The Discovery Bay Community Services District (CSD) Board is looking into the benefits of a local traffic safety and calming program, but some directors and residents are calling for caution before giving the green light to the largely volunteer plan.
The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, an outreach of the Contra Costa Public Works Department (CCPWD), is a two-part process designed to safeguard neighborhoods through education, enforcement and if necessary, the implementation of options such as speed bumps and traffic circles.
Mark De Lao of the CCPWD spoke at the Aug. 20 CSD meeting and outlined some of the specific guidelines associated with the popular and largely successful program. Our goal is to help neighborhoods improve their livability through a variety of options, said De Lao. But this is also a program that promotes a sense of community and citizen participation, somewhat like the Neighborhood Watch programs.
Protocol for the program is simple. Residents within an identified neighborhood or high traffic area first contact a county traffic engineer, who arranges for a neighborhood meeting where options and alternatives are discussed. Sometimes, said De Lao, simple adjustments are enough, such as notifying neighbors about the traffic problems through community e-mails, phone trees, neighborhood flyers and local newspapers.
If a good-neighbor approach is unsuccessful, local law enforcement can be stepped up through the use of radar and increased patrols. The final step, if necessary, involves the implementation of physical alternatives such as speed bumps. If speed bumps or other construction is involved, the CCPWD can provide up to $10,000 in assistance for approved projects.
Ed Young, who has lived on Newport Drive in Discovery Bay for the past 10 years, said he would support some sort of traffic program and the sooner, the better. We need to take action now and put up a stop sign, said Young. It can't cost that much and we really need it. We don't want to wait until something happens.
De Lao said that although statistics show that stop signs are largely ineffective in curtailing speed, other traffic calming devices such as speed bumps, or speed lumps smaller versions of the traditional speed bump might be a more viable option, and something that could be explored through the traffic program.
But Director David Piepho, who while agreeing that traffic is a problem in Discovery Bay, noted that the community has already experimented with a number of traffic safety options with varying degrees of success.
We have had the radar out here before and it is pretty effective, said Piepho. We've had neighborhood signs and new speed limit and stop signs put up also. I think we have taken lots of internal measures toward this already and I say this so that the community knows we have basically done phase one (of the program).
Discovery Bay Boulevard and Newport Roads are long streets and people are asking, What else can we do?' I don't know; we might want to look at speed bumps, or lumps, as possible options.
Resident Walter McVittie, however, urged the board and community to take a long, hard look at available options before making any decisions.
Let's not just rush into this, because it could be a Pandora's Box, and then you get people all coming here and asking for speed bumps, he said. I don't want to live in a community with speed bumps all over the place. We do have a speed issue, but I also think we need to look at this very carefully.
For additional information on the traffic program, call the county public works department at 925-313-2000.