Country club residents seek to block bicyclists using cut-through to Mount Diablo

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DIABLO — In the bucolic, country club community of Diablo, a growing menace is threatening residents: “loud packs” of bicyclists “careening” through the streets, overtaking cars, endangering small children and wreaking havoc on the pristine quietude of the tiny, East Bay enclave.

Now, some residents, who’ve been fighting the influx of cyclists for several years, are taking their battle to court. They’re seeking a judge’s order to declare Diablo’s western entrance, Calle Arroyo, private — a move that would allow the community’s governing board to limit recreational use and cite trespassers in the latest Bay Area battle pitting private property rights against public access.

For at least a decade — and by multiple accounts, a half century or more — cyclists, along with parents pushing strollers and neighbors walking dogs, have turned down the quiet, unlined street to escape the fast-moving traffic of Diablo Road in Danville. Some continue past the country club parking lot, before veering onto an unmarked dirt trail to reach Mount Diablo State Park, its multiple biking and hiking trails, campgrounds and expansive vistas.

For resident Robert Tiernan, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, the issue is one of safety and the expectation of privacy in a community closed to the public.

“Our roads were never designed to become a bypass for Diablo Road,” Tiernan said. “We want to return our roads back to a safe place, where all residents can enjoy it and have their peace and privacy.”

But bicyclists contend that without the cut-through, the public would be denied a safe access point to a state park — on roads that are maintained with public money — and would be forced instead to traverse the windy, narrow corridor of Diablo Road, which has no shoulders, sidewalks or bike path.

To the cyclists, and some residents in Diablo, that’s tantamount to a death sentence.

“It’s dangerous,” said cyclist Rip Talavera, who has been cutting through Diablo for the past 35 years to climb Mount Diablo’s world-class mountain biking trails. “You’d get killed on Diablo Road. You have no choice but to go through there.”

The lawsuit is only the latest attempt to block cyclists from using the country club community’s roads. Complaints from residents prompted the community’s governing board in 2013 to propose refusing entry to anyone who is not a country club member, resident or guest. But, Tiernan said nothing came of that effort.

Richard Breitwieser, the general manager of the Diablo Community

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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