Wednesday, May 8, 2024

My 5.7.24 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss a couple significant items:

Before the Action items we heard a presentation by Mt. Diablo State Park officials regarding upcoming prescribed fires that are planned to take place next week (May 13-16).  Information can be found at the Mt. Diablo State Park Prescribed Fire Information page:

Burns are scheduled for 10 separate areas to take place in May and again later in the year.  For this round, there are three separate sections scheduled for the burn:

More info can be found at the linked website above.

- We authorized the City Manager to execute an extension of the service agreement with our City Engineer.  Our current agreement is set to expire and we exercised the first of four renewal options stipulated in the original contract.  Overall the Council was grateful for the work the City Engineer has been doing and the vote was 5-0.

- We discussed the lane striping at Mountaire Parkway between Marsh Creek and  Mountaire Circle.  This section of road, along with two other significant sections of road, are included in a larger repaving project that has been in planning stages for quite some time.  The cost of the total project is approximately $850K, approximately $700K of which is funded through federal and local grant funds.

We learned at the meeting that any change to the already approved project could jeopardize those grant funds.  Three options were presented to the Council - the first was status quo.  Continue with the approved plans and restripe the road in its current configuration. The second option was to pause the project, including the roads that were not in question as the project is as a whole, and seek to redesign and seek approval again with the updated designs.  The third option was to complete the project as is, but use a less expensive road paint in the Mountaire section, seek input and direction on potential lane striping changes, and resurface and restripe at a later time with any updates as desired by Council.

The Council quickly dispensed of the 2nd option.  The risk of losing grant funds was not something the Council was comfortable with.  We recognized the important value that reduced lanes has on overall safety and decided to proceed with option 3.  This will allow us to use the grant funds available, and give us time to properly engage with a future design to be determined.  The vote was 5-0.

There was a high level of interest from the public, both at the meeting and via external communications.  Without the implication of grant funding, I would be in favor of changing the road striping from 4 lanes to 2 immediately.  The fact that the street is 64' wide, with individual lanes wider than is required for freeways, has an impact on driver behavior.  As a former resident of Dana Hills, I am very familiar with the traffic pattern on this street and in my experience there is a high frequency of drivers traveling at high rates of speed.

The US Dept of Transportation (USDOT) recognizes the favorable impacts of reducing speeds and lessening severity of accidents when a "road diet" is implemented.  From the USDOT: "A Road Diet, or roadway reconfiguration, can improve safety, calm traffic, provide better mobility and access for all road users, and enhance overall quality of life. A Road Diet typically involves converting an existing four-lane undivided roadway to a three-lane roadway consisting of two through lanes and a center two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL)."

Further from the USDOT: "For roads with appropriate traffic volumes, there is strong research support for achieving safety benefits through converting four-lane undivided roads to three-lane cross sections with TWLTLs. Operational and design changes associated with Road Diets that promote safety include reduced vehicle speeds, reduced vehicle-pedestrian, -bicycle, and -vehicle conflicts."

An example below:

Determining what new configuration we want to proceed with will be addressed as we move forward.