Published May 22nd, 2013
Changing Driver Behavior in Burton Valley is Expensive
By Cathy Tyson
Photo Cathy Tyson
Speeders, texters and those running stop signs in the residential, family-friendly Burton Valley neighborhood got residents riled up enough to do something about it.
Gina Ney is one of the folks spearheading the pedestrian and bicycle safety effort. She knows that mailboxes, fences and landscaping have been mowed down by speeding drivers. "We see cars absentmindedly weaving into the shoulder, coming towards us when we are on foot, as that is where we have to walk as there are no sidewalks."
Both Merriewood Drive and Silverado Drive off of Rohrer have become relative thoroughfares due to homeowners going to work, kids getting picked up and dropped off at Burton Valley Elementary, and a nearby swim club as well as a wedding site, Wildwood Acres located in Hunsaker Canyon.
Concerned neighbors got together to form a neighborhood action team (NAT) and met with the city of Lafayette to evaluate a series of proposed solutions. After a number of meetings with the NAT, a draft plan was formed and recently presented to the Circulation Commission.
It is not easy or cheap to change driver behavior. Enhancements in the proposed Level 2 plan call for high visibility crosswalks using a colored pavement coating, a flashing solar speed limit sign, "stop ahead" warning signs, additional stops at Sandalwood Court and Indian Way, and pedestrian crossing paddles. The estimated cost of all these changes is $62,000 - with the recommended neighborhood match amount at 25 percent of the cost or $15,500.
Unfortunately neighborhood residents are not uniformly supportive of the draft plan. Some think nothing needs to be changed; others believe the plan may be ineffective in addressing original concerns. Throw in a fairly hefty "neighborhood match" for the proposed enhancements that residents would have to come up with and that's the current conundrum. While the commission supported the draft plan, NAT members asked that an Open House slated for May 14 be postponed to give them an opportunity to meet again. According to the city's transportation planner, Leah Greenblat, "They wanted more opportunity to consider the plan, other options and the cost estimate. Tentatively the Open House may be rescheduled to June 4."

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