This post takes a post I did in November 2014: Closing Southbound Lane on Bubb Rd. During Moring Student Commute and develops it further.
Close off Bubb Rd. on the Kennedy Middle School side of the road between Rainbow Rd. and McClellan Rd. for bicycle traffic only during Peak AM traffic hours. Make Bubb Rd. one way Northbound for cars traffic on the west side of Bubb Rd opposite the school side of the road. This would still allow residents on the railroad side of Bubb to exit onto Bubb Rd. since they would not otherwise have a way out (see drawing below).
Close off McClellan Rd. on the Monta Vista High School side of street for example between roughly near De Anza College to just past the curve in the road near Monta Vista High for bicycles traffic only during the same Peak AM traffic hours. Make McClellan Rd. one way Westbound for cars traffic on the North side of the street opposite the school side of McClellan Rd.
Prohibit cars from dropping off kids at schools or in the bicycle lane side of the street, only along their sidewalk side (north side of road opposite the school side). In essence traffic is going in a counterclockwise direction from Rainbow Road on Bubb Road down to McClellan Road and makes a left on McClellan Road down to a little pass Monta Vista High School.
Coordinate with Schools to start at same time to minimize the street closure time. This will give bicycles a very wide and safe zone for safely bicycling to schools. Intersecting roads leading into these bicycle lanes will also be closed off to traffic during this time so bicycles as well as walking children will have traffic free sidewalks and crossing streets to go to school. This should encourage more kids to ride their bikes to school or walk to school free of worrying about car traffic. Barriers can be erected temporarily to close off the bicycle side intersecting streets using volunteer residents living nearby or crosswalk guard personnel. Car and bicycle traffic would still have to stop for children crossing the streets at crosswalks. Crossing guards would be stationed at these crossings to assist. And if emergency vehicles need access they can cautiously drive in the bicycle lane and wave cyclist out of the way.
During the Peak PM hours do the same but reverse the direction of one way car traffic on the streets. Since cars will be on the wrong side of the street, at the end of these routes they would cross over over to the correct side of the street. There may have to be adjustments made to signal lights at the Bubb and McClellan intersection.
Over time I would hope that the attitudes of parents would change and that they would allow their children to walk and bicycle to school along the safe and wide streets during those hours thus reducing car traffic to a much more reasonable level for those who simply must be driven. The city and schools could have programs to encourage this behavior. On special weekends the streets could be closed off to allow residents to see and feel how safe the roads are for adults and children to ride with booths set up to provide children snacks and parents literature and answered to questions. There would also be neighborhood programs so residents know what is happening. An experiment could be done for a certain period of time to see how this works. Arrangements will have to be made with garbage pickup times.
This proposal accomplishes multiple purposes:
- It provides a safe and traffic free street wide bicycle route to school.
- It provides a safe and traffic free walking route to school.
- It gives parent the feeling and perception of a safe route to school for their children so not so many have to feel like they have to drive their kids to school.
- It reduces traffic and congestion along these streets during peak hours allowing traffic to flow more quickly.
- It does not require any major and expensive alterations to existing roads.
- It stops crazy behavior of parents dropping kids off at schools.
- It may save more lives and limbs in the future.
- And it teaches a new generation of children that cars are not the only way to get around as well as giving them a better chance to know other kids around the neighborhood and providing them with fresh air and exercise to improve their health.
Had something like this been done much earlier Ethan Wong would still be with us. His tragedy inspired me to come up with this idea. We need to save other children from such terrible fates in the future while reducing traffic.