Lafayette City Council Endorses Path Down Center Of Pleasant Hill Road

May 12, 2021 14:00 pm · 25 comments

The Lafayette City Council on Monday unanimously endorsed a plan that would create a pedestrian and bicycle path down the center of Pleasant Hill Road, from the intersection of Mt. Diablo Boulevard to Acalanes High School.

Lafayette resident Eric Law — who leads the innovation team at the San Francisco-based commercial construction firm Swinerton — got the idea in July 2017 while bicycling from his home near Stanley Middle School to Briones Regional Park near the high school.

Crossing multiple freeway on- and off-ramps, he had a revelation.

“Not only was I scared with the cars racing by, but I realized I was going to have to drive my two boys to high school,” Law said last week.

Law reached out to the city and, nearly four years later, the Safe Route to Acalanes High School Project got the conceptual endorsement of the Lafayette City Council, after getting the support of the city’s transportation and circulation committee.

“It’s a presentation I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now,” said Councilmember Cameron Burks. “They’ve done a really good job in organizing and coming and presenting this.”

The council didn’t commit any money to the estimated $3.2 million cost of the project. Law said he wanted to get the council’s endorsement before starting an all-out fundraising campaign. Law’s group has requested $238,000 for design and environmental review costs from local State Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s office. He said they would also go after federal funding, as well as private donations.

Funding could also come from local developer’s fees and money designated for city art projects, should the path include an art component.

Pleasant Hill Road is a major arterial from state Highway 24 to Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, Martinez and state Highway 4. There are also freeway ramps on both sides of the street.

The relatively short stretch of road also includes Acalanes High School and its more than 1,300 students, many of whom walk and bicycle to school. The controversial 315-unit Terraces of Lafayette development is coming to the corner of Pleasant Hill and Deer Hill roads, first bringing construction traffic, then hundreds of more cars passing through. Springhill Elementary School is also just a few blocks to the north.

According to a city staff report, that stretch of Pleasant Hill Road serves as many as 36,000 vehicles per day.

“Crossing the ramps can be dangerous, and even dissuade(s) experienced riders,” says a report to the council from Mike Moran, Lafayette’s director of engineering and public works. “In fact, the city has heard from numerous parents that they will not allow their children to walk or ride to school if they need to traverse this one unprotected pathway on Pleasant Hill Road.”

Bicycle lanes currently extend through the area, near the freeway ramps, but they’re squeezed between vehicle traffic lanes.

Law said Monday that design work would need to be completely done before Caltrans would even look to approve the project — an 8-to-12-month process, he said.

The Safe Routes Project is “already viewed by Caltrans and CCTA (Contra Costa Transportation Authority) as an ideal project, as it does not impact on/off ramps,” according to a staff report for Monday’s meeting.

For more information on the Safe Route to Acalanes High School Project, people can go to

Addlepate May 12, 2021 at 2:24 PM

I’ll state the obvious

Someone is going to die riding their bike on a path down the middle of the road.

May May 12, 2021 at 2:39 PM

Someone always has a critical or negative comment.

Lost and Happy May 12, 2021 at 3:09 PM

One word.. “progressive”

bdml May 12, 2021 at 3:16 PM

So does it make the point any less valid? Addlepate has a great point with more distracted drivers on the road needing to hashtag that trending tweet…glad you can worry about labeling somebody.

BahgdadC May 12, 2021 at 5:25 PM

Addlepate, you should check out the visuals on the project website. You will see that the bike/pedestrian lane is protected by barriers on both sides. It’s essentially an open-roofed tunnel that keeps everyone safe, even from those “needing to hashtag that trending tweet”

Original G May 12, 2021 at 2:59 PM

So will they be using the “Green” paint icons on the asphalt to further confuse drivers ? ? Using mouse wheel in to Concord Boulevard just before Galindo and click on satellite view, hover over satellite icon box and click off labels and you’ll be able to see right turn off Concord B before it got confused by green painted icons and lane shifting. Next drag the little man icon over onto Concord B for street view of after lane changes and green paint were added.

It’s interesting to park, walk over and watch driver confusion from those not expecting lane changes. IF I rode a bike I’d want to stay away from abrupt last second lane changing by confused drivers. Besides I’d make a lousy hood ornament.

Anon May 12, 2021 at 3:06 PM

Didn’t the “controversial” 315 -unit terraces of Lafayette get voted down by the residents of Lafayette???
Nothing “controversial” about it. The residents DO NOT want it…..End of story.

Back to to Center pedestrian pathway…..Lafayette PD needs to get that 35 mph speed BACK to 35 mph….it’s currently pushing 60mph. They need to put up some radar display signage on that Speedway.

Led May 13, 2021 at 9:09 AM

Surprise, surprise: wealthy people in valuable homes don’t want housing for other people to be built near them. What else is new?

Badge1104 May 12, 2021 at 3:17 PM

This idea may actually be a first. Sounded odd but could possibly work. Walking and riding a bike on either side of the current road is more dangerous because the very busy freeway on ramps and off ramps, so middle of the road might be a good solution. Let’s see how it goes.

Ricardoh May 12, 2021 at 3:30 PM

I don’t get it. Would like to see a picture how that would work.

Bob May 12, 2021 at 3:31 PM

This should go well…..

Gebertx May 12, 2021 at 3:40 PM

I don’t know if this is good idea or not ? My first thought, great, pedestrian and biker can get run over from both directions, but I’m good with more bike and walking paths, just use at your on risk

anon May 12, 2021 at 4:13 PM

Can’t wait for Lafayette to start have yearly murders thanks to that low income Terraces of Lafayette. Will soon be known as the Terrors of Lafayette due to all the car break ins and muggings.

It is dangerous to bike on that road approaching Lafayette. While there is a sidewalk on the Acalanes side, it’s a bit narrow and there is no physical seperation from traffic. There is none on the other side. I’m not nec. opposed to this idea.

Lamorinda Larry May 12, 2021 at 6:24 PM

Aaron- Why do you think people who live in apartments are likely to murder others? Lafayette already has thousands of apartments, many of which are offered at surprisingly affordable market rate rents and scores of which are designed for “low income” renters, yet murder remains quite rare.

Martinezmike May 12, 2021 at 4:55 PM

They should just install about 10 or 15 speed bumps. It will by way cheaper,and slow everyone down.

I am I said May 13, 2021 at 7:33 AM


ConcordRez May 12, 2021 at 5:01 PM

That is scary. I’d be afraid the bicyclist would hit a stone, swerve out of control, and veer in front of cars on each side

Maciz May 12, 2021 at 5:57 PM

From the perspective of an adult (senior) bike rider, I was, at first horrified by this proposal, but after learning the path is protected, someon defined it as on open on the top tunnel, I am enthused about this idea. Just imagine sailing right on by freeway on ramps safely and out of harms way. No wonder this fellow has a senior job at Swinerton. A man with a brain! I hope they do it.

stoptheinsanity May 12, 2021 at 6:06 PM

Is this primarily for the students to use getting to and from the school? If it is then why don’t we just bring back school busses, which would cut down greatly on traffic. How many non-students will use this pathway to justify its cost? I see plenty of bike lanes in Concord but very few bicycles.

tashaj May 13, 2021 at 12:05 PM

The average cost of bus transportation per student in CA is about $300/year. That’s ~$400K/year to bus all 1,300 AHS students.
Hell, let’s make it even $500K/year – still the $32 million in estimated construction costs is enough to bus all AHS students for the next 65 years.
And that’s not even counting the savings from reduced vehicle traffic around the school, since >50% of HS students get to school by car. Or the inherent safety of a bus as compared to a bike especially in inclement weather.

So when you look at this simple math, you can’t help but realize that this whole project is nothing but a brainchild of a bike lobby. Mostly composed of relatively wealthy recreational riders who want the taxpayers to fund the expense of their weekend hobby.

Oh, please May 12, 2021 at 8:55 PM

Heaven forbid the schools spend any budget except to pay the terrorist union members. Can’t pay for anything that would actually benefit kids… just for garbage teachers with an agenda.

Chris May 13, 2021 at 12:12 AM

Bike paths are important, but putting them next to or in the middle of traffic is complete stupidity. Think Iron Horse Trail. This idea had to originate from someone that owns a Pelton and not a bike.

sam malone May 13, 2021 at 7:40 AM

Things are a changing-the taxpayers come at the end of the line. Criminals and illegals, entitlement crowd step forward and such up all the services that so few of us pay for.

Sorry to sound bitter but call it as you see it.

Led May 13, 2021 at 9:07 AM

I like the idea: it makes sense to have a safe walking/biking link across that stretch. But why/how does it cost 32M? That’s ridiculous. The main change is putting up concrete barriers around the lane, and then reconfiguring crosswalk lines and signal patterns at either end.

Infrastructure costs in the US are so frickin high compared to other developed nations. I wonder why.

wesley mouch May 13, 2021 at 9:46 AM

Will the bike lane be wide enough for tents and shopping carts?

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