Neighborhood connector roadway Old Dougherty Road in San Ramon's Dougherty Valley is scheduled to close as planned Monday morning, more than two weeks after the opening of the nearby Dougherty Road extension.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors signed off on the planned closure Aug. 16 after hearing from several resident speakers who opposed shutting down Old Dougherty Road because they felt it would exacerbate traffic problems in their neighborhoods.
Other neighbors created an online petition in favor of keeping Old Dougherty Road open, which had 938 support signatures as of Sunday night.
Closing Old Dougherty Road, and converting it to a public trail, were called for in the Dougherty Valley development conditions of approval and in accordance with the Dougherty Valley specific plan, according to San Ramon city officials, who say the road does not adhere to current design standards and would cost more than $4 million to upgrade.
A strip of roadway at the south end of Dougherty Valley, Old Dougherty Road connects Bollinger Canyon Road to neighborhoods on Stoneleaf and Ivy Leaf Springs roads from the south. The neighborhoods are also accessible from the north and east without using Old Dougherty Road.
The plan has been to close the road to vehicular traffic after the opening of the new Dougherty Road extension, a 1.5-mile roadway with three lanes in each direction designed to be a major thoroughfare in the Dougherty Valley.
The Dougherty Road extension opened to the public Aug. 12, starting at the Plaza at Gale Ranch Shopping Center at its north end and running down to Rancho San Ramon Community Park at the south, intersecting with winding Bollinger Canyon Road on each end.
That opening put the Old Dougherty Road on schedule for permanent closure to vehicle traffic on Monday. Construction crews will then start working to convert it to a public-use bicycle and pedestrian trail that is estimated to open early next year, according to city officials.
However, supporters of an online petition -- posted on change.org and titled "Keep Old Dougherty Road open to reduce traffic congestion" -- wanted the roadway to remain open to vehicles permanently to alleviate their traffic concerns.
"The Old Dougherty Road is a shortcut for most of the residents in Gale Ranch and a huge time-saver whose closure will cause of lot of frustration amongst tired South Bay commuters, which will in turn negatively impact their family life," the petition states in part.
The petition also cites concerns about congestion due to school drop-off at Bella Vista Elementary and argues it will take morning commuters an extra 20-25 minutes to go around Old Dougherty Road.
"Gale Ranch residents love their community and the peaceful environment around them, and we will appreciate if this remains like this," the petition states.
The online petition was directed toward the city of San Ramon and Mayor Bill Clarkson, although the final closure was a question for county officials since Old Dougherty Road a county roadway. The county supervisors approved the planned closure unanimously Aug. 16.
San Ramon city officials, in their Dougherty Road FAQ page online, contend the new Dougherty Road is designed to handle increased traffic, at three lanes in each direction compared to one lane each way on Old Dougherty Road.
They also estimate that upgrading Old Dougherty Road to current roadway design standards would cost $4 million construction-related costs -- not including administrative costs to amend the Dougherty Valley specific plan and settlement agreement nor environmental clearances and regulatory permits.