Dec 1 2021

View where the new Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging station will be on Magnolia Avenue near the Exedra at Main Park.

Scroll down on the link below to view EV maps and information for the December 1 Park Commission Meeting Agenda. 

Park Commission Agenda 12-1-2021 FINAL

 

Nov 29 2021

Pedestrian issues missing in the proposed Piedmont Safer Streets Plan. 

  • Where is the plan for better sidewalk maintenance?
  • Where is the plan for enforcement of Piedmont laws prohibiting vehicle parking on sidewalks? 
  • Where is the plan to restrict parking on dangerously narrow streets?

The plan appears to focus on money oriented capital projects and bicycles rather than general pedestrian safety.  Studies produced do not mention accidents caused by improperly maintained sidewalks.  The City inventoried all public paths in Piedmont (in other words, walkways other than sidewalks) to assess conditions and identify any needed repairs.  Sidewalk conditions throughout the City were not inventoried. 

“A secondary walking-related concern is gaps in sidewalk coverage and existing sidewalks in poor condition.” Plan

“Remove onstreet parking and fill in missing sidewalks in order to address concerns about pedestrians having to walk in the roadway.” Resident

The elaborate, costly, and studied final proposal for Safer Streets in Piedmont is to be considered by the City Council on Monday, December 6, 2021.  Agenda  here. 

COVID 19 brought out pedestrians and exercisers in numbers never seen before on Piedmont streets and sidewalks. A repeated complaint from readers was dangerous sidewalk conditions caused by years of damage from trees, water, vehicles, and old age.

Those attempting to walk on sidewalks around corners on narrow streets, frequently found cars and trucks parked on the sidewalk blocking their ability to stay on the sidewalk, particularly those pushing a baby carriage.  Police enforcement prohibiting parking vehicles on the sidewalk is generally absent in Piedmont.

The plan emphasizes vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians crossing or interfacing with Piedmont streets, while not mentioning the number of pedestrians falling or injured by sidewalk problems.

The City of Piedmont, which prides itself on otherwise excellent customer service, does not have an online form for the public to request repair and maintenance of streets and other public infrastructure.  The plan suggests the City should have an online repair request form. 

READ the full proposed FINAL DRAFT PLAN below:

https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/General%20Plan/PSS_final%20draft%20plan_Oct.%2028,%202021.pdf

Transportation Planning

December 6 City Council Hearing

for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan

At the October 7, 2021 meeting, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended City Council adoption of the Draft Piedmont Safer Streets Plan with four additional recommendations.
Pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15072, staff prepared an Initial Study for public review for the Safer Streets Plan. Having received no comments, staff is recommending that City Council adopt a Negative Declaration, based on the findings in the Initial Study.
On December 6, 2021, the City Council will consider adoption of a resolution to:
a) adopt the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan, and
b) adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan.
Following adoption of the Plan, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations, programs and policies will begin. City staff will continue to monitor existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and traffic conditions in the City. The Final Draft Plan is available for public review. Agenda for the December 6, 2021 Council meeting will be posted here no later than Friday, December 3, 2021. Staff report for the Plan, detailing all steps taken by staff and role played by the PBAC, will be available for review here, no later than Friday, December 3, 2021.
Please send any comments or questions on the Plan to Associate Planner Gopika Nair at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information about the PSS Plan and staff reports, please visit:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Email comments may be addressed to the City Council and sent to the City Clerk at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov

Nov 20 2021

FREE COVID-19 PCR TESTS FOR ALL

Travelers, students home for the holidays, general public and potentially exposed individuals can be tested now at no charge in Piedmont at a mobil unit provided by Curative.

The mobile testing vehicle will be in front of Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on Sundays and Mondays between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. until the end of December. The free test is a nasal swab test.  Results will be available one to two days after the tests.

The City of Piedmont’s Fire Department is working with Curative, the provider of the free tests. Bring your identification card and vaccination record with you.  Appointments are not necessary.  Those desiring an appointment or more information may contact curative.com.   

Nov 20 2021

Who is fighting to stop the State takeover of local land use planning?

California residents, including Piedmonters, are becoming more and more aware of the loss of control over local land use planning in their cities and neighborhoods. Public interest groups are forming to fight State takeover of local planning processes.

Developers are projected to be the monetary gainers of State control over housing and planning.

The continuing loss of local citizens’ ability to control development and feel confident of their community’s future is felt and shown in the number of homeowners deciding this is the time to leave California. 

To date, the Piedmont City Council has fully supported the Piedmont Regional Housing Need Assessments (RHNA) calling for an additional 587 housing units added in Piedmont.  Proposals call for the Piedmont Planning Department to ministerially take action on approvals without neighborhood input on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) that meet certain criteria. Areas in Piedmont, including a park, are  being considered to be designated for multiple housing units. 

State legislation impacts Piedmont’s two “single family” residential zones differently.   Zone A where smaller parcels are typically found in “lower Piedmont,” there is a requirement of a 5 foot setback from side and rear property lines for habitable buildings.  Zone E (Estate), an elite zone where parcels are generally located in upper Piedmont,  require more space  around their homes for the greater 20 foot side and rear yard setbacks.   Roof overhangs are allowed into the setbacks further narrowing the distance between buildings.  Zone E has been questioned as illegally established as never having been established by voter action per the City Charter . 

The required number of RHNA housing units was assigned to Piedmont without consideration of the numerous substandard, narrow, and winding road ways impacting safety and emergency vehicles.   Deficient municipal open space, lack of local employment, and other local problems were also not factored into Piedmont’s 587 new housing unit assessment.

Various groups opposing State imposition of housing requirements are linked below for information.

 www.stopsacramento.org
https://www.livablecalifornia.org/livable-california-endorses-the-our-neighborhood-voices-initiative/
Oct 20 2021

Virtual Community Workshop October 21, 2021, 5:30 pm

Pre-approved architectural plans, taller and larger ADUs permitted, allowing two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

“Objective” Standards and Incentives for Multifamily Housing and ADUs –

On Thursday, October 21, 2021, the City of Piedmont and Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) will host a virtual event, entitled “New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop,” starting at 5:30 pm, to discuss new objective standards for multifamily housing and new ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) incentives.

State of California laws, such as SB35 and SB 330, require cities to apply standards that are objective and “knowable in advance” to applications for multifamily housing developments, such as apartment buildings.

Discretionary design review or conditional use permits are no longer allowed.

Last year, the City and LWC consultant began to prepare objective design standards for future multifamily housing developments, including the citywide Fair Housing Survey conducted in March 2021 and presentations to the Housing Advisory Committee in May and June 2021. The results of this work will be described to the Piedmont community on October 21, 2021.

State laws, including AB 671, require cities to develop incentives for the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that can be offered at affordable rents to residents with very low, low, and moderate incomes.

The October 21 event will also include a discussion of possible new ADU incentives. New incentives would generally be available to homeowners who choose to rent their new ADUs at very low or low rents for a period of 10 years.

Currently very low or low rents for a one-bedroom apartment with two occupants is a maximum of $1,370 to $2,193 per month, and the maximum incomes of the tenant households are $54,800 and $87,700, respectively.

Possible ADU incentives could include changes to City regulations to offer pre-approved architectural plans, permit taller and larger ADUs, or allow as many as two ADUs and one Junior ADU on a single-family property in Piedmont.

The City and LWC have developed plans for ADU and JADU construction with Openscope Studio, an architectural firm based in San Francisco. With some modifications, these new plans can be used to quickly obtain Planning Division approvals and streamline the building permit plan review to construct a new ADU.

Participants in the virtual meeting on October 21 on the Zoom platform can share their ideas, take part in online polls during the community workshop, and hear from other Piedmonters on these important issues.

To RSVP for the New Fair Housing Programs Community Workshop, please email Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information, please visit the Get Involved webpage at Piedmontishome.org

Members of the Piedmont community are invited to send their comments on the draft new objective standards and ADU incentives to the City of Piedmont Planning & Building Department by November 19, 2021. Comments can be emailed to Piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov or mailed to: Fair Housing Programs, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94602. The draft new fair housing programs are funded in part by a California SB 2 planning grant.

Link to draft plan > https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/Housing%20Programs/LWC_Piedmont_New%20Fair%20Housing%20Programs_101821.pdf

Contact 510/420-3050 or 510/420-3040 for further information.

Oct 12 2021

  On July 27, 2021, a robbery occurred in the 300 block of Sheridan Avenue. A Piedmont resident was exiting his vehicle in front of his house when a subject approached him and demanded all his money and an envelope he was carrying.

The victim had just returned from the bank prior to the robbery. Detectives conducted follow-up with the victim’s bank and were able to identify a possible suspect vehicle that matched the description provided by the victim, a silver Acura MDX.

Upon collecting and reviewing several additional security videos from different locations along the direction of travel, detectives determined the victim had been followed home by the suspect. Detectives also discovered similarities to other robbery cases in Berkeley, Oakland, and Castro
Valley.

Upon continued follow-up and collaboration with those agencies, detectives were able to identify the suspect as 27-year-old, El Sobrante resident, Eddie Ray Nute.

Nute is in custody and awaiting trial for the robbery in Piedmont and six other Bay Area robberies involving similar characteristics.

This is another outstanding example of the collaboration between local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office.

Anyone with additional information and/or inquiries related to this case are asked to please contact Detective John Lagios at (510) 420-3013.

Piedmont Police Department Press Release

 

Oct 6 2021

Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee to Consider Recommendation on Piedmont Safer Streets Draft Plan

Thursday, October 7, 2021, 5:30 p.m., Virtual Meeting

AGENDA and PARTICIPATION > HERE

Piedmont’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan consultants Eisen | Letunic significantly contributed to the plan being considered.  The consultant produced  a program  of seven main phases, resulting in the proposed plan under review by the committee for their recommendation to the Piedmont City Council for their consideration and action.

Most comments received during the PBMP planning process were related to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, damaged sidewalks, traffic safety on Grand Avenue and Oakland Avenue, lowering speed limits, wayfinding signage, prioritizing SR2S programs, and offering educational programs for traffic safety and biking in Piedmont.

Key input themes that emerged from the round of public engagement for the PSS plan are described below.

• The primary concern expressed was speeding traffic. Several suggestions were received for curbing speeding such as installing traffic calming measures (speed humps, cushions, stop signs, sharrows), lowering speed limits, increasing police enforcement and offering educational campaigns.

• Related to walking, the main concern among participants was regarding unsafe crossing conditions at intersections including: poor sight lines and visibility, insufficient street lighting, and speeding drivers failing to yield to pedestrians. Gaps in existing sidewalk coverage were another concern.

• Related to biking, all comments pointed to the lack of a comprehensive bikeway network and gaps in existing limited bikeway network.

• The Grand Avenue road diet project received mixed opinions, but with a general consensus that the reduction from four lanes to two resulted in vehicular congestion. However, improved safety for pedestrians and bicyclists was noted by participants.

• In general, the installation of low-cost intersection improvement measures was not favored. The prevailing opinion of participants was that the low-cost installations are effective in slowing down traffic and ensuring pedestrian safety, but that they are unattractive and confusing.

• Finally, the elimination of on-street parking close to intersections and overgrown vegetation on corner lots were a concern for most participants.

Read the complete report and plan with street maps, recommendations, and public input > here.

 

Prior Projects:

Intersection improvements including flashing beacons installed on Oakland Avenue at Jerome and El Cerrito and painted island cross walks
Installing bikeways and marking designated bike lanes on Cambridge way (between Grand and Ricardo Avenue), Sheridan Avenue (between Highland and Caperton Avenue), Magnolia Avenue (between Hillside and Nova Drive) among others.

Road diet on Grand Avenue between the City limit to the south and Greenbank Avenue

Bulbouts at Linda Avenue/Kingston Avenue and bulbouts, flashing beacons and new street lighting at the midblock crosswalks on Linda Avenue around Beach School.

Landscape triangle at the intersection of Kingston, Linda and Rose Avenues.

Safety railings along both sidewalks of the Oakland Avenue bridge. The last phase of the project is scheduled to complete soon.

New and improved curb ramps and street resurfacing projects on locations throughout the City.

Three schools near Piedmont Middle School are enrolled in the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Program.

In 2019, Piedmont staff featured a second energizer station for the BiketoWork Day event.

In 2017, the City Council adopted a crosswalk policy to better ensure consistency and objectivity in the review of residents’ requests; provide transparency on the process to the public; and allow for flexibility to industry standards in addressing unique conditions on local streets.

Oct 3 2021

Two million six hundred sixty three thousand and seven hundred twenty nine dollars are Piedmont’s share of the COVID American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Piedmont City Council will consider how to spend the $2,663,729 in windfall funds arising from  the Federal government to assist with costs.  Read the AGENDA here.

The priority list developed by the Piedmont staff is listed below.

Approve the attached resolution allocating the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds as follows:

A. Devote lost revenue funds to address urgent facilities projects, prioritized as follows:

1. Dispatch Center Relocation\Remodel

2. Initiation of Master Planning Process for the future of Police Department, Fire Department and City Hall

3. One or a combination of the following:

  • City Hall Basement:
  • Digitization of Residential Property Files and Remodel Office Space ·
  • Fire Department Living Quarters Renovation
  • Recreation Department Building Renovation

B. Devote the remaining more restricted funds as follows:

1. Cover the City’s direct COVID-19 related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021

2. Provide premium pay to certain Recreation Department childcare personnel who were exposed on a daily basis to critical health risks while interacting with the public due to the nature of their jobs

3. Provide COVID-19 specific support to the Piedmont Unified School District by providing $100,000 toward funding a temporary full-time school nurse to assist PUSD in its COVID-19 response. Such resource would be available to support the City’s Recreation Department COVID-19 response needs as well.

Read the full October 4, 2021 staff report below:

COVID FUNDS 102021

https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18049031

Comment links to Piedmont City Councilmembers:

Mayor Teddy King

tking@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Vice Mayor Tim Rood

trood@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 239-7663

Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh

jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov
(415) 215-6933

Councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen

bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Councilmember Conna McCarthy

cmccarthy@piedmont.ca.gov
(510) 420-3048

Oct 3 2021

On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Piedmont City Council will consider moving ahead with improvements on Oakland Avenue to assist pedestrians, especially school age children, crossing the busy street.  Improvements are expected to cost approximately $400,000 to construct “bulb outs” into the thoroughfares reducing the open distance from curb to curb at Jerome and El Cerrito Avenues.

“The Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) has indicated its interest in fundraising for this project with its holiday 2021 campaign. To ensure coordination with this longstanding project, PBF has requested that the City Council indicate if it desires to move forward with the project before the foundation begins its fundraising. Directing staff to proceed with the final design of the project will serve this purpose.”

READ the full staff report with drawings >Oakland Ave Improvements 2021

READ the Agenda HERE.

Sep 27 2021

Drivers Need to be Aware Bicyclists May Not Stop at Stop Signs-

Biking organizations, including the California Bicycle Coalition, have successfully urged the legislature to legalize rolling stops for bikes. In August, the California Assembly voted 53 to 11 in favor of A.B. 122, making it legal for bicycle riders to treat stop signs as yield signs.   The Senate approved it August 30 on a bipartisan 31-5 vote.  The Governor has until mid October to sign the bill. 

75 organizations supported the law, with opposition more limited only by the California Highway Patrolmen’s Association and the California Coalition for Children’s Health.

Steve Barrow, program director for the California Coalition for Children’s Health and Safety, told The Coast News that they are strongly opposed to the bill and are urging voters against it.

“We have 500 people killed on bicycle crashes every year in California and we have several thousand that end up in the hospital with severe head injuries,” Barrow said. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Injury Center, they’ve all done studies on what happened when those people died in a bicycle crash, and a third of them literally were killed when the bicycle rider failed to yield at an intersection.”

Read the complete article here.

Barrow added that for children, the risk is higher because portions of their brains that control their decision-making and impulse control are not yet fully developed.

Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Delaware, and several other states have legalized the bicycle rolling stop.  Cyclists are permitted to treat a stop sign as a yield sign

Read the text of the bill AB 122 here.

Current New York City Bike Rules:

  • Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter).
  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles or other cyclists. At red lights, wait for the green light and/or the bike or pedestrian signal.
  • Go with the walk, unless there’s a bike signal or sign, cross the intersection when the pedestrian signal shows the “walk”.
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side, you have the right to ride in the middle of the travel lane. Bicycling is permitted on all main and local streets throughout the City, even when no designated route exists.
  • Use a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors.

Read complete New York City Bike Safety here