Antioch City Council reduces speeds on two major roadways, approves traffic calming for three others

“Pork chop” islands using delineators will be added to intersections along James Donlon Blvd. as one of the traffic calming improvements to the thoroughfare. Source: City of Antioch

But no funds for improvements on James Donlon Blvd. or W. 10th Street

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, the Antioch City Council voted 4-0 to change the speed and spend $1.5 million on traffic calming improvements on several streets. District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson was absent.

The first item the council addressed was changing and maintaining the speed on several city streets. (See related article)

The council voted to reduce the speed on Laurel Road and Wild Horse Road by five MPH from 45 to 40.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock requested one more change, to reduce the speed on James Donlon Blvd. from 40 to 35 MPH.

“By law we’re only permitted to reduce the speed based off the 85 percentile,” said Consultant Traffic Engineer Charmine Solla. “We’re permitted to round down to 45 and reduce that by 5 miles per hour. James Donlon is outside of that range. Assembly Bill 43, the new addition to the law, allows us to maintain speed limits that would otherwise decrease.”

The 85 percentile for James Donlon is more than 7 MPH over the posted speed, she continued. However, in 2024 the City can change the speed not based on the 85 percentile.

If the City changed the speed limit outside the boundaries of state regulations, “It means not being able to shoot radar or laser, there which would prevent us from enforcing traffic laws,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica explained.

The motion passed 4-0.

Low-cost medians formed with delineators will be added to Sycamore Drive as one of the traffic calming improvements. Source: City of Antioch

Traffic Calming Improvements

The council then voted to spend $1.4 million on traffic calming improvements to James Donlon Blvd., Sycamore Drive and W. 10th Street. They include lane narrowing, low-cost medians and “pork chop” islands formed with delineators, buffered bike lanes, buffered lanes to allow for parking, high-visibility crosswalks, advanced yield lines, warning signs with flashing beacons, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons and speed feedback signs. (See city staff presentation) (See related article)

The improvements were approved by both the police and fire departments, Solla stated during the staff presentation on the item.

The costs for the improvements will be $425,000 for Sycamore Drive, $865,000 on James Donlon Blvd. and $220,000 on West 10th Street for a total of $1.51 million. There are currently no funds in the budget for the improvements on James Donlon Blvd. and W. 10th Street. The improvements on Sycamore Drive will be paid for from the City’s gas tax revenue.

Only four residents spoke on the item, two concerned about narrowing lanes on Sycamore Drive.

Lanes will be narrowed and buffers added for bike lanes on Sycamore Drive. Source: City of Antioch

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker was the first to speak during the council discussion of the item saying, “I agree with every change that’s been suggested, here, tonight. Believe it or not, there are a lot of children and families along Sycamore Drive.”

She spoke of the lack of crosswalks on the street.

“That’s a huge challenge,” she said. “Is it possible to put a crosswalk on Manzanita…and Spanos?”

“There’s been complaints of speed on Mahogany,” Torres-Walker continued. “My concern is people will loop to avoid the traffic calming improvements.”

Solla responded, “The additional crosswalks, that’s something we can definitely look at. The state has requirements…pretty high pedestrian demand. We can look to see if the demand is there. It’s not uncommon for people to try and find other routes. So, we do have a way of studying if people are choosing new routes. We can definitely do that after a few months after the improvements are implemented.”

Traffic calming improvements will also be added to W. 10th Street. Source: City of Antioch

“Or we can go ahead and stripe Mahogany,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “Mahogany runs parallel to Sycamore. Let’s not be fools. People use that, already.”

“Let’s start with a restriping. A study is going to take a long time. You can determine it,” he responded to a question from Acting Public Works Director Scott Buenting, narrowing the lanes to 11 feet as will be done on Sycamore Drive.

The motion passed on a 4-0 vote with the addition of the striping on Mahogany Way.

the attachments to this post:

W. 10th Street Traffic Calming Improvemnts ACC080823-2

Buffered Bike Lanes ACC080823

James Donlon Blvd Delineators ACC080823

Delineators on Sycamore Drive

Buffered Bike Lanes ACC080823

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