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Closing Access to Mt Diablo S. Gate - Again

Old 06-12-18, 02:17 PM
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Closing Access to Mt Diablo S. Gate - Again

Whoops, sorry about that title spelling...

Lawsuit has been filed in CCC Court to prohibit bicycle access on Calle Arroyo and Alameda Diablo roads leading to S. Gate, to call these roads private property, deny access through Diablo County Club to cyclists. Bike East Bay .org has joined the lawsuit, fighting for ongoing cyclist access.

They are asking cyclists to sign the petition at the link below, I would cut and paste the article I received via email but I got a moderator warning last time I did... so,go find the story yourself...petition link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rG3...requested=true


Last edited by FrenchFit; 06-12-18 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 06-12-18, 02:33 PM
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Oh, I should give props to Kyle Smith, an associate attorney at Bay Area Bicycle Law firm, for assisting BikeEastBay on a pro bono basis in fighting this lawsuit. .
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Old 06-12-18, 03:14 PM
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Old 06-12-18, 04:23 PM
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I thought this has been hashed out already. I think prathmann has posted about this issue in here before, someone explain how they can continue to sue over this, when it has already been determined the roads are for public use.

Here's a direct link to the Bike East Bay article:
https://bikeeastbay.org/news/bike-east-bay-goes-court

Last edited by cthenn; 06-13-18 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 06-12-18, 05:25 PM
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OP, where was that sign? Did you see others? I remember recently there were signs posted again on Calle Arroyo but not Alameda Diablo. I guess I'm trying to get a handle on exactly where the problem is. I've never had any issue on AD, the only signs I've seen previously (quite a while ago now) were at the intersection of AD and La Cadena. I usually don't ride all the way to the main cut-through, normally I use a secondary cut through at the end of Calle Los Calledos, but I've also gone straight through La Cadena and then exited back out on Diablo Road. I can normally ride fast enough on AD (even uphill) to keep cars behind me, because of all those speed humps, so I don't think I'm much of a hooligan cyclist clogging the roads and talking loudly... Just wondering if there is a less contentious route that avoids some of the problem residents.
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Old 06-12-18, 06:01 PM
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Here's an article from back in April. I'm assuming this is the same suit, and that it's just now going to court. Based on this article, and the fact that Bike East Bay rarely goes to court, I'm assuming this is a a rather easy case to win. The news article states the country club received $600,000+ in public money last year. How in the hell do those people think they can call the roads private?!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/16/no-cyclists-allowed-country-club-residents-seeks-to-block-cut-through-traffic-to-mt-diablo/amp/
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Old 06-12-18, 06:04 PM
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Is it really a private road?
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Old 06-12-18, 06:23 PM
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The form is easy to fill out - just some questions about how often, when, and how many people you ride through there with.

Also, named as defendants in the lawsuit are Diablo Country Club and other Calle Arroyo owners. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that Calle Arroyo is a strictly private street that is not subject to a public right-of-way, and demand that the DCSD prevent public access.
They're even suing their own neighbors!
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Old 06-12-18, 06:27 PM
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I fixed the title. That's fine to post the email here.

I'll include this link to the local (Concord/Pittsburg/Clayton) bicycle groups I'm in. Do you mind if I copy paste your original post (including the email) in the groups? So it explains to the members?
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Old 06-12-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
I
I'll include this link to the local (Concord/Pittsburg/Clayton) bicycle groups I'm in. Do you mind if I copy paste your original post (including the email) in the groups? So it explains to the members?
- I saw the sign last Thursday when I was riding up there. don't remember what corner.
- Permission granted to repost.
- The email text follows, if it pastes correctly..here goes:

Defend Bike Routes to Mount Diablo


Should bicyclists be allowed to ride through Diablo Country Club on their way up to Mount Diablo? A local homeowner insists no and has filed suit in Contra Costa County Superior Court asking that publicly accessible roads in Diablo be declared private and closed off to the public, including bicyclists.Bike East Bay has joined the lawsuit to defend your right to use Calle Arroyo and Alameda Diablo roads to access Mt. Diablo State Park. You can support the case by filling out this short input form collecting how bicyclists have used these roads for years. Have you ridden through Diablo Country Club as an individual or as part of a group?

Thank you to Bike East Bay board member Kyle Smith of Bay Area Bicycle Law for his pro bono expertise, making it possible for Bike East Bay to be involved in this case.
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Old 06-12-18, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Is it really a private road?
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
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Old 06-13-18, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
Based on this, I'd have to agree with you.
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Old 06-13-18, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Diablo also receives county tax money to maintain the roads, said Bob Campbell, the auditor-controller for Contra Costa County. Last year, that amounted to $663,871, he said. This year, it’s expected to be $683,000. Campbell was explicit in his definition of those monies: “They are public funds.”

I'd have to say no, based on this alone. Not sure how a community can receive public money designated for roadway maintenance, then call them private...
Do you know the title or,better yet, the case number of the law suit (i.e., "Smith v. Bicyclists", Case No. 18-XY-123456 or something similar)? Even just the last name of the plaintiff would probably be enough. I'd like to see if I can dig it up on the CoCo Superior Court website.

Also, people, it is probably best if we not - repeat, not - discuss this here in a public forum. It does no good for defending the case and has the potential to do real harm, as everything anyone says here is discoverable. One inartfully stated comment could be taken as an "admission" that the plaintiff will attempt to use in support of his case. Even if nothing comes of it, it is an extra headache for Kyle Smith to deal with.
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Old 06-13-18, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Do you know the title or,better yet, the case number of the law suit (i.e., "Smith v. Bicyclists", Case No. 18-XY-123456 or something similar)?
C17-02529

All the links and such, including to actual filing docs, are at this page: Diablo Community Service District in Diablo, Ca
It essentially wants the Court to declare Calle Arroyo a private road and require the District to police it to keep out trespassers.

For the record - I always ride safely and courteously in there - just like every other neighborhood I ride through.

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Old 06-13-18, 11:10 AM
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Perfect. Thanks, @DiabloScott.
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Old 06-13-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Perfect. Thanks, @DiabloScott.
I'm not nearly as aware of the conditions on the easy side of The Mountain but I've been following this issue as long as anyone.
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).

Gratuitous Diablo photo just because.
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Old 06-13-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).
Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Also, people, it is probably best if we not - repeat, not - discuss this here in a public forum. It does no good for defending the case and has the potential to do real harm, as everything anyone says here is discoverable. .
I think bikingshearer makes a good point; we are all now alerted to this action and we should pass this information on to interested parties. But, we should leave the rest to a private or judicial forum.
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Old 06-13-18, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
I'm not nearly as aware of the conditions on the easy side of The Mountain but I've been following this issue as long as anyone.
  • Legally though, and without making any comments about the merits of the case: the District is the defendant; and Bike East Bay et al are just sort of witnesses or concerned parties providing evidence and testimony - is that right?
The plaintiffs are four sets of property owners along Calle Arroyo. The original defendants were the Diablo Community Services District and the remaining property owners along Calle Arroyo. Bike East Bay has asked, and the Court has permitted them, to intervene as a defendant. This happened about a week ago. Bike East Bay is now more that a witness or interested by-stander; it is a party to the actual lawsuit. It's as if they had been sued in the first place. (In non-legal terms, its called "putting your money where your mouth is.")
  • This is listed as a "complaint" - is that a subset of "suit" or is it different from a suit somehow?
The "Complaint" is the document that starts the lawsuit. It is what lays out what it is the plaintiffs are complaining about and what they want.
  • Would it be normal for the defendants/ DCSD to file a response to a complaint like this with counter "Prayers for Damages" and causes of action? An example might be that they could require the complainants to stop putting up private property signs and such if the judge rules against the complaint? Or are they limited to just responding to the actual items in the complaint? I'm assuming they wouldn't want to counter-sue (if that's really a thing).
Yes, it is normal for DCSD to file an Answer, and they have done so. It looks like the other property owner defendants did not file answers; if it has not happened already, defaults will be entered against them, which means they cannot contest the suit. I'm not surprised they would not, because it really is no skin off their noses no matter how the suit comes out. .The lawsuit really is not about the other Calle Arroyo property owners; they were added for technical legal reasons not worth going into here.

I do not know what relief DCSD asked for, because Contra Costa Superior's on-line system lets you see a description of what was filed but, unlike some other courts, does not let you download copies of what was filed. Without having seen it, I can pretty much guarantee that the Answer asks that the Plaintiffs be denied any relief of any kind and that DCSD recovers its costs (a statutory term of art that usually does not include attorney fees; if there is a basis for either side to recover attorney fees if they win, I haven't seen it). I doubt if they asked for any other relief, but I can't be certain.

Yes, counter-suing is a thing - it happens all the time - and a Cross-Complaint is the document you file to do it. I did not see anything in the on-line record to suggest DCSD or anyone else has filed a Cross-Complaint.
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Old 06-13-18, 03:56 PM
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Excellent info in here. Thanks. I kind of figured Calle Arroyo was the problem area. Honestly, not sure why riders choose that road anyway. Yes, if you ride on the bike trail, for some reason it ends at Calle Arroyo, and you have to cross over back onto Diablo Rd for about 300 feet, then merge into the left turn lane onto Alameda Diablo. But, C.A. is a narrower, windier road without speed humps, so cars easily cue up behind riders. It's actually much more difficult to pass on that road than it is A.D. Also, with the speed humps on A.D., it's possible to keep in front of cars, even going the "uphill" direction toward South Gate. I much prefer the A.D. way, even if it means dealing with 300 feet of very dangerous and busy Diablo Road.

Also, it seems to avoid the residences of the most vocal anti-cycling crowd. I don't have issues with drivers on the route I've ridden.

Last edited by cthenn; 06-13-18 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 06-13-18, 04:02 PM
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One other point. I have seen on many occasions, CCCo sheriff deputies patrolling those roads, looking for stop sign violators. How can those roads possibly be deemed as private if they have public agency police patrolling the roads? When the Canyon Rd bridge was out, there were issues in Moraga CC with those residents, and "too many cyclists" using that dirt cut through off of one of their (actual) private roads. However, MCC had (actual) private security guards patrol those roads, not Moraga PD. In fact, Moraga PD would not intervene in the cyclist issue because it was clearly a private matter. I've seen the private security guard vehicles driving around in MCC. So how can Diablo CC say they are private roads, when they receive PUBLIC money for road maintenance, and County sheriff patrols them?
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Old 06-13-18, 06:33 PM
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Beautiful neighborhood, but boy those neighbors...
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Old 10-25-18, 05:25 PM
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Didn't find a link on the Bike East Bay site, but this is what I got in email today:

Last spring, you were one of nearly one thousand community members who spoke up to protect public access to Mt. Diablo. As a local champion, we want to make sure you have the latest on this campaign.

On October 5, Judge Treat ruled that Diablo Community Services District has no authority to close the publicly accessible streets in Diablo Country Club to people bicycling. This is great news, but does not get rid of the lawsuit just yet.For decades, people bicycling up Mount Diablo have used the safe residential streets of Diablo Country Club to get to South Gate entrance to the park, avoiding a dangerous, narrow windy stretch of Diablo Road. This lawsuit was brought by four homeowners on Calle Arroyo Road within Diablo Country Club. They filed suit against the Diablo Community Services District to force the District to exclude bicyclists, arguing that people bicycling are a nuisance and create safety issues. The judge ruled that the District has no such authority.

Bike East Bay joined the lawsuit last spring, thanks to pro bono representation from Bay Area Bicycle Law, to defend your right to use publicly accessible roads. Our efforts have benefited from enthusiastic support from Al Kalin of Diablo Cyclists, Steve Whelan of Valley Spokesman riding clubs, and the nearly 1,000 people who made their voices heard and shared their riding experiences.

Next up, the homeowner Plaintiffs have until November 5 to amend their complaint and argue a different legal theory. Bike East Bay continues to participate in this legal dispute to ensure your safe bicycling access to Mt. Diablo.

Donate today to continue defending access to Mt. Diablo.

Ride on,
Dave Campbell
Advocacy Director, Bike East Bay


Yay for cyclists! I'm sure this will never end, but for now it's a victory for cyclists. Rode through there last night, and saw a crap ton of this sign:


I read this and think they must be running on the anti-cyclist / riff raff platform lol!
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Old 11-27-18, 05:23 PM
  #23  
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Flippity flip flop flip!
https://bikeeastbay.org/news/setbacks-mt-diablo-lawsuit

Appears Alameda Diablo is still ok to use though...
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Old 11-28-18, 03:36 PM
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This just came up on craigslist. What!!

Mr.Tiernan seems kinda like a bummer

From Craigslist:

Led by Robert Tiernan, the residents of Diablo filed suit and got bikers blocked from a safe access to Mt Diablo

looks like Tiernan lives at 1747 Calle Arroyo
confirm the address before dropping by

search fastpeople

From Mecury News

Bob Tiernan, a longtime resident of the Diablo Country Club, was the main plaintiff representing residents of the Diablo Country Club in a lawsuit fighting to close their private roads to the public who are using their roads to bypass Diablo Road on their way to Mount Diablo State Park, Diablo, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (File photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
DIABLO -- A judge's ruling to block public access to a popular cut-through for cyclists on their way to Mount Diablo State Park could put people's lives at risk, biking advocates say.

For decades, bicyclists have been turning down oak-lined Calle Arroyo at the entrance to Diablo Country Club to avoid Diablo Road in Danville, which is notorious for its narrow lanes, fast-moving traffic and blind curves. Two cyclists were seriously injured there last year by a hit-and-run driver, reopening a long-standing debate over safety along the scenic corridor.

But that may be the only quick option for cyclists now. A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge on Monday officially signed a ruling declaring the public has no right to access the road -- even if it may be a difficult ruling to enforce.


A group of students from the San Ramon High School mountain bike club along with friends from other schools ride up Calle Arroyo Road to bypass a stretch of Diablo road on their way up to Mt. Diablo State Park in Danville, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (File photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
Limiting access to the country club disproportionately impacts students in the area who use the route to get to school and for training on the high school mountain biking team, said Al Kalin, president of the Mount Diablo Cyclists, a bicycling advocacy organization.

"The judge's ruling affects tens of thousands of cyclists," Kalin said, "but specifically the local mountain bike high school teams who have for years rode down Calle Arroyo."

The alternative, however, of having cyclists barreling down the barely two-lane, unmarked roads in Diablo is also perilous, contends Robert Tiernan, the lead plaintiff in the suit. He filed the suit earlier this year on behalf of several other homeowners along the road after seeing a growing number of cyclists riding in "loud packs," overtaking cars and endangering seniors and small children. His parents, who are both in their 90's and live on the same road, have had cyclists clip their car or yell at them, he said.

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"After all that," Tiernan said, "it was becoming too dangerous."


Cyclist Al Kalin, a member of the Mt. Diablo Cyclists talks about the route that leads cyclists through the Diablo County Club on Calle Arroyo Road in Danville, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (File photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
In the end, the court case hinged not on questions about which road is safer -- but who can control its access. And it was here the plaintiffs prevailed.

They argued that because the country club community was formed as a private community, there has never been any express or implied public access, said Dominic Signorotti, the plaintiffs' attorney. An attorney for Bike East Bay, a cycling advocacy organization and defendant in the suit, argued the Diablo Community Services District, which governs the country club community, received public funds to make improvements on Calle Arroyo. That would imply the roads are meant for public use, or else that the district used the funds illegally.

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The judge said that wasn't enough.

"There is no evidence that any of this money is spent on Calle Arroyo. And even if it did, so what?" Judge Charles Treat wrote in his ruling. "If the district is illegally spending money, it ought to stop doing so. But that doesn't mean the district can create an easement over its members' properties by spending money."

The comment, while not dismissing the suit, did open another question: Has the Diablo Community Service District, which governs the bucolic community, been spending taxpayers' money on private roads?

"It's sort of an open question," said Dave Campbell, the advocacy director for Bike East Bay.

The district is looking into it and will adjust future spending accordingly, said Christie Crowl, an attorney for the district.


Bob Tiernan, longtime resident of the Diablo Country Club shows photos of some of the crowds of bicyclists that pass his home off Calle Arroyo Road in Danville, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (File photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
But that still leaves the question of how to enforce the ruling. The judge determined the district has no authority to prevent the general public from using Calle Arroyo, Crowl said. And, doing so could easily violate people's constitutional rights, said Lt. Jason Haynes, a sheriff's deputy in charge of the Diablo subdivision. As long as the person in question agrees to move along, there is no way to cite them for trespassing, he said.

"If it's private property but publicly accessible, it will be very difficult to take any enforcement action," he said. "We can't proactively patrol and try to ID people within the community, or that would be a blatant disregard for people's rights."

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For now, however, Campbell is recommending cyclists avoid Calle Arroyo, if they can. The judge's ruling applies only to the single street of Calle Arroyo, though the plaintiffs recently filed an amendment to expand the ruling's reach to include a tiny path over private property that links to a public road leading to Mount Diablo State Park. If the judge rules in favor of the amendment, it will constrict access to the park even further and could have serious implications for cyclists' safety -- implications with legal precedent backing it, Campbell said.
The city of Danville is redoing an environmental review of a proposed development because a judge ruled it would create more traffic on Diablo Road and endanger cyclists. Campbell is hoping the same thinking will apply here if cyclists are forced onto Diablo Road.

"If you attempt to close that path, that is subject to (the California Environmental Quality Act) and you need to do an (environmental impact report)," he said, "because that affects the safety of people bicycling."

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Old 11-29-18, 11:29 PM
  #25  
cthenn
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Don't really get it. It only applies to that one street? Why wouldn't it apply to all those roads? Also, there are 2 paths, the other one coming out just north of the Athenian school. So, theoretically C.A. could be off limits, the main cut through could be off limits, but if I ride on Alameda Diablo, then use the second cut through, that would be legal? Makes no sense and clearly would be a case of someone getting just what they want, not really following any law. Furthermore, that main cut through is on private property owned by a private citizen, who is actually perfectly fine with cyclists using it (I think I've read that he's on record as being perfectly happy to allow cyclists on and through his property). Not sure how that could possibly be enforced.

Obviously this dude just wants cyclists off his street, so just use a different road into the CC.
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