By Marc Garman

Developers for Chick-Fil-A and CVS Pharmacy designed their project in the Northgate Shopping Center on Admiral Callaghan Lane, insisting on having a left-turn pocket lane for north-bound traffic to enter their parking lot from Admiral Callaghan Lane. Planning commissioners, studied the proposal, visited the site and some commissioners photographed and studied the situation for hours.

The resulting analysis of several commissioners showed that such a turn bay, on a curve, on a hill, in busy traffic, crossing three lanes of oncoming traffic was much too dangerous a proposition. Consequently the planning commissioners voted unanimously to approve the project with the one exception… the requested left-turn pocket lane was too dangerous and should not be allowed.

On appeal to the City Council, the planning commission’s decision to deny the left-turn bay was overruled by all the City Council members and the left-turn pocket lane was granted.

Imagine, a unanimous 7 to 0 decision of the Planning Commission was overruled 7 to 0 by the City Council. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to rationalize or explain such a contradictory decision of the Council. Regardless of their thinking or their motives, their decision was at best naive and misguided.

The end result is embarrassing, costly, and risky to all Vallejoans who drive on Admiral Callaghan Lane to exit the Northgate Shopping Center.

Sadly, the dangerous conditions have proven to be true. [watch the six-minute video covering approximately 40 minutes]. While most minor incidents don’t get reported to the police, there have been many, along with many hundreds of near-misses and indeed several accidents, at least one with serious injuries, adjacent to the disruptive turn-bay.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s to trust the dedication, competence and judgement of an appointed commission with plentiful experience and professional knowledge in such matters, and with no axe to grind or special favors to grant.

So what’s next? The traffic barriers constantly get bumped and knocked over, and the orange barricades require city resources to maintain and replace. Who is going to fix the problem, and who should pay the costs? Perhaps Councilmembers should chip in to cover the cost to reconstruct the traffic island with the landscaping that was removed. After all, they alone are responsible for this fiasco.


The following video was posted on YouTube by Planning Commissioner Tony Adams:


'STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES' have 29 comments

  1. January 1, 2016 @ 5:27 pm Publicus

    You missed the determining factor in this stupidity….. city staff. The City Council usually relies on those fat staff reports when they make a decision. Obviously, the Planning Commission did not take City staff’s word about that turn lane and did their own research. But staff, which rolls over and peas on themselves to do what any developer wants, wrote all the gobbly gook that the City Council depended on to make their decision to overturn the Planning Commission. In essence, this is another example of the Vallejo City staff tail wagging the dog. Hard to tell who the real idiot is here. Emperor Klinschmidt’s decree much like his decree to turn a residential street into a major truck route with no supporting traffic study. Or a developer, which, as we all know, gets whatever they want in the name of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” The good citizens of Vallejo will end up (again) paying to correct the stupidity.


    • January 2, 2016 @ 10:24 am GW

      Why does council rely heavily (too heavy for my taste) on the opinion of staff for items brought before them, instead of fact checking the items for themselves and then decide what would be best for the citizenry (they themselves included) when they navigate our road system? Did I empower city employees who most likely do not reside here to make decisions for those officials I elected and who are Vallejo residents I thought were capable to see for themselves if an issue would be an asset or a hindrance with consequences? There is no doubt there will be if they continue to be blind to the facts before them!!
      I disagreed with the left turn lane as it presents itself now, especially without a traffic signal to “guide” Vallejo’s multitude of challenged drivers.
      I understand that the property presented serious space challenges. Adding a CVS, which had ample parking at the old site but very limited space now should both eating places and the drugstore have hoped for increased patronage in the future, was ill advised to say the least.
      I am not going to beat up Chick-Fil-A (the property owner) or Chipotle as that is not the issue. Both eateries have a right to conduct business and all those opposed to them ….and not just the location, will not starve if they do not frequent them.

      As I have not patronized the businesses at that location I can not comment on the garbage problem.
      Of note is that Chick-Fil-A is not the culprit who throws the wrappings and remnants of a meal out of the car window. The fast food patrons who have decided to devour their order in the parking lot like gypsies on a wagon train are …while an inside sit down location is available with employees tasked to cart off your schnauzel remnants for you, should you be physically challenged to haul them to the refuse bins conveniently located within the premises.
      A situation that has festered in our neighborhoods and the entire community for years. Why should it be any different at that specific location …… but you do have the right to complain about a business while ignoring those who are the cause…


    • January 25, 2016 @ 6:16 pm Jan Breukers

      one word: Money!

      Stupid doesn’t care about being stupid, but show them money and they’ll show you the weakness in their knees! (while still being stupid of course!). What else can I say?

      Oh yeah, and don’t be nitpicking on whether or not duplicates in the video, that’s stupid too!!!! Stick with the facts that really matter…… please! It’s sad enough that this sort of sh*t happens constantly and we pay the bill, over and over and over again…..


  2. January 1, 2016 @ 5:54 pm So Not Surprise

    Chic-fil-yuck and Chipotle threatened to not go ahead with the project if the council did not vote for that turn lane. It is a disaster waiting for a tragedy. Take it away, close it up and be done with it.

    As an aside, the patrons of that chicken place strew their garbage all over that parking lot. Note, I don’t see Chipotle garbage just garbage from the chicken place. They should pay for twice daily cleaning since their patrons are such pigs.


  3. January 1, 2016 @ 7:36 pm Ravi C. Shankar

    This is truly disappointing and embarrassing for all of us…. why appoint citizen professional experts/commissioners, make them work so hard and then fully ignore their recommendation ?

    I was there listening/watching when the presentation was made at city hall — approving the turn lane against 3 lanes of incoming traffic does not make sense. What were the city staff thinking? More importantly, what were the council members think now ? I will send this video clip to all of them — see how they back peddle ? explain?? defend their votes ?

    Finally, the fact that the specialist commission’s 7-0 recommendation overturned by the city council is absurd, biased and in complete defiance of people’s safety and interest.

    This is an election year — we need to count the ills of this bad bad decision against anyone who wants to be re-elected, including some of our friends up there !!

    The garbage situation is also very concerning. PUBLICUS statement above …

    …”Klinschmidt’s decree much like his decree to turn a residential street into a major truck route with no supporting traffic study. Or a developer, which, as we all know, gets whatever they want in the name of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” The good citizens of Vallejo will end up (again) paying to correct the stupidity…..”

    appears realistically fair and needs to be answered by all the parties who signed OK on behalf of the people.

    If there are facts that the commission’s 7-0 recommendation were ignored blatantly by the council and the video clip posted by Tony Adams thoroughly contradicts the PW manager and city council’s vote to approve, we the people need to hold all of them publicly accountable and notify them thro’ our County and State authorities. We also need to hold the company responsible — especially if accidents starts to happen (god forbid — we pray).

    Thank you Marc and Tony for looking out for the citizens of Vallejo.


  4. January 1, 2016 @ 10:17 pm Plain Truth

    Yes it is a dangerous configuration. But let’s get real … the editing on this “tape” is dishonest. Please note that time mark approx 1:03 and 1:58 are represented as two different “incidents” when they are the same….the same situation with time mark 3:59 and 4:43. If you are trying to prove the large amount of “near incidents” don’t use the same ones more than once. Doctored editing is dishonest. I didn’t bother watching the rest as it more than likely contained more edited “incidents”. Next time save yourself some time and effort and just loop a single “incident” over and over.


    • January 1, 2016 @ 10:23 pm MG

      Then why are there orange cones blocking off the turn lane now? I suppose that those were placed there due to some fantasy editing? Or maybe Commissioner Adams is very skilled at special effects doctoring his video? Just sayin’ Either public works is on a loop or they must actually agree that there is a problem. Try watching the video to the end.


      • January 1, 2016 @ 11:24 pm Plain Truth

        You have never addressed the actual incidents that I pointed out in the video. Incidents that were repeated through editing. I never stated the lane wasn’t dangerous….I stated there was dishonest representation of traffic incidents by replaying traffic scenes through editing. You denying the two incidents I time marked ? Got a problem with honesty? Apparently.


        • January 2, 2016 @ 6:33 am MG

          @Plain Truth. Congratulations. You are our Big Winner!! There is in fact one accidental duplicate out of 31 clips in the mix!! I guess you have a problem with the big picture and excell at contemplating the lint inside your navel. Well done! We applaud your capacity to miss the point? ROTFLMAO


          • January 2, 2016 @ 8:08 am ValRes

            Actually, there’s at least two duplicates. The one in the beginning and the truck with the infinity symbol in the back window. That’s all that jumped out to me.

    • Tony Adams

      January 2, 2016 @ 2:18 am Tony Adams

      Oops, I’m no video-editing expert, just trying to convey the message. There are 31 clips in the video all of which are trimmed to show the most relevant problem. There’s one duplicate clip in the mix but it was a copying error. Certainly did not intend to deceive. The mistake should not diminish the severity of the overall situation, hopefully. Forgive me for the apparent slip-up .


    • January 2, 2016 @ 9:11 am Ali

      I agree with you tons of editing flaws.. Scenes at the following times are the same
      :38 and 1:17 the blue truck
      :43 and 1:23 truck with stuff in the back
      :49 and 1:48 black Prius
      1:00 and 1:58 Turning into parking lot
      3:45 and 5:09 Black truck with sticker followed by light blue Prius
      4:14 and 4:51 white truck with Infiniti logo with a red Prius following

      I agree that turn shouldn’t have been placed there but at least don’t altar footage.


      • January 2, 2016 @ 9:32 am MG

        OK. You win. There are a few repeats. I don’t think Adams did it intentionally. The main point remains unchanged.



      • January 2, 2016 @ 3:04 pm Plain Truth

        Thank you Ali for having the patience to watch the entire video and finding far more incidents than I did. Mr Garman, I hope you don’t have to spend too much time picking your arse up off the floor, it might take away the extra time you’ll need eating crow for your nasty remarks. As previously stated, the turn lane needs to be removed or fixed. Have a nice new year.


        • January 2, 2016 @ 4:18 pm MG

          You have a good year too! And try not to get lost in those weeds! 🙂


  5. January 1, 2016 @ 10:42 pm two block'd

    Wow chicken sandwiches can get awful complex . Back in the day ——–


  6. January 2, 2016 @ 9:13 am TheTruthIsOutThere

    MG wrote, “If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s to trust the dedication, competence and judgement of an appointed commission with plentiful experience and professional knowledge in such matters, and with no axe to grind or special favors to grant.”

    Those are golden words. Thank you.


  7. January 2, 2016 @ 9:52 am Ravi C Shankar

    So, after Marc and Tony sincerely apologized to an error or two, but still rightfully stand by the story….. does PLAIN TRUTH person (city employee ??) have the decency to do the same and now SEE THE STORY i.e., THETRUTHISOUTTHERE statement ?

    While everyone is able to make a mistake or two, can we all agree to put the focus on and turn the heat up on the bad, bad decision made by the council and the city project managers, who all seem to BEND so far at the expense of the people’s safety, tax monies and their own Commission’s expertise ?


    • January 2, 2016 @ 7:42 pm Hoopla

      Plain Truth is the idiot Sam Kurshan who banned from this cite. The village idiot is jumping up and down on another blog calling Garman all sort of things


  8. January 2, 2016 @ 2:26 pm Chris

    Another expensive embarrassment for the City of Vallejo involving infrastructure. This is expensive and important and can NOT be gotten wrong. But it is and was wrong from the very beginning, the consequence of know-nothing politicians engaged in engineering decisions. THIS is why this government will likely be filing for bankruptcy again.

    Yes, City staff bears a big part of this, but we know the names associated with the only votes that mattered. A case could now be made to eliminate the Planning Commission altogether–it’s not needed. Any City element that is ineffective is NOT needed, and significant decisions of the Planning Commission that are ignored by City Council renders it ineffective and useless.


  9. January 2, 2016 @ 2:42 pm tramky

    This entire project suffers from inadequate design; it was obviously squeezed into a site that is NOT appropriate. So Vallejo is again left with bad design affecting public accommodations, and large financial consequences that will fall at the feet of taxpayers. It will be interesting to see what the tenants do with these places now that access those businesses is now GREATLY curtailed. It changes the entire business model. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of them moves out leaving an empty hole. This change likely is grounds for lease termination. CVS is the most likely, since it a terrible squeeze in there with inadequate parking. Easy come, easy go.


  10. January 2, 2016 @ 7:13 pm two block'd

    This reads like a concept pitch for a new TV show ”Cities behaving badly” next episode


  11. January 2, 2016 @ 10:22 pm Vanilla Truth

    Well then call me Sam Kurshan too, because I also think the video is fudged.


    • Tony Adams

      January 3, 2016 @ 2:23 pm Tony Adams

      GIVE ME A BREAK, Please.
      I’m a novice at this. As video clips were copied from my camera to the computer and into the video software, I must have lost track of the file sequence and copied some files more than once. An unfortunate mistake, but you can blame me for the mistake, not Marc. I can assure you that I tried to keep the video as short as possible and did a lot of trimming. And there are additional clips that were not included that are equally as troubling during a 40-minute span on filming on a Saturday afternoon.


  12. January 3, 2016 @ 2:46 am Renato R.Domingo

    My son was on his way home to American Canyon and was on Admiral Callaghan Road and were closing into the new Northgate Shopping Center which was to the left on the other side of Admiral Callaghan Road. The road curbs to the left to towards the stop light on Columbus Parkway. There is also an erected sign that indicate an approaching signal lights up ahead. There were three lanes. There is a right only turn lane and two left turn lane. My son seeing the erected signal light sign stayed in the #1 left turn lane thinking this lane will take him into the Columbus Parkway where he was going to turn left however, that section of the concrete island in front of Northgate Shopping Center was opened to allow shoppers to get into the Northgate Shopping Center which cuts off the #1 left turn lane. Unfortunately, as you approach the left turn into the shopping center, they widen that section of the concrete island so if you are in the #1 left turn lane going towards the signal lights towards Columbus Parkway, your are headed into a collision course with the widened concrete island and that is happened to my son. It was to late to avoid the widened cement island. This was a poor design and have cause a lot of accident and the City of Vallejo is liable for all the damages.


    • January 3, 2016 @ 9:05 pm tramky

      Looks like someone seeking a free ride for incompetent driving with the tab picked up by taxpayers. Remember people, a City pays nothing for bogus claims like this, the taxpayers do. That means YOU.

      As for the paranoids analyzing a video clip . . . get a life. Geez! This crap adds NOTHING to this discussion. And I don’t understand why Adams would pay any more attention this–this problem falls ENTIRELY at the feet of City Council–all of ’em. And now at the feet of Vallejo taxpayers who will be required to pay for this POLITICAL decision. Remember this at the City Council election later this year.


  13. January 4, 2016 @ 8:27 am Michelle

    Sooooo, can we all agree, video or no video, that the entire Northgate Shopping Center has been a boondingle of design since day one. To have pockets of shopping areas with limited egress into any of them is just downright stupid. Case in point, the hotly contested left turn lane into the CVS shopping area, the one way in, one way out situation (unless exiting from Best Buy) from Kohls, the 1 left turn lane from the freeway to access Michaels, etc. The whole area sucks ass and needs to be redesigned.


  14. January 4, 2016 @ 8:47 am Chris

    Looks like this may become the SECOND major site that needs significant and expensive remediation to fix errors of design that should NOT have occurred in the first place. The Parking Garage across from the Ferry Terminal will be subjected to a significant fix-it project to correct a major in design and engineering of what was a brand new building. Never should have happened, but Vallejo seems to suffer from repeated problems with construction projects involving public works and city planning and engineering, spending hundreds or thousands of possibly millions on after-the-fact fixes. A hell of a way run a city that is on the brink of repeated bankruptcy.


  15. January 4, 2016 @ 9:11 am two block'd

    Some projects have gone over budget without one shovelfull of dirt being moved ! seem to remember a certain Community center whose entire budget eclipsed while still in the design stage , thus I have coined a new phrase for Vallejo it’s ”value subtracted” the oposite of
    ”value added” . Giving staff cost centers to bill time to is foolish , there is no accountability this leads to ”value subtracted” projects
    such as this left turn fiasco , no telling what this cost ? and if left , what the potential legal liabilities will cost us , refund please .


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