The Silicon Valley Voice

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After Near Miss, City Council Approves Pedestrian Light

Chapel Drive resident Natalie Guzzetti has been lobbying for the past year to get safety measures implemented for a crosswalk at Harrison Street and Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara. Scott Boulevard is often a busy thoroughfare and the intersection is adjacent to a bustling shopping center that attracts residents from the surrounding neighborhood. Last July, with support of community members concerned about unsafe conditions for pedestrians due to cars speeding through the intersection, Guzzetti authored a petition to the City signed by over 50 neighbors imploring that a pedestrian light be installed to protect the community.

Following the petition submittal, Guzzetti was told by a City engineer that a traffic study would be done to determine the conditions but that the process would take several months, and City Council would need to approve any upgrades. In March of this year, Guzzetti said that she was hit and nearly injured by a speeding car driving northbound on Scott. She recalled carrying groceries home on a Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. when a driver of a car who didn’t see her in the intersection had to slam on the breaks to avoid a worse collision.

“I was almost all the way across carrying my shopping bags when a car going way too fast didn’t see me and had to slam on the breaks while going about 40 mph,” said Guzzetti. “I jumped back using my hand to push away from the car.”

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Shaken by the incident, Guzzetti said she went home and immediately called a Department of Public Works engineer to inquire about the status of the study and requested that an interim solution be implemented.

“I don’t ever see police officers there,” she had said. “I won’t use the crosswalk anymore until something happens.”

The incident followed similar ones last year when an elderly resident was reportedly hit by a car in the crosswalk as well as a neighbor of Guzzetti’s who was nearly hit. On March 11, Guzzetti resubmitted the petition requesting that the police monitor the intersection, however the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic appeared to have temporarily diverted public resources from the issue.

However, on April 28 City Council approved a project for a high intensity activated crosswalk beacon, known as a HAWK beacon, on Scott Boulevard at Harrison Street based on the Public Works study that was conducted. The next steps for the project are developing a scope of work, consultant selection, project bidding, Council approval of the work contract and finally construction. Completion is anticipated for summer 2022.

“I’m really happy about it,” commented Guzzetti. “With something this urgent I’m surprised that it’s a two-year process, but everything moves more slowly with government. But I’m really happy that they did the data collection and approved it.”

Guzzetti was subsequently informed by a City staff member that the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order has slowed municipal operations and services, and that the completion of the HAWK beacon project could be delayed.

According to Public Works Director Craig Mobeck, City staff will be fitting the project in with the current workload as opposed to waiting for the future Capital Budget to be approved. Like many Bay Area cities and beyond, Santa Clara faces an impending fiscal shortfall due to COVID-19.

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3 Comments
  1. lucy oliveira 2 weeks ago
    Reply

    Monroe street by lewis and Harrison street by the senior center is another bad spot. you come down Fremont street by the stop sign and you have to get half way past the stop sign because of some trees in the way. there was an accident a few days ago car coming past the light on lewis going towards franklin mall square probably didn’t notice car coming past stop sign and bang accident. everyone needs to slow down put away the cell phones I pads I phones and just pay attention to the road. you not only save your life but your loved ones and others. stay safe everyone

    • Amber Loughran 2 weeks ago
      Reply

      I live On Monroe, around the blind curve that starts where Don Ave. meets Monroe (if you are headed toward El Camino from there). The blind curve does not stop people from using the strip between Scott and El Camino as a speed way. Pulling out of my driveway is scary. I do it very slowly because of the curve, but several times I have almost been hit anyway because of cars speeding so fast I don’t see them coming from around the curve. I have issued a complaint once when the driver of the speeding car actually followed me and threatened me. But nothing came of this. It’s a shame someone has to be hurt in order for the process of fixing the problem begins. If the Santa Clara City counsel is so concerned about creating thousands of apartments for more people to live in then we should start taking the necessary steps to create safety for city residents as well. Good start with this project, but it will not be enough.

  2. John Slos 5 days ago
    Reply

    City Manager is choosing to fire employees instead of liquidating assets. The City Manager is choosing to fire employees as a first option. The City Manager who made pay + benefits over $680,000 in 2018 and required a housing allowance of $42,000 a year when she already lives in Sunnyvale, is choosing to fire people to save money. If the City Manager would have given up her 10% increase from December over 40 as needed employees from the Libraries alone could have kept their jobs. The City Manager and Council is choosing to take pay and benefits from the persons who actually run the City and make all the work happen. ANYONE can be a manager, the entire management group makes over 31% of the Cities total budget for personnel and their retirements are even higher. If you fire the employees, the manager doesn’t know how to do the work, it makes no sense. Who are these people? Why does no one care?

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