Tue09162014

Letters to the Editor

Day Worker Center supplies skilled helpers

We recently hired two men from the Day Worker Center of Mountain View to clean the leaves out of our gutters and the debris from our roof.

We first called the center to see if people were available. After a positive answer, we went to the center on Escuela Avenue and within 10 minutes found two men to do the job. They were skilled and worked tirelessly and efficiently. We were just delighted with the experience.

The center screens the workers and helps connect those with the right experience to the job. The Day Worker Center is a real asset to the community, both to those in need of help and to those workers who need a secure place from which to find employment.

We recommend that people call the center at 903-4102 and see what they have to offer.

Emily and Jim Thurber

Los Altos

Put gun legislation up for vote

It appears that many Americans are in love with two lethal mechanical objects: their cars and their guns. The majority of people in many other countries have different love objects, and the people seem to be leading happier, more fulfilling and safer lives.

Think of the thousands of lives in the U.S. that would have been saved if we had real gun control in place after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. more than 40 years ago.

However, the powerful gun lobbies controlled by gun manufacturers prevented that.

Most Americans do not own guns, but some own multiple guns. Let’s put gun control legislation up to a popular vote. Majority rules, we hope.

Myra Orta

Los Altos

Speed limit control rests with state

Editor’s note: The following is a response to a letter published in the Jan. 30 Town Crier, “Forget ‘traffic-calming,’ enforce speed laws,” by William Brown.

Speed limits are set by municipalities for roadways within their jurisdiction using criteria outlined in the California Vehicle Code and the Caltrans Traffic Manual. Typically, municipalities set speeds at or below the 85th percentile speed measured in a Traffic and Engineering Survey.

Per the California Vehicle Code (CVC), speed limits are normally established at the first 5 mph increment below the 85th percentile speed. Prior to 2001, two factors – accident history and roadside conditions not readily apparent to the driver – could be considered to justify lowering the posted speed by 5 mph.

A January 2001 change to the law (CVC 627) provided municipalities two additional factors for reducing the speed limit (by one 5 mph increment only): residential density and pedestrian/bicycle safety.

Per CVC Section 22353, 25 mph is the prima facie speed limit on any street other than a state highway that passes through a business or residential district. However, police can’t use radar to enforce a posted 25 mph speed limit (except in school zones with children present during normal school hours) if the speed limit is not consistent with a speed survey completed for that street.

Reality is that the January 2001 change to the law has been negated by a Caltrans manual. Even if a driver is ticketed for 25 miles over the speed limit, the traffic magistrate will throw the ticket out if the street does not “survey.” The magistrate will defer to the Caltrans requirement to use the 85th percentile “rule” as the prime component for establishing a radar enforceable speed limit.

Use of the 85th percentile rule as the primary component of a traffic survey essentially allows speeding motorists to dictate local speed limits without consideration for public safety, pedestrian or bicycle traffic, or even road design.

The 85th percentile rule is not a law anyone voted on; rather, it’s a portion of a user’s manual created by Caltrans.

Public safety is at risk statewide because of law enforcement’s inability to maintain safe speeds on local roadways. This will not change until our legislature develops the will to actually address the root cause.

Kurt Ayers

Los Altos

(Ayers is a former member of the Los Altos Traffic Commission.)

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