MINUTES OF THE
CITY OF SAN RAMON COUNCIL MEETING
August 28, 2012
A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held August 28, 2012 at 7:05 p.m. in the Ridgeview Room at Dougherty Station Community Center, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road, Mayor Clarkson presiding.
PRESENT: Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, O’Loane, and Mayor Clarkson.
ABSENT: Councilmember Perkins
STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe, Police Chief Scott Holder, Division Manager Esther Lucas, Transportation Specialist PJ Dhoot, Interim City Engineer Brian Bornstein, Engineering Services Director Maria Fierner, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.
* * * *
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Parks and Community Services Commission Chair Dominique Yancey led those present in the pledge of allegiance.
* * * *
The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda. The Contra Costa Mayors’ Conference has been rescheduled to September 13, 2012.
* * * *
(#4.1) Introduction of Supervisor Candace Andersen.
Newly appointed Supervisor Candace Andersen introduced herself to the San Ramon community. She stated that it is a privilege to serve the community and expressed her intent to help San Ramon accomplish its goals. She indicated that she would be an advocate in the County for transportation, traffic, and other joint issues. Her local office is in Danville. She introduced Gayle Israel, her Deputy Chief of Staff. Mayor Clarkson thanked Supervisor Andersen for her leadership and her support of San Ramon.
(#4.2) Recognition of the San Ramon Mavericks Cricket Club – San Ramon Cricket Association’s Spring 2012 League-Premium Group Champions. Presented by Mayor Clarkson to Gautam Kapur, President of the San Ramon Mavericks.
Mayor Clarkson presented Gautam Kapur with a certificate acknowledging the San Ramon Mavericks Cricket Club as the San Ramon Cricket Association’s Spring 2012 League-Premium Group Champions. There are 20 cricket teams in San Ramon with 500 members. San Ramon is unique because it has two cricket fields. Mayor Clarkson stated that San Ramon is a cosmopolitan, diversified city that embraces ethnic diversity.
* * * *
Abram Wilson, resident, informed the Council that solicitation in the community is a major problem outside the Safeway and Whole Foods markets. He suggested that the City offer a reward to capture those responsible for the vandalism at the fountain on the corner of Crow Canyon and Dougherty Road. He thanked Vice Mayor Livingstone and Cm. Hudson for their decision not to hire a Public Information Officer as communication with residents is done by the Mayor and City staff. He requested that the Council consider changing the order of the agenda items 10.2 and 10.1 if item 10.1 is lengthy.
* * * *
CITY COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS
(#6.1) Poet Laureate Appointment.
Recreation Services Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report. Three applicants were interviewed by a sub-committee comprised of two Parks and Community Services Commissioners and one Arts Advisory Committee member. The Commission reviewed the sub-committee’s recommendation and recommends that the City Council appoint Kathleen Moore to the position of Poet Laureate.
Roz Rogoff, resident, noted that four years ago, the Council overrode the Parks Commission’s Poet Laureate recommendation. She stated that poetry is art and subject to individual perspectives. She suggested that past Poet Laureates become “Poet Laureate Emeritus” allowing them to continue to write poetry for the City and retain their talent.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Kathleen Moore to serve as the City of San Ramon’s Poet Laureate with a term to expire June 2014 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent. Vice Mayor Livingstone commented on the excellence of the applicants and their willingness to serve the City.
* * * *
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
(#7.1) Minutes of the July 10, 2012 regular meeting.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the July 10, 2012 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
(#7.2) Minutes of the July 24, 2012 regular meeting.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the July 24, 2012 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 3-0-1-1. Cm. Perkins was absent and Cm. O’Loane abstained.
* * * *
(#8.1) Register of Demands as presented by the City Treasurer (Period ending July 31, 2012).
(#8.2) Ordinance No. 431 – Amending the Zoning Map to Include the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan Area and Adopting Development Standards and Zoning Regulations for the Plan Area.
(#8.4) Minute Order No. 2012-029 – Ratifying the Amendments to the Housing Advisory Committee By-laws.
(#8.5) Minute Order No. 2012-030 – Granting the Request by Cm. Perkins to Authorize his Absences for the August 28, 2012, September 11, 1012, and September 25, 2012 City Council Meetings per Section A4-3C of the San Ramon Municipal Code.
(#8.6A) Resolution No. 2012-079 – Approving the Master Cooperative Agreement No. 12SW.03 Between the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the City of San Ramon Regarding the Funding of Projects Eligible Under the Contra Costa Measure J Transportation for Livable Communities Program Category.
(#8.6B) Resolution No. 2012-080 – Approving the Appropriation of Funds in the Amount of $330,000 for the Iron Horse Trail Corridor Improvement Project.
(#8.7) Resolution No. 2012-081 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Amendment No. 1 to the Agreement with Presidio Systems, Inc. for Drainage Services in an Annual Amount Not to Exceed $120,000 and a Cumulative Five-Year Agreement Total Not to Exceed $450,000.
(#8.8) Resolution No. 2012-082 – Accepting Certain Roadway Dedications, Easements, and Improvements in Subdivision 8700 for Maintenance (Shapell Industries, Inc.).
(#8.9A) Resolution No. 2012-083 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with Gates and Associates, Inc. for On-call Landscape Architecture Services for a Period between September 1, 2012 and September 1, 2017 in an Amount Not to Exceed $250,000.
(#8.9B) Resolution No. 2012-084 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with Verde Design for On-call Landscape Architecture Services for a Period between September 1, 2012 and September 1, 2017 in an Amount Not to Exceed $250,000.
(#8.10) Resolution No. 2012-085 – Authorizing the City Manager to Sign Cooperative Agreement No. 17SR.13 Between the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the City of San Ramon to Receive $239,655.87 in Transportation Funds for Clean Air and $128,095 in Measure J Commute Alternative and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Funds for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 to Implement the City of San Ramon and Southwest Area Transportation (SWAT) Transportation Demand Management Programs.
Cm Hudson’s motion to adopt items 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4 through 8.10 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
(#8.3) Minute Order No. 2012-028 – Authorizing Cm. Hudson to Attend the American Public Transportation Association’s 2012 Legislative Conference in Seattle, WA on September 30-October 3, 2012.
Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to adopt item 8.3 was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 3-0-1-1. Cm. Perkins was absent and Cm. Hudson abstained.
* * * *
* * * *
(#10.1) Safe Routes to School Program Annual Report.
The staff report was provided by PJ Dhoot, Transportation Specialist. Ms. Dhoot provided an introduction and program overview, observations and recommendation procedures, program features, and closing remarks for the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS). Eleven elementary schools in San Ramon participate in the Program. She reviewed the improvements implemented in 2011-2012. Recommendations for the 2012-13 school year include: pedestrian crosswalk enhancement; pedestrian crosswalk channelization; restriction of U-turns; designating loading zones; and installation of advanced yield bars. Staff continues to promote the Park and Walk campaign at all school sites. She reported that the TRAFFIX program provides service for 187 riders annually at three schools. The crossing guard program is available at nine school sites. The SRTS provides suggested walking and bicycling routes. Traffic education safety includes the “3 E’s”: engineering, education, and enforcement. Walking and biking options are promoted and “3E” programs are held at all eleven school sites. The next step is to provide the report to the school site administrators and PTA members and work with them to implement the improvements.
Cm. Hudson stated that the SRTS is an extremely important program. His motion to accept the report was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
(#10.2) Bollinger Canyon Road between Alcosta Boulevard and Canyon Lakes Drive – Evaluation of Proposed Alternatives for Traffic Operation Modifications.
Brian Bornstein, Interim City Engineer, provided the report. The report addressed the safety and operation of the eastbound segment of Bollinger Canyon Road, reviewed alternatives to staff’s recommendation at the June 12, 2012 Council meeting, and requested Council input on proposed new design alternatives. In 2008, Shapell Homes, working with City staff, completed the Bollinger Canyon Road Widening Project (CIP 5325) as part of a traffic mitigation requirement for the Dougherty Valley developers as outlined in the Dougherty Valley Settlement Agreement. Three lanes in each direction between Alcosta Boulevard and Canyon Lakes Drive were created within the existing pavement (curb to curb) without impacting the median and existing Sycamore trees. A vinyl-clad chain link fence was installed behind the south curb next to the pedestrian and bike path to prevent bicyclists and pedestrians from accidentally entering traffic lanes.
As of August 2012, eight major fence collisions have occurred which damaged sections of the fence in an isolated segment in the eastbound direction. Staff commissioned Hexagon Transportation Consultants, a transportation engineering consulting firm, to study the accident history, review the current conditions, and develop options for improving traffic conditions in this segment. Hexagon identified several factors that may be contributing to the accidents along the study segment: minimum lane widths, limited recovery room for vehicles, lack of edge guidance, and roadway geometry. In March 27, 2012, the Council approved proposed operational improvements on the eastbound roadway. On June 12, 2012, the Council directed staff to conduct additional design analyses which would preserve the Sycamore tree, accommodate the pedestrian barrier, and widen the east bound lanes. Staff assessed 25 suggestions and prepared four alternatives in addition to the original recommendation for the Council’s consideration.
Alternative 1 (the original option) would widen the eastbound lanes by four feet along the entire segment by reducing the median. All existing Sycamore trees will be removed and replaced with new landscaping. The median street lighting would be improved. Reconstruction of the bridge column façade is required to facilitate the widening. No additional right-of-way or utility relocations are required. The cost estimate is $1.1 million and the project would take 6 months. It meets the eastbound operational improvement objectives but removes all 85 Sycamore trees. This alternative is not supported by the public due to the impact to existing Sycamore trees. It does not include a permanent barrier between the roadway and pedestrian/bike path. A permanent barrier can be added to the alternative but will reduce the width of the pedestrian/bike path to 7.5 feet. At an additional cost, the median can be reduced to 8 feet (versus the proposed 12 feet) to accommodate a 4 foot westbound lane widening. This will create a uniform roadway width in both the eastbound and westbound directions.
Alternative 2 includes widening the eastbound lanes by 18 inches along the entire segment by reducing the median and installing a short retaining wall in the median to address the grade differential between the roadway and the raised median island. A permanent barrier between the edge of roadway and pedestrian/bike path would be installed. This alternative preserves the majority of the northern row of Sycamore trees with a 75% survival rate of the preserved trees and installs a barrier but does not widen the eastbound lanes a minimum of four feet to address the eastbound operational improvement issues. It is expected that errant vehicles will continue to exit the roadway and collide with the barrier instead of the existing fencing. Collision with the barrier will likely reflect the vehicle back into the travel lane and potentially collide with other vehicles causing multiple vehicle accidents. The cost estimate is $2.1 million and completion would take nine months. This alternative is not supported or recommended by the consultants because it does not address the operational improvement objective/criteria.
Alternative 3 includes acquiring 6.5 feet of golf course and Home Owners association right-of-way adjacent to the existing pedestrian/bike path. It widens the eastbound lanes by four feet along the entire segment. This alternative requires extensive coordination with the golf course owners’ representative who has indicated that the owners are unwilling to provide the required right-of-way to the City. According to the right-of-way acquisition consultants, if the process results in eminent domain proceedings, it is anticipated to take approximately 14 months and cost an estimated $250,000. Due to the unknowns that may be experienced, the cost can be significantly higher. The owner(s) may oppose the acquisition on the basis that there is a viable alternative which does not require acquisition of their property. This alternative would also require extensive reconstruction of the golf cart paths, landscaping, irrigation, drainage, bridge façade, and fence. Utility relocation would also be required and pedestrian/bicycle detouring and/or closures would need to take place during construction, which is anticipated to take between 18-24 months due to relocation of utilities. The cost estimate is $3 million and the entire process may take 32-42 months. This alternative is supported and recommended by the consultants because it addresses the operational improvement objective/criteria.
Alternative 4 relocates the eight-foot-wide pedestrian/bike path to the north side of the roadway and widening the westbound and eastbound lanes by four feet each in each direction. The pedestrian/bike path on the south side of the road would be removed and replaced with turf and low shrubs. Additional right-of-way is required from the property owners on the north side of the road including the golf course and private residents/businesses. According to the right-of-way acquisition consultants, if the process results in eminent domain proceedings, it is anticipated to take approximately 14 months and cost an estimated $250,000. Due to the unknowns, the cost can be significantly higher. Approximately 30 trees will be removed from the north side of the road and a retaining wall would be installed for the grade differential. Extensive preliminary engineering would be required to verify the extent of the right-of-way and retaining wall work just east of the Bollinger Canyon Road/Alcosta Boulevard intersection. The ten-foot-tall retaining wall coupled with a six-foot soundwall/masonry wall located within a short distance from the roadway to the homeowner’s property needs to be examined more closely to determine the impact on the house and pool. Since the original operational analysis conducted by the traffic consultant only studied the eastbound direction, a supplemental traffic study would be necessary to analyze westbound traffic after the improvements have been completed. The cost estimate is $2.9 million and may take 26 months to complete. This alternative is conditionally supported by the consultants because it appears to address the operational improvement objective/criteria but will require an additional supplemental traffic study to analyze westbound traffic.
Alternative 5 would widen eastbound lanes by four feet between Alcosta Boulevard and Canyon Lakes Drive by reducing the median width. This proposal is the same as Alternative No. 1 except that the tree transplanting concept replaces the median re-landscaping. Due to the residents’ strong desire to keep the existing trees, staff analyzed the concept of transplanting the trees in the median once the median is reduced by four feet. This concept was fully researched and discussed with specialized tree planting companies and arborists to determine the feasibility. The result is that transplanting the trees will have a survivability rate of over 90%. The landscape architect and arborist recommended transplanting the trees at 25-foot spacing as a more appropriate standard for this tree type versus the existing 20-foot spacing. This spacing is recommended to encourage more growth, aid in the survivability rate, and encourage an overall stronger tree taking into account the location and species of trees. This option preserves 75% of the existing Sycamore trees (approximately 64 of the existing 85 trees) by transplanting them back into the median and reconstructing the bridge center column façade.
The arborist would examine the existing trees and select the healthiest and best candidates for transplanting. These trees would be carefully and individually extracted either by hand or with a large spade to keep the majority of their roots intact. Each extracted tree will be preserved and kept alive off-site until it can be transplanted in the newly constructed median area. The surplus trees will be kept off-site and maintained for one year to be used as replacement trees in the event that a transplanted tree does not adjust well to transplanting at no additional charge to the City or the project. Tree transplanting allows the existing Sycamore trees to be planted back into the median and preserves the existing Sycamore trees and the tree canopy as desired by the residents. Any remaining trees not transplanted to the median will be relocated to other appropriate sites in the City, such as City parks. The proposal to transplant the Sycamore trees includes replacing the turf with ground cover and bark to address maintenance and safety issues. The street lighting along this segment will be improved due to the Sycamore trees being spaced so that they avoid obstructing the existing street lights. Since this option’s civil design is the same as the original option, the design has already been completed. Many of the original design documents can be used with only minor modifications. The other design alternatives require a complete redesign, with additional expense to the project as well as additional time to complete the design and begin the construction phase of the work. At an additional cost to this alternative, the median can be reduced to 8 feet (versus the proposed 12 feet) to accommodate a 4 foot westbound lane widening. This will create a uniform roadway width in both the eastbound and westbound directions. The estimated cost is $1.5 million and may take 11 months to complete. This alternative is supported and recommended by the consultants because it addresses the operational improvement objective/criteria.
There were no questions from the Council. Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.
Abram Wilson, representing the Canyon Lakes Estate Home Owners, expressed anger and disappointment. He stated that the Council was told that the widening improvements made in 2008 would be the last ones needed. He questioned why road improvements need to be repeated as the issue and solution were supposed to have been previously thoroughly researched. He acknowledged that safety is important and that the main problem is speeding. He asked the Council to fix the street grates and to hold drivers accountable. He requested that the City replace the dead vines on the golf bridge façade and improve the concrete island. He asked where the City will obtain the money to pay for the project. He requested that a new transportation study be conducted. He emphasized that the trees should not be touched.
Todd Erickson, resident, stated that many residents could not attend this meeting because it was the first night of school. He observed that information was missing from the staff report. He requested details on the time of day, data, cause and effect information of the collisions. He stated that the option of transplanting the trees is ludicrous and that the survivability rate presented is not accurate. He added that the best alternative is to contact the golf course owner and obtain an easement. He does not think it will cost very much to purchase an easement. He asked who Mr. Bornstein spoke to regarding the golf course easement. The City can widen the lanes and install a pedestrian barrier provided that the trees are not touched. He stated that the Councilmembers do not drive on the road and live in that neighborhood. Cm. O’Loane corrected that statement.
Robert Gorman, resident, stated that the problem is speed. He noted that every time San Ramon widens roads, the traffic speed increases exponentially. He spoke with Sgt. Pat Cerrutti and was told that the Police Department does not have enough staff or a current speed survey. Officers cannot monitor the speed because there is not a safe place to park. Mr. Gorman stated that he is in favor of controlling the speed and putting the effort into making the road safer by using traffic signals to control the traffic flow. The current path is not safe for bicyclists or pedestrians. He would like to see bicycle lanes provided on both sides of the roadway.
Craig Taylor, resident, requested that the trees be kept. As an engineer, he stated that distance equals speed times time. Decreasing the speed will give drivers more time to react and make corrections if needed. Increasing the width of the lane will increase the speed and speed is the heart of the problem.
Rose Combs, resident, thanked the Council for their efforts to publicize the meeting. She noted that there is no mention of speed or speed control in the staff report. The posted speed is 40 miles per hour (mph) but many drivers exceed 60 mph. She is disturbed that there is no enforcement of the speed limit. The Canyon View Board HOA recommended installing horizontal strips and electronic speed signs as a less expensive solution and preserve the trees. Consistent enforcement would increase safety.
Jerry Dees, resident, noted that the staff report’s statement that “the maximum eastbound widening is four feet unless the column is removed or completely reconstructed” is not based on safety but on the width of the bridge. He asked what changed from the original engineering design if a mistake was made in 2008. He asked for the specifics regarding the accidents which occurred on the roadway. He stated that the proper solution cannot be reached until the problem is understood. He asked what it will cost if a ‘fix’ is needed for this solution in a few years.
Nader Eshghipour, resident, thanked the staff for the report. With safety as the primary concern for the operational improvement, the first option is to widen the road. The second option is to reduce the speed. He believes that the attention should be focused on speed enforcement. He asked if a modified safety barrier could be placed at the 500-600 feet where the accidents occur. He questioned the source of the money to pay for the repairs. He discussed other street improvements.
Susan Erickson, resident, opposes any alternative that impacts the sycamore trees. The trees are one of the reasons why she purchased her home. She noted that widening the lanes will increase vehicle speed and accident severity. Widening the road will not eliminate the accidents. She noted that 35 mph is the advisory speed. If the speeds increase, the City may have to increase the posted speed limit for that road after the next speed survey. Cars that hit the curb at 35-40 mph may bounce back into the travel lane. She stated that widening Dougherty Road has resulted in damaged signs and damage to stormdrain inlets and swales. There is no reason to believe that chopping down the trees to add more pavement will keep vehicles from hitting the fence and risking pedestrians. A barrier between the sidewalk and the auto lane will protect pedestrians and decrease traffic speeds. She requested that the Council consider this option first.
Rajvee Tibrewala, resident, wants to protect the trees and keep them as they are. She asked the Council to slow down traffic, consider alternatives, and analyze the solutions.
Karyne Ghantous, resident, stated that the 2008 road widening project required that there would be no impact to the median and existing sycamore trees. The Dougherty Valley Settlement Agreement (DVSA) includes a safe traffic mitigation plan for pedestrians and motorists. In May 2011, Hexagon Transportation Consultants completed a traffic operational analysis. Their report states that there is something wrong with the 2008 widening which now requires modification and impact to the median and trees. She stated that the final 2,000 to 4,000 homes cannot be built until compliance with the DVSA and the 2008 road widening requirements are achieved. She stated that the developers should be responsible to pay to fix it. She opposed all five alternates and suggested that Shapell negotiate with the golf course to obtain an easement.
Kathryn Parten, resident, stated that others have already expressed her views.
Bill Meine, resident, stated his support for Ms. Ghantous’ comments. He added that any money spent on Bollinger is wasted and that the best solution is to provide another roadway. He recommended a roadway using the PG&E right-of-way to Dougherty Road. This would decrease traffic on Bollinger and solve the problem. He added that much of the Highway 4 Bypass was built on PG&E right-of-way.
Darren Lee, resident, stated his support for the previous speakers’ views. He moved to San Ramon for the trees and the schools. He stated that it is important to represent the children on this issue. Children see the trees from their car seats. With the release of the Lorax movie, they are aware of the importance of trees. His children held up signs asking the Council to “please save our trees, they create air for free.”
Mujeeb Rafiuddin, resident, complimented the staff on an excellent presentation. He supports safety as the number one priority but is concerned whether this priority can be met. He stated that he is speaking on behalf of his children. He fell in love with San Ramon’s trees and the waterfall. Paving over everything will not accomplish anything.
Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that her primary concern is the sidewalk. If the road is widened and speeds increase, it is more likely that there will be an accident on the sidewalk. She recommended moving the sidewalk. She looked at alternate locations for the path but did not find a suitable one. She suggested that the bike path and sidewalk be relocated and then the speeding issue will no longer be a concern for pedestrian safety. She requested that there be no changes to the roadway.
Ken Sala stated that he is a certified arborist. He reported that the trees are not in perfect health and that several trees show signs of disease on the trunk, leaves, and bark. He noted that no one has mentioned the volume of cars which travel up the hill. With only one corridor from San Ramon to Dougherty Valley, this road cannot handle the volume of cars. He asked the City to examine a location for another potential corridor.
Roger Frank, resident, stated that the City spent over $1 million on traffic timing lights. He suggested that the City look at the traffic patterns and adjust the signal lights to handle the traffic flow. He stated that east bound traffic always gets a green light and west bound traffic always gets a red light. He noted that accidents happen in the east bound direction when you would expect that traveling downhill in the west bound direction would be the problem. He recommended that the City use the timing system to reflect the traffic pattern and slow traffic in the east bound direction as the solution to the problem.
Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.
* * * *
Cm. O’Loane requested a break. At 8:50 p.m., Mayor Clarkson requested a recess. The meeting reconvened at 9:02 p.m. with the Council in attendance except Cm. Perkins.
* * * *
Cm. Hudson asked if the City should schedule another meeting on this issue because some of the residents had back to school night and were unable to attend. People have made it clear that they like the sycamore trees. Many people believe that the main problem is speeding. He does not support the solutions for the bike/pedestrian component. He is concerned for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. He stated that the City cannot pursue a ‘sort of’ of ‘maybe’ solution. This solution must be the one. He suggested that staff continue discussing relocating the walkway with the golf course owners. It is important to fix the street, pedestrian, and bicycle problems. Many people are concerned with the safety of the existing sidewalk. He is not sure how to achieve the right bandage for this ‘wound’.
Vice Mayor Livingstone asked Chief Holder about the speed issues going up the hill. Chief Holder stated that the City does have a valid speed survey which allows the Police Department to issue citations. He noted that 85% of the vehicles on the road are traveling at 47.1 mph and that is why the speed is set at 40 mph because of the roadway conditions. He said that 60 citations were issued last month. This is a difficult site for the Police Department to work because there is insufficient shoulder for an officer to pull over a vehicle until one reaches the top of the hill. It is not safe for a motorcycle officer and there is no site to park a police car. He provided the statistics on the eight accidents which have occurred from October 2009 through May 2012.
Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that his job is to be the public’s servant in public safety. The City is aware of the problem and is required to fix the pedestrian/bike safety area. The bike and pedestrian path need to be removed in order to eliminate the problem. He acknowledged that he does not see an alternative site for this path. The PG&E right-of-way may be an option to investigate. A barrier is a must for public safety. The consultants are experts and he trusts them to do their job. He noted that it is easy to complain when the solutions do not work. He wants the City to investigate how to relocate the bike and pedestrian path and leave the roadway as it is.
Cm. O’Loane stated that the Council will not reach a solution at this meeting. The issue is logistically and emotionally complicated. The K-Rail may be the best temporary option while the City investigates the best solution. He drives the road daily and stated that he would like to see the installation of the K-Rail as the next step. He agrees with Cm. Hudson and Vice Mayor Livingstone that it is important to separate the pedestrian pathway from the roadway issue. He stated that an opinion of the health of the trees is needed. He is curious what Supervisor Andersen may be able to offer in terms of assistance. Safety is his primary concern. He suggested that there may be a way to work with the golf course. He thanked the staff and consultants for their efforts. He stated that he has personal experience that 50 foot tall elm trees can be excavated, transplanted, and survive. He recommended that the City proceed with the K-Rail installation as a measure of safety while other steps are investigated.
Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that Shapell is not the bad guy. Shapell did what the City requested. Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that Shapell does not call the shots in the Dougherty Valley. The DVSA establishes performance standards and a system of checks and balances with the County, Danville, San Ramon and the Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee (DVOC) keeping tabs on Shapell. They review the current and next year’s activities by Shapell. If the standards are not met, they can require remediation. Traffic studies are ongoing. The 2004 traffic study and the General Plan 2030 traffic study were done with the assumption of 11,000 homes. DVOC monitors 12 intersections to ensure that the performance standards stated in the Settlement Agreement are met. Shapell does what it is told to do. They did not design the width of the roadway. There is no legal purpose to determine blame on the part of Shapell. If a basis for an issue arises, the City has the tools needed and mechanisms in place to deal with it.
Cm. Hudson supported the installation of the temporary K-Rail and asked staff to make another attempt to work with the golf course with the priority to solve the problem of the bike/pedestrian path right-of-way. He suggested that a meeting with Shapell and Windemere might provide a suggestion which the City has not yet presented.
Mayor Clarkson thanked the residents for their involvement and the staff and consultants for preparing alternates. The road is unsafe and the Council’s duty is public safety. He is concerned that the City isn’t taking action to solve the problem. The temporary K-Rail provides a barrier for pedestrian safety but does not solve the vehicular problem. If cars hit the K-Rail, they may bounce back into the traffic lanes. He is concerned that there is no recovery area by the wall. All of the trees are not worth one human life. The City needs to make a safe decision quickly with a comprehensive solution to a complicated problem. He added that the Council did not have consensus on the five alternatives which were presented.
Cm. O’Loane’s motion to direct staff to install the K-Rail was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
Mayor Clarkson reiterated his concern regarding the safety of the road. Cm. Hudson stated that Bollinger is an undersized legal road and that part of the solution needs to be the road grates. He stated that a large part of the problem is relocating the sidewalk. He suggested that the City look to Shapell for assistance. He asked the Council if they felt that there people who were unable to attend the meeting and speak because of back to school night. Cm. O’Loane suggested that the next Town Hall meeting may provide an option for them to voice their opinions. Mayor Clarkson noted that this has been a deliberative process and included a huge outreach to publicize the meeting. None of the Councilmembers proposed a motion. Cm. Hudson proposed a study session.
* * * *
CITY MANAGER COMMENTS
(#11.1) Consideration of Change in Start Time for the September 11, 2012 meeting.
City Manager Greg Rogers requested that the Council consider a 7:30 p.m. start time for the September 11, 2012 Council meeting because of the events planned for the 9/11 Ceremony in Danville. Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to approve the 7:30 p.m. start time for the September 11, 2012 Council meeting was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
* * * *
* * * *
CITY COUNCILMEMBERS’ AND MAYOR’S COMMENTS
Mayor Clarkson stated the importance of quarterly reports to provide updates on City items including the budget, downtown progress report, Fourth of July, Iron Horse Trail improvements, social media, Open Space Task Force, and relationships and partnerships in the Tri-Valley. He requested that the reports be agendized for Council discussion.
Cm. O’Loane requested that the composition of the Open Space Task Force be agendized for a Policy Committee meeting. He asked the Interim City Attorney to evaluate the Open Space Task Force regarding potential avenues for acquisitions and partnerships.
Cm. Hudson noted that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is holding a special meeting on September 10, 2012 to discuss the Chevron refinery fire. He asked residents to email or telephone him with their comments.
* * * *
At 9:46 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Clarkson adjourned the meeting.
Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk
Approved as presented at the October 9, 2012 City Council meeting 3-0-1-1; Livingstone absent; Perkins abstain.