Caltrans noted the number of collisions that have occurred at the four way intersection as a reason for installing the light. As one of the few signal-free intersections on El Camino Real, there were 27 collisions there between 2001 and 2006, 18 determined to be preventable with a stoplight.
On Tuesday the City Council voted 6-1 to approve restricting left turns from Clark Avenue to help prevent Clark from becoming a thoroughfare, and requested two crosswalks across El Camino Real at the intersection. Member John McAlister voted against the motion without explanation.
Council members and residents were disappointed that Caltrans had not followed the city's request to delay installation of the stop light and instead consider restricting left turns to prevent accidents, which would have reduced traffic in the neighborhood and cost less than the stoplight, estimated at $500,000. Residents fear that Clark Avenue and nearby streets will become a popular new route to and from Los Altos High School, among other locations, putting their children in danger.
The light was originally proposed along with a nearby Chick-Fil-A which the council rejected last year.
The move by Caltrans against the city's wishes prompted council member Ronit Bryant to suggest the city take control of its portion of El Camino Real from Caltrans, as was done in San Jose.
"It's not as hugely expensive as one would think," she said.
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