We need a way to cross Highway 1 safely in Moss Beach and Montara

Letter

Posted by
Tue, December 8, 2009


On Thursday, December 3rd at 5:15pm, a 12-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike across Highway 1 near the Moss Beach Sheriff’s substation.

The sheriff’s office reported that the boy was conscious and breathing,  both legs were severely injured. The boy was transported to Stanford Medical Center for treatment.

The sheriff’s substation has no further information at this time. 

I hope the MCC will form a task force and work with Caltrans and the County to resolve this problem ASAP.  I don’t want any more kids severely injured or killed while crossing Highway 1.  What are we waiting for?  The situation is totally unacceptable and has been extremely dangerous for years.  Traffic is increasing on the Coastside and Caltrans and the County are doing nothing to deal with the risk to pedestrians and cyclists.


Comment 1
Tue, December 8, 2009 1:28pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Highway 1 separates nearly all of Montara and Moss Beach from the ocean, and there is no safe way to cross it.

I appreciate the attention that the county and Caltrans have paid to walking and biking trails, as well as safe intersections in El Granada, but our need is urgent.

Without a safe crossing, we’re isolated from the rest of the Coastside and forced to use cars when we’d rather walk or bike.

I’ve crossed the road in Moss Beach. It’s frightening.  Biking from Montara requires using the narrowest, most deadly curve on the Coastside. Or the even deadlier Sunshine Valley Road.

I heard about this accident and I fully agree with the previous posters.  The accident was terrible!  I would like to join a committee to look into this safety issue. I can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

My prayers go out to the child and family.

Ginny McShane

Perhaps some pedestrian-cyclist activated blinking yellow in pavement crosswalk lights, like the ones used in front of SF City hall on Polk st would enhance safety.
These could be installed a multiple locations for convenient access within this stretch of highway.
I ride my bicycle on Sunshine Valley Rd 1-2x a week up from Etheldore, and cars do drive fast, but the drivers seem , on the whole , to be very courteous and give plenty of room as they pass(fwiw).

My Thoughts are with the youngster who is injured,and pray for his recovery.

Right now the speed limit is 50 mph in Moss Beach. Hwy. 1 in Montara has a speed limit of 45 mph. Perhaps a start would be to get the speed limit in MB to 45, and then enforce it.

Building a safe crossing at large expense in one place on Hwy 1 is not going to stop people from trying to cross unsafely and unwisely at some other place which happens to be more convenient to their own destination along Hwy 1.

Yes, some people will continue to cross in other places, but I bet that many many people will take advantage of a safe crossing. Isn’t that better than nothing at all?

And I like the idea of slowing the speed limit to 45 too. There’s no reason I can think of that Montara and Moss Beach should have different limits.

If we had a crosswalk in Moss Beach I would use it and so would kids, cyclists commuting to work and pedestrians going to and from the beach, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, the post office and Montara Mt. 

I agree the speed limit needs to be reduced in Moss Beach.  I would like the speed limit dropped to 35mph in both Moss Beach and Montara. 

Twelve year old, Julian Navarro suffered a fractured pelvis, spinal injuries, sever injuries to his cervix, arm and foot.  He was hit head-on by an SUV driven by a local resident last Thursday.

Yesterdays, the HMB Review reported that more than 100 people have been injured by car accidents along Highway 1 in Moss Beach and Montara over the last 10 years.

Slowing vehicle traffic down on Highway 1 will help drivers see pedestrians and cyclists and prevent accidents.  The amount of traffic on Highway 1 is increasing.  Stopping for pedestrians and cyclists at a crosswalk is the only reasonable solution to this problem.

Comment 8
Thu, December 10, 2009 8:29am
Todd McGee
All my comments

Mind you, I’m a dreamer and I know it but I would dearly love to see an underpass in Moss Beach, similar to the one that allows people to walk under Alpine Road up at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. That underpass is made from a great big culvert and is big enough to let 3 or 4 people walk side by side under the road.  I know it’d be a horrible disruption to HWY 1 while it was installed but I think the idea bears looking at.

Comment 9
Thu, December 10, 2009 8:45am
Kevin Barron
All my comments

“100 people have been injured by car accidents along Highway 1”

Indeed, but let’s stay focused on pedestrian injuries vs. general traffic accidents. Rhetoric on reducing traffic speeds and the like is a bit overkill. Last year, I believe 8 people were killed by Caltrain. This, after millions of dollars in overpasses, infrastructure, and education were spent to avoid just such fatalities. Guess they didn’t spend enough. Crosswalks are a great idea, but let’s be careful of a nanny state (given some of the other expectations on solutions I’m hearing about now). Crosswalks will provide a safe alternative for those seeking safety, but we know darn well there will be jaywalking a mere half block away. Will/should we expect enforcement of jaywalking laws where a safe alternative is merely a block away?

Dropping the speed limit on a state highway, with very little commerce and business on each side is well on the south side of cost-benefit, moreover time-benefit. Crosswalks, speed limits, flashing lights, overpasses, et. al. are all great, but I personally subcribe to the best safety measure from a little ditty I learned a lil while back, maybe you’ve heard of it - “Stop, Look, and Listen…”. In the interim, let’s use our noggin’ and remind our offspring likewise.

I’m still curious why there’s no underpass up at Grey Whale Cove… seemed like a such an appropriate place and appropriate time given the work done a couple years ago. Here we have a state beach with accompanying state-run parking on the other side of the highway. This is a clear venue-via-access situation separated by a blind curve. That baffles me more than putting crosswalks and stop lights from Etheldore to Marine in MB.

“Mind you, I’m a dreamer and I know it but I would dearly love to see an underpass in Moss Beach”

Does sound like the best idea Todd, cost aside, as it doesn’t disrupt traffic and is much safer than a crosswalk. Crosswalks aren’t a utopian solution (rear-end accidents, and fatalities still occur under the pedestrian assumption of replete safety). A basic underpass in Moss Beach would run about $500K to $1M (drainage a consideration of sorts), and would take years (given the coast’s armchair quarterbacking at any/every swath of development). It’s been studied and well-proven that underpasses (and crosswalks for that matter) will be very underutilized when a more direct route is available (although something right inbetween Vermont & California seems like the right spot and can accomodate additional space for ADA.

Comment 11
Fri, December 11, 2009 7:05am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Why make people use a damp, dirty hole in the ground, so cars can speed up as they pass through Moss Beach? Even in Palo Alto, the underpasses stink of urine.

We’re about to see traffic circles proposed for the El Granada area. These would calm the traffic, create a sense of place in our Midcoast towns, and make is safer for pedestrians to cross—without lowering the throughput on the highway.

Montara and Moss Beach were not included in the study, but there is no reason why this cannot be done here as well.

We also need a solution for pedestrians and cyclists to move safely between Montara and Moss Beach.

The pedestrian underpass for El Camino Real by Page Mill has been closed for years. I’ll bet it cost a lot to build. There is a pedestrian overpass for Woodside Road at Middlefield that I never see pedestrians using but I often see them crossing Woodside where there is no crosswalk.

Barry - no offense, but the stink of urine argument is pretty weak.

The reality is, Sabrina’s point is 100% valid. We *do* need safe crossings and have needed these for some time. We simply cannot stand idly by while pedestrians and cyclists are put at risk.

That being said, the counterpoint is also 100% valid, insofar as providing safe crossings that impeded the flow of traffic - whether by way of traffic lights or roundabouts - all have a number of serious negative consequences associated with them.

In this post, I will attempt to outline some of the common-sense objections to traffic lights and outline why it is that I believe that Caltrans owes us more than traffic lights to address a long-standing strain on Highway 1 and why it is that we as a community need to be clear about what we perceive the root problem to be and how to best going about solving it so that we can represent a unified voice. So long as there a valid basis for division among the residents on this issue, and a sense of long festering issues not being fully and properly addressed, it will be a fool’s errand to try to mobilize the community around what can only be characterized as a knee jerk solution.

In short, I agree that the problem has long been festering, but traffic lights are treating the symptom, not the root problem.

The root problem is, and has long been, an overburdened two lane highway serving too many disparate needs.

The solution is to try to meet as many disparate needs as possible by looking to solutions that take the strain away from an overburdened PCH Highway 1.

The conclusion is that when the Devil’s slide bypass was on the table - I and countless other Midcoast residents - opposed it as out of scale, out of scope, and completely inappropriate for the devastation it would have caused to McNee State Park, a precious gem and natural resource for the coastside.

That being said, there is an element of having thrown out the baby with the bath water when the prospect of modest-in-scale, alternate parallel inland route through the inhabited coastal towns was taken off the table.

For those that just want a pat conclusion, there it is. For those interested in reading on for a bit more analysis, I’ll put up a second post breaking all this out a bit more.

If you look at model coastal towns here in Northern California (Carmel, for example) and in fact, all over the world, they are able to achieve a balance of meeting visitor serving needs (providing scenic vistas and shoreline access) with those of more utilitarian, basic commerce (the moving of freight and residents in and out of the community). This is generally accomplished through having a designated scenic route that capitalizes on views, vistas, and shoreline access with frequent points to stop, park, take in the views, and walk/ride in a calm, safe environment alongside a not-so-glamorous inland express route in and out of the community.

This makes perfect sense, because when you have gorgeous views and natural beauty, the best use of this resource is to make it as readily available as possible as a visitor serving resources. Essentially, creating a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly boulevard by the sea.

On the flipside, trucks, commuters, and the like, all of which have a necessary and proper place in the community, have an uninterrupted express route with few interruptions that feed to other major arteries in and out of the area.

That is just good coastal planning 101.

Now, in our case, the band-aid solution on the table is to keep Highway 1 capacity exactly where it is and use traffic lights to further slow traffic through regular stops in Montara and Moss Beach, similar to El Granada.

The big-picture downside to all this is that it:

(1) forces residents to accept an additional hit on their quality of life. When commute times go from 20-30 minutes to SF and San Mateo to 40-60 minutes, you’re asking folks to spend more time in cars, more time away from their families, and be content with pumping more pollutants into the atmosphere.

(2) related to point number 1, when the perception is that living on the midcoast is “remote” from places of employment (SF and Silicon Valley) property values take a big hit.  Compare, for example, property values with historic 40-60 minute commutes like Pescadero and La Honda to the Midcoast.

(3) is likely to be underutilized and leads to slippery slope of additional traffic light installations. It would be interesting comparing statistics, for example, of pedestrian traffic light usage to cross highway 1 to reach surfers beach as opposed to jay-walking. If more than 50% of pedestrians continue to cross highway 1 on foot outside the designated crosswalk, the investment in a traffic light can categorically be viewed as a failure. When this is solved by adding more frequent traffic lights, you essentially end up with El Camino Real by-the-sea instead of Carmel by the sea.

(4) related to point 3, the problem with El Camino Real–by-the sea is that at each intersection, you are essentially providing an open invitation to businesses to attempt to capture through traffic. As the speed limit drops and traffic lights stop through traffic, so too increases the temptation for opportunistic roadside businesses to capture these vehicles.  While planned visitor serving businesses can and should benefit from appropriate designations along a scenic route, unplanned or otherwise parasitic roadside capture points will detract from the charm and “coastal town” integrity that we are attempting to preserve. Case in point, would you rather have a roadside local surf shop that serves the needs of visitors coming to the beaches, or a Jiffy Lube looking to get commuters in for their oil changes and tire rotations?

In addition, at a tactical level:

(5) traffic lights engineered primarily to function for pedestrians and cyclists – traffic lights are designed first and foremost to meter cars and secondarily for pedestrians. Pedestrian/cyclist crossings over and under highways, by contrast, are specifically designed to carry pedestrians and cyclist from one side of a road to the other with zero risk to them and with zero negative impact on the flow of traffic.  Yes, you can drive in a nail using a socket wrench, but if you intend to drive in a nail, why not use a hammer?

(6) traffic lights are neither the cheapest nor safest solution. Although there is considerable expense associated with walkways over and under roads, the costs I’ve seen associated with traffic lights staggering, to say the least. In addition, count on many, many hundreds of thousands of additional dollars and lengthy procedural delays associated in road re-designations, which must take place at the state level, in order to reduce the speed from the minimum 45 mph that an expressway must have. Why not, instead, leave it as a 50mph expressway with 100% safe cyclist and pedestrian protection, rather than one in which cyclists and pedestrians are still at risk from red light runners?

(7)  roundabouts are no different. They are neither cheap nor particularly effective outside of an urban setting in maintaining a continuous flow of traffic so long as they are also accessed by pedestrians. The most efficient roundabouts in England, for example, for which we have been comparing impacts to traffic flow are those that not accessible to pedestrians. Roundabouts only work well at moving cars when they are only used by cars – and even then, this is generally at speeds below 50 mph (see re-designation problem above).

In summary, let’s think about the needs – both today and in the future – of our community and plan and mobilize accordingly. If our goal is to be more like El Camino in Redwood City, 35mph and traffic lights will get us there. If our goal is to be more like Carmel, but within easy commuting distance of SF and Silicon Valley for people that work for a living in order to afford the elevated property values, traffic lights are not at all what we should be looking at and a modest in scale express speed inland route, together with reduced speeds on Highway 1 absolutely is.

Comment 15
Fri, December 11, 2009 9:45am
Barry Parr
All my comments

A pedestrian underpass under a major highway is inappropriate in Moss Beach. I don’t know if it’ll be used as a toilet, but it will not be an attractive alternative to jaywalking.

Thanks for your thoughtful response above.  I’m not going to post before I’ve had some time to read it more thoroughly.

Comment 16
Fri, December 11, 2009 10:51am
Lisa Ketcham
All my comments

I was very impressed with the presentation on roundabouts at the Traffic & Trails Workshop last June.  It debunked lots of misconceptions and explained the difference from “traffic circles”. 

Roundabouts help the pedestrian by segmenting the crossing process where at each stage traffic is only coming from one direction.  Traffic is continually calmed but keeps flowing—not the long backed-up lines at a traffic light alternating with fast traffic. 

With narrower segmented pavement areas and landscaping, roundabouts are an inviting asset to the community, rather than a wide expanse of paving, lane striping and an array of traffic light poles.  Downtown Moss Beach seems like the perfect place for a roundabout in my opinion.

Seems to me 35mph would be appropriate.  45/50 feels too fast for the area.

Comment 18
Fri, December 11, 2009 8:05pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

I agree that 35 is more appropriate.

Keeping the speed limit high can’t be used a technique for reducing blight.

Particularly in Moss Beach, Hwy 1 should be treated as a road through town.  I’m not saying it should be built out like El Camino, but I see no reason it should be any faster than El Camino. I spend a good part of my week driving from Montara to HMB and I’d prefer slower limits in these towns.

To be clear, I’m all for lowering the speed limit on Highway 1. I’d be OK with a 25 mph speed limit or closing parts of it off to cars altogether - if, and only if, an inland alternative route is provided.

Good discussion.

On a California Avenue underpass under Cabrillo Highway in Moss Beach, there would be a real drainage problem.  The ditches there are full year round.  Pumps would be required year round.  There would also be an issue with where to discharge the pumped water.  Not an easy problem with a riparian corridor and marine preserve near by, vehicular brake linings and hydrocarbons and the local dog owner and feral cat issues.

One of the other pedestrian problems with Cabrillo Highway at California is the cross traffic patterns.  More cross traffic comes from the Highland side than the ocean side of Cabrillo at that intersection. So, Highland cross traffic heading South tends to backup putting a pedestrians crossing on the South side of the intersection at greater risk.  They contend with the Highland South bound traffic for the few traffic opening crossing opportunities.  Pedestrians crossing on the northern side have the problem with Weinke Avenue joining the intersection obliquely.  The pedestrians have further to go to reach a safe place. Some visiting motorists looking for the Marine Preserve also drive unpredictably(lost) through this intersection.  There are two variants, South Bound blind turn onto California with Weinke confusing them and North Bound left turn distinguishing California form Weinke and avoiding the oncoming traffic.  There are many instances of near vehicular collisions of confused drivers slowing down trying to figure out which way to go and wind up blocking high speed through traffic on Cabrillo or faking out the cross traffic.

Another idea would be a red crossing light which could be activated either by pedestrian, Sheriff or CFPD Engine or AMR emergency vehicle.  It would improve emergency response times and provides the opportunity for additional sources of funding.  Non-emergency vehicular traffic would not trigger the signal.  As a side note, one of the problems of additional traditional traffic signals and congestion on Cabrillo is the increase in emergency response times. Extra fire stations cost about $3M per year. Divide that by ten thousand households in CFDP and we are looking at an annual cost per household of $300.

Another variation not mentioned would be to widen the road and put in an armored pedestrian island with a flashing warning light.  This would have a slight traffic calming effect by eliminating the straight away.  Pedestrians could then break the crossing problem into two pieces.

Comment 21
Sat, December 12, 2009 4:09am
Deb Wong
All my comments

When I lived in RWC, we had these same issues. The roads there are not as narrow in MB, but there is a lot more traffic.  When I moved there in 1971, several roads were widened to accomodate more vehicles.  What happened when the roads were widened is that traffic increased. Now the roads are still not wide enough.

Overpasses and underpasses DO work. I used the ones in Pacifica regularly. I know the overpass that Terry referenced, because I took it often, though it always made me nervous, as it was a popular hang-out for drug dealers.  Underpasses can be worse, as far as that feeling of safety, and Barry is right - they all smell of urine.

Even with these and the installaton of traffic lights, people still did not want to walk all the way down to the traffic light to cross. It might be different while on a bike.  But a light would have to be installed on every other block to deter people from just running across the highway, taking their chances.  Or NOT.

When we had our gallery at Shoreline, facing Hwy 1, we saw people cross the highway every day, just one block down from the stoplights.  Women with children in strollers crossed this stretch of highway.  I saw a lot of near-misses during the 9 years I worked at Shoreline.

Roundabouts are a charming idea, but is it feasible, affordable or practical to install one in every neighborhood?  And would they indeed deter traffic deaths? 

The armored pedestrian island with a flashing warning light is the best idea I’ve read.  It DOES slow down the traffic.

As a lifelong pedestrian (I don’t drive), these are issues close to my heart, believe me.  What I learned as a pedestrian is to protect my life, even at the cost of the inconvenience of walking a little further down the road to where the stoplight was.  Wear bright, reflective clothing at night (it is amazing how many don’t do this). 

Know that those big metal machines can KILL YOU if you get in their way.  Be a defensive pedestrian or cyclist, and teach your children to be the same.  Act as if those drivers don’t see you…..... becuase sometimes, they don’t.

I like the raised island idea. I grew in a beach town where the traffic was a whole lot worse. As a kid I remember crossing half of Hwy 1 at a time standing on the double line while holding a surfboard as the traffic whizzed by.

Comment 23
Sat, December 12, 2009 1:51pm
Deb Wong
All my comments

I took another look at that corner today. We need a stoplight there.

David’s analysis is very good.  I disagree only with his comments regarding roundabouts.

When the Coronado signal was being debated, I said that people wouldn’t use it.  If I were to camp out and count jay-walkers at Surfer’s Beach vs people crossing at the Coronado signal, I suspect it would be at least 5:1 jay-walkers.  So now of course people (mostly people who don’t live north of Surfer’s Beach) are suggesting a signalized crosswalk at Surfer’s Beach.  [How about if we take out the Coronado signal if that’s installed?]

The problems at Coronado were:
1.  The NB right-turn lane was much too short and was right next to the NB through-lane, impeding the WB->SB driver’s view of NB through traffic, leading to many broadside collisions of traffic coming out of El Granada to head SB.  I said “lengthen the right-turn-only lane and move it inland one full lane width.”  Guess what CalTrans did as part of the signalization?
2.  WB->SB drivers were looking only to the left, and didn’t think that SB->EB drivers turning left OFF of the highway had the right of way, and those drivers way to often insisted on taking it, resulting in the WB->SB drivers getting broadsided from that direction also.  The solution should have been to block that off, making SB drivers entering EG come in at the Capistrano signal.  This would also have facilitated the solution to the next problem:
3.  Pre-signal, it was easy to cross the highway there if you were willing to risk standing on the double yellow line waiting for traffic to clear in the opposite direction.  So, a better solution would have been to install a protected pedestrian island.  Even with the increased traffic now, it’s still quite easy to cross one lane at a time, we just need a safe place to stand in the middle between the two directions of traffic lanes.  Check out a number of Stanford’s internal streets—safe pedestrian crossings via a protected space between the 2 traffic lanes.  Instead of further impeding traffic, can’t we just widen the highway there by 3 feet and put in a protected center island?

Now, in some of Moss Beach and Montara there is already a center turn lane.  It seems to me that a fast and lowest-cost 90% solution to safe crossings would be to put in a number of protected center islands for the purpose described above.  If CalTrans steam-rollers through the permitting process, as we know they’re capable of (as they did with Coronado and Frenchman’s Creek), these could be done very quickly and at a tiny fraction of the price of a signal.

I like Leonard’s idea of a number of protected center islands worked into the center left turn lane, as a potentially quick and easy significant pedestrian/bike improvement.

As for speed limit, hey it’s a village. What’s the speed limit down in Davenport on Hwy 1?

What’s wrong with the signalized intersections at Coronado and at Frenchman’s Creek’s RF?  (Who can spell that street name? ... I don’t feel like doing cut and past from another blog.)  Easy.  Traffic Theory 101 says that you have to add “storage lanes” just before and just after every signal.  Without increasing the number of lanes (look at the Capistrano intersection for an example of how it needs to be done), it’s guaranteed that there will be a significant negative impact on traffic flow whenever there is more than minor traffic.  I.e., at the SR 1 intersections, SR 1 needs storage lanes but the cross streets don’t.  Those two signalizations needed EIRs which would have showed that adding storage lanes was an absolute requirement.  But what we got is what you get whenever you push for a knee-jerk quick-fix solution to a problem.

I have no objection to solving the problem in Moss Beach and Montara.  Let’s just make sure that we do it right, and don’t cause a huge negative impact on quality of life by adding another 10-15 minutes to commute time.  And by the way, I work from home so it wouldn’t affect me anyway.  But there are many thousands of people who would be affected.

A longer-term solution which is needed in Moss Beach and Montara (El Granada, with only 2 in/out streets doesn’t have this problem) is that frontage roads need to be built in the existing CalTrans right of way, and most of the current intersections with SR 1 need to be closed.  My impression of driving through Moss Beach is like the childhood arcade game simulating driving a car with hazards popping out at you unexpectedly from all directions.

Each Cabrillo Highway cross street has its own unique set of problems.  Cabrillo at California in Moss Beach has many:
1.Weinke intersects this intersection at an oblique angle.
2.Carlos street parallels Cabrillo and has a fair amount of traffic.  Through traffic on Carlos has a stop sign at California.  Traffic on Carlos, while at these stop signs, have difficulty seeing California cross traffic coming form Cabrillo at high speed.
3. There is a fair amount of North bound Cabrillo traffic exiting right on California that proceeds immediately left onto Carlos to reach the Post Office.  The left turning traffic onto Carlos sometimes find their left turn blocked by backed up West bound traffic on California. At other times the North bound Cabrillo traffic exiting onto California does not yield the right of way to West bound traffic on California coming down the hill.
4.Visitors unfamiliar with the area slow down and drive erratically trying to find their way to the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve. These drivers block or impede through traffic on Cabrillo and fake out cross traffic.
5. Locals drivers lost in their own world crossing at California don’t signal the turns they may or may not make, so cross traffic attempting to turn onto Cabrillo has to assume the non-signaling cross traffic may do anything, when they see the same opening.
6. Many pedestrians from the highlands come down California and use it as the point to cross Cabrillo.
7.The Sheriff’s substation is there.  Many drivers slow down abruptly, when they see it or turn onto side streets, because they don’t want to get cited for their loud exhausts.
8. The Sheriff’s, when responding to emergencies turn on lights and sirens, when they leave the parking lot.  Cars at the intersection don’t hear the Sheriff’s patrol car coming.  The Sheriff is suddenly there with lights and siren on, trying to get through the intersection.
9. CFPD Fire Station 44, when it respond south, uses California to turn left onto South bound Cabrillo.  AMR ambulances use the same route.

I’m sure I missed some.  But, this is what years of observation have shown me.  This intersection probably should have been updated long ago.  Putting a pedestrian crossing here without fixing many of the other problems is probably just giving the pedestrians a false sense of security and creating a further liability for the government.  Any improvement to this intersection will likely involve major changes.

The gist of the consensus requirement I am getting from others here is to provide a safer pedestrian crossing without a signal or impeding traffic on Cabrillo.  I’d like to propose a very modest and inexpensive solution that involves some local sacrifice.  Close the left turn lanes on Cabrillo at Virginia.  Place three large sand barrels in each of the left turn lanes.  In the north most and south most barrel plant a pole with a flashing yellow light and two signs, “Caution Pedestrians” and “No left or U Turn”.  At Cabrillo and California install pedestrian rail baracades and signs saying “No Pedestrian Crossing, Cross at Virginia”.  California pedestrians will only have to go a 200 feet out of the way.  Cabrillo drivers wishing to turn left onto Virginia will have to go 200 feet further either way.  The California intersection would be deconstruct of pedestrians and just a little less complicated for the drivers.  The pedestrians could break the Cabrillo crossing into two independent crossings. I’m sure the sand barrels will take some under the influence drivers off the road and it will be fairly convenient for the Sheriff’s to arrest them. The solution I am proposing is unique to The Cabrillo California, Virginia and Vermont intersections.  I’m not a traffic safety Engineer.  I’m not advocating this for anywhere else on the Coastside.  The cost and local sacrifice seem justified to me to prevent the next child from being killed or injured.

Many interesting and thoughtful ideas and comments here.

I like a combination of further lowering the speed limit and putting in multiple low concrete barriers with flashing lights (and cross walk markings?). That seems like the most realistic way of protecting the most number of pedestrians, given that we probably can’t stop people from crossing where they want, but can offer more and better choices.

It’s also an intriguing idea to close off some of the Hwy entrances on the east side - we certainly don’t need as many as we have between Vermont and the north end of town. Maybe on the west side too, but it’s harder there without a frontage road.

Dramatically lowering and enforcing the speed limit would be the fastest and cheapest thing to implement. Heck, more revenue too!

And improving the signage for Fitzgerald? That would be cheap too.

Clearly, I’m not an engineer or a planner, nor do I know the systems we are dealing with, but it was truly heart-rending and terrifying to hear the poor boy screaming and yelling last week. I’m impatient to implement some short-term stop-gap measures while we work on longer-term, more costly fixes.

Deb Wong writes: “Know that those big metal machines can KILL YOU if you get in their way.  Be a defensive pedestrian or cyclist, and teach your children to be the same.  Act as if those drivers don’t see you…..... becuase sometimes, they don’t.”

I’m thinking about the last handful or so Highway 1 pedestrian fatalities… I’m going to safely aassume the majority would of still occurred despite the opportunity for safer passage (nee crosswalks lit up like xmas trees and/or stoplights).

“Dramatically lowering the speed limit” !!??? If interstate freeways/highways dropped speed limits to 35 MPH, I’m sure fatalities would plummet as well. The most sensible cost/benefit action here is being smart/educated in order to stay on the north-side of “Darwin’s Curve”.

It’s not just children who cross Hwy 1 who need to be worried—as an adult, walking my dog is one of the quietest, calmest ways I can enjoy our serene atmosphere.  However, many days, I forego the walking experience because I don’t want to deal with the road traffic and ironically, I drive to the beach for our walk.  Like it or not, the stretch of Hwy 1 in front of Moss Beach’s sheriff station, grocery store, pizza place, etc, is the “main part of town.”  traffic needs to slow down and thought given to pedestrians who need to cross Hwy 1 to participate in local town activities.

Kevin Barron,

I don’t agree with your assumptions.  A young persons life has profoundly changed.  Your comments are flippant given the seriousness of the accident. 

Sarcastic comments are unnecessary.

I lived in Moss Beach for about 8 years and trying to cross highway 1 is definitely dangerous to your health. And, I’m convinced reducing speed limits will do nothing since most people ignore the speed limits on highway 1 anyways. Even on the Airport Road that connects Seal Cove to the harbor people drive dangerously fast. I’m convinced we need either pedestrain overpasses or underpasses to allow people to walk to the coast without fear of losing life. Everyone should have this privilege, not just folks on the west side of highway 1.

“I don’t agree with your assumptions.”

That’s fine.

“A young persons life has profoundly changed.  Your comments are flippant given the seriousness of the accident.”

Last I checked the topic of the piece wasn’t about a young person’s life. It’s about crossing the highway, and my choice to counter some of the nanny-state proposals within are completely in order.

So please don’t exploit the tragedy, because you disagree with me. What next, you’ll find a way to pull out the race card?!

“Sarcastic comments are unnecessary.”

Ban me then.

Comment 34
Mon, January 11, 2010 3:44pm
Bill West
All my comments

Anyone who has visited the suburbs of Sydney, Australia can tell you that round-abouts are an excellent way to control both traffic speed and pedestrian safety. In this country, there are some places in the NE that have them but they are few and far between. It is definitely an option worth considering in my estimation.