The community meeting
May 20, 2022
Several concerns about road safety were raised at the LRSP meeting on March 30. At the meeting, Walk-Bike Cupertino founder Larry Dean commended the project for taking initiative to develop better roads while also voicing some of his worries. He notices how most “great roads attract traffic,” which he views as a major problem for road safety, explaining that as in-person work becomes more widespread, more people will commute through Cupertino. In order to combat the potential dangers increased traffic will cause, Dean emphasizes the importance of constructing methods for speed dampening, such as speed bumps and speed limit signs, throughout the city.
He also believes that right turn on red should be “[eliminated] throughout the city” because of the dangers it poses to pedestrians and bikers.
“It’s hard to keep your eye on all the traffic and the pedestrians attempting to safely cross those intersections,” Dean said during the meeting. “I think that that’s a huge issue on that side. If you take a look at the pedestrians, every time that you’re stopped and waiting for them to cross an intersection you can see they have the fear of God in their eyes — being concerned about getting hit, and that’s a very legitimate thing for them to be thinking.”
Cupertino resident Lisa Warren also expressed her concerns on pedestrian safety, bringing up a crossing light that hasn’t been functioning at the Finch Avenue and Stevens Creek Boulevard intersection. Warren mentions how the non-functioning signals make the intersection “very dangerous,” especially for students who walk and bike across the intersection in order to get to school and suggests that signs be put out to notify people of the change made.
“Other cities will put out signs letting people know that traffic movement has changed — there’s a change to it and people aren’t just suddenly faced with this new situation that they can’t figure out,” Warren said. “So I would suggest when such major changes [are made], that there’ll be some kind of warning like other cities do. If it’s taken this long to figure out the best way to operate something at Wolfe and Stevens Creek, it seems like there should be some effort to educate people on how it’s supposed to work.”
Cupertino resident John Zhou suggested handing out flyers to cars waiting at intersections as a way to educate the community about the LRSP. Zhou also brings up the concern of unprotected left turns — intersections where a left turn is allowed but there is no left turn signal — in some parts of the city and inquires whether the project is conducting targeted outreach for specific demographics, such as seniors, to make sure the new changes will accommodate their needs.
Cupertino resident and Walk-Bike Cupertino member Jennifer Shearin also emphasizes the need for targeted outreach, but to a different group of people — students. She notes that organizations such as Safe Routes to School are working on educating students who bike and walk to school on the safest routes they could take. However, in order to create viable solutions, a holistic view of all types of commuters and their needs must be taken into consideration, especially of students who use roads to get to school regularly. This includes adding protected bike lanes which would allow for more safety when biking, but it can also cause traffic due to slow car movement. Shearin is also concerned because only about 25% of all accidents are actually reported, so the LRSP data is very limited.
“All modes of transport are important, so we need to make sure that we are not considering only car traffic and nothing else,” Shearin said. “At our local schools, which [are] Cupertino and Monta Vista, [I’ve been] bringing maps to [students] to have [them] point out where they’ve had near misses or where they’ve had accidents or where they find trouble, because I think that students tend to be an underserved population as far as being heard. [A lot of the time] they’re the ones on bikes, because [many] don’t have [a] driver’s license. I just want to make sure that we are all in this together. It’s not cars versus bikes, it’s every mode of transport.”