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Hayward open house to share vision for city’s future

HAYWARD — People’s eyes often glaze over when hearing the words “general plan,” but if you ask them what they want their city to look like in 25 years, most have suggestions.

Over the past 18 months, Hayward has been asking its residents the vision thing, and on Saturday, March 8, the staff will host an open house from 9 a.m. to noon to share the results.

The general plan often has been called a blueprint for future growth and development, though some question how people now can anticipate what the future may bring. Still, the overall direction helps the city make day-to-day decisions.

To get to the draft 2040 General Plan (named for the year it will expire?), city staffers held public workshops and Planning Commission and City Council study sessions. The liveliest discussion has been at the online community forum, www.Hayward2040.org, though it appears city planners may have tried to make the site dull while at the same time not checking their spelling. From the site: “What are your comments related to the enviornmental analysis for the draft General Plan?”

Now, you may be asking why you should get up early on Saturday and make yourself presentable. Seriously, this is something that affects all Hayward residents. At the open house, you’ll find a series of stations for the topics covered in the plan and that oh-so-popular EIR (that’s government-speak for environmental impact report, which is a boring way of saying that if a project could harm the environment, you’d better spell out what you’re going to do to make sure that doesn’t happen).

City staff members and consultants who worked on the general plan will be at the open house to answer questions. Overview presentations are planned every 45 minutes. It’s a drop-in event, so feel free to wander over from the Saturday farmers market any time during the three-hour event.

For those who don’t know, Hayward City Hall is at 777 B St.

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Election season is already here

Hi. Sorry to be away for so long. Illness plus technical difficulties were not a good combination.

A few updates: Two candidates in the Hayward mayor’s race — Mark Salinas and Francisco Zermeno — both have been busy, hosting community events, raising money, attending just about every local gathering. I haven’t seen as much from Barbara Halliday, but that doesn’t mean she’s not connecting with voters; she doesn’t seem to use social media as much as the other two. All three have a lot of connections in the community.

I have been hearing rumors that two others will enter the race to replace longtime Mayor Michael Sweeney, who has announced his retirement at the end of June. But no names have been attached.

One guy did stop  by the Daily Review office and said he was running for mayor. I won’t give his name, because he didn’t speak to me; I only overheard him as he was flirting with our office manager. We do get some interesting characters wandering in off Foothill.

Salinas’ council seat will be up for grabs. Councilman Marvin Peixoto has announced he plans to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Hayward Unified Trustee William McGee has set up a website for his re-election and to keep the community informed. His and Trustee Lisa Brunner’s terms expire next year; Brunner has not announced whether she will seek re-election.

The city of Hayward also is looking at a ballot measure to pay for a new main library and two fire stations, and possibly more upgrades and services. A series of meetings and outreach are planned, beginning next month.

The Hayward school district is talking about another bond measure to replace more of the district’s aging schools, but no date has been set.

Alameda County is looking at asking voters to extend Measure A, a half-cent sales tax set to expire in 2019. It helps fund medical services to the county’s low-income residents, but some have complained that too much of the money currently goes to Highland Hospital or is at the discretion of the county Board of Supervisors and subject to political maneuverings. Without it, services will be drastically cut, advocates say. But it was approved in much better economic times, 2004.

Oh, and remember Measure B-1, the proposal that would double the county sales tax for transportation from a half-cent to a full cent that was narrowly defeated in 2012? It will be back on the ballot in November, though with a 30-year time limit (the previous proposal had no time limit).

These are just a few local measures being considered; statewide ones could also be on the ballot. With all the competing interests asking voters to open their wallets, there is concern it will be overwhelming and voters will just say no to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changes on B Street

HAYWARD — The city converted one block of B Street from Foothill Boulevard to Second Street to a two-way street over the weekend.

The block had been one way west. B west from Foothill to Watkins Street continues to be one way.

The lanes on the new two-way stretch are marked fairly clearly, and there didn’t seem to be any problems when I drove it Sunday. But then, the lanes are marked clearly on C Street at Foothill, and drivers still are turning left from the second lane even though the arrow on the roadway indicates it’s a through lane, not a turn lane.

The change on B Street should make it easier for drivers coming from Jackson Street to merge over to the right lane to head east if they want to drive up B. Before, they had one block to cross several lanes while dealing with traffic coming from Mission Boulevard in order to turn right onto C Street. I tried it a few times, and I was only able to get over in time because some nice driver let me in. They now have an extra block to make the merge.

But the light at B and Second seemed to be very slow to change, favoring traffic on Second. I was beginning to think it wasn’t working.

Second was being paved Saturday around A Street.

Work continues on the roads downtown. Not all the crosswalks are painted, but all the lanes seem to be marked.

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Uncovering local history

HAYWARD — Cal State East Bay graduate students will share some of what they’ve learned about the area’s colorful history on Thursday, May 16.

The presentations include:

– Michael Burton, “Port Costa: Sustaining an Unlikely Coastal California Boomtown, 1879-1909;”

– Edwin Contreras, “Mexican Land Grants: The Case of Don Castro’s Rancho San Lorenzo;”

– Olga Kachina, “How Global History Became Local: The Memory of the 1918 Izhevsk-Votkinsk Anti-Bolshevik Uprising as It Is Preserved in California;”

– Andrew Levin, “BART: The Backbone for Who?”

– Bria Reiniger, “Salt of the Hayward Shoreline: The Oliver Salt Company;”

– Carlotta Falzone Robinson, “Designing a Unified City: The Aesthetic Ideals of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition.”

The free talks begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Pancho Villa Event Center, 1026 B St. The event is a collaboration of the Hayward Area Historical Society, the History Department at Cal State East Bay and the Pancho Villa Event Center.

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Crosswalks to be reinstalled on Hayward downtown loop

HAYWARD — Two crosswalks on A Street that were removed as part of changing Foothill Boulevard, A Street and Mission Boulevard to one way are going back in.

Merchants, Councilman Francisco Zermeno and several residents had objected to the removal of the crosswalks, and pedestrians have been jaywalking at the two intersections since the loop began.

The crosswalk at A and Mission was on the south side of the intersection by Starbucks and the block of A with Buon Appetito. The crosswalk at A and Foothill is on the west side between the consignment shop and CVS pharmacy.

With the removal of the crosswalks, it can take pedestrians more than six minutes to get from one side of the street to the other because they have to make three crossings.

Hayward’s traffic consultants determined the crosswalks can be reinstated “with minimal impact to traffic flow at those intersections,” according to a report from the city manager. The report didn’t say when the crosswalks would be put in, just “as quickly as possible after the redesign is complete and the required equipment, such as additional pedestrian push buttons and signal heads, are purchased.”

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Loop meeting Thursday

In case you missed it, Hayward staff members will be holding a meeting Thursday to talk about the loop and the rest of the Route 238 Corridor Improvement project.

It seems everybody has an opinion on the new one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward that started March 16. My perspective? It seems to work if you’re in the correct lane to get to where you want to go. I’m hoping that with final paving, striping and signs, it will be more clearer.

I have been testing out the loop from different approaches for a week. It is still confusing as to which lane you need to be in, but I think we’ll figure that out. I do hope that Hayward PD has radar guns out on Foothill Boulevard headed north; the tickets from speeders could generate quite a bit of income for the city.

Drivers headed east on A Street seem to be confused when they hit the one-way segment. Some are looping back down B Street and then right to A Street west; others seem to have no idea where to go. I’m pretty sure I would be confused, if not downright lost, if I were not from Hayward and was trying to head east on A Street.

Now, what does this mean to downtown merchants? I’m sure they will express their opinions at Thursday’s meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. in Room 1C at City Hall, 777 B St. Can’t make the meeting? The city’s loop website: haywardloop.org.

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Now that would have been cool

HAYWARD — A rumor was circulating that the city planned to use a helicopter to put the last two signal bridges in place along Foothill Boulevard.

Not so, says Morad Fakhrai, Hayward’s director of public works, engineering and transportation.

He said someone did actually check to see if using a helicopter would make sense. Turns out the signal bridges would be too heavy for a helicopter to lift.

Instead, two cranes will be used to install the bridges sometime this week. The work will be done late at night.

Meanwhile, drivers and pedestrians are adjusting to the new one-way traffic loop. Hayward police were stationed at major intersections Monday morning with lights flashing on their cruisers, mostly to try to get motorists to pay attention. Old habits die hard.

A lot more motorists were using B Street on Monday. There didn’t seem to be as many wrong-way drivers on the loop.

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Girding for the Hayward traffic loop

The city of Hayward has started its campaign to let people know that some downtown streets will become one-way on March 15.

The city hired someone to put together an explainer that is going in water bills and is online. It contains some interesting statements: “The Loop is easy!” “The Loop is a small change with a BIG new look for Downtown!” “Easy Access to all Downtown Businesses.” Hmmm.

There also is a typo in the insert that was sent out to many water customers and on big signs along Mission Boulevard between A and B and near the main library: It refers to Off the Gird. As gourmet food truck followers know, that should be Off the Grid.

In fairness, a Hayward official said the typo was pointed out by city staff. But apparently not soon enough.

The city also has made a video explaining the loop. It has little colored cars speeding through downtown with cheerful music in the background. The voice-over refers to “the downtown one-way traffic circulation, or the ‘loop’ as it’s more affectionately called.” Gosh, I can’t remember the loop and “affectionately” being used in the same sentence.

Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=09hSr8GlPq4&feature=youtu.be. There’s also a link at http://user.govoutreach.com/hayward/faq.php?cid=14252, but I couldn’t get it to load.

(Sorry, but I have not been able to get links to work on this blog. Working on it.)

Starting March 15, Foothill will be one-way north between its intersection with Jackson Street-Mission Boulevard up to A Street. A will be one-way west between Foothill and Mission, and Mission will be one-way south from A down to the Jackson-Mission-Foothill intersection.

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Update on the loop

The one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward is scheduled for early March, according to the city’s website. I am working to get a more precise date, since March is less than three weeks away.

What’s involved: Massive traffic signal bridges that are being fabricated to order in Utah have to be shipped here. That entails getting permits to drive uber-wide loads through several states.

Once the bridges are here, there’s no good place to store them – we’re talking really wide – so they probably will go up pronto, though “pronto” still will take some doing and time. The bridges will span intersections along Foothill. The foundations (which run deep) were constructed earlier; remember those plywood boards for pedestrians near traffic lights? The foundations have been filled with asphalt for pedestrian safety. The bridges couldn’t be ordered until the foundations were constructed. It’s complicated, but Foothill is an old street, and the underground pipes and conduits aren’t always where the blueprints say they are, so each bridge’s specs are different. The asphalt was temporary and will be dug out.

Final paving of the loop – Five Flags north on Foothill to A Street, left on A to Mission Boulevard, south on Mission back to Five Flags – and lane striping will be needed, so, combined with installation of the signal bridges, we’re looking at major road closures and detours coming up. And you thought traffic was bad now!

Next week: According to city’s website, expect lane closures on Mission and Foothill, mostly Mission from Industrial to about Moreau High School both ways and Mission from Jackson Street to Highland Avenue, both ways.

The good news: Driving down Mission, big stretches are finished except for landscaping. The roads are smooth, and the ugly utility poles are gone. The lights look great.

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The loop cometh

This loop’s for you

Those words were said in jest at a meeting Thursday to update folks on the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project through Mission Boulevard and downtown, but they are a reminder that love it or hate it, the one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward is coming soon.

At the meeting Thursday, city project manager Kevin Briggs said the loop will be put in place in March, though he did not yet have an exact date. A big unknown is when the massive signal bridges that will span Foothill will arrive. Deliverers of the bridges, which are being fabricated to order in Utah, have to get permits to drive the wide structures down roads in several states. Stay tuned.

Hayward staff members have been saying “spring” for when roadwork will be finished, but remember, spring is through late June. The delays have not been intentional; some have been weather, some have been the result of digging up streets and finding unexpected things underground (Hayward downtown is really old and maps aren’t always accurate; some have been because some water and gas lines were not set deep enough. Talking with city officials, it seems they would like for this to be finished ASAP.

Paving on south Mission is supposed to finish next week, so with any luck, traffic will improve in that area. And city staff members are aware that traffic is slow; Briggs was stuck on Mission Thursday trying to get to his meeting at City Hall.