Sat09202014

Los Altos City Council should undo trial traffic controls before installing more: Other Voices

I read with interest the letter to the editor by Bill Sheppard (“Simple answers often solve complex problems,” Feb. 27) and could not agree more.

Thrice ignoring the recommendations of our own Traffic Commission, three years ago a “one-year experiment” was put in place adjacent to Blach Intermediate School that forced 100 percent of all traffic and student drop-offs bound for Blach to Covington Road.

As we all know, Covington Road is a major artery commingling rush hour traffic bound for Mountain View High, St. Francis High, Oak Avenue, Miramonte and Graham Junior High schools, as well as crosstown traffic.

At the conclusion of this “experiment,” the city council hired a consultant to review the findings. This consultant recommended removing these traffic restrictions surrounding Blach for the safety of the students.

For some unknown reason, these restrictions remain in place.

To exacerbate this problem, the council is now contemplating a redesign of the Covington/Miramonte intersection while the artificial traffic flow is still in place.

This seems like putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Why make permanent changes to the corner with an “experimental” traffic flow in place? To further complicate this matter, it is only a matter of months until the Blach campus and attendant student and traffic problems will increase as some of the Bullis Charter School students relocate to the campus.

In 2011, I shared accident reports obtained from the California Highway Patrol, detailing accidents occurring on the streets adjacent to Blach from 2006 to 2010, with the city council. During the five years prior to the “one-year experiment,” there were a total of 44 accidents, none of which occurred on the restricted Carmel Terrace.

I introduced pictures of the blinding angle of the sun as motorists drive east on Covington Road at 8 a.m. I shared pictures of a child hit by a car in the crosswalk in front of Blach by an eastbound driver who was blinded by the sun.

As a teacher and educator at Blach, I continue to be appalled by the dangerous inaction of the council that sustains these street prohibitions.

I am hopeful that our current city council will review these closures and lift restrictions without further delay so that our children will have safer entrances to school.

Cindy Andrews is a Los Altos resident.

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