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City zeroes in on bike, pedestrian safety

Original post made on Apr 11, 2013

The city is continuing to ramp up efforts to make Mountain View more pedestrian friendly after residents called for safer streets in a series of Voice articles published last year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 11, 2013, 2:35 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by papierboy
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Ya think?

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Posted by traffic calming
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Traffic engineering studies have proven that narrower lanes and slower speeds greatly improve pedestrian safety. At a slower speed, drivers spend more time looking for pedestrians. If a pedestrian is hit for some reason, their chance of surviving the impact is much greater at lower speeds. Narrower lanes allow pedestrians to cross the street more quickly, and the crosswalk is (in theory at least) more dangerous than the sidewalk. Mountain View is home to lots of smart engineers who surely understand this. Now is the time to implement it.

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

In the last 30 years the ratio of police to drivers on the street has dropped dramatically. Most drivers can break the laws for years without getting a ticket, so they have no fear of the consequences. This undermines or whole traffic safetly policy. People will obey the law if they think that the consequences for breaking it are substantial. That is a combination of likelihood of punishment and severity of punishment. If we cannot increase the number of police to increase the likelihood of getting caught, then we need to increase the penalty for getting caught. State law should be changed to increase traffic penalties by at least tenfold, if not more, so people will really fear the consequences of violations. Unfotunately we don't have enough state politicians with the spine to do this.

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Posted by Bicycle commuter
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

Great map! I am a regular bicycle commuter and applaud the city for addressing this issue. Park of my commute takes me through the Charleston/Arastradero section of Palo Alto that was put on a traffic calming plan. As the kids pedal to school and I to work, I feel so much safer now. Thanks for considering these modifications!

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

Time for a rethink on street design, yes I agree lower speed limits will work.

How about use better control over right hand turns, mid block pedestrian crossings with safety islands.

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Posted by TT
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

Implement no right turn on red at heavy traffic intersections. Please.

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Posted by easy fixes
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I agree with Garrett that there are some easy fixes that will make our streets much safer. Ban right turns on red lights at busy intersections. Too many drivers don't really stop in this case and also don't look for pedestrians before turning.

Also, ban left turns when the pedestrian walk light is on. This one is easy at intersections that have both pedestrian buttons and left turn arrows. Don't turn both lights on at the same time.

Most car-vs-pedestrian collisions happen when a car is turning and the driver doesn't look for or stop for pedestrians in both crosswalks they are crossing. Restricting reckless turns should help a lot.

Yes, there are still cases where cars hit pedestrians after speeding, running stop signs, or even jumping the curb and driving on the sidewalk. Stricter enforcement and heavier penalties can take these people off the street until safer sidewalks and crosswalks can be built.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm

How about making it more difficult to get a drivers license. DMV needs a new set of questions about distracted driving and information about increased accidents since the advent of cell phones. Requiring annual car registration mailings to include information about distracted drivers and accidents and deaths. Calif could require CA drivers licenses and not allow other county drivers licenses. When I've driven in other countries, I study their driving rules, visitors and new residents to Calif should be required to do the same.

The Calif Air Quality Management Board has an 800 number that the public can call in vehicles belching smoke. The DMV could set up a similar system, although done without making phone calls while driving. The Air Board provides note pads that could be filled when stopping at red lights and stop signs. Once a complaint is registered the Air Board sends out a letter asking the driver to take their vehicle in to repair the problem. For distracted drivers the DMV could send a reminder that distracted driving is dangerous and in some cases illegal. It is a bit big brotherish yes. But worth it to save the life of innocents.

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Posted by out of town cyclist
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Yes to new street design throughout the City. Look to other places for examples that are dealing with the same issues on much larger scales and have successfully found solutions. Portland, Fort Collins, Seattle, San Fran, Chicago, NYC all have wonderful cycling networks within the city and far greater numbers of people.

Please view it as a complete system! Fixing it intersection by intersection or block by block will do VERY little to encourage more people to ride bikes or walk. Look at planned or desired origins and destinations instead of past accidents. PLAN your city instead of only analyzing the past. A large part of making the streets safer are to have less autos on the road by putting more people on transit, bike and foot.

More police are not your solution. It's a fallacy.

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Posted by Discouraged
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I used to bike from downtown, joining the Stevens Creek Trail near the Landels Elementary School and biking out to Shoreline Park and back. I recently modified my routine, now taking my bike to the trail in my pickup and getting on the trail where it intersects with Pear Ave. Why? The number of cyclists, biking at high speeds, some chatting on their phones or texting while biking, passing without prior notification and generally acting careless - and dangerously.

I would never walk on the portion of the trail that is in town as the fear of being hit is too great. In my view, the City will need to take action: likely banning bikes on the "in-town" portions of the trail. If not, these pedestrians are at the same risk as those who use the mid-block crosswalks on Castro, California, Phyllis and Shoreline. I cannot understand how a City, presumably managed by caring individuals, would permit pedestrians to be at such risk for so long. Shame on them.

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Posted by Darin
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Re: "Also, ban left turns when the pedestrian walk light is on. This one is easy at intersections that have both pedestrian buttons and left turn arrows. Don't turn both lights on at the same time."

Well, yes, it's so easy that it's already done at every intersection that has left turn signals. The pedestrian walk signal is never on while the left turn signal is green, and vice versa.

But what can you do about intersections without left turn signals? Do you expect motorists to watch the pedestrian walk signals, which are generally facing the crosswalk, and not facing motorists?

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Posted by easy fixes
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

@Darin - I am sorry but you are just wrong. When a car turns left, they have to cross 2 crosswalks before they complete their turn. It is very common (as in more than half the time) for the pedestrian light to be green for one of those crosswalks. Perhaps the reason these left turns are so dangerous is that drivers do not realize the pedestrians can still be legally crossing the street even when they have a green left arrow. These oblivious drivers don't look for the pedestrians and then you have a fatality. Please check the crosswalks even when you have a green light and be prepared to stop in the middle of the intersection to yield to pedestrians. Thank you.

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Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

According to the map the most dangerous intersection in all of Mountain View is Sylvan Avenue and El Camino Real.

They narrowed El Camino to allow a mufti left turn lane, removed the parking space by the curb and never left room for a bike lane. Now why would more bikes get hit there more often? With only 1 foot between a car and bike you know who will win. Oh and the bike lane on Sylvan magically ends 20 yards from the intersection.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 8:48 am

Why not just ban cars altogether?

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Posted by EyesLikeFlies
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

Do the symbols on the map represent collisions involving a car or are some bicycle/pedestrian or bicycle/bicycle collisions? I nearly got struck a few times by a fast moving bicycle while walking on a sidewalk.

Cars need to be aware that some bicyclists go the wrong way in the bike lanes too. This is especially dangerous when making a right turn. You are looking for a good gap in traffic of the cars and bikes coming at you on the left, but then some bike comes from the right. I always check right again before moving out.

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Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Apr 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

The following comment has been moved from a duplicate thread, which has now been closed:

I think that Mountain View City Council should temporarily shut down the on-ramp for 1 or 2 weeks, monitoring the impact that it has on traffic through the neighborhood & traffic flow during rush hour around train crossings. This will be a low-cost method of accurately assessing the impact that closing the Stierlin on-ramp to Central Expressway will have on our city. The results of this temporary closure may even lead to some unexpected brainstorming solutions that are fiscally & community-responsible.
by Central & Moffett Resident Apr 15, 2013 at 9:08 am

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Posted by easier to blame others
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Yes yes, lets all do ourselves a huge disservice and start griping about bikes again. If people have been keeping score, bikes have not been involved in the recent road terrors...but its hard to look at our own habits, and much easier to try and point blame an some other, ANY other group.
Priorities people; we have deaths to stop first, and bikes have been the one group of road users that have not been involved of late. We all know we can point out the infractions of others, but until they start killing people and running over crossing guards and kids in school zones, lets keep the focus where it belongs.

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Posted by anna
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

The crosswalk between bank of america and Barron park hardware needs to be removed on San Antonio road. Whose smart idea it is to print a unprotected crosswalk on a 6 lane street? There is a protected crosswalk at the San Antonio and California street only a few feet away. The people using the unprotected crosswalk should walk down to the corn to cross. I just watched someone almost get hit today because the car in the left most lane couldn't see the person. The driver hit the breaks very hard. These close calls can be avoided by removing this crosswalk.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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