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New Traffic Signal on Foothill Road at I-580: What Do You Think?

Although construction is still underway, the stoplight has been functioning since Feb. 25. Drivers are giving the changes mixed reviews.

PLEASANTON, CA: New traffic signal on Foothill Road at I-580 interchange. Northbound light shown in photo.
PLEASANTON, CA: New traffic signal on Foothill Road at I-580 interchange. Northbound light shown in photo.
By AUTUMN JOHNSON

The recent installation of a traffic signal on Foothill Road at the I-580 interchange has been met with some criticism from drivers in Pleasanton and Dublin. The signal is one component of several safety improvements being made to the area known to locals for garnering numerous collisions.

Mike Tassano, the Traffic Engineer for the City of Pleasanton, says the reason for the signal installation is to correct a "reoccurring traffic collision pattern."

"Many drivers coming from eastbound 580 want to get to the Stoneridge Mall area and specifically, Canyon Way," Tassano said. "To do this, drivers would take the sweeping right turn off of the freeway then dive across all of the southbound Foothill Road lanes to get into the left turn pocket. This driving pattern has caused at least one collision per month at this location for quite some time." 

Tassano says the improvements are being made after all other options were exhausted in an attempt to curtail the collisions.

"We tried several other solutions like changing the pavement striping, added delineators and bollards, and posting additional signs, but the collisions have continued and the location is now the largest reoccurring collision type in the city," Tassano said. "This was one of the top of the list of locations in the city for collisions."

According to Tassano, the traffic signal, which is a mirror image of the signal on the north side of the overpass, is the most effective way to safely redirect drivers. 

Tassano told Patch, "The solution is to eliminate the sweeping right turn and instead bring the right turn up to a traffic signal so that the right turn can be made at a location that allows an easier movement into the left turn lanes at Canyon Way."

Since the installation of the light, some drivers have expressed frustration at the back-up of traffic onto the I-580, which Tassano says will be corrected as construction progresses and is finalized.

"It isn't the goal of the city to add delay when on the circulation system, but in this case, the need for safety outweighed the additional delay," Tassano said. "There are some other benefits in reducing the weaving both under the overpass and on the overpass, but those are minor benefits compared to correcting the collision pattern in that area."

Tassano reminds drivers that the project is still under construction and says eventually the off ramp will have four lanes, reducing congestion during commute hours and solving the problem of traffic backing up onto the the interstate.

"Anytime you add a signal, you do get more collisions but with signals it is usually rear-ends, rather than the high-speed type of collisions we have had in this area," Tassano commented.

The project began in Oct. of 2013 and was originally estimated to take about one year to be completed. Although the improvements are on Caltrans property, the project is being managed by the City of Pleasanton.

Once the construction is completed, Caltrans will relinquish control of the area to Pleasanton and Tassano says the city engineers will be able to further adjust the lights according to drivers' needs at that time.

Related article: Temporary Ramp Closures at Foothill Road, I-580 Interchange

What do you think about the new traffic signal?  Have you ever been involved in a collision in that area? Tell us in the comments section.
Monika Harris March 06, 2014 at 07:22 PM
I wish we didn't need all these traffic lights in Pleasanton ! I wish Pleasanton could go back 20 + years and stay just like how it was , even in the early 90's ... I'm sick to death of what this town has become ....Let's just keep allowing more houses to be built and more people to go with it ! Funny, you drive about 5 mi or so down Foothill Rd. and you end up in tranquil Sunol ...Oh Well ....I guess I can wish :-) ....
Barbara Costello March 06, 2014 at 07:22 PM
We didn't need this light. It just creates more traffic and was unnecessary.
timothy March 06, 2014 at 08:49 PM
Maybe the engineer will be fired. Oh I forgot he works for the government.
Chris Heston March 07, 2014 at 12:34 PM
I agree that the problem of people driving all the way over to the left needed to be corrected. But, this solution isn't working well for the traffic congestion issues. I never saw hard concrete k-rail blockage on that right lane which I believe would have solved the problem. They simply needed to force traffic to not be able to get into the left lane after exiting the freeway. Physical barriers work. Now, it's just another light delaying traffic, extending my commute time, and the current exit off the freeway eastbound is like a roller coaster ride. They should have at least done the physical barrier thing until the construction was over. Thumbs down to this solution.

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