Danville Express

Newsfront - July 20, 2007

Sycamore parking lot doubling

Busy lot serves school, park, open space

by Natalie O'Neill

Parking at Sycamore Valley Park and the elementary school is about to get easier. The parking lot, which is inundated with ball players, school staff, parents and hikers, will be expanded from 105 spaces to 191 by the time school starts.

The construction began in June and will improve students' safety during drop-off and pickup times, along with making the park more accessible to everyone. It is also meant to discourage parking along Camino Tassajara and in the neighboring Beth Chaim Synagogue, said Michael Stella, Danville Senior Civil Engineer.

"It was good timing. The synagogue just opened and we were concerned the public would end up parking there," said Stella.

The project will cost the town about $626,000, which comes primarily from the Sycamore Valley Assessment District and the Sycamore Valley Benefit District.

A turf baseball field designed for year-round use along with new trail access to Sycamore Valley Open Space Preserve makes the park a popular outdoor recreation spot.

"(Hiking) did create more of a parking demand," said Stella, adding that the lot has always been somewhat parking-deficient.

Sports teams and recreation programs meet at the park, which fills up the lot quickly some days.

"Children in Danville are very active. Parking is an issue," Stella said.

The new parking spaces will be achieved by reconfiguring existing landscape islands. Raised crossed walks, signs and fencing will also be added with the goal of slowing traffic and making the area safer for pedestrians.

While the project is being completed, temporary parking access is available between the old building and the elementary school and is marked with signs. Portions of the existing lot will remain open and currently there is more parking available than before construction started.

Next summer, an expansion and renovation on the north side of the park will add more parking spaces along Sherburne Hills Road, next to the East Bay Fellowship Church.

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