Legality of Pedestrian Prohibitions, Legal Opinion

From Santa Clara County, County Counsel

by Kathy Kretchmer, Deputy County Counsel; Nov. 12, 1996

Update: There was a secret change in State law, where legal text was added to an unrelated bill, that eliminated the right to bicycle or walk along public roads in California. This text was written by Michael Murdter, according to County staff. However, it was kept hidden from the BPAC and the public, who only found out after it became law in 2005. For further information or articles or details go to the contents-links page at:

The following legal opinion was requested by the County BAC (now renamed VTA/County BPAC) and was valid until this secret change in law that became effective on 1/1/2005. It agrees with prior legal opinions about prohibiting bicyclists and pedestrians. It resulted in MTS forcing prohibitory sign removal along Capitol Expy. -- after a huge fight by MTS to get County staff to stop stonewalling and comply with the law. The legal opinion was not really necessary, because there were prior legal opinions and MTS already forced the County staff to remove "Pedestrians Bicycles ... Prohibited" signs from Lawrence Expy in Santa Clara, for example. But, because County highway staff didn't want to remove signs, Dan Collen, staff liaison to the BAC, falsely claimed to the County BAC that staff can prohibit pedestrians at will -- theirs. They were proven wrong.

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Legality of Pedestrian Prohibitions, Legal Opinion of County Counsel
Liability of City or County, Legal Opinion of County Counsel
Jurisdiction of Cities vs. County, Legal Opinion of County Counsel
Approved Aug. 19, 2003: County Supervisors Policy: The Expressway Plan.
Approved Nov. 7, 2002: VTA policy (Santa Clara County Transportation Authority)
Recent: FHWA policy
Recent: State Legislative Resolution, ACR 211
Recent: California State law, Vehicle Code 21949

Also see: Expressway topics, links page.

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