If you’re walking around Castro Valley, one of the first things you notice is that it’s not particularly friendly to pedestrians. At the 2014 Castro Valley Pride event, we asked attendees what mattered to them in Castro Valley, and sidewalks was one of the top mentions.We’ve previously covered how the core downtown of Castro Valley is quite walkable … on paper. Walking on some of the key pathways in Castro Valley is immensely frustrating due to the patchy sidewalks, and woe to anyone trying to navigate the town with a stroller or wheelchair.
I looked to the Castro Valley General Plan [PDF] (CVGP) from 2010, and the good news is that the CVGP lists the major streets and schools which need sidewalks, curb cuts, and crosswalks. The bad news is that few of these projects have happened in the last four years. The map below shows in red the projects listed in the CVGP that have not yet been implemented: red lines are sidewalks and red markers are Safe Routes to School projects. Purple designates roads that are not listed in the CVGP, but that often come up in conversations about sidewalks in town. Cartoon schoolhouses designate where the schools are in Castro Valley.
That is a LOT of red downtown. That is a lot of red near the schools. That is a lot of red where people live, work, shop. We can do better, and we must do better.
(I can’t embed the interactive map, but this link to the map of missing sidewalks in Castro Valley will let you pan and zoom the map.)
California Vehicle Code 21949 states:
21949. (a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is the policy of the State of California that safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state.
(b) In accordance with the policy declared under subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature that all levels of government in the state, particularly the Department of Transportation, work to provide convenient and safe passage for pedestrians on and across all streets and highways, increase levels of walking and pedestrian travel, and reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
Castro Valley is failing on both counts. Building more sidewalks in Castro Valley will go a long way towards improving the health, safety, and well-being of our residents. It will reduce vehicular traffic, as more residents will be able to take advantage of their proximity to schools, retail, and friends. It will show that this town is truly welcome to all, regardless of age or handicap. If Castro Valley is to maintain its reputation as a “family-friendly community”, we must be able to attract today’s young families who are looking for communities with good schools, low crime rates, and walkable neighborhoods.
Alameda County Public Works Agency is the county agency in charge of sidewalks for Castro Valley. In Summer 2014 they submitted proposals to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for funding for sidewalks on Anita Avenue and Somerset Avenue. Unfortunately, both proposals scored low in the Regional Competitive Active Transportation Program, and were not recommended for funding.
So now what? Now we keep advocating for sidewalks with Alameda County Public Works. If possible, we work with Public Works to develop stronger proposals for funding. We work with the Castro Valley MAC and with Supervisor Miley’s office to make sure that our voices are heard. And we keep working.
This post was updated on 9/13/2014 to add more streets needing sidewalks to the map.