The Los Altos City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night (May 22) to abandon plans for a traffic signal at Covington Road and Miramonte Avenue. The council’s vote occured three months after it originally approved the design and construction support services for a signal at the intersection.
The decision came after more than a dozen nearby neighbors relayed the message that a traffic light won’t make the intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Several residents argued that a light would encourage motorist to increase vehicle speeds to beat a red light at the intersection, leading to additional dangers for non-motorists, such as students at nearby Blach Intermediate School.
“Democracy worked perfectly,” said Andy Bajka, a neighbor opposed to the light. “The council was honest, receptive and they used good judgment. They just simply used good logic and they were very focused on children’s safety.”
A 2010 report to council by Fehr & Peers indicated that a traffic signal was justified based on numerous factors, including vehicle queuing that resulted in delays as long as 74 seconds during peak traffic times.
In the end, Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter said it was the public input by concerned neighbors that led the council to vote against installing the traffic signal.
“Often times with issues of streets, there’s the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists – often children – versus (vehicle) throughput,” Carpenter said. “This council, and certainly me, have always sided on the side of let’s keep our schoolchildren, our pedestrians and bicyclists safe, even if it means that it takes you a little bit longer to get to (highways) 280 or 101.”
For more on this story, read the May 30 issue of the Town Crier or go to www.latc.com.