Stanton Avenue is one of the many streets in Castro Valley plagued by lack of sidewalks. In spots lacking true sidewalks, parked cars and overgrown landscaping often block the pedestrian right-of-way. On Monday, December 18th, at 6pm at the MAC meeting at the CV Library, the public will have a rare opportunity to share concerns and hold public agencies accountable.
In Fall 2016, parents from Stanton Elementary (myself included) approached the Castro Valley MAC about the safety concern that this presented near the school. The MAC formed a subcommittee to collaborate with the multiple Alameda County agencies responsible for maintaining the pedestrian right of way — Code Enforcement (in the Community Development Agency) handles encroachment from overgrowth, the Sheriff’s Department handles parking enforcement, and Public Works is responsible for the engineering of roads and sidewalks.
MAC and Public Agencies
The MAC launched a pilot project in August 2017 to tackle the walkability of Stanton Avenue, and Code Enforcement’s report back to the MAC at the 11/20/2017 meeting was underwhelming.
- At the start of the pilot, the MAC crafted a letter to homeowners in the Stanton School area notifying them that they needed to keep the walkway clear.
- Several MAC members and Code Enforcement did a “field trip” to Stanton and carefully reviewed about 15 properties along a block of Stanton Avenue.
- Code Enforcement made a determination on the various issues, from overgrown vegetation to sign posts to parked cars.
- For vegetation issues, Code Enforcement notified property owners giving them a deadline to correct the issues.
- For sign posts, Code Enforcement asked Public Works to move the signs.
- For parked cars, Code Enforcement notified the Sheriff, who responded with the typical reply that they would not ticket unless they could be provided with a clear property line
- Code Enforcement stressed several times that they wanted to partner with other agencies (Public Works, Sheriff, MAC, etc.) to rectify this long-standing problem.
- The MAC announced that Public Works would be attending the next MAC General Purpose meeting on Monday, December 18, 2017 and that one of the short-term solutions the MAC is pushing for is white lines to separate the walkway from parking. White lines give the Sheriff a means to enforce parking rules.
What Can We Do?
The MAC meeting on Monday, December 18, 2017 (6 p.m. at the Castro Valley Library) is an all-too-rare opportunity for Public Works to answer to us. Where is the pedestrian infrastructure? Why should kids have to walk in the street to get to school? How can those with wheelchairs or strollers get anywhere?
Pedestrians, parents, and other advocates have complained to the MAC (and to Supervisor Miley) for years about the lack of sidewalks in Castro Valley. (Parents from Proctor Elementary complained to the MAC about similar issues in 2015.) This is the biggest push we’ve seen from the MAC to address these issues — and showing up to the 12/18/2017 MAC meeting to make sure Public Works hears us is the next step. On Stanton and a few other streets in CV, we may see sidewalks by 2023 (decades more before we see them on so many other streets) – but we can’t keep waiting! Short term solutions like white lines to protect our walking space can take weeks, not decades. We need your faces and your voices to tell Public Works that we need real solutions to preserving a safe pedestrian right-of-way today!