[previous page]    [contents, links, contacts]    [next page]

Appendix C: Goal to conform CVC 21960 to CVC 21949 and ACR 211.

Photo: The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Modern Transit Society have successfully forced the County to remove "Pedestrians bicycles ... prohibited" signs on many miles of arterial roads by using the stipulation of CVC 21960 that “all right of access” be acquired, including here on “Lawrence Expressway,” formerly named Lawrence Station Road. Due to the change in law, signs can now be reposted here, and newly posted elsewhere. Map shows a half-mile forced detour (red) when the arterial road route (green) was prohibited (1966 to 1991).


For over 30 years, there has been a struggle, within Santa Clara County, for compliance with State law with regards to prohibiting bicycles  and pedestrians on arterial roads that were designated “expressways.” While CVC 21960 stipulated that the road must be a “freeway” for prohibiting, it was easier to prove that the “right of access” stipulation of CVC 21960 was not met. Santa Clara County simply refused to comply with State law by endless stonewalling tactics in this regard --for decades, including throughout 2004 while SB 1233 was pushed through the legislature.

The flaunting of State law by the County highway staff would continue upon merely restoring CVC 21960. Therefore, we seek that, besides undoing the damage of SB 1233 of 2004 by restoring the stipulation (among others) that the road must be a freeway, to add the stipulation that the road must also be a State Highway. All true freeways in the State are also State Highways. Adding this stipulation would eliminate the County’s pretense that existing arterial roads are freeways and that “all rights of access have been acquired,” including as shown in the photo of Lawrence (above). . There is a driveway, so “all rights of access” is NOT acquired. Yet, prohibitory signs were illegally posted here, banning bicycles and pedestrians. We forced their removal in 1988. The prohibitions were for no other purpose than to eliminate bicycle and pedestrians facilities in future traffic lane additions projects because posting prohibitory signs is cheaper than relocating facilities. This, the County did in 1995, disregarding safety by forcing people to walk in the traffic lane. Subsequently, due to our efforts, pedestrian facilities were restored, in 1997, by constructing sidewalks (see in photo) for the length of this arterial road, about 10 miles (in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale).

These facts support this goal :

  • Only Santa Clara County has county expressways to any extent within the State.
  • Caltrans practice makes pedestrians use shoulders of State Highways (other than freeways) that go through suburban areas of many towns, where speed limits are typically 45 mph, same speed limit as most County “expressways,” including the two remaining expressways that have pedestrian prohibitions.
  • CVC 21960 would be brought into conformance with CVC 21949 (“safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access ... be provided”) and the similar ACR 211.
  • It took over 20 years of fighting to remove all “bicycles prohibited” signs on expressways, despite the fact that the shoulders met bike lane standards everywhere on expressways, which are actually arterial roads, not freeways. (After repeals, many signs were replaced by “bike lane.”)
  • It has taken over 10 years of fighting to remove most “pedestrians prohibited” signs.
  • The County Expressway Plan also recognizes that shoulders are safe for occasional pedestrian use and that all expressways in the County are arterial roads. [Page 93, approved by Board of Supervisors on 8/19/2003 .]
  • All expressway miles with prohibitory signs today have pedestrian facilities: pedestrian paths, shoulders or bus stops. (Note: All destruction of pedestrian/bicycle facilities were at locations where pedestrians were always allowed; so such destruction cannot be used as an excuse to prohibit pedestrians from safe locations.)
  • [previous page]    [contents, links, contacts]    [next page]