Published October 24, 2017
Volume 1, Number 10

New Improvements Will Benefit Pleasanton

Pedestrians and Cyclists

By Hacienda Pulse Staff Writer

In June the Pleasanton City Council unanimously adopted the 2017 Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. That is good news for local cyclists and pedestrians, who can expect to see some significant improvements at Hacienda and elsewhere in the city over the next five years.
In 2010 the City Council adopted the original Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The 2017 update “changed the way in which we view pedestrian- and bicycle-related improvements,” says Mike Tassano, the City of Pleasanton’s Deputy Director of Community Development, Transportation. It does that, he says, “by changing the way in which we design so that a greater number of pedestrians and bicyclists feel safe and comfortable using the transportation network.”

One example of designing for safety and comfort is Hopyard Road. Recently the City of Pleasanton resurfaced Hopyard Road and added 5-foot bike lanes. While the new bike lanes are a welcome addition for local cyclists, riding next to vehicles going 40 miles per hour “isn’t a very comfortable riding experience,” notes Tassano.
The updated Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan recommends having a buffered or protected bike lane on Hopyard Road. Buffered bike lanes are conventional bike lanes with a visible, usually painted buffer area between the bike lane and traffic lane. Protected bike lanes, in contrast, use elements such as posts, planters, curbs, or parked cars to physically separate a traffic lane from the bike lane.
Two new goals have been added to the Master Plan. The first new goal is to create a "low stress" bicycle and pedestrian network that may be enjoyed by users of all abilities. The second new goal is to focus improvements on corridors. “Combined, these new goals will result in changes to both the bicycle corridor alignments and the project types proposed,” Tassano says.

The updated Master Plan also includes a prioritized list of improvements. The highest-ranked project is improving the West Las Positas Corridor, followed by a protected bike lane from Foothill Road to Santa Rita Road, according to Tassano.

Pleasanton Supports Cyclists
This fall Pleasanton became the first city in the Bay Area to install a protected intersection to close a dangerous gap in the Iron Horse Regional Trail where it crossed  Stanley Boulevard.
A protected intersection is an intersection in which there is a space for cars to wait for cyclists riding straight through the intersection as well as for pedestrians to cross. Bike East Bay, the Pleasanton Pedalers, and Bike Pleasanton, cycling organizations active in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley, worked with city officials to connect this major gap in the trail system and make the intersection shorter and safer for people to cross.

Jim Van Dyke is CEO of Futurion, a 30-year resident of the city, and an avid cyclist. Since getting involved in bicycle advocacy about 10 years ago, Van Dyke has noticed “a forward-looking team of traffic engineers is adding many improvements in Hacienda and elsewhere. The biggest improvement was the Iron Horse Trail, which is a delight. The most recent big and important change that protects pedestrians and bicyclists lives is the shortening of the Owens Drive crossing, and I'm amazed at the number of people who use it during rush hour.”
In 2006, there were bike lanes on approximately 32 miles of Pleasanton’s arterial streets. Today, cyclists have access to more than 70 miles of bike lanes within the community. In 2008, Pleasanton became the first city in the area to adopt a Complete Streets policy. That policy required that all new roadway and development projects consider all roadway users in their design, not simply drivers. The City of Pleasanton was also the first local agency to install buffered bike lanes and green bike lanes in the Tri-Valley. In 2014, the City received a bronze award from the League of American Bicyclists for being a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Susie Hufsader, Community Organizer for Bike East Bay, agrees that Pleasanton is supportive of cyclists. “The outpouring of community support for bike facilities has rippled across Pleasanton,” she writes in a Bike East Bay article called It Takes a Village. “Over the past year, I have watched the changes happen, from an ambitiously updated bicycle master plan to miles of new buffered bike lanes already on the ground, spearheaded by city traffic engineer Mike Tassano. Downtown Pleasanton added a new parklet and bike corral, and just one day after installation, the brand new racks were packed with bikes.”
City Officials Are Listening
Van Dyke uses his bike as his primary form of transportation, and notes that there are perhaps a dozen cycling groups in the area.
“The reason you see so many cycling safety improvements going in within Hacienda and all over town is because Pleasanton's staff, elected officials, and transportation team do a superior job of working with those who are willing to get involved,” says Van Dyke. “They are pros, and the city's new five-year Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan documents a lot more changes to come.”

The City of Pleasanton has a Pedestrian, Bicycle and Trails Committee that served as the steering committee for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Update. Bicycle advocacy groups such as Pleasanton Pedalers, Bike Pleasanton, and Bike East Bay as well as  resident cyclists such as Van Dyke have also been involved in shaping the updated Master Plan. There’s an additional group that Tassano would like to hear from as the Pleasanton moves forward with improvements.

“What I want most is input,” says Tassano. “We have a very active residential community, but I don’t hear too often from the business community. West Las Positas can be a great East-West connection for our bicycle network to complement the Iron Horse Trail. As we move forward with design we plan on testing some design alternatives, and I would appreciate the feedback as we work through the project.”
For more information about the 2017 Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, visit http://www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/gov/depts/cd/traffic/plans_and_programs/pedestrian_and_bicycle_master_plan.asp.