Recognizing the intersection of Clark Avenue and El Camino Real as an accident hot spot, Caltrans officials plan to install a traffic signal next year. But nearby Mountain View and Los Altos residents worry that the signal would actually increase traffic in their neighborhoods.
“It seems that few, if any, Caltrans or city officials realize that commuters and other motorists avoid the El Monte Avenue/El Camino Real and El Monte/Springer Road intersections to cut through our neighborhoods,” said Stephen Friedman, who lives on Jardin Drive.
Friedman said many of his neighbors worry that the signal could attract more traffic down Clark, especially because it already draws cut-through traffic from Interstate 280 to Clark/El Camino Real.
Residents initially formed a Traffic Signal Study Committee to address concerns about the signal and traffic generated by a proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant at 1962 El Camino Real. The Mountain View City Council rejected a drive-through plan for the restaurant last month, but residents remain distressed about the impact of a traffic signal.
The residents’ committee has met with city officials to articulate concerns and arrive at possible solutions.
The outcome of those talks was scheduled for discussion at Tuesday’s Mountain View City Council meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.
According to Caltrans branch manager RocQuel Johnson, the proposed project calls for installing new traffic signals, constructing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps, extending the raised concrete median island, overlaying the pavement with asphalt concrete and restriping the lanes.
“This project is a safety project to minimize accidents at the intersection of Clark Avenue and El Camino Real in the city of Mountain View,” she said, adding that construction may begin “sometime in early 2013.”
Friedman asserts that the signal plan has not been given enough study.
Mountain View Mayor Mike Kasperzak, who lives in the neighborhood, agrees. He said the city has asked Caltrans not to award a contract for installation until other alternatives are explored.
“There is a significant likelihood for increased traffic,” Kasperzak said.
He noted that motorists would be tempted to take Clark to avoid what would amount to three traffic signals on El Camino within close proximity to one another.
One alternative, Kasperzak said, would be to prohibit left turns from Clark onto El Camino Real.
Johnson said Caltrans is aware of residents’ objections to the signal, and they were considered in the planning.
“Caltrans has worked with the city of Mountain View,” Johnson said. “City officials reviewed the plans and their comments were incorporated. Caltrans has also attended meetings with the city and residents to discuss their concerns.”