Modern Transit Society
PO Box 5582, San Jose CA 95150 408/371-9738
Oct. 6, 1994
Santa Clara County Transportation Agency
Subject: Constructive Notice regarding improving of pedestrian safety and compliance with County Policy on Lawrence and Central Expressways.
MTS has written SCCTA on several occasions that the shrubbery must be trimmed in the vicinity of intersections to preclude a vehicle-pedestrian accident. MTS never got a response, so we went to the Board of Supervisors in 1991 which implemented the Policy for pedestrian safety. Unfortunately, SCCTA Road Operations Dept. has still not implemented the policy in most locations.
This non-implementation resulted in the death of a Pedestrian on Capital Expressway. The accident that occurred in 1992 on Capitol Expressway, where a pedestrian was struck by a motorist, did not occur on a shoulder, but at a driveway (specifically, the private and only entrance to a mobile home park). The accident occurred not on a shoulder, but within 50 feet of an intersection, before the start of the shoulder line. The accident would not have occurred had SCCTA complied with the County policy of trimming shrubbery in the vicinity of intersections, enacted a year earlier, or responded to identical MTS requests up to several years earlier.
The reason for refusal was that SCCTA did not want to "encourage pedestrians to violate the City ordinance [prohibiting pedestrians]", according to Mr. Allen Jones. However, the City ordinance, revised in 1989, never prohibited pedestrians on Capitol Expressway, as is finally recognized by San Jose staff, The County's illegal "pedestrians prohibited" signs on Capitol are currently in the process of being removed.
SCCTA has also not implemented pedestrian safety on other expressways that allow pedestrians. Besides Capitol,, these are Lawrence in Santa Clara, Central in Santa Clara, Montague (3 cities), Almaden in San Jose, and Lawrence in Saratoga (signs here are illegal and must be removed). Even parts of San Tomas allow pedestrians. Only on Lawrence in Sunnyvale is there full compliance with County policy.
Moreover, pedestrians walk along expressways regardless of the existence of "pedestrians prohibited" signs, due to lack of alternatives on account of the hierarchical street patterns used. This means all expressways need to anticipate pedestrians unless there is a nearby alternative, such as a frontage road or path.
MTS has started with Lawrence and Central in Santa Clara, and made a table of pertinent violations of County policy, where pedestrian safety is in jeopardized. Other expressways will follow. Mr. Larry Moore has made a list for Capitol Expressway.
In general, the graph below shows the necessary changes:
Caltrain Lawrence Station access.
MTS is appalled at the pedestrian-unfriendly manner that SCCTA has designed the road, where SCCTA has removed crosswalks at Kifer and Lawrence, making it very difficult for Caltrain patrons to travel north of the Lawrence Caltrain station. I was almost struck by a car making a double right turn at the SW corner (going from San Zen Way onto the overpass). The crosswalk leaves the pedestrian in limbo. There is no safe manner to get from the pedestrian crosswalk/right-turn-island and off the roadway. The enclosed table describes necessary changes for safety. The design for the 8-lane Lawrence Expressway needs to be checked so that crosswalks, sidewalks and signaling are provided at Kifer. The County supports Caltrain financially and the policy encourages ridership, a fact that is violated by SCCTA traffic engineers. MTS again requests (previous requests have been ignored, to date) that signs be placed between Arques (street) and the Caltrain Lawrence Station to direct pedestrians to the station.
Violation of Board of Supervisors Policy (Dated August 13, 1991 and adopted shortly thereafter):
As a result of an MTS request, the County enacted a policy that states Shrubbery at expressway intersection areas will be trimmed to prevent pedestrians from being discouraged from walking in the vicinity of expressway intersections.
Implement the changes described in the attached table.
Al Spivak, PE
each member of the County Board of Supervisors
Mr. Chris Fernandez, Traffic Engineer, City of Santa Clara
Mr. Allen Jones, Road Operations, SCCTA