The Regnart Creek Trail (RCT) is one of Cupertino’s newest trails, connecting multiple neighborhoods from City Center to Rancho Rinconada. It is a pleasant commuting and recreational nature path for students, seniors, young families, and other residents.
One point, however, was not adequately addressed by the city before the trail opened. The design of the trail crossing at Blaney presents a danger to all trail users, but especially children and seniors.
The trail has been open for less than 5 months, yet already a student was hit by a car at this crossing before school started this past month.
Students will use this intersection heavily over the coming school year. We need to fix this issue urgently before a more severe accident occurs.
The Regnart Trail Feasibility Study, which was approved by the City Council, showed a raised crosswalk with bright flashers and large visible bulb-outs.
This concept was considered a safe design by trail advocates and encouraged to be built.
Instead, the cheapest concept was chosen and then stripped of important safety features – a raised crosswalk, a pedestrian refuge island or traffic signal and prominent bulb-outs.
The final design only includes push-to-cross flashers (RRFBs), a white-painted crosswalk, and a “bulb-out” at each edge of the trail which is meant to reduce the width of the crossing at Blaney. Unfortunately, the size of the bulb-outs was reduced so that cars don’t even notice them.
Video below shows lights flashing on Blaney while cars drive right through crosswalk without stopping.
Real-Life Experience Crossing at Blaney
Let’s give an example from a current trail user why this is a concern. On a walk, they approach the Blaney intersection, and push a button to initiate the flashing lights to signal the cars to stop at the crosswalk. The cars don’t stop, however– they continue through the crosswalk without slowing from the speed limit of 30mph. The person, still waiting to cross safely, then leans into the crosswalk and puts out their hand in a gesture to get the cars to stop. Cars continue going by, with one actually “waving” back at the pedestrian. Finally, one of the drivers notices they are supposed to stop, and brakes hard. The vehicles behind it slam on their brakes–they don’t know why the car in front is stopping—narrowly avoiding an accident. The pedestrian is finally able to cross safely–all the while checking to make sure the other lane is clear, too.
Is this a safe crossing?
Solutions to fix this safety issue
Cupertino High School students and Walk-Bike Cupertino board members have met with city staff and the Bike-Ped Commission to discuss adding traffic calming measures. The following are the ideas that we propose to make this intersection safer for users. These changes are not expensive ($25,000 or less), and using more than one at the same time would have the most beneficial impact.
- Make the crosswalk a raised crosswalk. This idea was part of the original design reviewed by the City Council both at Blaney and at the East Estates crossing, but was not installed at either intersection.
- Add stop signs on Blaney at the crossing.
- Increase signage before and at the crosswalk (“Vehicles MUST stop for pedestrians in crosswalk”) and add a mid-crossing island or sign stating vehicles must stop for pedestrians, such as in school crosswalks.
- Add speed tables 100 feet away on either side of the crossing. They slow down cars more gently than speed bumps, are fine for emergency vehicles, and are quick and affordable to drop in place.
- Reduce the speed on Blaney from 30mph to 25mph. It is a residential street with single family homes on both sides. It should not be used as a fast-moving major arterial road.
We can’t fix it without your help
The Regnart Creek trail is a much-loved and much-used connector between key destinations in Cupertino, whether commuting to school, walking to the civic center, or biking to reach places beyond the city’s borders. It’s imperative that this intersection is made safe quickly before tragedy strikes.
Visit this intersection for yourself to see the issues and send us an email with your thoughts. We’ll be working toward solutions with the Bike Ped Commission and the City Council. Please let us know at email@example.com if you’d like to add your support.
YOUR voice is needed: Write an email
Please send an email to the City Council to say that you want real and lasting improvements to make the trail safer for everyone.
A sample email is below to help.
Sample text for letter to City Council
Please use your own words, as the Council ignores letters with the exact same text. Also add your name and note if you are a Cupertino resident.
Dear City Councimembers and Staff,
I ask that you improve the crossing of the Regnart Creek Trail at Blaney to make it safer for all users. Cars often do not see the flashers and drive through at full speed. There has already been one accident in the first four months the trail has has been open.
Please add a raised crosswalk as shown in the original design reviewed by Council, stop signs, a speed table before and after the crossing, and reduce the speed limit to 25mph. Blaney is a residential street with single-family homes on both sides along most of its length. It should not be used as a fast-moving arterial.
Thank you for considering my input.