In fact, Davidon Homes is making the traffic problem worse.
841 more car trips per day worsens congestion at Diablo Rd intersections, many already rated "E" or "F" flunking Danville congestion standards. Read the Town's Environmental Impact Report, which concludes that the project will worsen congestion significantly at the Mt. Diablo Scenic/Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road intersection, and negatively affect all the already -failing or near-failing intersections throughout the corridor.
The lone project-required "improvement" to the local roads is a single right-turn lane extension at the westbound Diablo Road/Green Valley Road intersection, which is itself backed-up during the peak a.m. time. At best that "improvement" is a tiny band-aid on a gaping wound.
The Town's EIR discusses a possible signal replacing a stop sign at the Mt. Diablo Scenic/Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road intersection, but that would have to be a County project. Such a project would merely move the existing mile-long back-up from that intersection to the next bottleneck, the Diablo Road/Green Valley Road/McCauley Road intersection.
There won't be increased risks to flood-prone local streams and highly eroded creek banks.
The project will raise the risks of flooding and erosion for ALL properties downstream, which are all in a FEMA flood zone. The County Flood Control Department states that there is insufficient capacity in the East Branch of Green Valley Creek (adjacent to Magee ranch and farther downstream) to handle even a 25-year storm. Also, the project site is the last undeveloped area for natural flood control remaining in this watershed.
The creek is already deeply incised with numerous highly-eroded vertical banks and a dense canopy of mature trees lining slopes and creek banks. Local residents have reported severe erosion and flooding to both the Town and the County Flood Control Department. Local residents have literally lost significant portions of property and many trees to the creek's erosive forces.
Just two winters ago a huge eucalyptus tree with erosion-ravaged roots fell across Diablo Road, closing it and an adjacent road for 36 hours, creating a traffic nightmare for local residents. The carcasses of numerous erosion-ravaged oaks lying in the East Branch of Green Valley Creek are visible to motorists as they drive Diablo Road.
In the 1990's, the Town of Danville paid a large amount to stabilize Diablo Road between Alameda Diablo and Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd (Town of Danville Diablo Rd/Creek Slide Repair Project). This was downstream from the project site where the road had collapsed due to erosion of the creekbank supporting it. In 1998-99, two local property owners had to spend their own money to perform substantial creekbank stabilization work (permit 417-98).
What is next and who will pay the price for overdevelopment upstream?
The project's required 5-acre, ten feet deep water detention basin and hydromodification equipment are intended to prevent the project from increasing peak flows during large storms and causing more erosion. Nonetheless, we believe that local streams cannot handle any more water, even if peak flows are not increased, and any more changes to the creek. More water and changes create more risks of worsening conditions. Detention basins and other equipment are based on expectations, studies, and averages. Nature doesn't always behave accordingly. Storms of long duration can overtax detention basins, for example. Certainly, the project will not improve existing unacceptable conditions.
Imagine these changes, and how they could harm adjacent and downstream property owners: Davidon's recent permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers describes Davidon's plan to "discharge" 1640 cubic yards of permanent fill and 70 cubic yards of rocks into 880 linear feet of the creek; and to create a number of storm drain "outfalls". The project will also require the removal of 67 trees, many of them Town-protected trees. Dozens of acres of Open Space that now provides natural flood control will be covered with impermeable surfaces----buildings and roads. Obviously, there will be major negative changes to creek hydrology.
Enough is enough. This area is already way overdeveloped with insufficient creeks and roads to support it. It's time to put an end to overdevelopment and its impacts by vetoing yet another rezoning.
Davidon isn't building any trails (except for a trail in the developed housing area).
Easements for two miles of trails, which are steep and virtually unusable trails for most people, will be offered to EBRPD. The same trail promises were made in connection with the "Quail Ridge" Elworthy Ranch development (along San Ramon Blvd. in southern Danville). For years, EBRPD refused to open the trails due to lack of funding that it thought had been a project requirement. Finally, the EBRPD agreed that it would pay for required maintenance from its general fund (supported by taxpayer assessments) so that it could open the trails. Will that happen with Magee "Preserve" trails? Will these trails ever be open to the public (after the four years of housing construction is completed), or will taxpayers end up paying for the trails?
SAFER ALTERNATIVES for Road Bicyclists to Diablo Rd
Regarding the much advertised "safer alternative to Diablo Rd" that Davidon claims the project includes:
The project includes no improvements for Diablo Rd road bicyclist safety. Davidon is merely required to offer the Town of Danville a "floating" easement for a potential future trail at an unspecified location. It will be somewhere along the steep hillside which has "High Landslide Susceptibility" above Diablo Road and begin at the project's Emergency Vehicle Access entrance/exit just west of Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. to a point somewhere west of Alameda Diablo and east of Green Valley/McCauley Roads, where a Diablo Road crossing would be needed.
The previous developer, SummmerHill Homes, said a road bicyclist usable trail on that hillside is not "feasible" and no technical evidence has refuted that conclusion. There is no plan for such a trail, and without adequate specifications, its cost is unknown. There is no plan for how bicyclists or hikers could cross dangerous Diablo Road to access such a trail, and what that would do to existing congestion.
We believe such a trail is a "red herring" to distract those concerned about road bicyclists' safety from real safety improvements that need to be made through this project approval but aren't. Four-feet wide shoulders along Diablo Road would provide significant bicyclist and motorist increased safety and more room to evacuate should there be an emergency. Two-feet shoulders were specified in the 1994 Town of Danville Contract C-55B to mitigate the effects of the 1987 Magee Ranch I Project. Those shoulders were never added, nor are these much needed safety improvements part of this current project.
We are CREATING hundreds of acres of PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
Davidon Homes is a developer. Their plan is to build 66+ luxury houses and much associated infrastructure on dozens of acres of Town-designated Open Space land, setting a dangerous precedent that threatens all of Danville's designated Open Space. No parkland is being created. No new Open Space is being designated. Open Space is being lost!
Emergency EVACUATION of thousands of local residents is possible on Diablo Rd
Cal Fire and CPUC give this area their highest wildfire threat rating. The Town calls wildfire an "extreme threat to development" here. The single, two-lane road in and out is already routinely gridlocked. Imagine thousands evacuating in a wildfire, with road blockages, smoke and emergency vehicles. Building a major subdivision that would add hundreds more residents, needing to flee in an emergency, is wrong!
A recent after-approval letter from East Bay Regional Park District to the Town Manager regarding EBRPD accepting 343 acres of Magee Ranch to own or hold an easement on is no guarantee of anything and is not part of the rezoning and the project voters are being asked to approve on March 3rd.
Despite the pending referendum, Davidon Homes applied for an Army Corps of Engineers permit to discharge 1640 cubic yards of permanent fill and 70 cubic yards of rock into the East Branch of Green Valley Creek for the purpose of constructing a bridge to access the site for 66+ of the houses, and to create four lots and additional access roads. 880 linear feet of the creek will be permanently changed by the fill and rock.
The project proposes to construct three storm drain system outfalls to drain storm waters to the East Branch and construct three geotechnical subdrain outfalls. Such major disturbances to the creek will further risk the creek's thriving population of the threatened CA Red-legged Frog (the State Amphibian), Danville's River Otters, and cause further changes that can't be predicted to the already highly- eroded creek banks and beds downstream where flooding routinely occurs.