Apr 30 2021

OPINION: Reconsider Use of Taxpayer Funds

Re: May 3 Council Agenda Item : Grand – Lower Grand
Piedmont City Council
Dear Mayor King and Council,
          Spending funds on a Grand Ave – lower Grand bicycle improvement is a curious option for public funds as only beautification and limited bike safety will be addressed. In contrast improving the Fairview – Grand intersection accomplishes many concerns: bicycle safety, pedestrian Safety, significant traffic calming and significant Green Infrastructure (“GI”) compliance as this intersection is at the bottom of the hill and a bio-swale can be installed. The GI element is essentially very limited or not possible at Grand – lower Grand. Importantly, more beautification then the small project proposed at Grand and lower Grand is possible at Fairview – Grand as the multitude of traffic turning up Fairview off Grand is indicative of this intersection as a significant City Gateway and there will be  beautification of one of the two small commercial zones in Piedmont. Lastly the unsightly “gateway” of white plastic bollards will be eliminated.
          The 2014 Piedmont Bike Pedestrian Master Plan (“PBMP”) at p. 77 listed Grand/Fairview as a priority project and the report states “many requests from the public, creates sense of gateway into the city.”  The current Staff Report notes the PBMP as to Grand/Lower Grand intersection as “one needing additional traffic calming measures.” The PBMP places the Fairview Grand intersection as a higher safety priority; a permanent solution at this important intersection addresses multiple issues unlike the limited possibilities at Grand – Lower Grand.
          I urge Council to reconsider and use taxpayer funds in a more efficient manner that serves many more in town and accomplishes multiple needs by improving the Grand – Fairview intersection. Minimally, I ask Council to direct Staff to place a higher priority on the Fairview – Grand intersection.
Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident
April 30, 2021
Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

3 Responses to “OPINION: Reconsider Use of Taxpayer Funds”

  1. I believe Mr. Schiller is correct. For undetermined reasons, Priority Projects (PB) from the 2014 Ped-Bike Plan have not been implemented. Yet, projects not even on the Plan get advanced. The staff’s draft Green Infrastructure Plan (GI) of 2019 failed to demonstrate an understanding of what GI is intended to accomplish. Park projects with minimal GI benefits were placed above PB projects with maximum GI benefits. GI projects should collect polluted street and parking lot water and direct it into bioswales. The Fairview-Grand intersection is an example of a project location which is both on the PB Plan and would have GI benefits. Likewise, other projects on the PB Priority list, such as the 4Ws intersection, have such benefits but are ignored.

  2. Michael hits the nail on the head – there is a ton of synergy between PB and the TBD GI plans yet here we are installing another god awe full bollard project with no GI element to it. And the current Safer Streets plan under development seems to be progressing without GI as well. The more Piedmont can show integrated transportation planning the better are its chances to get grant funding for these projects. Hopefully these bollards are just place holders until the city can develop an integrated PB/GI plan for Wildwood/Nace, Fairview/Grand and Grand/lower Grand. Integrating the design of these elements with the current Cambridge median islands would be one place to start.

  3. 1) I agree with Rick, Michael and Garrett.

    2) Thumbs down on bollards…Thumbs up on bioswales. Always.

    3) And, if Piedmont had a Sustainability Commission like many Bay Area cities do, green infrastructure would be an upfront consideration, integrated into every project, and a priority for all our City projects.

    The “World Scientists’ Warning of Global Climate Emergency” has been signed by nearly 14,000 scientists from 156 countries. The signatories declare “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

    Our climate emergency will likely continue for the next 50 years and more needs to be done to make substantive impact. Every sector of Piedmont – residential, municipal, schools and individual residents – will be affected by climate change impacts. Establishing a Sustainability Commission would support a comprehensive and community-driven effort to address these impacts.

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