New Federal Policy

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) policy document titled

Accommodating Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel: A Recommended Approach

substantiates MTS' statements explaining why pedestrians and bicycles were prohibited from "expressways" --where County highway engineers legally could or pretended they could-- and why they currently oppose removing "pedestrians prohibited" signs. And, it describes unsafe actions by Roads and Airports.

Quotes from the FHWA document (with boldface added by MTS):

What MTS has been saying for years:

It is cheaper to post a prohibitory sign than to provide a sidewalk or bike lane in future lane addition projects by forgoing relocation of existing shoulder and/or sidewalk facilities. To legitimize this action, County highway engineers claim that ALL shoulders are unsafe and try to prohibit users from ALL existing "expressway" shoulders --or pretend they are prohibited even where they are not. An example is their February 2004 staff report. Even where no future lanes are planned, for consistency, they oppose pedestrian --and previously-- bicycle use of ALL existing shoulders, no matter how wide. A simple comparison with many other local arterial roads of similar speed limits (40 to 50 mph) --and suburban State roads of Caltrans-- show that shoulders are very common for pedestrian and bicycle use. Many of these roads have the same speed limit as "expressways" --usually 45 mph.

The report, Conflict of Transportation Competitors, an unfamiliar history of Bay Area transportation, predates the FHWA document by about ten years.

What was described in the FHWA document, and foretold by MTS, actually occurred on Santa Clara County "expressways":

The destruction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities as described by FHWA (above) actually did occur on portions of Lawrence, San Tomas and Montague Expressways. In every case --without exception-- it occurred where pedestrians were allowed. Either "pedestrians prohibited" signs had been removed years earlier (Lawrence in Santa Clara) or the signs never existed on the roadway (Montague --formerly Trimble Rd.-- and southern San Tomas --formerly Camden Ave.). This demonstrates the lack of concern for true pedestrian safety by the Roads and Airports Department, including the recent fight on Montague. In other words, Roads and Airports Department falsely claims shoulders are "unsafe" --for political purposes-- yet has no qualms about forcing pedestrians to use the traffic lane itself -- a truly unsafe situation. MTS successfully fought for the restoration of these facilities (with a few locations still remaining on Montague Expressway).

For a comprehensive report, see Analyses of Pedestrians along Expressways

Also see: Expressway topics, links page.

home page | about MTS | Cashout | HOV lanes | Bay Bridge | Solution | Allow Pedestrians! | AGT | letters | webmaster