San Francisco

Residents Near Livermore Frustrated by Commuters Cutting Through Community

Residents in one Alameda County community are prodding county officials to come up with a fix to a traffic headache that they say is clogging up their neighborhood during the morning and evening commutes.

The problem involves commuters hopping on Tesla Road near Livermore in hopes of circumventing the gridlock along Interstate 580 across the Altamont Pass, and the issue has been rearing its head over the past several months.

Alameda County officials say there has been a 37 percent jump in traffic along Tesla Road over the past year.

Resident Brett Caires lives along Tesla Road east of Greenville Road. He says his normal 10-minute drive to drop off his children at school has turned into a roughly 40-minute journey. Faced with growing frustration, Caires at one point put his property up for sale to try and move away.

"It’s as if I live in San Francisco and commute to Livermore," he said. "I can be in the city and commute out here just as fast coming in reverse so, you know, it’s ridiculous when you spend three hours a day going to a town that’s only five miles away."

Caires and about 150 of his neighbors want the speed limit along Tesla Road to be dropped to 25 mph in hopes of discouraging commuters from using the shortcut, but state law will not allow that proposed move.

Alameda County instead is considering installing speed tables, which are similar to speed bumps but longer in length.

"In a perfect world, we’d shut those rural roads down and not allow the traffic that’s incoming from other counties that are not paying for our road improvements, that are not paying taxes here and we’d shut them out, in a perfect world," Shawn Wilson, the chief of staff for Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, said. "We don’t live in that world. So yeah, you’re right. Speed bumps, speed tables, roundabouts, things like that are things that we can do as a county."

Alameda County's Rural Roads group is slated to meet in January to discuss the speed table proposal. If approved, the speed tables could be installed by the spring.

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