Police data shows 2018's most dangerous intersections | News | Mountain View Online |


Police data shows 2018's most dangerous intersections

New MVPD initiative makes Mountain View collision reports publicly accessible

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In a bid to increase transparency and communication about traffic safety, the Mountain View Police Department announced plans last week to regularly release data on all collisions occurring throughout the city.

The move is the latest in a series of reporting policy changes aimed at giving Mountain View residents a clearer picture of where crashes happen, and where bicyclists and pedestrians are more likely to be struck by a vehicle.

Previous changes included reporting on all collisions regardless of whether anyone was injured, as well as a recent data dump that included all collisions on both public and private property going back to January 2017.

Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson told the Voice that the new initiative is not just an opportunity to be transparent with the public, but a chance to educate residents with public service-style messages about following the rules of the road. The department's Friday, Aug. 10, announcement, for example, came with a short animated video detailing how police handle a crash investigation.

"The more the public can easily find the data, for those who are interested, the more we hope residents will directly interact with us and ask us their questions regarding collisions, safety initiatives and more," Nelson said.

The latest round of data shows there have been 357 collisions during the first half of 2018, about one-third of which resulted in injuries. This is a decrease from the 398 crashes that occurred over the same period in 2017. A total of 159 people were injured in the first six months of the year, and none resulted in a fatality.

Among the crashes, 24 involved a bicyclist -- which is on pace with prior years -- while nine involved a pedestrian, significantly fewer than the 24 pedestrian collisions over the same six-month period in 2017. At least one person was injured in all of the pedestrian collisions and in 20 of the 24 bicycle collisions.

Some of the busiest intersections in the city remain the most dangerous, with the intersection of El Camino Real, Grant Road and Highway 237 leading with 18 crashes so far this year, according to department data. Other high-crash intersections include West Middlefield Road and Highway 237 (15), Central Expressway and Rengstorff Avenue (8), W. Middlefield Road and Shoreline Boulevard (7), Central Expressway, Moffett Boulevard and Castro Street (7) and El Camino Real and Sylvan Avenue (7).

As with past data releases by the department, many of the primary causes and traffic violations for collisions are listed as unknown or left blank. Of the 194 that have reasons cited, 37 collisions were caused by unsafe speeds, 24 were caused by red light violations, 17 were caused due to driving on the wrong side of the road, and 25 were caused by combination of failures to yield by vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

For 20 of the crashes, a misdemeanor or felony DUI was listed as the primary cause of the collision.

Although the department has followed state reporting requirements for collisions on public roadways, the public-facing information on the city's website had previously been limited to bicycle and pedestrian incidents that were listed on Mountain View's Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) web page. Mountain View police took a decidedly different approach earlier this year by publishing information on all vehicle crashes for 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, but police officials told the Voice in an email that they wouldn't continue the practice -- citing BPAC members's lack of interest in data unrelated to bike and pedestrian crashes. The Voice was required to make formal requests for the data under the state Public Records Act.

Although the announcement last week may sound like a policy reversal, Nelson said the department's intent is to always move toward transparency and accessibility of collision data. Residents are encouraged to give feedback on the information and the way it's presented, she said.

"Discussions on how to best present readily available and understandable traffic data to the public are always conversations we are having, not just between us here at MVPD, but with the public as well," Nelson said in an email.

The latest round of traffic safety statistics came with a healthy dose of advice: with children heading back to school this month, police are asking drivers to avoid blocking crosswalks and access to campuses.

"Do not run stop signs, and do not speed, even if you are late," the announcement said. "We, and other residents, do not tolerate violations that can and do hurt others, so please, be cordial, be patient and be safe."

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19 people like this
Posted by lan
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

lan is a registered user.

"We, and other residents, do not tolerate violations that can and do hurt others, so please, be cordial, be patient and be safe."

This is not true. Is not the experience of many who live in Mountain View and witness year after year red light runners on Grant Road, Rengstorff and Shoreline. People have complained, yet little if anything has been done to fix the problem.

My new expectation when driving through Mountain View is for drivers to not pay attention to the rules of the road. And to expect no enforcement.

28 people like this
Posted by ? For MVPD
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Knowing that the 237 and ECR intersection is the MOST dangerous area for the public to drive through, why, check that, _WHY_ haven't we seen designated cops there all the damn time?!?! Rush hour? YES! School commute? YES! Lunch rush? YES! Late night? YES!

Put a WORKING cop or two out there until people have the fear of god that if they blink wrong, they'll get a ticket. There should always be a cop writing a ticket and another one at the ready would be better. People learned they can blow those stoplights because YOU taught them there will be no repercussions. Sane drivers with kids say it's time to clean up your mess.

Do you have any other ideas MVPD? Whoever is making the call, we would love to her them, if you can step from behind your spokesperson and tell us.

65 people like this
Posted by Jim in MV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2018 at 7:41 am

The "Most Dangerous Intersection" is not the one with the most accidents. It is the one with the most accidents PER VEHICLE. Given the very high traffic at 237/Grant/El Camino it is hardly surprising that it has the most accidents.

How about a study that takes the traffic into account.

6 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Aug 15, 2018 at 9:05 am

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@Jim in MV

You might be surprised how few intersections break from the usual pattern. Among intersections with at least three collisions this year, the only one that doesn't lie on one of the city's major roadways (i.e. California Street, Central Expressway) is San Pierre Way and Montecito Avenue with three crashes. All three occurred within a few days of each other in January, oddly enough.

Going back to the beginning of 2017, Cuesta Drive & Miramonte Avenue and Independence Avenue & Charleston Road come up with six crashes, which breaks away from the usual pattern, but at this point we're talking about more than 1100 collisions across 350+ different city intersections.

The only caveat I'd throw in is that readers have suggested in the past that some vehicle collisions go unreported. How many is anyone's guess.

16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:40 am

I commute daily through the 237/ECR intersection, and it's positively nuts. People turning right from 237 to ECR are ruthless - the lines get long, and some people force their way into the head of the line, people who waited don't want to yield, and bang, minor collision. Red lights on left turns are run constantly, 3-4 cars enter the intersection after it turns red.

Put an officer there occasionally, in a visible spot. It'll make people behave. They know they're not supposed to do this, but this being the bay area, and everyone knowing that they're more important than everyone else, a lot of this happens.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

7 people like this
Posted by Oedipus McGillicuddy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Why doesn't this article contain a link to the police data that it's describing?

This article is a web page. Web pages are written in HTML, which has always allowed you to create links to other web sites.

This article is literally about the fact that the city has posted some information on its own web site.

So why doesn't this article contain a link to that information?

Here is the city press release, which contains a link to the data:
Web Link

And here is the actual data:
Web Link

10 people like this
Posted by speed traps middle of day, useless
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm

speed traps middle of day, useless is a registered user.

Recently on two different days, noticed motorcycle officer (speed trap) across from Sylvan Park, first time in the mid-morning, 2nd time around 2pm, essentially the least busy times of day. I asked him why they are not out there at commute hours when speeding is commonplace and a danger to residents, he said they only have officers available for this type of duty until 5pm, andonly a few officers were available for speed surveillance; seriously? Nice guy and no doubt it was true, but seriously? If I need to call 911 (hopefully never), I hope I am not told "nobody is available outside of regular business hours, call tomorrow after 9am."

2 people like this
Posted by Clark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Clark is a registered user.

The Bike friendly street project for Latham is taking way too long I believe it's going on 3 years now? This is not acceptable when a building permit and environmental study take months. Cyclists using El Camino or California are taking their life into their own hands. It's crazy what I see on Latham especially during the school season. It shouldn't take someone getting seriously injured or worse for change to happen. Come on Mt. View, you can do better.

4 people like this
Posted by where are the police?
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm

It has been months since I have seen a patrol officer pull someone over. Double parkers, red light runners, california stoppers and speeders are some of the people I encounter with everyday driving thru Mountain View. It's getting annoying that the police department seems to not even have a traffic enforcement. And it's only going to get worse as time goes on. My message to the police, "If you seem an infraction, write them up, don't let it become the norm."

4 people like this
Posted by Sherry
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2018 at 5:24 pm

@ Where are the police?

Perhaps you should sign up for Nextdoor or look at the department's Facebook page or Twitter page, all are open to the public. They post about their enforcement regularly.

Like this comment
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 15, 2018 at 6:35 pm

@ Kevin Forestieri

Thanks for the article and your follow-up comment.

The data just released looks like April-June only. How can we get access to earlier compilations of traffic collisions?

Also, what does "UNKNOWN PRIMARY COLLISION" mean in the list of accidents?

2 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm

If 237, Grant and ECR is so dangerous, I wish MVPD would rid this intersection of all the panhandlers that cause such a distraction at these traffic lights.

2 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Aug 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@Nora S.

The 2017 collision data can be found on the city's website (link below), though I'm not sure why they make it so hard to find. It's nested like six links deep under the public works department.

Web Link

You may notice the Q1 2018 link on that page doesn't actually take you to the full list of traffic incidents. For whatever reason the city replaced it with a simplified spreadsheet showing just bike and pedestrian collisions. The full list is still available through the link below:

Web Link

As to your last question, UNKNOWN PRIMARY COLLISION, as best I understand it, simply means the officer couldn't determine what specific vehicle code violation caused the crash.

24 people like this
Posted by Dangerous Conditions
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Several months ago, I spoke to city council about this issue - how dangerous the streets of Mountain View seemed to have become, and how I had become genuinely fearful every day as a pedestrian and when in a vehicle. I recounted details of having been struck while at a complete stop behind other vehicles, in broad daylight...not once but TWICE, in the span of 13 months. In the first collision I was struck by a vehicle traveling at 35+ MPH.

What finally broke me was when I was nearly struck by a car heading NORTHBOUND in the SOUTHBOUND lane of Miramonte at El Camino Real (the wrong side of a divided road!) which then CROSSED El Camino Real as I was making a left hand turn - from the Northbound left hand turn lane of Miramonte onto Westbound El Camino Real. The car came out of nowhere, in broad daylight, traveling the WRONG DIRECTION & AGAINST A LIGHT, AND NEARLY KILLED ME.

I was apoplectic. I was on my way to treatment for injuries I received from the previous collision, and I can't even make it to that appointment safely...which just involved traveling on city streets. That made THREE times in 13 months, and I have lived here 25 years and NEVER had any type of traffic incident prior to the previous 13 months.


And THAT was the gist of my commentary to city council, informing them of what I believe is a huge and dangerous problem, and begging them for help...more enforcement, better signage around construction zones, anything and everything they can do to make conditions safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. The way things are now is quite simply dangerous conditions.

I am truly fearful everyday when I leave my home now, walking, driving...it doesnt matter.

2 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Why can't we install red light cameras at Grant/El Camino/237? As others have mentioned, people regularly run red lights there (particularly people making left turns from El Camino onto Grant--usually two or three cars every single time I'm at that intersection). The chance of killing someone doesn't seem to deter these drivers, but maybe a hefty fine would.

1 person likes this
Posted by Sophie
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm

In quite a few occasions, I felt the drivers either didn’t know the road and had to constantly check the GPS/smart phone, or the drivers didn’t know the basic rules, such as stop at stop sign, stop at red light. It’s interesting to know how the latter drivers are qualified to drive.

1 person likes this
Posted by dc
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 7:58 pm

2018's most dangerous intersection? I call fake new title

Posted by Jim in MV

The "Most Dangerous Intersection" is not the one with the most accidents. It is the one with the most accidents PER VEHICLE. Given the very high traffic at 237/Grant/El Camino it is hardly surprising that it has the most accidents.

How about a study that takes the traffic into account.

2 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm

In the late 1970/early 1980s, I lived in Houston. It just became the 4th largest city but only had a highway system the size of Indianapolis. Traffic was so bad that people (mostly in pickup trucks) would leave the highway backups by driving off the freeway and over the berms. It was common for people to run red lights, and some would tailgate a red light runner to run it even later. I had a "count to three" rule when the traffic light turned green. Things got a little better when the city raised the fine to $475 (that is over $1,500 adjusted for inflation)

In Mountain View, I have started using my "count to three" rule again.

17 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2018 at 9:59 am

The term "speed trap" is for areas of the roadways for which there are no current speed surveys. The fact that officers are present at problematic areas does not make it a speed trap.

2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:20 pm

All these locations mark areas where people like to run the red light and/or block intersections and crossing know that the fact that even though the light is about to turn red, I have to right to complete my turn at the expense of blocking the intersection. These drivers are often the ignorant ones and don't even look at you after you honk your horn at them furiously letting them know that what they're doing is not acceptable (horse with blinders effect).

Happens all the time when I go to work on and get to the intersection of W. Moffet Park Dr./ North Mathilda Ave. intersections. People are just ignorant and downright selfish with no common sense. Everyone has lost their patience and disciple as a driver. They are taking advantage at the expense of the other driver that now has the green light but cannot proceed through the intersection because the route is now being blocked. Is the intersection on Middlefield Rd./Shoreline still being blocked by workers headed into Google especially on Wednesdays when most of these drivers are rushing into work to join their weekly all-hands meetings?

I'd like to bet that a majority of these drivers are probably non-Mountain View residents and are out-of-towners. That I don't doubt at all.

I wonder how much of the majority are also driving cars with the Uber/Lyft stickers on the back window. That would be nice to find out as well.

My son has been pestering us for years asking if he can walk/ride/skateboard to school but when I often remind him of the dangers of that same intersection, it scares me after seeing how people drive through there. People just don't know how to share the road. In case they haven't noticed, Mountain View has many bicyclists from all ages and people that love pets. Bikes and dogs.

Like this comment
Posted by Uh...
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

"don't even look at you after you honk your horn at them furiously letting them know that what they're doing is not acceptable"

That's the exact type of road rage behavior all the cops advise people to ignore; to not even look over at or acknowledge. You needed satisfaction though. After they look at you, then what? You get to flip them off? Feel better?

So think about this. Once the idiot made his move, did another idiot compound the issue for all others on the road and escalate the frustration level for all? Take a very deep breath next time...if you have a strong enough ego to do so. Your driving needs fixing.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm


Tell me you don't do the same?

You need to tell people that what they're doing is wrong on the road. Are you going to just turn the cheek and allow drivers like this to carry on?

If you don't tell them whatsup then they'll do it again over and over and over again- if you're one of them then I'll tell you whatsup too. How can someone learn if you don't give them conviction? You must be one of those drivers that don't honk your horn at the car in front of you if they've been sittling idle and not paying attention to the light that has just turned green. Honk at them to get them going- SMH

I don't have road rage and I'm the best defensive driver in town. I can top your driving skills 1000x over any given day.

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