Quicker Response Key to Emergency Services

Street improvements in North Pleasanton have made the community a little safer, agree officials in the city's fire and police departments. Wider, well-lit streets and more cross-town connecting roads have made it easier for both departments to respond quickly to emergency calls.

"In many of the cases we handle, time is of the essence," states Chief Joe Hill of the Pleasanton Fire Department. "Over 60% of the calls coming into the fire department are of a medical nature, so it is essential that we respond quickly. A heart attack victim has about four minutes. The first five minutes of a fire are the crucial ones. Cutting down on our response times can save lives."

An estimated $103 million in street improvements are planned for North Pleasanton. The cost for these will be absorbed by the proposed North Pleasanton Improvement District. The developers of Hacienda Business Park have advanced the funding, and many improvements have been completed or are underway. These include: widening Hopyard Road from Valley Avenue to the I-580 interchange; widening W. Las Positas Boulevard from I-680 to Hopyard Road and from the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks to Santa Rita Road; widening Santa Rita Road from Valley Avenue to the I-580 interchange; widening Stoneridge Drive from Foothill Road to Hopyard Road, and installation of an interconnect system for traffic signals and a master computer controller.

"The whole road network has been a tremendous asset to what we’re trying to do," comments Chief Bill Eastman of the Pleasanton Police Department. "We’ve seen a difference in response times since the improvements along Hopyard and the cross town roads were completed."

Widening the various roads has been an advantage to both the fire and police departments.

"Sometimes our officers would get 'locked' behind a car that had slowed down below the speed limit because the driver had noticed a police car behind him," laughs Eastman. "With the additional lanes we can go around and respond a bit more quickly."

Hill has found that in addition to helping speed response time, the widened roads have made it safer for his own crews. ''Fire engines and trucks are much larger than cars and having that extra room to maneuver makes it safer for our people, too," he explains.

The cross town streets connecting Santa Rita Road and Hopyard Road have also contributed to a quicker response time, according to both chiefs. W. Las Positas Boulevard in particular has been a real benefit, Hill and Eastman agree.

''I can't imagine not having it now," states Eastman. "We practically depend on it to get from one side of town to the other anymore."

The fire department got a chance to use it in a real-life emergency right after it was opened, relates Hill.

"Ironically, on the day of the ribbon cutting for W. Las Positas Boulevard, we had an emergency call for someone who had fallen off some scaffolding in the Park. Rather than having to go back to the freeway and go around, we were able to take advantage of the new road and go straight through to the Park and knock off a lot of time. Being able to respond more quickly may sometimes save a life."

To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit: April 2, 1984 Pathways.

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