The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will start the process of acquiring the property to transform a dangerously busy Alamo intersection into a traffic roundabout safer for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The intersection of Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court, just north of Stone Valley Road, has had one of Contra Costa County's 20 highest accident rates for the past five years, according to a county report.
About 20,000 vehicles travel the intersection daily, co-mingling with one of the county's highest rates of pedestrian and bicyclist traffic.
The collision rate at the intersection was approximately 2.5 times higher than the state average. Over the decade prior to the project's initial planning phase -- kicked off by supervisors in September 2018 -- there were at least 13 bicycle and three pedestrian collisions.
"I've been here five years, and there's probably been 10 accidents I've seen," said Nick Zagaroli, who owns a financial software business on Orchard Court, just a few doors down from the intersection. "The problem here is the shopping center driveway across the street (at Alamo Plaza)," he said.
Zagaroli said the sole crosswalk through the intersection -- which would be shortened by the roundabout -- is so long, there were flags for pedestrians to use to make themselves more visible. He said the flags recently disappeared.
"This intersection is dangerous," Zagaroli said. "Though I'm not sure a traffic circle here is appropriate. When they surveyed, I just assumed the work would be at Stone Valley."
Stone Valley Road is about a block south and a major arterial on and off Interstate 680, which runs parallel to Danville Boulevard. Area traffic on the boulevard is known to come to a standstill during commute hours. That stretch of the boulevard has at least two lanes moving in each direction, plus various turn lanes and bicycle lanes on either side.
"You always hear horns honking and tires screeching," said Colette Eyre, who works at Auntie M's Paw Spa pet grooming, near the intersection's northeast corner. "When things are normal and everything is open, I've been backed up here, trying to leave, for 45 minutes. When there's an accident, it just gets slammed. It's taken me an hour and a half to get to Danville."
The one-lane roundabout will include curb extensions, curb ramps, and entry medians to reduce vehicle speeds and improve the pedestrian crossing. Nearby sidewalks will be re-constructed with ramps complying with ADA requirements.
The county report says the county has worked with property owners and won't need to acquire any buildings or displace any businesses. During construction, at least one lane of Danville Boulevard will be open in each direction.
Though no official construction timetable was announced, one of the two parcels being acquired will be for a 16-month period, beginning Sept. 1 and running until December 31, 2022. The second parcel will be used from April 1, 2022 until Oct. 31, 2022.
The Board of Supervisors' virtual meeting begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday (March 2), and can be viewed at www.contracosta.ca.gov. Those wanting to address the board can call 888-251-2949 and use access code 1672589#. To indicate you wish to speak on an agenda item, push #2 on your phone.