Hayward roadwork update meeting Thursday

Hayward city officials will hold their monthly update meeting Thursday on the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project that includes Foothill Boulevard south from Interstate 580 through downtown and Mission Boulevard from A Street south to Industrial Parkway.

Merchants along Foothill and A Street have asked that some on-street parking, which would be eliminated as part of the work, be restored. At Thursday’s meeting, city staff members are expected to show where they plan to allow parking.

The road project includes a one-way traffic “loop” through downtown. So far, the city has not said when the loop will go into effect.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Jan. 24 in Conference Room 2A at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.


Road delays on South Mission Bouelvard

Road construction on the Route 238 Corridor project is focused on Mission Boulevard from St. Clement Church south to Industrial Parkway. The work will continue through Feb. 1. According to the city’s website, “access to driveways and intersections will be affected during the work.” I assume that means they will be blocked at least part of the time. Expect delays through the area.


Hayward council to take up Stonebrae development

Update: The development was approved by the council last week. No public comments. bit.ly/S0Qhru

The Hayward City Council will hear a request tonight to extend the Stonebrae development agreement another five years.

Stonebrae sits above Cal State East Bay in the Hayward hills. As part of the project, it built an elementary school and added a golf course.

The council approved a 10-year agreement with what was then Hayward 1900 for the project in 1999, and the first subdivision map was approved in 2005. The project stalled because of the recession, and the developer was given a five-year extension in 2008. That extension expires in February.

So far, there are 250 occupied houses in the development. According to a staff report, developers are planning about 180 more, which would be built over the next five years. Developers also want to construct a permanent clubhouse at the golf course.

When the project was proposed, it was fought by environmentalists and others concerned about the additional traffic on Fairview Avenue, Hayward Boulevard and Oakes Drive. And now it would add more traffic onto Five Canyons Parkway into Castro Valley.

No one spoke against the project when it went before the Planning Commission in December.

The meeting starts at 7:30 in Council Chambers, Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.


Workers cut gas line to Hayward hair salon

Workers tearing out old sidewalks along Mission Boulevard in Hayward accidentally cut the gas line to Sue’s Cuts & Perms on Saturday morning.

That meant no hot water, and thus no shampoos or perms Saturday or Sunday. a serious hit for the shop. A electric heater was brought in so the haircuts could continue. Sue’s is at 24277 Mission, across the street from Memorial Park.

The sidewalks are being replaced along Mission in the stretch south of the Jackson-Foothill intersection as part of the Route 238 Improvement Corridor Project.

Drivers can expect slow traffic through the area the next few days as work continues.


Red light cams: If you’re not in the pic, it’s not legit

Hayward’s police chief is working to fix a hole in the system regarding red-light cameras, one that allows some violators to get away without paying a $300  ticket (that’s what they cost these days, right?) simply by doing nothing.

It comes down to the difference between a Notice to Appear and a Notice of Violation. The former is what a driver gets when they sail through a red light, the camera flashes and upon review it’s clear as day that the registered owner of the vehicle is indeed behind the wheel. Out of 1,560 drivers caught on camera each month, about 500 get one of these notices.

"I sense something, a presence I've not felt since......." (FLASH!) “…. NOOOOO!!!”

A Notice of Violation, on the other hand, is asking the owner for a little help in identifying the driver. Maybe it’s a friend or relative, or the photo was snapped while  the driver was headed to a Star Wars-themed Halloween party, or maybe it was a rental or company car and only a search of records would reveal who did the deed. About 730 violators get one of these. And of these, 250 just ignore the notice.

It’s fairly labor intensive to investigate each case where the notice isn’t returned — it involves pulling DMV photos of relatives and people living at the vehicle owner’s address, comparing them with the RedFlex photo, that sort of stuff. About 62 hours of staff time per month, it’s estimated. And that’s staff time that can be spent elsewhere, on other police work, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. “Due to limited staffing, non-responses are not being processed,” according to the PowerPoint presentation given to the City Council on Tuesday.

But Chief Diane Urban is working to change that.

Urban suggests a restructuring of the staff that reviews the violations, using two community service officers and a per diem officer to do more work for less money than the current setup, which includes one full-time sworn officer and a CSO. That would allow better pursuit of those scofflaws who don’t return tickets, for a gain — between saved staff salary and additional fines collected — of about $14,700 a month. Right now the program brings the city about $10,700 per month – the real money maker is RedFlex, the company the city rents the cameras from. The city pays them about $59,000 monthly.

And a sworn officer would then be put back on the streets, which Urban says is the best use for someone with a badge anyway.

As a side note, the chief said they are in the process of changing the way they deploy traffic officers, with an emphasis on the areas around the 10 intersections in the city most prone to crashes. She said a similar effort she spearheaded in San Jose yielded a 22 percent reduction in crashes overall. Some of those notable intersections: Foothill at Grove. Hesperian at A. Tennyson between Patrick and Tampa. Santa Clara and Jackson.


Know someone who needs a car?

Pit crew is not included.

Here’s a story about a Hayward auto shop that’s doing something nice. If you know someone who is as philanthropic as they are car-less, think about nominating them to win a set of wheels. As you can see, it’s a sharp-looking ride and has a Kelly Blue Book value in the $2,200 range. And if you know anyone in the auto repair business who would be interested in joining this national endeavor of giving away cars, direct them to the Wheels to Prosper website.


San Leandro “more walkable” than Hayward, according to study

The walkability index is a guide that rates cities and neighborhoods based on proximity to nearby amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks, and public transit. 

Here is Hayward’s data and a pretty cool map in which green is good and red is bad in terms of legging it around town. Notice that while the overall number isn’t very impressive, some areas of town are indeed very walkable according to their methodology. In particular, North Hayward is up there at 77, which isn’t bad considering the 85 rank enjoyed by the country’s two most walkable cities of New York and San Francisco. San Lorenzo also got a 58 overall score, while San Leandro was somewhat higher at 65. Castro Valley faired poor for walkers, with a score of 45.

Fun feature: Enter an address and find a walk score particular for where you are. I’ll have you know that the Daily Review’s address is a “Walker’s Paradise” with a score of 98. The Castro Valley neighborhood where I grew up rated a dismal, “Car-Dependent” score of 28, but I could have told you that it wasn’t much fun getting around pre-car without the rating. 

 Here’s the press release from Walk Score.

According to the website, “The 372 largest cities in California have an average Walk Score of 50. The most walkable cities in California are West Hollywood, Albany and San Francisco.  The least walkable cities are Mead Valley, Prunedale and Adelanto.”


Hayward DMV to reopen April 25

DMV_LogoThe Department of Motor Vehicles announced that the Jackson Street branch will be reopening in less than a month.  From an October story:

The facility, which was closed in August for renovations, was scheduled to reopen in October but a hiring freeze prevented it from happening.

The office was closed Aug. 13 so that considerable infrastructure improvements could be made. Constructed in 1972, it was the building’s first significant renovation project, part of an effort to bring DMV offices around the state up-to-date.

After employees were sent to work at other branches, there have been retirements and reshufflings, and there (weren’t) enough employees available to reopen the Hayward branch, said Armando Botello, another DMV spokesman.

According to the above release, they’ve been able to hire and train new staff, so the Hayward and Glendale branches can be reopened.

THe DMV has encouraged people to avoid going to its offices altogether by taking advantage of services offered through its website.


Business owner shares concerns about Winton Avenue widening project

The owner of the Valero gas station at the corner of Winton and Hesperian Boulevard checked in to say he doesn’t think the roadway widening project is a good idea. The I-880/SR 92 Reliever Route Project “will provide for better access in and out of the industrial area located north of SR92 and west of I-880,” according to the staff report. Staff is recommending the City Council approve the project at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Owner of the gas station wrote a letter to the mayor, and included a graphic, laying out his concerns:

valeroDear Mayor Sweeney,

We are the owners, employees and customers of the Valero gas station, and residents living around the corner of West Winton Avenue and Hesperian Boulevard collectively organizing ourselves as the ‘People Power’ vs. Winton Mouth Widening. The City intends to appropriate a portion of the Valero lot to accommodate an additional lane to widen the mouth of West Winton Avenue by 400 ft. on the north side. Continue Reading