Appendix E: Historical events leading to SB 1233.
Letter from City of Sunnyvale to County,
to "remove all signs that prohibit pedestrian use".


Photo: The pedestrian path is prohibited by the posted sign stating “pedestrians prohibited”. County highway staff refused to remove these signs despite Sunnyvale informing them to "remove all signs that prohibit pedestrian use". They secretly started SB 1233, a bill that eliminated the right of non-motorists to use public roadways, without ever informing the BPAC or the public, so they would never be required to remove them. 

This series of historical events resulted in SB 1233:
1) The repeal of the pedestrian prohibition by the City of Sunnyvale in early 2003. [See Sunnyvale's letter, below.]
2) The refusal of County highway staff to remove "pedestrians prohibited" signs, in clear violation of the law. 
3) The request of the Modern Transit Society (MTS) to the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) to comply with the law by removing these signs. 
4) As a result of this request, the BOS referred this matter to staff in the fall of 2003. 
5) In a deceptive and hidden manner, through use of false statements, County staff conducted first the County-level and then the State-level series of actions to pass SB 1233, so staff wouldn't have to comply with the law by removing these signs. Staff used false statements on the agenda to prevent the public from knowing, and did not inform the County-level Bicycle Advisory Committee (BPAC) and the public.
6) Nonetheless, BOS ordered staff to comply by removing all "pedestrians prohibited" signs in Sunnyvale, and also to remove signs that are illegal due to right of access, on May 4, 2004. 
7) County highway staff complied with removing signs in Sunnyvale, but stonewalled removing other signs (those violating right of access) which by then only existed in Palo Alto. These signs prohibit pedestrian and transit patron access to industrial companies located on Foothill expressway. 
Note: MTS already forced removal of "pedestrians prohibited" signs from all other roads where right of access was violated, including Capitol and Lawrence Expressways, and portions of others. 
8) Unknown to the County-level Bicycle Advisory Committee (BPAC), local and state-level bicycle and transit organizations, and the public, County staff continued with the SB 1233 effort throughout 2004.

The results of SB 1233 were:
a) After passage, SB 1233 changed CVC 21960 which appears to give jurisdiction to the County, but for reasons unknown to us, is contradicted by the Streets and Highways code where city jurisdiction is retained. So, the goal of highway staff to take jurisdiction away from cities was not achieved (nor was their 1987-1988 attempt to do the same for bicyclists' use of expressway shoulders). 
b) Staff's other goal appears only applicable in Palo Alto, involving merely two blocks of Foothill Expressway. However, from 2005 until early 2008, County highways staff conducted a propaganda campaign to prohibit pedestrians from most expressway miles. This explains why they wanted the right of access to be eliminated, in order to prohibit most of the 72 miles of the arterial roads named "expressways" to pedestrians and transit patrons. This was probably to add even more traffic lanes, by using the space of bike lanes, sidewalks and landscaping, as they acknowledged at various times in the past. 
c) Placed a new definition of "expressway" such that almost any arterial road now meets that definition, merely subject to a declaration.

In 2005, County highway staff admitted that the repeal by Sunnyvale was the reason for SB 1233. [see contents page for link]. Below is the letter from Sunnyvale to "remove all signs that prohibit pedestrian use". It was written in 2004 after prior verbal notifications by Sunnyvale, for about a year, were ignored by County highway staff. This letter was also completely ignored, in violation of the law. The Board of Supervisors ordered the signs removed, at our request, two months later.