Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 1999 Election
Smart Voter

Trafffic & Pedestrian Safety

By Carol Federighi

Candidate for Council Member; City of Lafayette

This information is provided by the candidate

Traffic congestion, speeding drivers, and pedestrian safety are major concerns of many Lafayette residents.

Traffic congestion on our major arterials has increased noticeably in recent years. Growth in neighboring communities undoubtedly accounts for a significant portion of the increase. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this problem. Lafayette can and must continue to work with neighboring communities on growth management and traffic mitigation, but relief will necessarily come in small doses. The current City Council has approved adding a lane to Mt. Diablo Blvd. at the "Y." This should improve traffic flow somewhat. I will work to complete approved walkways so that more of our children can walk safely to school and more of our seniors can walk safely to town. I also support encouraging public transit for BART riders and students. I do not favor widening Mt. Diablo Blvd. beyond what has already been approved. Nor would I favor widening Moraga Road. Improvements must not come at the cost of pedestrian safety.

Speeding motorists threaten pedestrian safety. The city has set speed limits, which drivers routinely exceed. We must see that limits are enforced. We also need to install approved traffic signals, such as those at Carol Lane and Mt. Diablo Blvd. We can also increase pedestrian safety by completing approved walkways in our downtown and near our schools. In some neighborhoods, residents have successfully slowed traffic by petitioning for additional stop signs and speed humps. I've seen this as I've walked the neighborhoods in recent weeks. Often highly controversial, both signs and humps are nevertheless effective in reducing speed and quieting neighborhoods. As a member of the Council, I'll listen carefully to neighborhood wishes and concerns.

Our General Plan calls for creating a more pedestrian friendly downtown. I agree with that goal. Some have proposed accomplishing this by reducing Mt. Diablo to two lanes of traffic and providing diagonal parking on both sides of the street. While this "solution" would make Mt. Diablo Blvd. more pedestrian friendly, residents need to know and accept the trade-offs. Unanswered is where the displaced traffic would be routed. To Brook Street and Deerhill Road? Planners have advised that these routes are already at capacity. Alternate arterials have been explored and rejected in the past. Mature trees would necessarily be lost to accommodate street widening elsewhere. And certainly creating new bypasses would cause even more dislocations.

More modest alternatives are available. We can make our downtown more attractive to pedestrians by encouraging fašade improvements, installing decorative paving, encouraging patio dining, and installing sidewalk benches as envisioned in our Downtown Master Landscape Plan. Structured parking in the downtown near attractive retail would also encourage shoppers to park and walk to several destinations rather than move from lot to lot.

We are unlikely to rid our community of more cars than we want, but we can take positive steps to mitigate their effect.

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