Danville Express

Newsfront - October 19, 2007

Alamo fed up with speeders

Is speed limit the problem or enforcement?

by Natalie O'Neill

The speed limit on Danville Boulevard might be lowered from 30 to 25 miles per hour to keep non-local drivers from blasting through Alamo, public works traffic officials told the Alamo Community Council last Thursday.

But the answer to the speeding dilemma could have more to do with traffic enforcement than it does with a speed limit or engineering on the major Alamo artery, residents said.

Average speeds on the boulevard have dropped four miles per hour since the flashing lights at Jackson Way were put in last summer, according to county public works. But even with the improvements, danger is still knocking at the door, residents said.

"There is zero traffic enforcement on Danville Boulevard - zero," said Mike Gibson of Alamo Improvement Association.

Traffic control in Alamo must rely on the California Highway Patrol since it is an unincorporated area. Towns and cities, on the other hand, can assign members of their own police departments to monitor specific areas for traffic. And some Alamo residents see this safety concern as a solid argument in support of cityhood.

Less attention from the highway patrol is just a reality when you're dealing with other, more vital freeway issues, said Jerry Fahy, senior civil engineer for the traffic section of Contra Costa County.

"The enforcement on a county road becomes a different priority when there's an accident on the freeway," said Fahy, who has worked with the CHP to solve traffic problems.

Public works will take a sample of 100 cars that are free-cruising, without signal lights or other traffic to interfere, in order to test whether the speed limit should be lowered.

The last sample was taken 10 years ago, when the speed limit was lowered from 35 to 30 miles per hour. It showed speeds of over 50 miles per hour on Danville Boulevard.

The root of the issue may be commuters, who get off the freeway exit during rush hour to avoid a clogged freeway flow, residents said.

"The real problem is the non-local traffic," Gibson said.

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