Santa Clara (City): The struggle to repeal remaining pedestrian prohibitions, in reverse chronological order

Council was informed (on 8/22/06) that staff was not complying with the Council directive of July 18 to consider the Board of Supervisors order to create paths, etc. In a related matter, Council was given our commented version of Murdter's letter to the City Council. Our comments in red show the false statements and deceptions. [download the 2 pages, 2.2 MB pdf file.] Also handed out was the changes in State law with our comments in red.

Email from Santa Clara City staff shows that staff's "60%" figure for "roadway departure" fatalities -- which they twice claimed to the City Council (on 6/20/06) as the reason for prohibiting pedestrians -- is actually for motorist fatalities, not pedestrian fatalities. See staff's email and links to their sources.

At the Santa Clara City Council meeting (7/18/06), Council referred the matter to staff and the City Manager agreed to our request to evaluate these items (which were omitted in the June 20 staff report) regarding San Tomas: Existing paths, required paths, the Board order (of August 20, 1991) to create paths on all expressways, the $75,000 annual path appropriation, and Vehicle Code 21949 that states: "[Cities] provide ... passage for pedestrian travel on .. all streets and highways." Our presentation [download 3 MB pdf file] also rebuts some of the scare tactics used by County and City staff at the June 20 meeting. Details of violations are in the letter to the Council [download pdf file or download doc file], which was in their agenda packet. All the attachments (copies of original documents and maps) are also uploaded to this website at various links. The most important are listed on this web page of quotes, with links to original documents..

The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) (on 6/28/06) voted to request that the Council support opening 5 fences along the San Tomas corridor for pedestrian and bicycle use, and also using paths along San Tomas and nearby sidewalks. Staff had opposed opening any of the fences, including the fence [see photo] that is explicitly shown in the County Expressway Master Plan as a route through the fence. [Map, photos and details are in the pictorial presentation by MTS, a 5.6 MB pdf file] [Legal text of the motion that passed.]

At the Santa Clara City Council meeting (6/20/06), staff made a series of false statements for about an hour, after which we were only given 3 minutes each to rebut (9 total), an impossibility. Council members never asked us questions, only asked staff, which often gave false answers. Staff omitted the County Expressway Master Plan from the Council members agenda packet, and they repeatedly contradicted that at the Council meeting. City and County staff completely ignored the Board order (of August 20, 1991) to create paths on all expressways, and the $75,000 annual path appropriation. The MTS rebuttal presentation [download 3 MB pdf file] only addressed the directive of Council to take 10 photos. Staff's photos had distortions and prevented any view of the curb to property-line fence distance, which typically is 12 feet. That is plenty for a path (2 feet wide) or sidewalk (5 feet wide).
Links to staff report: page 1 and page 2; A letter for City Council from Murdter (County highway staff) opposing and contradicting BOS policy) was in the agenda packet: commented 2.3 MB pdf file of the 2 pages, uncommented scans of page 1 and page 2.
City staff invited two persons from the County's highway department to speak at the Council meeting, and they also stated a series of false statements. MTS wrote a rebuttal of their main false points, and excerpted video clips. Read or hear their false statements, and read our rebuttal.
Video of this agenda item at the City Council meeting: To view, either see the Quicktime movie in your browser or borrow the VCR tape from the Santa Clara City main library on Homestead Road (just west of San Tomas).
To download this video as a 60 MB Quicktime file to your computer: If using a Mac: Control-click the previous link, then select "download". If using a PC: Right-click the previous link, then select "download".
Action: The City Council voted to postone a decision until after the Update to the County Expressway Plan. This occurred in 2009, but still staff has not brought this to Council.

Santa Clara (City) staff has completely ignored facts (County Expressway Master Plan and violated policies and laws) repeatedly provided by the Modern Transit Society (MTS), and omitted all mention of these in their staff reports to both the City Council (on 4/25/06) and the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) (on 3/22/06). Here are the ignored communication (with links to the letter, email or handout) and staff's stonewalling tactics, in reverse chronological order:

More pedestrian related San Tomas links in Santa Clara (City):

Main San Tomas page

San Tomas pedestrian expressway maps
Timeline history of Santa Clara City prohibitions
City law: Resolution 5603 (pdf file)
Stop banning bicycles and pedestrians from bridges !
Pedestrian Prohibition Map from 1991 (originally, same as Bicycle Prohibition Map from 1988)
History (background) of Santa Clara prohibitions.
History from an expressway user's perspective. (Letter to Councilmember Mathews, 9/29/05).
Liability: The City Attorney of the City of Santa Clara answers succinctly to the question “Would there be City liability to allow bicyclists on the expressway?” by the answer “Nominal, if any.” [opinion of Sept. 4, 1987, page 5].

Pedestrian related links -- other expressways:

Expressway topics, links page

Links to pedestrian safety on expressways.

See why the prohibitory signs themselves increase danger to bicycles and pedestrians and how the VTA BPAC voted.
The VTA BPAC voted again when the highway engineers, again, tried to impose new prohibitions.

Analyses of Pedestrians along Expressways

Why were pedestrians and bicycles originally prohibited?

Compare with Montague Expressway:
Walkers have always been allowed, but are subject to appalling conditions
(on portions in San Jose and Milpitas).

For historical information on the fight against bicycle use of shoulders / bike lanes of expressways (until 1991) and against electric trains and streetcars in the Bay Area, click Conflict of Transportation Competitors .

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