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Editorial: Working together to keep the Tri-Valley on track

 

Pleasanton is home currently to more than 56,000 employees at more than 4,000 companies. In addition to companies already in Pleasanton expanding their operations, more than 9,700 business licenses were issued in 2016. And Pleasanton's business community contributes close to 60% of the city's revenues, according to Mayor Jerry Thorne.

The thriving source of revenue does have a price, though, and drivers on Interstates 580 or 680 during rush hour can attest to that.

More business and more employees equal more traffic.

"I know this doesn't come as a surprise to any of you, but the 580, 680 and State Route 84 corridors continue to be some of the busiest in the Bay Area," Thorne said during his State of the City address Wednesday. "Solving our transportation and traffic issues requires a regional approach and a long-term view."

On Monday, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) said in an interview with the Weekly that traffic congestion is the No. 1 complaint he hears from residents in his district.

"The commute times have just gotten out of control here," Swalwell said. "It's beyond, I think, what any person can take who wants to be with their family."

Extending BART to the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) is a high priority for federal, state and local elected officials.

It's Swalwell's highest priority in the Tri-Valley as he works "to keep the promise we made to the voters when I and others worked to pass Measure BB, which is to pay for BART to go to Livermore," he said. "But I think there's an opportunity to close the gap between Dublin and Pleasanton and the Altamont where the ACE comes through."

That extension, according to Swalwell, could take 30,000 to 35,000 cars off the roads each day, providing vital traffic congestion relief.

Swalwell said he is working on the issue with local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon), Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Modesto) and other San Joaquin County leaders.

During Wednesday's address, Mayor Thorne also spoke of a working group formed to keep the BART to ACE project moving forward.

BART to ACE is one of several infrastructure improvements that will help ease traffic congestion here. According to Thorne, the express lanes on I-580, which opened last year, have significantly reduced travel time in the 11 miles it covers -- to the point that 580 has been removed from the top 10 worst commutes in the Bay Area. Perhaps more express toll lanes are in the offing, including on I-680 north of Pleasanton.

Here, the need for more parking at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station is painfully apparent, and Swalwell mentioned this and a redesign of the 580/680 interchange as other methods to ease traffic woes.

Swalwell is working in Washington to get federal funding for BART to ACE; Thorne and the other Tri-Valley mayors recently attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 85th winter meeting and met with legislators and federal agencies in Washington.

One key component of the plan to improve infrastructure, ease traffic congestion and continue to keep the Tri-Valley on track is cooperation. This will determine success or failure.

Whether it be building relationships with leaders in Washington or reaching across county borders to construct strategies, as Swalwell said, "It's going to take a bipartisan, bi-county approach."

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by Ndna Jnz
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 24, 2017 at 9:48 am

Pleasanton businesses are not the only contributors to traffic. Why was there no mention of how many new housing developments continue to be approved by the City Council, even when residents continue to complain about the traffic within city streets, and the City has already met housing requirements as a result of the RHINA lawsuit? And by the way, the residents also voted to limit the number of housing units in Pleasanton several years ago but, the Council continues to ignore that fact.


10 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 24, 2017 at 10:26 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but why do we need another measure for BART to Livermore when we've been paying additional sales taxes for YEARS that were supposed to be for BART? I'm 44, lived in this area most of my life, and I remember getting excited about BART when I was pretty young. So Mr. Swalwell and Mr. Thorne, give Livermore what has been promised for decades and build BART with the money that's already been collected!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

The truth is BART has no desire to expand to Livermore. They've been stringing Livermore residents along for years and will continue to do so. The BART Board and staff are controlled by people who only believe BART should serve the urban core. Until people from the Tri-Valley actually show they care and flood their meetings and send letters it will continue to be the same.


7 people like this
Posted by Kellie
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 24, 2017 at 8:40 pm

The increased traffic should surprise no one, what with Dublin adding thousands of housing units in recent years. They are not solely to blame, but this should be an expected results.


6 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Pleasanton is also building thousands of housing units right now and still approving more.


3 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm

It's true there is housing being build in the Tri-Valley, but the bulk of the problem is people going over the hill into San Joaquin County to afford housing but continuing to work in the Bay Area. How we fix that problem, not a clue. Perhaps some sort of connecting rail to BART from Tracy or beyond.

At one point I think San Joaquin County tried to file a lawsuit against Alameda County because our "bad air" was blowing into their County. How about we file a lawsuit for the traffic issue their residents are causing. I'm kidding of course.


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

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