Making the world safer for deer | August 22, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 22, 2008

Making the world safer for deer

Scout inquiry results in deer crossing signs on Green Valley Road

by Michelle Olson

Why the deer crossed the road is no laughing matter when it doesn't make it to the other side.

Schuyler McAdams, a 14-year-old Boy Scout who lives on Green Valley Road, was saddened by seeing dead deer close to his doorstep. Earlier this year, he spoke to Danville Mayor Candace Andersen about the problem, and a couple of months ago it resulted in deer crossing signs posted in both directions on Green Valley Road near the cross street of Green Valley Court.

"I saw some deer being killed and I wanted to make the road slower," said McAdams.

He was working on his Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge and had to talk to an elected official about some issue in town. He also wrote to U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney about California's high speed rail plans.

McAdams attended the Mayor's Morning, a free public event held the first Friday of each month, where he was able to share his concerns with Andersen. She passed the word on to the town's Transportation Department and asked about signs.

"We went and checked it, scoped out the area and it was feasible," said Andy Dillard, transportation engineer associate, who helped install the signs. "There is a tendency for a lot of deer action."

"Deer action" involves an estimated 1.5 million people and their vehicles a year, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration, costing an average of $2,000 in car damages.

Often deer run, not walk, across the road, making it hard for a driver to react to the animal, said Sgt. Dan Barrett, deputy director of Contra Costa Animal Services.

Camino Tassajara, Blackhawk Road and Green Valley Road are popular crossing paths for deer in Danville, which are attracted to the urban area in part because of the brush on the sides of the roads. Some studies have shown clearing the brush helps to deter the deer, but this wouldn't stop the deer from crossing.

This year there have been six deer deaths or injuries on Green Valley Road.

"For that stretch of road it's not a lot," said Barrett. Contra Costa Animal Control calculates approximately 1,100 deer have been struck this year countywide with a "significant number" being in Danville.

Anyone who sees an injured deer or has concerns about deer in the area should contact Contra Costa Animal Control at 335-8300.

McAdams is pleased with the new signs on Green Valley Road and said he thinks it's important to remember the wildlife.

"The deer will keep coming even as we change the area," he noted. "We need to evolve around that."