Meeting notes – April 2024

Watch Meeting Here (Passcode: nh8Ay=!8)

April 25th, 2024, 7-8:15pm

Tonight’s Topics

Proposal for Crosswalks on SolanoDollar Tree  |  Updated Public Works Traffic Project Schedule  |  General updates

Meeting Notes

22 in attendance

Crosswalks On Solano Proposed Project

Heather Bristow, ERNC Secretary, presented a project proposal for high-visibility crosswalks and traffic calming measures on Solano Ave, between Highway 80 and San Pablo Ave.

Above: Inadequate Pedestrian crossing signage and pavement markings, along with densely parked cars, on Solano Avenue (between I-80 and San Pablo Ave) require pedestrians to enter the street to check for traffic and force drivers to only notice pedestrians once they’re already crossing.

These four blocks are unique geographically in that they’re situated between a State highway (San Pablo Ave), and Interstate Hwy 80. This four block section of Solano Avenue is heavily used by drivers to quickly get to the freeway or the San Pablo Avenue corridor, which has resulted in a speeding problem affecting drivers and pedestrians. Solano Ave is a wide road, and cars parked all the way up to the intersection corners obscure oncoming traffic. Currently there are no crosswalks or in-street traffic calming measures along these four blocks of Solano Ave, and it’s become a dangerous road to cross for pedestrians. Families with children and grandparents increasingly cross Solano Avenue during their walks.

Nearly 30 neighbors made public comments at the Community Budget meetings on 4/24 and 4/11, and 25 neighbors made public comments at the May 7th City Council Meeting. Strong emotional appeals were made to the Finance department and City Council to fund a project for high-visibility crosswalks, traffic calming measures such as compact/narrow roundabouts and light-up solar-powered signage, and red painted corners at each intersection, as shown in the diagram below.


Heather noted that the next City council meeting on May 28th is critical to attend for public comment, as the City Council will be making budget decisions that would ultimately decide whether this project would be approved or not.

The above diagram includes several recognized traffic calming and pedestrian safety features. Ultimately, a traffic consultant and/or designer/engineer within Public Works would decide on final traffic calming measures. Given the level of safety risks nearly 30 neighbors spoke in the two Community budget meetings. Heather will be asking for approval of a budget that would adequately address the current danger level.

On a motion by Ena Ferdinand, seconded by Heather Bristow, the East Richmond Neighborhood Council voted to request the Council and staff to install interim pedestrian safety improvements on Solano between San Pablo Avenue and I-80, and to schedule a review this section of Solano Avenue for more comprehensive pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures. The motion passed overwhelmingly.

Dollar Tree Developments 

Review of our 4/6/24 meeting with Planning staff, Vice Mayor Claudia Jiminez, and East Richmond Neighborhood Council officers (Jim Hanson, Nick Despota, and Heather Bristow) about the city’s approval of  Dollar Tree “tenant occupancy improvements” without the traffic safety improvements from the traffic safety plan, a requirement of the Dollar Tree Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

Planning staff communicated that the traffic safety study would be done by the property owners and Dollar Tree. The Neighborhood Council (NC) was concerned this would be a conflict of interest and requested for the City to oversee and administer the traffic safety study instead. Additionally, the Neighborhood Council requested:

  • A meeting with the city’s traffic consultant to express and highlight neighbors’ specific traffic safety concerns.
  • Some new items, such as installing a traffic camera across from the property driveway entrance/exit on San Pablo Ave, putting a baseline traffic counter at Roosevelt, taking a baseline sound measurement at the store’s proposed loading doc, a recheck of correct parking lot night lighting level, and a follow up review by RPD Crime Prevention on crime deterrence measures that will be instituted by DT.
  • There was mutual concern by the N.C. and Planning, for a median/barrier to prevent southbound cars from taking a left turn from San Pablo Ave. to enter the property parking lot, as well as exiting the parking lot by crossing lanes of traffic to make a left turn and go south on San Pablo Ave. 
  • The Neighborhood Council looks forward to a detailed response from the City to these requests. 

Review of Public Works Presentation to City Council
On April 16th, the Public Works Department presented a new timeline and budget for 84 capital improvement, maintenance, and traffic projects to the City Council. The Traffic Calming Program is part of that total, and it includes 18 projects, one of which is the traffic calming installation for Barrett and Key. Note, Public Works reported that there are nearly 300 other traffic improvements requests.

Since several major projects are already underway and need to be completed, such as major wastewater treatment plant repairs and soccer fields, Public Works presented a revised timeline that moves the “McBryde Safe Roads to Parks” project construction to 2027-28.

The City Council expressed frustration at the completion of only two of the 18 traffic calming projects since they were funded in 2022. Public Works requested patience since they are currently rebuilding department staff following the departure of many personnel a couple years ago.

Heather also reviewed how to submit a Traffic Calming Request, and Public Works’ new CIP Dashboard which highlights where projects are and aren’t happening (and does not include the nearly 300 traffic calming requests).

General Updates
• Saturday, 7/27/24 East Richmond Heights Art and Music Festival
• Saturday 8/10/24 East Richmond Dumpster Day. Four-five people will be needed to help direct traffic.
• Get the City of Richmond app to report issues directly to the City
Chat with Chief French recording – April 3, 2024
• Note for future meeting – invite Lynelle Sanchez, RPD Community Engagement Officer
• Next ERNC meeting: May 30th, 7-8pm
• Encourage neighbors to join the ERNC mailing list for minutes and action items.
• General Reminder: ERNC meets the last Thursday of the month at 7-8pm, for 6-8 months of the year (not including Summer months and November and December). We are tentatively scheduled for January, February, March, April, May, June, September, and October every year, though this schedule is subject to change.