|How many personnel work at Fire Station 32? |
|Eighteen members of the District call this station home (six are on duty each day). The new station is designed to accommodate up to eight per day. |
|What types of apparatus respond from this station? |
|Four apparatus provide primary service to the citizens of Alamo and are housed at Fire Station 32 - two "Type 1" structural fire engines (Engine 32 and Engine 32A), a "Type 3" wildland fire engine (Engine 332) and one Ambulance (Rescue/Medic 32). |
|What is the size of the new Fire Station 32? |
|Our proposed design calls for a 9,255 square foot station (5,153 square feet is living space). It is being modeled after the last two stations the District has built - one in San Ramon (Station 30) and one in Danville (Station 36) which are both about 10,000 square feet in size. |
|How will the Fire District fund the construction of the new station? |
|The Fire District is currently reviewing funding options. The District will sell the old station site and property it owns on Hemme Avenue in Alamo to offset the construction cost. The District is also actively pursuing grant dollars for this project. |
|Will the new station result in an assessment or affect my property taxes in any way? |
|No. The Fire District already receives a fixed portion of property taxes from all parcels in its jurisdiction and uses these funds to build, equip and staff local fire stations. |
|How does the District plan to address the traffic congestion during school drop-off and pick-up periods? |
|The District retained a registered traffic engineer to conduct a traffic study and will work closely with the County Transportation Engineering Division as routine steps in the planning and development of the site. The traffic study found that the relocation will have "a beneficial impact on traffic conditions based on the physical and traffic-control characteristics of the new site compared to the current location of Fire Station 32." Highlighted below are the four conclusions of the study. A complete copy of the traffic report is available here. |
The new station does not create any new impact - the traffic congestion due to the schools exists today and with the old station only 2000 feet away, responding crews face those challenges briefly in the morning and afternoon already. Fire stations are by design located in residential neighborhoods and many, out of such necessity, are near schools. Nothing is unique with this site in that regard. Two of our existing stations, including our just completed Station 36, are directly adjacent to schools (also Station 34 in San Ramon) - much closer than the new site is to Monte Vista High School or Stone Valley Middle School.
- The proposed project would not change the current number of personnel, crew work shifts, or the number or type of apparatus, at the station (i.e., no increase in trip generation).
- The demand-responsive traffic light at the Stone Valley Road / Miranda Avenue intersection (currently operating efficiently to allow queues of cars on Miranda Avenue to fully clear the intersection on the next green light, and to be retrofitted as part of the project with an emergency vehicle preemption system) would improve response time by ensuring that the fire engines / ambulance can turn onto Stone Valley Road without the delays (and potential traffic safety hazards) that occur at the current location.
- Miranda Avenue has striped bike lanes on both sides of the street, and an eastside sidewalk that the proposed project would extend to Stone Valley Road. Together those facilities would safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists traveling on Miranda Avenue to and from Stone Valley Middle School.
- The traffic volumes (including school-generated traffic) on roads adjacent to the fire station do not present constraints that are out of the ordinary for fire stations in general, and taking into consideration the relatively infrequent and irregular project site-generated traffic, there is no reason to expect any adverse traffic congestion problems when the fire engines / ambulance leave from, or return to, Fire Station 32.
|Will being located on a corner with access to two through streets be advantageous? |
|Being located at a major East/West, North/South controlled intersection at the "bull's-eye" center of the Alamo response zone is a principle advantage of the new site. The Fire District feels extremely fortunate and proud to have acquired this property for the residents of Alamo. The District had been searching for property in this area for more than five years and purchased the parcel within days of it becoming available. |
Response times will be improved due to the existing signalized intersection. Crews will be able to control the light, thereby allowing personnel and apparatus to exit the station without delay during emergency calls. At the old station the signal on Stone Valley Road flashes yellow 99% of the time and when the crews do turn it red, to exit for an emergency call, drivers commonly ignore the red light and continue on Stone Valley Road or become startled by the light and slam on their brakes (at times causing vehicle collisions).
At the new site responding crews will remotely turn Stone Valley Road traffic signals red while briefly holding the Miranda Avenue signals green. This will allow the emergency apparatus to efficiently enter eastbound or westbound Stone Valley Road or safely exit the station with a right turn onto Miranda Avenue.
|Are any zoning changes needed or being proposed? |
|No. County General Plan conformance and consistency was unanimously confirmed on March 18, 2009 at a public hearing before the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission. Fire stations and facilities, along with schools, parks and other public infrastructure are considered consistent with all land use designations in the General Plan and in all zoning districts. On February 17, 2010 a separate Land Use Permit Application filed by the District was deemed complete by the Contra Costa County Community Development Department. |
|Is the District proposing to widen Miranda Avenue or make any changes to surrounding streets or roads? |
|The District is planning significant sidewalk and landscape upgrades in front of the site including new handicap ramps. No street or road changes beyond the project site are planned, proposed or contemplated as part of the development. Road projects in Alamo fall under the authority of the County Transportation Engineering Division. |
|Did the District consider building on the existing site? |
|Yes, it certainly did. However, when the property at 2100 Stone Valley Road became available it was deemed a far superior location. Below are a few of the reasons. |
- The existing parcel is much smaller than the 2100 Stone Valley Road site. The planned widening of Stone Valley Road would also require a redesigned station to be set back further from the road than its current location, effectively reducing the buildable area.
- Exiting onto Stone Valley Road can be very difficult due to the speed of traffic and a blind view to the West.
- The size of the lot would not allow for drive through apparatus bays, which would require the crews to continue to back into the station.
- The hillside behind the station has significant geotechnical issues. An engineering study would need to be completed along with a construction feasibility study for a large retaining wall to protect the station and reinforce the hillside.
- The crews would have to be moved to a temporary location during the renovation if we were to rebuild at the current site. The cost of this temporary site is essentially money lost as is does not become part of any permanent facility.
|Is it true that homes near fire stations are exempt from rolling blackouts? |
|Yes, in most cases. Rolling blackouts are deliberate power cuts which are designed to reduce the load on the electricity generation system and grid. They usually result from a situation where demand outstrips supply or during an electric power grid emergency. The California Public Utilities Commission dictates that all essential services buildings be designated as "Block 50." Customers in the coveted Block 50 - a collection of neighborhoods immune from the shut-offs because they share a power circuit with a hospital or fire station - are kept running during electricity shortages. Your rotating outage block number can be found on the left-hand side of your Pacific Gas and Electric Company bill. |