been the complainers -- knew what they were getting when they bought their homes. Alisal Elementary at one end and Walnut Grove Elementary at the other were there long before most moved onto Black Avenue or the intersecting side streets.
Plus, the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center, along with its hot weather crowds and occasional swim tournaments, have been part of life (and traffic) on Black Avenue for decades. The post office with its 5 p.m. deadline customers and the Gingerbread preschool across the street also are old-timers. Add Lynnewood United Methodist Church and a Quarry Lane school and Black Avenue -- probably more than any other residential street -- has traffic.
Now it's Junipero Street and a part of Independence Drive and the trendy, popular Mission Hills Community Park that are at the top of the worry list for speeding and high volume cut-through traffic.
The short four-block long Junipero, once a peaceful neighborhood street, became a major thoroughfare several years ago when Valley Avenue was extended from Bernal and the fairgrounds to Sunol Boulevard, connecting on the other side to Junipero and, by extension, to all of southwest Pleasanton.
Motorists heading to the I-680 southbound connection at Sunol or to Hearst Elementary and Pleasanton Middle schools find Junipero a less-congested route in peak traffic hours. Plus, a planned development on Lund Ranch, if ever built, could add traffic from up to 33 homes to be built there.
Tassano and his associates -- Ed Evangelista, senior traffic engineer, and Mark Candland, traffic engineering technician -- met with homeowners in the neighborhood two weeks ago, the first of a series of traffic-calming meetings similar to those held on Black Avenue. Proposed changes ranged from prohibiting left turns on Bernal Avenue into the neighborhood at Independence to even posting a gate there that could only be opened by residents.
Other suggestions included median strips to narrow Junipero and Independence, traffic circles and curb bulb-outs that would not only slow traffic but even make the streets less friendly to travel. Speed bumps, radar display signals, flashing pedestrian beacons along the park and limited on-street parking alongside the park were among the traffic engineers' suggestions.
All will be considered by a neighborhood traffic calming task force Tassano is organizing. Stay tuned. As more people move to town, more neighborhoods will want their street "calmed down."