In October of 2007, Orchard Park Elementary, the first and only kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school in the Antioch Unified School District was opened. Orchard Park School is within the Antioch Unified School District and serves students from both Antioch and Oakley. The school located on Live Oak Ave. a two lane unimproved road in Oakley. The Antioch School District extends into to Oakley and includes students living west of Empire Road. The school has provided a much needed neighborhood school in western Oakley.
A safety issue has persisted since the school was opened. Children who choose to walk or bike to school are forced to walk in the street on Oakley Road and Live Oak until the reach the boundaries of the school where a sidewalk begins.
It is common sense and prudent policy for a School District to coordinate with the city or county where it is building a school to make sure there are safe pedestrian routes to the schools. But, because the State has pre-empted local development review and standards as they are applied to school construction, the School Districts in California are only required to improve the roads and sidewalks that border the school. Those pathways to school that exist beyond the school boundaries become the burden of cities or counties to improve. When originally conceived the Antioch School District had intended to purchase all of the properties to the south of the existing school, however; those deals fell through.
On Tuesday night the Oakley City Council approved an agreement with MCI Engineering Inc., for the construction of the Live Oak and Oakley Road Pedestrian Path Project. I asked the City’s Public Works Director, Jason Vogan, for some details on the project: “We’re constructing a 5 foot wide asphalt path on the north side of Oakley Road and the east side of Live Oak. The path will start at the west edge of the Heather Parc subdivision (where the existing sidewalk ends), head west to Live Oak, then up Live Oak to Orchard Park school. Where the right of way is narrow on Oakley Road the path will be adjacent to the roadway (kind of like the path on O’Hara that leads to Freedom). Where we have more right of way the path will be separated from the road by a few feet. We’ll also install a drainage infiltrator to take care of the stormwater that is generated by the new pavement. We’ll clear out some of the trees that are in the way and trim back others to provide clearance.
The contractor plans to move in on July 20th and start clearing. They’ll be hot and heavy the week of the 25th. They expect about two weeks of construction, so by the second week in August they’ll be done.
I talked to AUSD and they are putting out an RFP for crossing guards. They plan on having one at the four way stop on Oakley at Beldin.”