Pleasant Hill Unveils New Canal Trail Crossings throughout the City

November 19, 2012 19:00 pm · 29 comments

The City of Pleasant Hill has recently completed significant enhancements to six of the major trail crossings throughout the city.

Mayor Hanecak and city officials will conduct a ‘switch-on’ ceremony of the signal lights at the Canal Trail Crossing on Gregory Lane on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 4pm The public is welcome to attend the event.

What: Unveiling Ceremony and Signal Lights Initiation at the Canal Trail Crossing
When: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Canal Trail Crossing, Gregory Lane (next to Christ the King Church)

Citywide Trail Crossing Enhancement Project

The Citywide Trail Crossing Enhancement Project consisted of constructing access and visibility enhancements at four key trail crossings along the Contra Costa Canal Trail at Chilpancingo Parkway, Gregory Lane, Boyd Road and Oak Park Boulevard and another two trail crossings along the EBMUD Trail at Oak Park Boulevard and Astrid Drive.

Trail crossing enhancements varied at each location, but in general included:

  • In-pavement flashing lights
  • Pedestrian actuated LED signage
  • Colored crosswalks
  • ADA curb ramps
  • Concrete bulb-outs & sidewalks
  • High visibility signs
  • Pavement striping; and
  • Radar speed feedback signs

In addition, a new pedestrian signal and landscaped median island was constructed at the Gregory Lane/Contra Costa Canal Trail crossing. A new concrete sidewalk was also constructed along the south side of Oak Park Boulevard (between the EBMUD Trail crossing and Eccleston Avenue), and limited traffic signal modifications were completed at the Oak Park Boulevard/Monticello Avenue intersection to enhance student access between the EBMUD Trail and the nearby Pleasant Hill Middle School.

The total project construction cost is approximately $1.2 million, of which City staff secured over 60% in various State transportation grants for construction.

The remaining project costs were funded with local funds. City staff secured construction and long-term maintenance easements with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Regional Park District, Contra Costa County, and EBMUD for the construction of the various project improvements. The project was constructed while allowing uninterrupted access to trail users during the 4 month construction period.

1 Howard K Mullins III November 19, 2012 at 7:06 PM

The new crossings are really nice. Wish we had them here for our canal crossings.

But they won’t do any good if drivers ignore them.

2 Anon PH November 19, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Excellent! Safety enhancements are great, for cyclists, joggers, and dog walkers. Pleasant Hill is a great town to live in. This is money well spent. More kids are using their bicycles to “commute” to school in south P. Hill because the bus service was cut way back.

Thank You Pleasant Hill!

3 bike commuter November 19, 2012 at 8:03 PM

As a daily Canal Trail commuter I appreciate the enhanced safety the new crossings will hopefully provide for pedestrians (especially school kids), but damn, did they need to be that elaborate? Again, I’m all for keeping kids safe but I don’t know if a full-on stoplight assembly was really necessary for some of these crossings.
But my biggest concern is the Boyd Rd crossing; while it isn’t complete as of this morning, it would appear that when it is there will be a freestanding ‘walk’ button, on a steel pole, jutting out of the ashpalt next to the crosswalk on each side of the street. A cyclist approaching from either direction is coming downhill to the crosswalk (hence carrying more speed) and while scanning back and forth for traffic could easily look right past (or through) one of those poles. Hopefully we won’t see folks knocking themselves out slamming into them, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
Other than that they’re nice, and they kept a couple dozen folks working this year… that’s gotta’ count for something, I guess.

4 lawyer lady November 19, 2012 at 8:06 PM

So glad. I walk my dogs and try to cross at the Gregory crossing a few times a week. It’s always a crapshoot as to whether the cats will actually stop.

5 Hal November 19, 2012 at 8:59 PM

These trail crossings are really nice but there needs to be some law enforcement on Oak Park Blvd at the trail crossing. Maybe a pedestrian sting. Could ticket drivers at that crossing as fast as the tickets could be written.

6 Rich C. November 19, 2012 at 9:19 PM

@ bike commuter. You may also notice the “STOP” signs on either side of the street facing back towards the trail. That is an indication that perhaps you should slow down or perhaps even stop since you are subject to the same rules as a motor vehicle.
If you ride your bike across the crosswalk you are subject to the same right of way laws as any other vehicle. Except at the Gregory Lane crossing, none of the of other crossings have signal lights or stop signs. The driver of a motor vehicle has the right of way unless you dismount. Read the vehicle code if you don’t believe this.
Laws of gross tonnage apply regardless.

7 Rob November 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

My question is, why did they wait until school started to begin work? All summer nothing was done, then when traffic gets bad they shut down lanes. Who was the genius who planned that out?

8 Julie November 19, 2012 at 10:05 PM

they should have built an “up and over” bridge at the Gregory Lane crossing…been driving that street 30 yrs now, and what a PITA it is going to be to stop there, at the crosswalk at the school, and on and on. That street is just one accident after another waiting to happen. I”m seeing lots of fender benders when that light gets turned on….and cars stop, where they normally don’t, and speeders ram right into the stopped cars. Of course, they sit there for way longer than the biker took to cross it. If the biker even waited for the light to change before they crossed…so the car is waiting for nothing to cross…as happens on the Treat crosswalk, you know the one by the new Sprouts.
Yeah, I’m the one who is complaining about the latest, greatest, safety option out there. But, I’ve been there done that with bicycle riding. Everywhere. Bikers don’t care, cars don’t care. Oh, wait, I don’t either!

9 Cowellian November 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM

The canal trail has a real traffic light where it crosses Clayton Road. I always thought that if a cyclist or pedestrian pushes the button for the light, but then crosses without waiting for their light, any vehicle should be allowed to turn onto the canal trail to chase them down.

10 Lorie November 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM

Great addition to the City of Pleasant Hill. Thank you!

11 mtnguy November 20, 2012 at 7:15 AM

bikes vs cars again.
i ride this trail often and have always thought that someday i will be hit by a car at one of those crossings. that’s the main reason i wear a helmet.
both bikes and cars need to slow down.
but i probably wont.

12 DoReMi November 20, 2012 at 8:01 AM

I loved the trails back in the day when I commuted to work on a bike. It is so much better to have the cyclists off the street.

13 C November 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM

The constructon crews working on this have to have been some of the worst construction workers the world has to offer. It took them like 2 months to do each crossing. It was literally some sidewalk work and painting, and it took a crew of like 6 guys more than a week that should’ve taken 3 guys a day. How about we stop wasting our money paying these stupid suckers?

14 I Know Jack November 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

@ C #13 –
Apparently another example of incompetence and / or corruption in the contracts administration department. Probably community organizers.

15 DoReMi November 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM

C. Honey. That is what unions do. They put people to work. At the tax payers expense.

16 Diggles November 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

I know Jack and C Honey:

You two are so misinformed that I don’t even know where to begin…

The state has enacted laws that govern how public works contracts are awarded. (See the Public Contract Code.) It’s nearly formulaic, so corruption and incompetence are not really an issue. Also, the City Council awards contracts over a certain dollar amount. This is done at open, public meetings that you could attend and where you could voice any concerns you have about corruption and incompetence.

For public works like the trail crossing project, the contractors bid on the job. The City must award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. The contractor, NOT THE CITY, determines how many workers to put on the job and the pace. The city is not the direct employer of the union members who are assigned to the job.

Finally, I’m kind of speculating here because I am not entirely familiar with the City of PH’s policies on union vs. non-union projects, but it’s highly likely that the contract for the trail crossing project did not require the contractor to use union workers because the project is too small.

17 Kirkwood November 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Good and truthful explanation by “Diggles”. Also, for the person complaining about the project starting late, don’t forget that money allocated for any project doesn’t become available until after July 1st of any year. Only then can bids be awarded and the work take place. The contractor(s) hire the cheapest workers they can find, some of whom are barely paid a living wage.

18 C November 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

So Kirkwood and Diggles, you think it’s okay to say “We f***ed up and here’s why” and then just let it happen? You two are some upstanding citizens.

And Diggles, don’t call me Honey. It’s disrespectful.

Contractor, city, it doesn’t matter. Someones wasting money and dips***s like you defend them for absolutely no reason and things get worse. Get out of my community if this is how you’re gonna act.

19 Bridge to Nowhere November 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Thank you for not putting in expensive gaudy pedestrian bridges on the trail like WC did over Treat and Ygnacio. Now all PH has to do is fix all of it’s retarded parking lots.

20 Armchair Complainer November 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

@C #13

I love how people whine about street construction taking too long. You really think this work could be done in a day. If I gave you a blueprint and a shovel you would still be out there struggling bitching about how bad the prints are.

21 Anonymous November 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

The biggest problem is when public agencies enter into PLAs (or whatever they’re called now). Those only allow union outfits to bid on the job and sometimes only one company is able or willing to “bid.” That’s been a major problem for Mt. Diablo Unified School District and other Districts or public agencies that go the PLA route. At times, the change orders exceed the amount originally bid. That makes it look like someone on the inside told the contractor to come in low and they would make it up on the back end. Besides, public agencies can get around the “go out to bid” requirement if they can rationalize that the project requires special expertise.

22 jtkatec November 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Cowellian, just got a great visual

23 C November 20, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Armchair complainer, provide said shovel and blueprints (which you don’t have) and I’ll gladly do it. I would actually be down to fill in some potholes at my own cost just because some of them would be such easy fixes, but we have people like Armchair Complainer complaining about everything without actually doing anything and then we have people like me who complain a lot and then when we try to actually DO something, armchair complainer over here starts issuing challenges in the hopes that he’s right and things continue to not get done. Have fun being useless.

24 Ignorance is NOT Bliss November 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

@Anonymous #21

PLA’s DO NOT require a bidder to be Union. They require the eventual Contractor to pay it’s workers a wage equivalent to Union Shops. Anybody can bid. PLA’s help the workers make enough money to help the workers actually pay to live in Claycord with it’s disgustingly overpriced homes. It helps out us workers who actually use are hands for a living doing a skilled trade. If you are against PLA’s then you are for providing jobs for Illegal Aliens at 9 bucks an hour.

25 Diggles November 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Usually PLA’s are required only where the job will exceed a certain amount. For the County, I think it’s jobs over $1 million, and I think it is being increased soon. I don’t know what it is for cities and school districts.

The people who complain about using union workers on construction projects must not have family members in the trades. Many non-union shops hire undocumented workers or non-skilled laborers and pay them really poorly. Shouldn’t people who are skilled in their trades be paid a living wage? You all complain about there being no good jobs anymore. Well, jobs in the trades that pay unions wages are good jobs.

Finally, the unions require their members to complete an apprenticeship and achieve a minimum level of skill. You may not care if laborers who really don’t know what they are doing build your house or office complex, and that’s fine because it’s private property. However, I would prefer to see public projects constructed by skilled laborers, who know what they are doing, and who are paid a fair wage. In the long run, the work is done better.

26 J. November 20, 2012 at 3:04 PM

In my daily experience with canal-trail crossing-buttons, nobody pushes them; the joggers and bikers just jog right across traffic (or bike).

27 @ Honey C November 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM

What makes you think you’ve earned any respect?

28 Diggles November 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM

@ C,

Sorry about the Honey part. I don’t even know where the Honey came from.

I am not a dip shit. I am a well-informed citizen who cares enough about the community where I live to learn about the issues affecting my community. Your comment is perplexing. Where did I say anything about anyone “fu*king up?” How did I let it happen?

The contractor who gets the contract because it is the lowest responsible bidder can run the project however it wants to. If the contract is for $300k, and the contractor decides to have 10 guys do the work when only 4 guys are needed, the contractor still only gets $300k so the extra labor comes out of the contractor’s profits. That’s just how it works. It doesn’t mean the city screwed up. It doesn’t mean that the city is paying contractor extra. It doesn’t mean there is waste. Bottom line: contractor gets x number of dollars and can run the project however it wants to.

From what I can see, a lot more than just painting and sidewalk work went in, especially at the Gregory crossing. I am at that crossing nearly every day and I only saw work being done there a few times. Definitely not every day for the past two months.

29 Anonymous November 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Web definitions

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA), also known as a Community Workforce Agreement, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Labor_Agreement

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