Six years later, how one resident sees the Willow Glen road diet: Roadshow

Q: I would like to thank you for your recent article on road diets. Your explanation for them is very helpful in shaping public opinion.

I have been a San Jose resident for 15 years, and for most of those years, I was a bike commuter. Now I am a parent of two kids, ages 9 and 11, who are very independent and like walking and biking to school. I really need them to come back safely.

I live in Willow Glen and have seen the impact of the street diet on Lincoln Avenue, which, despite the strong initial pushback from the “not in my backyard” crowd, has really made a difference. It has not only made downtown safer, but has also benefited local small businesses. Downtown has turned from a major thoroughfare to a vibrant place with lots of neat restaurants and storefronts. The fears of residents who were afraid of increased traffic never materialized.

Mikhail Haurylau, San Jose

A: Cities across the nation are trying road diets, too, with safety being an important factor. Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association projects that 2020 will have the largest ever annual increase in the rate at which drivers struck and killed pedestrians, despite reduced traffic during the pandemic

GHSA projects there will be 6,721 pedestrian deaths in 2020. Factoring in a 13.2% decrease in vehicle miles traveled, this fatality rate would be an unprecedented 21% increase over 2019 and the largest annual increase in the pedestrian death rate since 1975.

Q: With the planned road diet for Hillsdale Avenue and the volume of cars considerably higher than, say, on Lincoln Avenue, how will the likely bottlenecks on Capitol Expressway and Camden Avenue be addressed?

Rodney A.

A: Several ways. The city will adjust traffic signals and add a median island to address unsafe left turns, which also takes left-turning vehicles out of the normal flow of traffic, while allowing u-turns.

Q: Shortly after all the reconstruction at the Mathilda/237/101 intersection in Sunnyvale, someone with a flash of brilliance did a wonderful thing. They put bright yellow frames around all the newly installed traffic lights there, and it’s wonderful.

Without the frames, drivers would look down the street and the red stop lights just blend in with all the taillights of traffic waiting to go through them. With the frames, people can tell the difference and know that we are all waiting for the light to change. Brilliant (no pun intended) idea.

I appreciate the adjustments.  It’s so much better.

Edwina Johnson, Sunnyvale

A: Yellow frames like this will be installed at most congested intersections, including on Hillsdale.

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Author: Gary Richards