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City and school district team up for bike safety workshops for Mountain View students

Original post made on Sep 5, 2022

The city of Mountain View's Safe Routes to School program has partnered with the Mountain View Whisman School District to host transportation safety trainings at every elementary and middle school this fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 5, 2022, 12:35 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Frank Richards is a registered user.

Absolutely insane that the only real outcome from the tragedy on El Camino is that we're setting up classes for kids on bikes. No concrete road safety improvements, no speed limit reductions, no enhanced traffic enforcement. No concrete commitment from the city. Just deciding as a city that we're going to put the onus on our children to not die, not the planners or the people operating multi-ton vehicles. Complete negligence and failure by the city. Engineering the streets to be safe for anyone not using a car is hard, let's just run a class.

The transportation planner didn't even know that the main road leading to the school doesn't have a protected bike lane! And after that, all they'll do is "bring back that feedback to staff for project planning." What is going on here?

Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 5, 2022 at 8:49 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

@ Frank,
Well said—I'm in complete agreement!

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2022 at 10:45 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

There is a concept called "low-hanging fruit". I think it's wonderful that transportation safety trainings are being conducted at every elementary and middle school this fall. I would be highly upset if such trainings were not conducted.

"Engineering the streets to be safe for anyone not using a car is hard."

Agreed. I dream of a world where kids bike to school on paths devoid of all other traffic. I think any solution where kids share heavily trafficked roads when they bike to school puts them at a disadvantage. But getting to that point will be very difficult and expensive, I suspect.

These trainings might be the only outcome "so far", but that doesn't make them a bad outcome or mean that nothing else should be done or will be done. I think it's a great short-term solution. Would it be better for the schools to NOT be conducting such trainings? I say kudos to the schools for organizing and implementing them.

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2022 at 11:39 am

Frank Richards is a registered user.

The simple question to the city is how many lives or injuries do they expect these classes to save.

Engineering streets to be safe is not actually difficult, it just requires the city have the will to not sacrifice our children. Putting bicyclists and pedestrians first is easy. Why is there a 35 MPH road directly in front of the school in the article? Why is there no protected bike lane? How many traffic violations have the MVPD cited during pickup and dropoff times? Any competent transportation planner could remedy this cheaply in a week. Apply that to every other school and that's what it would look like in a city that was committed to never repeating the tragedy on El Camino.

Instead, we just get lip service and "taking feedback to prioritize future project planning."

Posted by Bob
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 6, 2022 at 2:24 pm

Bob is a registered user.

Without any judgement on the actual accident nor on the argument above on what should or should not be done...I would like to ask parents to teach their kids to NOT ride in crosswalks. It is actually illegal to do so but that is not my reason. You're mostly ok when you're actually in the crosswalk but kids blast out from what is many times a hidden or partially hidden sidewalk right into the crosswalk and holy geez it is really dangerous because they appear out of nowhere. Thanks for considering.

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2022 at 3:08 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

I was surprised to learn it’s not illegal to ride on the sidewalk. Only illegal in downtown area.

Posted by bkengland
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 6, 2022 at 6:16 pm

bkengland is a registered user.

There's actually quite a lot being worked on by the City on future improvements. This article is about Safe Routes to School specifically, which is an important part of the solution set, but certainly not the only one. Keep an eye out for work on the new City Active Transportation Plan (ATP), just starting now, and consider participating in community groups such as Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning (MVCSP) and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Mountain View team. Getting involved is important.
That said, I agree that 35 MPH in front of Vargas is crazy, and at least a few of us in the community have been pressing for this being addressed, and much more recently given the City's expressed interest in safety for our kids.

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 6, 2022 at 7:01 pm

Frank Richards is a registered user.

bkengland, I think that gets to the crux of my complaint. The city is really good at paying lip service to these issues and making lots of plans. They signed on to Vision Zero in 2019, they're collecting feedback on plans now. What they're not doing is acting with the urgency you should expect after a child died. They already know what the problems are, but they are actively choosing that the existing process that failed us is worth more than the future safety of cyclists and pedestrians in the city. I joined the community meeting after the tragedy, and the city made no concrete commitment to improving safety, just expressed sadness and told us to wait years as they plan new projects and apply their prioritization framework. It shouldn't be on kids to learn how to bike, or for normal people to have to get involved outside of their existing responsibilities. The city should act like these kids' lives are important, and we should expect more from the city.

Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 8, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Proud Taxpayer is a registered user.

The city should start with enhanced traffic enforcement.
Then, instead of doing classes for the students, do some safety classes for the parents. They are the ones in the cars.
Finally, combine the two and do some serious traffic enforcement in front of schools. Parents are illegally parking, blocking bus stops, sidewalks, and bike lanes. They are idling their cars, while staring at their phones waiting for their kids. They show no care or caution for the world around them.

Posted by father of 3 sons
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 8, 2022 at 5:28 pm

father of 3 sons is a registered user.

@ Leslie thanks, U often make a lot of sense. @ Frank? You are unfortunately Wrong about it being simple and cheap. Take a look at the Protected Bike Lanes and redesign of Castro Street as it now is in front of Graham Middle School. Well protected bike lanes (physical curbs added in street, AND car parking outside the curbing - INTERCEPTING any vehicles 'wandering on' to the bike path area.) Frank - go look up the City Streets Dept. goverment documents on how much That Cost! (Or search The Voice archives!). This redesign happened after two 'close calls' for students unsafely crossing streets. School administrators 'asked the City', they responded (Traffic Engineering) and at least Trustee Ellen Wheeler and I (Nelson) showed up at the council committeee (Pedestrian & Bikes) where this redesign was formally discussed. I was a vocal proponent, as was the local bike safety NGO for "protected bike lanes."

Vargas - how wonderful that 3 Trustees (Wheeler and myself included) forced the issue of opening Vargas.(3-2) Without a local neighborhood school in that under-served community, there would not now be so much walking, scooting and biking to elementary!

It is a shame IMO, that there was Not even a candidate, to now run against then Trustee Bill Lambert - who voted AGAINST opening Vargas in that neighborhood. I sure hope he does not continue to be -the "champion of His Neighborhood" (Monta Loma). That would truly be - a detriment to the school neighborhoods, as a WHOLE.

Posted by Frank Richards
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 8, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Frank Richards is a registered user.

Yes, if you overengineer a solution you can spend a lot of money. I bike on the Graham path regularly, and you could have done that way cheaper by just installing bollards (non-flex) and getting rid of the onstreet parking. I still have almost been hit by parents dropping their kids off there! On top of that, it took them 6 years from when three kids were hit by cars in 2012 to finish the project.

Similarly, you could add bollards in front of Vargas, reduce the speed limit to 20 MPH, and start writing tickets. Just because the city chooses a slow and expensive approach doesn't mean you can't make people safer quickly for cheap.

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