Simple fix: Paint bike lanes green

I am writing this in response to the Town Crier’s July 28 “Word on the Street” interviews, specifically with regard to the headline question, “Is Foothill Expressway safer for cyclists after the newly completed construction?”

My wife and I ride through the El Monte and San Antonio intersections at least three times a week. I am sure a bicyclist will be severely injured or killed in these intersections. It is not a matter of if, it is only a matter of when.

In the short time since these intersections fully reopened, we have seen no less than a dozen near-misses between cars and cyclists, and I too have personally experienced the fright of a speeding car not observing the bike-lane paths for these intersections.

There are a number of problems with traffic heading southbound on Foothill from San Antonio to the El Monte intersection: (1) Cars are often excessively speeding in an attempt to hit a green right-turn light at the El Monte intersection. For a bicyclist crossing two lanes of speeding traffic and merging into the bike lane to enable the continuation of heading southbound across the El Monte intersection, this is extraordinarily hard. (2) Cars just are not aware of the bike lane where the bicyclists are required to merge two lanes over.

There is, however, a simple solution. Most dangerous intersections in Los Altos Hills, Los Altos and Palo Alto have large green painted bike lanes. The Alpine Road-Interstate 280 intersection is a great example of how a dangerous intersection was mitigated from dangerous to risky.

Marv Bush

Los Altos Hills

Expressway design is ‘excellent’

The first time I rode through the new intersection at Foothill Expressway and El Monte Avenue, I was a bit surprised. It initially seemed dangerous but certainly no more hazardous than cycling across I-280 on Sand Hill or Alpine roads. There have been a lot of complaints from my fellow riders, but its design, focused on moving automobile traffic, is excellent.

I use a rearview mirror and ride with lights on all the time. A British study showed that many drivers only saw a bicycle because of a bright front or rear light – and that was during daylight hours. The rearview mirror is particularly valuable when riding through intersections, especially when moving left through traffic.

Cyclists may wish to avoid that intersection, at least when riding south on Foothill. There are several options, including University and Orange avenues. You can take Cuesta Drive or loop down Covington Road.

Riding across the intersection on El Monte or north on Foothill doesn’t seem to present any problems.

James Thurber

Mountain View