At the end of July, Chapel Drive resident, Natalie Guzzetti sent a letter to the City of Santa Clara detailing the need for a pedestrian light to be added for the crosswalk at the northern quadrant of the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Harrison Street. While there are two stop signs on Harrison, five-lane Scott Boulevard merely has the single crosswalk with no other measures to slow traffic. The intersection is adjacent to a shopping center with a Target and a Sprouts Farmers Market, several retail stores and is in close proximity to a large residential area and several restaurants.
Nearby residents have complained about the dangers they face crossing the intersection that’s busy with fast-traveling motorists during commute hours six days a week, with heavy traffic continuing late into the evenings on most nights, a time when many want to walk to do food shopping.
The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by over 50 neighbors who share Guzzetti’s position that the crosswalk is highly unsafe for pedestrians, given the high speeds of many motorists driving on Scott as well as the reported disregard for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
“I use the crosswalk on a daily basis and it feels like a suicide mission,” said Guzzetti, “It needs to be made safer. Drivers are either going too fast, or the traffic is stopped because a pedestrian is in the crosswalk and a car from behind will try to go around the car in front, not seeing the pedestrian.”
“People are exceeding the speed limit trying to get to El Camino Real as fast as they can,” she added, saying that a copy of the letter was also sent to the Police Department in the hopes that there will be more enforcement of the speed limit.
Guzzetti said that one of her neighbors who lives at the corner of Scott and Harrison has a clear view of the intersection from their home and witnessed an elderly woman with a walker get hit by a vehicle while in the crosswalk. She reportedly was able to get up and kept crossing without the police being notified. Guzzetti said that another neighbor was almost hit in the crosswalk recently.
“One hundred percent of neighbors I spoke with were supportive and wanted to sign the petition,” Guzzetti said. “When I was out talking with people, I got an earful from neighbors who have lived there for 15 to 20 years, many with children and pets, who consider it so dangerous that they feel the need to drive to the shopping center. People are concerned about their children; a lot of elderly people live in the neighborhood who walk instead of drive.”
The City confirmed receipt of the letter and signed petition, and Guzzetti has since been in touch with a traffic engineer who explained that a study will be conducted within the next few months to determine how to proceed, followed by a recommendation made to City Council who will meet on the issue. Guzzetti considers the addition of a flashing pedestrian light to be a relatively simple intervention, and that adding another set of stop signs on Scott or a traffic light isn’t appropriate.
“I feel confident that they’ll see that a pedestrian light is needed,” she said. “I think it’s the City’s responsibility to take action on this. It’s a full neighborhood of all ages and abilities and the City is at risk of liability if they don’t do something and there’s a bad accident.”