FAQs Niles Blvd & Rancho Arroyo

There have been a number of recent vehicle crashes along Niles Blvd.  Are these crashes attributable to the recent changes to the roadway? 

Based on the police reports, these crashes were due to a number of factors not related to the recent changes to the roadway.  None of the crashes resulted in a fatality or severe injury.  The following are summaries of the recent crashes on the roadway:

  • 01/31/2020 6:46 pm – Drunk driver traveling southbound on Niles Bl (just south of Rancho Arroyo Pkwy) collides with raised center median. Vehicle overturns within the northbound lanes; no other vehicles involved.

  • 02/03/2020 8:09 pm – Driver traveling southbound Niles Bl (between Rancho Arroyo Pkwy and Nursery Ave) doesn’t merge all the way left and continues straight into the turn-out area (after the Do Not Pass/merge symbol sign). Driver collides with power pole/telephone pole at the end of the turn-out area.

  • 02/15/2020 1:01 pm – Driver on Rancho Arroyo Parkway makes a rolling stop, proceeds to enter the intersection to make a left turn onto Niles Blvd, and is broadsided by a southbound vehicle on Niles Blvd.  Driver assumed the southbound vehicle on Niles Blvd was going to make a right turn onto Rancho Arroyo but instead proceeded straight.

Why is the City implementing narrower travel lanes?  Do narrower travel lanes make roads less safe?

Fremont is implementing 10’ wide travel lanes on arterial roadways as a measure to manage speed and improve safety for all road users, consistent with its Vision Zero traffic safety policy.  Previously, many Fremont streets had lane widths of 12’ or greater, which is the design standard for high-speed freeways carrying interstate trucks.  In general, wide lanes enable “freeway speeds” on local streets.  National research and studies indicate that 10’ travel lanes on local roadways result in reduced vehicle speeds and lower crash rates.  Fremont has seen a more than a 30 percent reduction in severe injury and fatal crashes since it adopted its Vision Zero policy in 2015 and began implementing “safe and complete street” design standards (including narrower lanes).

What effect has the narrower travel lanes had on Rancho Arroyo Parkway?

Based on a before and after study, vehicle travel speeds on Rancho Arroyo Parkway have reduced since the implementation of the safe and complete streets project.  As a result, the speed limit on Rancho Arroyo Parkway was lowered from 30 MPH to 25 MPH in Spring 2020. 
 
Why is the City allocating so much roadway space to bicyclists when there are so few bicyclists today?

The proposed project seeks to increase safety for all road users.  Niles Boulevard is one of the City’s Safety Priority Streets – the 10 percent of city streets on which 90 percent of fatal crashes have occurred.  The City has received numerous complaints from residents who live along this section of Niles Boulevard related to excessive speeding.   The reduction in travel lanes and narrower lanes are primarily intended to reduce excessive speeding and shorten crossing distances for pedestrians.  A benefit to narrowing vehicle travel lanes is that additional space created is then added to the bike lanes.    
 
Why can’t the City enforce speed limits rather than redesigning streets?

The Fremont Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit conducts focused speeding enforcement in known “hot spot” areas but it has limited resources that do not enable it to be in all high priority locations at all times.  Redesigning the street helps to ensure that dangerous behavior does not happen when PD cannot be present.  Redesigning streets has the best potential for long-term sustainable safety improvements and impacts on driver behavior.  Based on the benefit of temporary safety improvements to reduce speeds, the speed limit on Niles Blvd was reduced from 40 MPH to 35 MPH and a radar speed feedback sign was installed in Spring 2020.

Why is the City proposing a new traffic signal at Rock Avenue?

When a safe and complete streets project was proposed for Niles Boulevard, one of the major issues raised by the residents was the difficulty making left turns onto Niles Boulevard from the side streets.  Consideration had been given to installing all-way stop signs; however, given the volume of this would create longer queues of cars and exacerbate access issues for the side streets.  A solution to address access issues was a traffic signal at Rock Avenue that would create the necessary gaps for residents to make left turns onto Niles Boulevard.  Rock Avenue was chosen since it was close to the midpoint of this segment on Niles Boulevard.

Was there a covenant or agreement that restricted parking on Rancho Arroyo Parkway?

There are no records of a covenant or agreement.  Records indicate that a Condition of Approval was placed on a Planned Unit Development project in 1972 to require that the project provide on-site parking in the amount of one space per unit and 0.5 guest spaces per unit.   At the time, the development was required to "install NO PARKING signs on the apartment side of Rancho Arroyo Parkway prior to occupancy." An additional point of context is that the development was approved at a time when Rancho Arroyo Parkway was a four-lane road and there was not sufficient space to accommodate parking.  A Condition of Approval is placed on the use of private property and does not apply to the City's operation of the roadway in a manner that best addresses current circumstances.

The Casa Arroyo Apartments has guest parking spaces available during the evenings.  Can those guest parking spaces be converted to resident parking spaces?

The Casa Arroyo Apartment complex has met all necessary parking requirements for resident and guest spaces that are required by the Fremont Municipal Code and their development permit.  The City of Fremont does not have any authority regarding how those parking spaces are managed by the Casa Arroyo Apartment complex. Having 0.5 guest parking spaces per unit is standard for apartment complexes.

Can a Residential Permit Parking program be established to address parking issues?

Residential Permit Parking (RPP) programs are intended to address neighborhood parking issues and intrusion caused by external sources not associated with the neighborhood.  The parking demand and related issues experienced by Niles residents living off of Rock Avenue and Rancho Arroyo Parkway are generated by members of the community and would not qualify for a RPP program.

How will Niles Boulevard/Nursery Avenue intersection change with this project?

The subject project is not changing the configuration of the Niles Boulevard/Nursery Avenue intersection.  A separate project is planned to start construction in Summer 2020 and includes improvements on Nursery Avenue associated with implementing a railroad quiet zone. Information on the Nursery Avenue Quiet Zone project is available on the Nursery Project webpage 

Will the project add parking on Niles Boulevard?

The project will not add parking on Niles Boulevard.