Brentwood’s Roads Fall Flat

By Edward Soper, MANAGING EDITOR
Residents of Brentwood, California enjoy calm surroundings in their rural farm town. Brentwood is nestled almost perfectly halfway between the busy cities of Oakland and Stockton. Being a small town, you’d expect Brentwood to be free of the typical problems that plague busy, densely populated cities. However, one such issue has made a home in rural Brentwood.
As one could expect of a Northern California city, the East Bay town of Brentwood suffers from poor road quality. The town has simply not updated its plan to repair and maintain roads since the turn of the century.
In the year 2000, Brentwood’s population was a meager 23,300 people. Shortly after the beginning of the new millennium, however, Brentwood’s population grew exponentially. After being among the fastest-growing cities in California for nearly two decades, according to the East Bay Times, the city’s population now sits at roughly 65,000.
At this time, the city has built several new roads and highways to make traversing the growing town more convenient for its citizens. In this effort, however, it seems the town has been too distracted building and has allowed their older roads to crumble.
Perhaps the busiest road in Brentwood is Walnut Boulevard. The street was once the only way the city’s drivers could reach Vasco Road, which is the only way to get from Brentwood to neighboring Livermore and, in turn, Highway 580. To this day, thousands of vehicles use Walnut Blvd. on their daily commutes and the road is in shambles.
There have been many town hall meetings where citizens have brought up the safety of their roads, but the topic is constantly swept under the rug by city officials.
“I swear the next time I get a flat tire out on Walnut, I’m sending the city the bill,” 43-year-old resident Thomas Womack said. “It’s ridiculous that we can put up malls and shopping centers in a week, but can’t keep our main road in even decent shape.”
In some areas of Brentwood, the lack of roadway planning causes up to 45-minute delays. One such place is on Balfour Road as it approaches American Avenue. Both Adams Middle School and Heritage High School are on the small stretch of road and on weekdays, it’s a nightmare.
“It’s ridiculous that it takes me 30-45 minutes to get to school in the morning,” Heritage High School senior Tyler Kirk explained. “I only live five miles away.”
It has gotten so bad that there are no barriers separating the turn lanes to the school from the rest of the road.
“People kept cutting other people off and causing accidents, so it made sense,” former Heritage High School student Ryan Page said.
As any former student can tell you, seeing more than one accident each morning on your way to class isn’t uncommon. It’s unfortunate that something like this has become par for the course, in such a lovely town.
Attempts were made to reach out to both Brentwood City Hall and Brentwood Police Department for comment, but no response was received.