Politicians have it pretty tough it Piedmont. With the prompt response of Public Safety and the attentive service of Public Works, it's hard for a local pol to find City Hall red tape to cut through for his constituents.
Even the proverbial pothole is scarce, thanks to the city's annual Street Repavement program funded by a countywide tax. Approved by voters more than 10 years ago, Measure B is an Alameda County sales tax, the proceeds of which are distributed to municipalities for street repair and pedestrian/bike improvements. Piedmont receives about $350,000 per year and allocates virtually all of that to street repavement. But how are streets selected for repaving? The city has developed a Pavement Management Program to prioritize streets for resurfacing or replacement. The program generates annual listings of streets to be rehabilitated based upon the condition of the street (PCI), the classification of the street (arterial/collector/residential) and the funds available. It generates a list of streets to be addressed each year, and recommends crack sealing, slurry sealing, resurfacing (milling and overlay) or complete reconstruction. Sections of streets chosen for repaving in 2012 were Highland (priority), Hampton, La Salle, Prospect and Lake. The pavement program does weight repair to the more heavily used streets in town, and this can lead to some discrepancy in that streets with higher PCI are paved before streets with lower PCI.
For example, Highland has an average PCI of 74, considered very good, whereas Maxwellton Road, Slyvan Way and Indian Court have PCIs below 30, considered poor, and have not been repaired in years. Residents interested in the PCI ranking for their streets can contact the city Public Works Department and ask for a copy of the PCI_RSL Listing. In addition, residents can request the PMP Work Plan that shows streets identified for repair through 2014.
From my experience, Piedmonters are more concerned with the speed of traffic on city roads than their condition. Every five years, the Police Department conducts a speed zone survey of select streets in town. This survey can be quite useful in documenting the level of speeding in your neighborhood and requesting additional enforcement. Most city streets are not included in the survey, and residents can request that speed surveys be conducted in their neighborhood. The last survey was conducted in 2008, and the next is slated for 2013. Residents can see the results of the last survey at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/09-02-08/traffic_survey.pdf.
As it happens, Piedmont will undertake a major traffic initiative in 2013. As a condition of continued receipt of the Measure B funds, Piedmont must adopt a Complete Streets policy and a bicycle/pedestrian plan. Complete Streets is a transit-planning concept that calls for the implementation of "multimodal" transit -- vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit -- when building or maintaining transit infrastructure.
Piedmont will not build new streets, but as it repaves streets, it must consider all potential transit uses of these street and, where feasible, accommodate those uses. This may be as simple as adding road striping or more detailed with the installation of traffic-calming infrastructure. Likewise, the bicycle/pedestrian plan is intended to recommend improvements for these transit options.
The city Planning Department is applying for grant funding to develop the bicycle/pedestrian plan and if successful, will conduct public engagement later this year. Even without the grant, the city's existing Measure B funds can be used to develop the plan. Related to all of this is the school district's revitalization of the Safe Routes to Schools program. The coordination of street repair, traffic survey and transit planning provide Piedmont the opportunity for value-added capital improvement, and residents interested in participating in the discussion should contact Kate Black of the Planning Department to be added to notification lists.
Garrett Keating is a Pied- mont City Councilmember.