At a community meeting at Rengstorff Community Center in Mountain View on November 2, neighbors took on the challenge of gathering enough signatures to study adding bike lanes to Escuela Avenue. The bike lanes would improve safety for cyclists and help reduce auto speeds, but would require removing on lane of vehicle parking spots. The neighborhood needs to gather 400 signatures in order for the city to study the parking removal. Attendees at the meeting spoke in English and Spanish about the need to improve safety, and took petitions to solicit signatures from their neighbors.
The Rengstorff Park neighborhood has many Spanish-speaking residents, and the meeting was simultaneously translated between English and Spanish by a member of the Community in Action Team, a grass roots parents group which has organized for a decade around schools, street traffic safety, and community building.
After the death of William Ware, who was hit at a bus stop by a speeding driver on California Street near Escuela Avenue in June, neighbors organized to improve neighborhood street safety. At earlier community meetings, decided to focus on those two streets.
Escuela Avenue is only half a mile long, but contains destinations such as the Castro Elementary School, Senior Center, Day Worker Center, Rengstorff Park, Teen Center, Mountain View community center, several churches, a community garden, and a handful of apartment buildings. This mix of homes and destinations makes the street a prime place to walk and bike.
California Street, currently a four-lane road, has been the site of two pedestrian fatalities in the last year. A “road diet” for California – changing the lane striping to one lane in each direction plus a center turn lane – would slow down speeding vehicle traffic and create room for pedestrian curb extensions and bike lanes. The next step for the “road diet” would be to include a study of the project in Mountain View’s Capital Improvement Plan. The City Council will review the Capital Improvement Plan proposals this winter and decide on the budget in the spring.
Earlier organizing by CAT helped get the city to install a traffic light at California and Escuela. The power for that signal is expected to be connected later this week.
If you live in the neighborhood or use its streets, and want to help make the area safer to walk, bike and drive, read more on the Rengstorff Great Streets website and sign up there.
Information about the California and Escuela proposals is sourced from the Rengstorff Great Streets site