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San Ramon council to talk elementary school traffic safety

New police officers, naming poet laureate, workshop on unfunded budget priorities also on tap

The San Ramon City Council is set to consider endorsing a handful of traffic-safety projects near four elementary schools this fall as part of a regular update on the city's Safe Routes to School program Tuesday evening.

The short-range projects -- totaling about $10,000; mainly signage adjustments -- are supplemented by long-range project proposals and education and enforcement recommendations in a 71-page report following city staff's annual review of traffic conditions around San Ramon's 12 elementary campuses.

The Safe Routes to School program studies bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle conditions near the schools each year and makes recommendations to the council aimed at enhancing circulation and safety in those areas, according to city transportation specialist Prabhjot Dhoot.

"The program employs the "Four Es" -- Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Encouragement -- in an effort to accomplish its goals," Dhoot wrote in a staff report to the council.

Last school year, city staff went out to all 11 active elementary school sites, collecting data and making observations in March, April and May for at least two days during morning drop-offs and afternoon pickups, from multiple vantage points, Dhoot said. Officials also met with school administrators at Bella Vista Elementary, which opened to students for the first time last month.

"The observations were conducted to monitor the behavioral patterns of school-age pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as the patterns of motorists," Dhoot added.

That analysis spurred nine recommended traffic-safety improvements for this fall, about $10,000 worth of work to be funded through regular city traffic, public services and transportation budgets earmarked for basic street work, Dhoot said.

* Install a stop bar in advance of the crosswalk at Bollinger Canyon Elementary

* Install larger "No Parking" signs at Bollinger Canyon

* Install parking restrictions and red curb at Golden View Elementary

* Review traffic signal timing near Golden View

* Relocate "No Right Turn on Red" signage at Live Oak Elementary

* Install turn restrictions at school driveway exit for Live Oak

* Implement one-way circulation at kindergarten driveway for Quail Run Elementary

* Install pedestrian barricade at Quail Run

* Install larger "Right Turn Only" signage at Quail Run.

City staff also developed long-range recommendations at four schools, projects that would require additional review and coordination before implementation.

* Conduct review of the crosswalks along North Monarch Road and enhance or remove as warranted near Coyote Creek Elementary

* Implement residential traffic calming program measures in the vicinity of Hidden Hills Elementary

* Reconfigure kindergarten driveway circulation at Live Oak

* Install a queuing lane along Pine Valley Road for Walt Disney Elementary.

The city report also calls for education efforts, including continuing to monitor and promote TRAFFIX bus programs offered at four sites (Coyote Creek, Country Club, Neil Armstrong and Walt Disney), promoting "park and walk" campaigns at all school sites, starting "walking school buses" and "bicycle trains" and implementing Safe Routes to School Street Smarts programs at all school sites.

City officials also recommend asking for additional enforcement by the "My Beat, My School" police officer at all school sites as well as for police services technician assistance with enforcement of parking restrictions at all sites.

If approved by the council Tuesday night, the next steps for city staff would be to meet with school officials and then implement the short-range changes at the four schools, coordinate with the police department on new enforcement ideas and research the long-range project concepts, Dhoot said.

The Safe Routes to School annual report is among several items set for the City Council's regular meeting, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.

In other business

* The council members will be introduced to new San Ramon Police Department officers Abbas Husain and Eric Van Scoy as well as new Public Services Division employees Kristopher Carlos, Emmanuel Garcia, Eric Maier and David Martinez.

* They will also consider appointing former city poet laureate Kathy Moore to another two-year term after the newest poet laureate announced her resignation after less than two months.

The council selected Shikha Malaviya on July 26 to serve a two-year term as the city's representative who promotes and encourages literary arts in San Ramon. But Malaviya recently resigned because she's moving out of the city, according to assistant city manager Eric Figueroa.

The city's Parks and Community Services Commission and Arts Advisory Committee now recommend the council appoint Moore, who works as curriculum coordinator for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and sat as San Ramon poet laureate for four years until this July.

* Before the regular meeting, the council will host a workshop to discuss unfunded budget priorities, starting at 6 p.m. in the emergency operations center (EOC) room at City Hall.

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