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LAH council gives go-ahead to road repairs


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A cyclist rides along Taaffe Road in Los Altos Hills last week. Taaffe Road is among the 28 roads scheduled for pavement work in coming months.

Approximately 30 streets are scheduled for roadwork during the 2014-2015 fiscal year now that the Los Altos Hills City Council has approved a nearly $1 million contract for the 2014 Pavement Rehabilitation Project.

While Los Altos Hills City Engineer and Public Works Director Richard Chiu said the town’s Pavement Condition Index, a measure of the streets’ quality, is “pretty good” at 77 out of 100, standard roadwork is necessary.

City staff compiled the list of streets due for upgrades, which councilmembers approved at their July 16 meeting. Chiu said staff did not necessarily designate that the worst streets be fixed first. He noted that microsurfacing and minor repairs to newer streets extend the life of roads and are considerably less expensive than full grind and replacement work.

Staff used the results of a field test conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Pavement Management Program to develop a list of streets to prioritize this year.

“We as a council have to trust in our staff,” said Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan in response to the question of why work on older streets was bypassed in favor of repairs to newer streets. “I do appreciate that we’re working off a grade plan, where we’ve assessed these streets, put a number on them and prioritized work to get the most bang for the buck.”

The road rehabilitation work is scheduled between August and October. Segments of Magdalena, Taaffe and Viscaino roads are among the streets selected for pavement work. For the full list of roadways slated for work, see the sidebar.

The council also took the following actions at its July 16 meeting.

2014 Pavement Rehabilitation Project roads

• Adonna Court (Elena Road to end)

• Altadena Drive (Manuella Road to end)

• Black Mountain Road (Altamont Road to Natoma Road)

• Burke Road (Chapin Road to 100 feet north of Old Altos Road)

• Chapin Road (Burke Road to Robleda Road)

• Francemont Drive (Moody Road to end)

• Golden Hill Court (La Paloma Road to end)

• Greenhills Court (Elena Road to end)

• Hidden Springs Court (Altamont Road to end)

• Kate Drive (Laura Court to end)

• Laura Court (all)

• Leander Drive (Purissima Road to end)

• Magdalena Road (Camino Hermosa to Eastbrook Avenue)

• Maple Leaf Court (Elena Road to end)

• New Bridge Drive (both ends of La Paloma)

• Nina Place (La Cresta Drive to end)

• Old Ranch Road (Ravensbury Road to end)

• Padre Court (Altamont Road to end)

• Saltamontes Way (Estacada Drive to end)

• Samuel Lane (Purissima Road to end)

• St. Francis Drive (La Cresta Drive to Fremont Road)

• Stirrup Way (Arastradero Road to end)

• Taaffe Road (Elena Road to Altamont Road)

• Three Forks Lane (Country Way to Middle Fork Lane)

• Todd Lane (La Paloma Road to end)

• Twin Oaks Court (Arastradero Road to end)

• Viscaino Road (Purissima Road to Concepcion Road)

• Yale Court (Liddicoat Circle to end)

‘No Parking’ signs set for Sunhills Drive

Hikers looking for easy parking at Rancho San Antonio may soon want to avoid leaving their vehicles on Sunhills Drive – or face the possibility of being fined by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

The council voted unanimously to install two “No Parking on Sunhills Drive” signs near the intersection of Loyola and Mora drives. Although not regularly patrolled by sheriff’s deputies, according to town staff, neighbors can report illegally parked vehicles to law enforcement for ticketing once the signs are installed.

“I think we do have the responsibility to protect the rights of our residents who don’t want their front yards to become parking lots,” Corrigan said.

Not all Sunhills Drive neighbors supported the new parking deterrents, but safety concerns trumped convenience for the Traffic Safety Committee and Planning Committee, which recommended that the council approve the measure. The committees discussed other alternatives, such as boulders and painted curbs, but rejected them.

In response to possible repercussions, councilmembers asked the Traffic Safety Committee to review the effectiveness of the new signs in one year.

Council gives nod to horse crosswalk

The council unanimously endorsed a crosswalk for equestrians near the riding arena at Purissima Park in response to safety concerns – specifically those prompted by cars speeding along Purissima Road to bypass Interstate 280.

At a cost of approximately $1,000, the crossing aims to enable horses and their riders to travel safely from Purissima Road to the riding arena and back.

“I don’t like it, but I think it’s better to have this one than not,” said Councilman Gary Waldeck, who expressed concern that signs at the crossing would contribute to a “proliferation of unnecessary road signs” in town.

Sewer service fees added to tax bills

In an annual procedural vote, the council approved a resolution allowing the Santa Clara County Tax Collector’s Office to collect sewer fees from residents on their tax bills. The move is expected to add approximately $1.3 million to the town’s sewer fund, according to the town staff report.

Although most residents will pay an annual sewer fee of $733 plus $1,466 for each Assessor Parcel Number (APN), several bills could exceed $2,600 because of corrections. Residents who connected to the town’s sewer system after May 3 – the cutoff date for submitting the APN list to the county – will not see the sewer fees on next year’s bill, but during the following tax year.

The next council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Aug. 21 at town hall, 26375 W. Fremont Road.

Water committee absorbed

Councilmembers, initially alarmed at the prospect of dissolving the town’s Water Conservation Committee during a drought, voted unanimously in favor of the move after learning that the Environmental Initiatives Committee (EIC) would handle most aspects of the water conservation program.

According to EIC Chairman Peter Evans, the six-member Water Conservation Committee elected to bypass the selection of a new chairman and dismantle the committee at its last meeting. Members of the committee anticipate that issues like native landscaping and riparian habitat management can fold into discussions on other town committees. Ensuring that the ball doesn’t get dropped, Mayor John Radford tasked Evans and the EIC with their first assignment: Return to the council next month with ideas for how the town can respond to the drought.

Convened in 2009 to advise the council on drafting an ordinance modeled after California’s Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006 (AB 1881), the committee helped shepherd a town ordinance that requires new development projects include water parcel budgets.

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