School commutes can be stress-inducing for both students and parents, but when they become dangerous, solutions are needed. One of the intersections near Cupertino High School that we have been following (see our June newsletter here) has proven dangerous to students: the intersection of Calle de Barcelona and Finch Avenue. In 2023, two students were hit by a car at this intersection, as well as one more incident less than a hundred feet away. However, a safer intersection is possible. Over 225 parents have already signed a petition to add 3-way stop signs at this intersection. The CHS school PTSA and school staff are supportive of this proposal as are many students.

Advocacy for changes begins

In April 2023, several CHS students began in-person advocacy at the Cupertino Bicycle Pedestrian Commission, along with WBC. The students shared their firsthand experiences using the Calle de Barcelona and Finch Avenue intersection, explaining the dangers they faced each day. While the Commissioners were unanimously concerned and supportive, City Staff did not wish to make any infrastructure changes.

Cupertino City Staff Respond

Instead, the City of Cupertino staff moved one of the two crossing guards previously assigned to Stevens Creek Boulevard to this intersection. When the crossing guard is in attendance, the guard has proven to be effective in stopping cars before they speed through the intersection and crosswalk. Students are safer for that period of time. It is clear when they should cross the intersection and when they should wait, and cars are respectful of the crossing guard. Students have responded that this change has helped during regular school commute times.

“It’s really nice to have someone visible and loud to signal to cars that they should slow down. Before, it was a lot less clear whose ‘turn’ it was to go, and misunderstandings could be dangerous.”

Purva Marfatia, CHS Student

“The crossing guard has been a massive help in getting to and from school safely. I feel much safer at the intersection of Calle de Barcelona and Finch Avenue now that there’s a crossing guard to make sure vehicles stop for bikers like me.”

Anav Saxena, CHS Student

Crossing Guard misses many student crossings

However, the crossing guard only protects students when onsite, which are brief periods at the beginning and end of the school day. The intersection is still unsafe for students using it at all other hours of the day, including those students who do not have a 1st or 7th period, leave for lunch, or have sports or other activities after school. Permanent traffic infrastructure at the intersection would create a safer intersection for students, as well as provide a quieter residential quality of life for residents living in the neighborhood. 

Stark Contrast to Hyannisport Drive in West Cupertino

Hyannisport Drive from Linda Vista Drive to Bubb Road is a 0.5 mile length of road which goes behind Monta Vista High School and along Kennedy Middle School. It is the exact same length as Finch Ave from Stevens Creek Boulevard to Phil Lane.

In that 0.5 mile stretch, there are FOUR speed tables and one intersection with three-way stop signs. Students at Monta Vista HS and Kennedy MS need this safety infrastructure for their school commutes. Cupertino High School students should have it, too.

Full-time solutions

The following are infrastructure recommendations to address these gaps in safety. None are particularly expensive, and all are possible.

  • Adding a 3-way stop to the intersection
  • Adding speed tables on Finch Avenue to slow down drivers, especially close to the intersection
  • Moving the stop sign on Calle de Barcelona forward closer to the intersection to improve visibility for drivers
  • “Daylighting” the intersection on Finch Ave by eliminating car parking close to the intersection. This would make pedestrians and cyclists more visible to drivers.

Any addition of permanent infrastructure makes the intersection safe for crossing students at all times of the day, even if they have to leave early and cross without the safety of a guard. 

By working together, we can make a difference in safety for all students heading to school. If you support the addition of a 3-way stop at this intersection, please sign this petition.