ALBANY -- The intersection of Buchanan Avenue and Pierce Street will be closed to motor traffic under a plan to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians heading to the Buchanan Marin Bikeway.
The City Council's unanimous approval of the proposal Monday followed a staff report on the plan, one member of the public speaking in favor of the measure and a brief discussion by the City Council.
The closure will create a permanent cul-de-sac at the east end of Buchanan Avenue, a one-block street between Pierce and Cleveland Avenue that parallels Buchanan Street, the main thoroughfare to the freeway interchange and the waterfront.
A retaining wall and a fence will separate automobile traffic from Buchanan Street and Buchanan Avenue. According to the staff report, bicyclists and pedestrians will then have a safer way to pass to the Buchanan overpass.
The bikeway is a link between the Marin Avenue bike lanes and the Bay Trail on the waterfront.
Without the closure, according to the report, "bicyclists and pedestrians would cross Buchanan as vehicles heading to Cleveland Avenue approach this short street at relatively high speeds."
Councilmen Michael Barnes and Peter Maass asked Albany Community Development Manager Jeff Bond about truck traffic in the area. Bond responded that the plan is for trucks heading to Cleveland Avenue be directed to the Interstate 580 and 80 interchange, where they can access Cleveland Avenue and Jacuzzi
Bond said that large trucks would be restricted in the area, probably in the same way they are restricted on Marin Avenue, but that pickups and small trucks would still be able to pass through the area. Emergency vehicles would also have access.
Wild turkey update
The council also heard a staff report presented by City Clerk Nicole Almaguer regarding a flock of wild turkeys that has been roosting in a redwood tree in a residential back yard.
She told the council that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has indicated that the only way to remove the turkeys is through a depredation permit, which would lead to the turkeys being euthanized.
"We found in our conversations with Fish and Wildlife that our hope for what we consider a humane trap and relocation of the birds is probably not an option," Almaguer told the council. "That's due to concerns with disease. Transmitting a disease from one location to another should the birds impose some sort of disease in a different habitat."
Another concern, she said, is habitat competition "should we move these birds to what we would hope would be a non-urbanized area (and) what that might introduce to a species in that area."
Almaguer said staff also reached out to various wildlife organizations, including the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek.
"They informed me that wild turkeys were on the rise and they've been an issue in their area for about eight years," she said. "They informed me that there really were no strategies besides a depredation permit if it got to that gravity of a situation."
Pareen Shah, the homeowner in question, told the council his family was still hopeful the turkeys could be relocated. He also thanked the council and city staff for trying to find a humane solution.