Accidents waiting to happen | February 8, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - February 8, 2008

Accidents waiting to happen

Downtown Alamo is dangerous to drivers and can be deadly to pedestrians. With 14 driveways and two streets opening onto a 1,200-foot stretch of Danville Boulevard, it is an accident waiting to happen. Throw in the bicycle packs, and the section is even more hazardous.

There are four categories of drivers on the road: residents going to local destinations; residents headed outside the immediate community; outsiders who have come into Alamo to do business here or for a social event; and the much-maligned commuters who are passing through and often cause a backup during rush hour. The commuters have the right to travel the road, like it or not, and they are not necessarily any more dangerous than the local drivers when they are in a hurry.

The question is: How can this dangerous situation be alleviated? Some changes have been made recently, such as the additional left-turn lane southbound onto Stone Valley Road, and the flashing lights at Jackson Way. And Supervisor Mary N. Piepho has asked the California Highway Patrol to enforce the speed limits. Yet this stretch of road remains dangerous.

If we were starting from scratch, the solution would be obvious. Have Danville Boulevard go around the shopping areas rather than smack dab though the middle. But it is too late for this option. Perhaps the parking lots of the shopping areas on either side of Danville Boulevard should be merged and the cars all funneled out at one or two stoplights in addition to those at Stone Valley Road. These lights would be an inconvenience to drivers traveling north and south, which would encourage people to stay on the freeway, and they also would stop the traffic to allow pedestrians to cross safely.

Surely this situation has come up in other places as freeways have cut through communities and their former highways have become alternate rush hour routes. Drawing on experiences throughout the county, state or even the country, can't our County Public Works Department find a way to alleviate the danger? Preferably before a fatal accident happens.