City Council adopts Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan update | News | |


City Council adopts Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan update

West Las Positas Boulevard, Santa Rita Road are top two priorities

Pleasanton now has a new set of strategies to guide future improvements to the city’s bike and pedestrian network.

The City Council unanimously Tuesday adopted the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan update, a 274-page document that culminates nearly 18 months of work among city staff, consultant Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants, the Pedestrian, Bicycle and Trails Committee and local residents.

“It’s been a very transparent process. It’s been a good government process, and this is a great document,” Vice Mayor Jerry Pentin said toward the end of the nearly hour-long discussion in the council chamber Tuesday night.

“This I think actually gives us a place to go and make the accomplishments we want,” added Pentin, a self-proclaimed “bicycle guy.” “Moving forward, I think we really have things that we can all look at, we can all talk about and we can all weigh in as each of these (projects) come forward.”

First adopted in 2010, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan calls for updates every five years to keep the city competitive for funding opportunities and to make sure the city is meeting the needs of the community, according to city traffic engineer Mike Tassano.

Key components of this first update include reducing gaps in the city's bicycle networks, improving comfort levels for cyclists and pedestrians, and a new priority-ranking system. It also incorporates two new goals: creating a low-stress bicycle network for all ages and abilities and completing corridors in the near-term network.

The city's bike network was broken down into 16 corridors, each with its own list of projects or studies, and then ranked based on criteria of safety, connectivity, demand, feasibility and safe route to school.

The top-priority corridor is West Las Positas Boulevard, followed by Santa Rita Road at No. 2 -- major east-west and north-south routes, respectively.

Rounding out the top six, in order, are the interstates 580 and 680 overpasses, Foothill Road, Stanley Boulevard and Bernal Avenue. Tassano said his goal is to complete as many projects within the top six corridors as possible in the next five years.

City staff recommends that 80% of available funding go toward projects in the top-ranked corridors while the remaining 20% be available to key individual projects in other areas.

The updated plan suggests strategies for bicycle and pedestrian improvements the city could explore, but individual projects would return to the City Council for approval once designed and vetted by the public, Tassano said.

The council and city staff attempted to allay concerns from some residents who contacted them thinking the plan update adoption meant certain projects were already being approved, such as possibly converting driving lanes on West Las Positas Boulevard into enhanced bike lanes.

“I just really want to confirm … for example West Las Positas, there’s no engineering plan already done,” Councilwoman Kathy Narum said. “(Staff’s) going to look at it and then it’s going to go through a public process so that people in particular that use West Las Positas will get a chance to weigh in and we won’t have the surprises.”

For bicycle improvements overall, the plan update suggests new strategies including protected bike lanes, buffered intersections, bicycle boulevards and bicycle boxes, sometimes in conjunction with two-staged left turns at major intersections.

New recommendations for pedestrian facilities include a pedestrian hybrid beacon -- similar to pavement flashing crosswalks but with a red signal requiring drivers to stop -- and reducing or eliminating so-called "slip lanes" for right-turning vehicles at some major intersections to reduce speeds and enhance safety.

More than two-dozen cycling enthusiasts attended the meeting at the Pleasanton Civic Center, and the council heard comments from 10 residents, all of whom spoke highly of the master plan update, praising it as comprehensive and forward-thinking.

“This Bike-Ped Master Plan is progressive, it will improve safety, sustainability and livability in Pleasanton, and it really does lay out an impressive vision for an all ages and all abilities network,” said Susie Hufstader, of Bike East Bay.

“Today’s Pleasanton was built for cars, with little thought to other types of transportation,” resident Sharon Piekarski said.

“I believe that if we make our streets safer for bicycles and pedestrians, then more people will choose to leave their cars behind when traveling to school, to work and on errands, which will in addition to reducing pollutants also relieve traffic congestion and parking issues,” she added in support of the plan update.

Other than suggesting some additional short-term fixes or urging the council to find funding for more bike projects, the lone criticism came from BART representative Rachel Factor.

She said the transit agency was impressed by the plan but “slightly disappointed” it didn’t prioritize better bicycle improvements on Stoneridge Mall Road to connect to the West Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

Pentin retorted by questioning whether BART officials were looking to improve bike-access problems on its property at the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton station. Factor said efforts there are in line for Measure RR funds.

To get the ball rolling on the city's new efforts, staff recommends allocating $900,000 for West Las Positas Boulevard work and $200,000 for various other bike projects as part of the latest capital improvement program, set to be adopted by the council later this month.

Tassano acknowledged the city will need to seek out grants and other funding sources, internally and externally, to complete its bike and pedestrian improvement goals. The master plan identifies nearly $70 million in projects — the vast majority being bike projects.

“This (plan) opens the door for us to go out and get grant funding,” Councilman Arne Olson said. “Unfortunately, money is the object here, and we need more of it. I think grants are a way to go after that and hopefully speed up some of this implementation.”

And moving forward with strategies and goals outlined in the master plan update will help achieve the overarching goal of increasing cyclists and pedestrians around town, according to supporters.

“I had to drive my car today … and I passed a cyclist while I was leaving work, and 45 minutes later the cyclist passed me,” Pleasanton resident David Fisch said, drawing chuckles from council members and the audience.

“(Cycling) is a viable form of transportation, and what we’re doing here to support that I think is wonderful,” he added.

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14 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 7, 2017 at 9:57 am

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Here's an idea. Instead of handing over $6.4 million in taxpayer funds to a multi-billion dollar corporation to subsidize a socially, fiscally, and environmentally destructive Big Box Store project, why not use this money to implement a socially, fiscally, and environmentally beneficial project like the Ped and Bicycle Plan?

Oh silly me. The Chamber of Commerce and their campaign cash could care less about improvements to our quality of life. Bring on Costco! Build it now!

6 people like this
Posted by Put It To A Vote
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 7, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Hey Matt - Let's put it to a vote.

Oh wait, even when your side loses, you continue to complain.

With all your hot air about this topic, global warming has been significantly accelerated.

Yes, you have a right to voice your opinion as you continue to remind the entire city population. And as you continue to point out we are morons for not supporting your view of the world.

The people who voted for development of this property, also have a right to have their fairly voted on plan implemented.

13 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Matt takes a lot of abuse, but I agree that I'd rather spend our money on safety. Costco can afford to pay its own way- but, they won't come to our city, or any city, without gifts (bribes).

4 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Thanks Jim. Based on the level of hate from these anonymous commentators I just assume they're trolls for Costco - could be lobbyists, Chamber members, even city officials. So I ignore them.

One common theme has been "we voted for it so stop objecting". No one voted to approve taxpayer subsidies. It wasn't part of the ballot question. Therefore, in a democracy, this is still fair game. Those of you obsessed with voting (the lowest form of democratic participation) should agree with that!

5 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2017 at 2:24 pm

I , for one, voted no on MM. I thought it was too restrictive in 50,000 sq. ft., or less. But this was not a vote for Costco, especially to subsidize Costco with our money. I'm not for paying any retail company to come to Pleasanton. Not one dime! This is a very bad precedent to start.
I'm also not for loaning them money!! If they need money, there are banks. Have we ever loaned money to a retail business in 150 years?

2 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 7, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

I can only speak of the last 19 years during my time on the Planning Commission and City Council up to the present. Development has always paid its way. The city never subsidized development during that time. It is indeed a terrible precedent. Who will come next wanting a handout?

2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Sales tax revenue sharing is a common incentive used by cities. It's been used around the nation since the early 2000s and within the last few years locally. Livermore used it when Paragon Outlets was being built in 2010 and in 2016 Walnut Creek made an agreement with Marriot.

Matt, when did you leave the city council? Maybe this became more popular since the economic downturn as a way to encourage economic development.

With sales tax revenue decreasing everywhere because more people are shopping online, encouraging an entity that can produce lots of sales tax seems like a no-brainer.

3 people like this
Posted by Kurt Kummer
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 10, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Kurt Kummer is a registered user.

Wow, thanks Matt and Jim, for turning an article about trails and bikeways and pedestrian plans into your favorite personal Costco argument. Really helpful.

5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 11, 2017 at 9:03 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Matt - youve accused the pw of fear mongering by stating stack and pack housing as an alternative to influence votes. Yet here you are continuing to state that subsidies for costco exist as fact - yet no paperwork has ever been presented to indicate any deal has been negotiated, and the lack of progress on costco going in seems to also support no deal was ever negotiated. So why don't you unite the community around the terms and conditions to ensure costco coming continues to be a transparent negotiation that is fair to the community that overwhelming supports it vs continuing to try and fight it? Make your contribution meaningful.

You speak of quality of life - guess what, spending 1.5 hrs at costco in Livermore fighting parking, stupid fvcking people standing in the middle of aisles eating free samples, waiting in line for gas, and avoiding carts so I can get bulk items for my household is a reality and impacts my quality of life. Id love to take bike rides through orchards and organic local farms powered by solar and compost - but today, now, my time is dedicated to baseball games, soccer games, grocery shopping, and homework. Out of all those, you want to improve my quality of life, streamline the one that is the most wasteful from my time to enjoyment ratio.

Why not take aspects of your vision and include them in the development - put a park in near costco where my kids can play while I shop.....put solar panels on it to help power the store and provide shade.

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