The city of Mountain View is looking for feedback on how to bring down bike and pedestrian collisions along city roadways just days after a child died in a bike collision.
The meeting, which will be held over Zoom on Thursday, will cover the city's strategy for eliminating traffic fatalities by 2030 and long-term plans to create a robust bike network. The meeting was already scheduled prior to the collision last week.
Mountain View police say that the bicyclist, a 13-year-old boy who was a Graham Middle School student, collided with a truck at the intersection of El Camino, Grant Road and Highway 237 around 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. Emergency personnel attempted life-saving measures on the boy before transporting him to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
In a statement, the department said the city already plans to work with Caltrans to determine what, if anything, can be done to improve traffic safety as the state agency considers adding bike lanes to El Camino Real. The intersection is one of the busiest in Mountain View and is the site of dozens of traffic collisions each year, though few involve a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
Historical data shows Mountain View has fewer traffic fatalities than the Bay Area overall. The city reviewed data from 2006 to 2016 and counted a total of 37 fatalities over the 10-year period. Of those deaths, 26 were on city streets, nine were on freeways and two were on rail crossings. That's an annual average of 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 residents, while the average across the Bay Area is 6.5 fatalities.
The number of traffic deaths changes significantly from year to year. In 2015, one of the most deadly in recent history, there were a total of six fatalities in the city, some of which led to safety improvements. The light at Independence Avenue and Charleston Road was modified after a 68-year-old man was struck and killed while in the crosswalk.
That same year, a woman was struck and killed while crossing El Monte Road near Marich Way, which led to improvements to the crosswalk, including LED signs and a raised median. It took years to approve the changes, and some complained at the time that the city is too sluggish to make traffic safety upgrades following a fatality.
In 2019, the city adopted a Vision Zero policy, setting what it calls an "aspirational" goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities by 2030. Along with building a more robust bikeway network, the city will close pedestrian network "gaps" that prevent people from getting around the city on foot. In the event someone is killed or severely injured in a collision, the city says it will take a close look at what factors played a role in the fatality to improve traffic enforcement and education.
The Thursday meeting is billed as a feedback session on the city's traffic safety analyses, safety "countermeasures" and priorities for traffic safety projects. Attendees can join the Zoom meeting or go to the calendar listing for more information.