Why did the freshman cross the road? | July 5, 2019 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - July 5, 2019

Why did the freshman cross the road?

Teen lobbies city for new crosswalks to make getting to high school safer

by Nisha Malley

Emma Athey spent her freshman year walking to Mountain View High School each morning. When she arrived at the intersection of Bryant Street and Brower Avenue, she was surprised to find a lack of safety measures for people crossing, despite the high foot traffic by students.

"There was no designated spot for pedestrians to cross," Athey said.

Not more than a month later, she contacted the Mountain View Public Works Department, talked with city engineer Maryam Amir, and pitched her idea to school administration, urging them both to install crosswalks at the intersection. After a 10-month process, a construction team recently completed the project, painting two crosswalks, in the first week of June.

"For a freshman to take the charge and have the perseverance that she did with the City Council, it was lovely," Assistant Principal Teri Faught said.

The city conducted an environmental study to assess the site's traffic, according to Lorenzo Lopez, the city's senior traffic engineer. The study found that pedestrians and bicyclists heavily used the intersection, while many students chose to jaywalk at various points along the street. Distracted drivers who were texting as they approached the intersection added to the city's concerns, Lopez said.

Lopez said the city hopes that a painted crosswalk will funnel students to a safe, marked intersection and alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians.

The city also installed pedestrian crossing signs with reflective panels and painted double-yellow lines by the intersection to discourage drivers from cutting into the lane of opposing traffic when turning.

According to Lopez, Athey's request was one of hundreds that the department receives annually through the city's online system AskMV. "We may not even be aware of the problem," Lopez said. "The residents and the drivers are the eyes and ears around this city."

Faught credited Athey with compelling school administrators to tackle an ongoing issue that otherwise may have idled on the school's list of items of address.

"She was the linchpin in getting this whole thing implemented," Faught said.

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