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Re: Follow Up re Meeting /Ballards on Olive

From: domainremoved <Lydia>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 11:24:12 -0800

Hi Mary Jo and Brian McCarthy,

Thanks so much for coming to the commission meeting last night, it was
great to have you bring the situation to our attention. I am one of the
commission members, but another of my volunteer hats is the Safe Routes to
School Coordinator for Hillview Middle School. The dangerous situation on
Olive St. is something that Hillview parents and the administration have
been concerned about for years, and I can only imagine how frightening it
would be to witness the chaos living right next to it! Anyone who has
witnessed the free-for-all among cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians would
wonder why there isn't an accident there more often.

As you know, the straw that broke the camel's back for those of us
monitoring Olive was the student bicyclist getting doored by a driver who
illegally stopped and parked along the west side of Olive closest to the
Santa Cruz intersection. The bollards were only implemented after a year of
all sorts of interim steps were taken to deter drivers. Hedges were
trimmed, a red strip was added, the police did their best to show up and
enforce, Hillview did a PR newsletter campaign to parents, parents held up
signs on the corner, etc. It became overwhelmingly clear that anything
short of a physical barrier (or a police officer stationed there every
single school day), drivers would take advantage of that open shoulder to
stop. We live in an age of traffic congestion that is so intense, people
are are driven to desperate measures. This is our reality.

Thanks to your careful monitoring of the situation, we now know that this
safety measure needs improvement. Kevin Chen in public works, who has been
amazingly responsive despite acute staffing shortages in his department,
has told me that they are working on moving the last bollard in the row
(furthest from the intersection) so that bicyclists can access the
"protected" zone within the bollards, instead of taking the lane and mixing
with car traffic.

I also asked the parents and residents of Olive who are intimately familiar
the street about your safety concerns. Here is some of their feedback:

RE: student bicyclists crossing in the middle of the street and riding the
wrong way up Olive:

"In my mind the bollards have not created a new problem with regards to
kids crossing over on bikes in the middle of the street. That problem
existed well before the bollards arrived. This doesn’t sound right, but
the bollards have actually “helped” this problem in a strange way because
now students actually do it sooner on Olive rather than closer to the
intersection which was terrifying to watch. The students crossing
Olive illegally
on their bikes are doing it sooner on Olive and now not as close to the
cars turning left from Santa Cruz onto Olive. In a way, the bollards have
pushed the problem further back which could be seen as a small positive to
a horrible problem???"

RE: bollards squeezing bicyclists and cars together.

"Because of the bollards, I actually have seen that because of their
presence, there is limited space for cars to “double up” at the
intersection of Olive and Santa Cruz (one car waiting to turn left and
another car on the right waiting to turn right). The bollards have made
the space narrower, and from what I have seen this past week, have made
cars wait in a single file line for their turn to make a turn. As a
result, there is more space for bikes."

Note that when that last bollard is removed, it will hopefully encourage
more bicyclists to bike to the right of the bollards instead of crossing
the street mid-block or mixing with car traffic at the intersection. I'd be
very interested to know what you observe after this happens!

But I think it is very obvious, for all the reasons you've mentioned, that
a short row of bollards is NOT the ultimate solution to this problem. Our
kids shouldn't have to take their lives into their hands in order to bike
to school. I'd love to work together with you both on this. Let's
communicate directly about this soon--you have my email and I have your

Thanks so much,

Lydia Lee
Hillview SRTS Coordinator
Complete Streets Commissioner

On Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 8:44 AM Mary Jo McCarthy <mjmccarthy101_at_(domainremoved)

> Dear Members of The Streets Commission,
> Thank you for the opportunity to voice our comments at the meeting last
> night. I apologize for the additional comment, but I thought it was
> important to clarify some information. I know that Kevin and your committee
> is working diligently to address the overall master plan for bike safety
> and that will take some time. However, in the meantime, I would like to
> clarify and reiterate a *“temporary solution" *for the hazard that has
> been created by the ballards on the east side of Olive St as the bikes
> approach Santa Cruz.
> 1. Kevin mentioned a suggested solution that would reduce the number
> of ballards, i.e. place them at greater intervals. This does not solve the
> problem that the bikes need to either choose to ride to the right side of
> the ballard, on the black top with the pedestrians, or to the left side,
> riding alongside the cars and without adequate clearance (because the cars
> double up to turn right and left.) *Again, as a result of ANY number
> of ballards or other obstacles in that area, the bikes cross in the middle
> of the street and then proceed to ride on the wrong side of the street.*
> (Two hazardous situations!)
> 2. Kevin stated that you could not just add a green pathway without a
> more elaborate plan that would extend the bike lane to Oak St. I understand
> that this will take more study and thus time. However,* in the
> meantime, *we are suggesting that you *paint a much wider red line on
> or near the valley gutter with additional “No Parking” stenciled in white
> paint on the pavement, *approximately every 15’ section of the new red
> line. Kevin stated that the previous red line and “No Parking” signs did
> not deter the cars from parking, however, the former red line was very thin
> and the No Parking signs were obstructed by the foliage.
> 3. The existing No Parking signs, hidden by vegetation, could be moved
> a bit and possibly enlarged to be more visible.
> 4. Finally, an occasional check by the police during “Morning” drop
> off would be an additional deterrent, some warning tickets for violators
> and notices sent to the parents.
> *I’d like to reiterate that the crossing guard and the cross-walk lights
> have been a really good solution!* However, *it’s the “approach” to this
> intersection that is the problem.*
> Thank you for your consideration of these suggestions.
> Sincerely,
> Mary Jo and Brian McCarthy
> 650-400-6364 (MJ), 650-400-6387 (B)

Lydia Lee
lydialee.com <lydia_at_(domainremoved)415-218-8475
Received on Thu Nov 15 2018 - 11:22:10 PST

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