I’m officially stepping away from writing about being “Single in Silicon Valley” to being blogging about what I seem to focus on more: my community at large. The will probably be just as random, but I still get to share my point of view. Thus, welcome to “Alicia’s Point of View.”
I recall several months back reading a local news report about the City approving a couple of lighted crosswalks. One was to be along Rengstorff by the community center and the other on Showers by San Antonio shopping center. While I thought both locations made sense, I wrote a letter to council asking if one could be placed somewhere along Castro Street. Anyone driving or having to cross the street at night knows that it would be more than helpful.
At the time, I didn’t think about California Street. The majority of my residency in Mountain View has been as an apartment dweller along this strip, which I refer to as 'apartment row.' A good portion of that time was as a non-car owner: taking the bus and train wherever I had to go. Because traffic is heavy along California, especially between Rengstorff and Ortega where I lived, trying to jaywalk and dodge traffic was out of the question.
Earlier this year, when I actually thought about one on California Street, I saw the much needed and long overdue installation of a traffic light at Mariposa Avenue. In that moment, I thought that would be good enough, and didn’t spend another second thinking about it.
Then came the morning of June 21, 2012.
I knew who William Ware was. Many of us did, even if you didn’t know his name. Bus riders knew him. Library staff knew him. Downtown merchants knew him. Those who volunteered at the Art & Wine Festival knew him. He was the gentle giant with the white hat. When he became a victim of a fatal accident, people knew by the sight of his hat on the ground. Granted, a lighted crosswalk would not have prevented what happened, but the danger of being a pedestrian on California Street was illuminated nonetheless.
Most recently, we learned of another fatality on California Street: a man from Illinois visiting family here in Mountain View was struck at California and Pettis. It happened at 10:30pm on a Saturday evening. A lighted crosswalk in that area may have helped. There are those who would argue that the victim should have walked the extra block or so to Mariposa and crossed there. Others would argue back that California is such a wide street and heavily residential with crossings few and far between, so jaywalking across California is just an accepted way of life. Both sides would not be completely wrong.
My point of view: We need lighted crosswalks, several of them, along California Street. Primarily for the same reasons they were placed on Rengstorff and Showers, respectively: foot traffic. With densely populated neighborhoods, existing as well as those in the planning stages, these are safety concerns that need to be addressed. Hopefully a long, drawn-out feasibility study doesn’t have to be involved. Of course the question of “how many?” would come up. Ideally, I’d say three, for starters: between Franklin and Shoreline, between Shoreline and Mariposa, and between Mariposa and Ortega.
I hope that my next letter to the City Council about this will be considered for discussion (and hopefully others will send similar letters). I thought of starting an online petition, but I don’t believe it’s necessary. I hope I’m not proven wrong.