OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Gregg Dieguez —
Uncontrolled intersections near the Farallone View Elementary School in Montara put our children at risk. Below is a copy of a letter to the San Mateo County Department of Public Works and Supvr. Don Horsley. Attached are details regarding the intersections where controls are requested. This matter will be on the Feb. 23rd MCC agenda for those who wish to speak thereon. I will be requesting a letter of support from the Council, to forward to Supvr. Horsley.
Request for Traffic Signs
at Uncontrolled Montara Intersections near Farallone View Elementary School
Feb. 11, 2022
Children have almost been injured and killed at unsigned intersections in Montara near the Farallone View Elementary School. This issue arose again at our Jan. 12th MCC meeting, and I have consulted with, and have the support of, the persons copied on this email and named below. The lack of traffic signs at intersections in Montara has been a topic of on-going and growing concern among the citizens of Montara and other Coastside residents who work at, attend, or recreate at the Farallone View Elementary School.
For an historical example of this concern, note the following parent comment from the 2017 Safe Routes To School Parent/Caregiver Survey under Specific Areas of Safety Concern: “All of Main St., Farallone, 7th & 8th Streets and streets that have no stop signs in all 4 directions.” Last month, a child on a bicycle was clipped and nearly run over by a hit-and-run driver on LeConte near the unsigned intersection at 5th.
This request has been condensed to only 5 intersections that will have the greatest positive impact on the safety of Montara’s most vulnerable population, grade school children. The Connect the Coastside Plan (aka CTMP) already includes recommendations for such signage in two of the locations mentioned below (item Pe6, page 132, map, right>>). However that plan may take years to fund and implement, and our risk, and need, is both immediate, and broader.
We have exchanged emails on this matter with the County of San Mateo, Department of Public Works, Road Services Division, who have cited the criteria in the code which such a request must meet. We are requesting a variance from that code and/or special consideration due to these factors:
- The elementary school is the primary reason for high volume traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. Grade school children are walking to and from school for both attendance and a recreational venue during non-school hours.
- All accidents are NOT reported, while near misses never get recorded. However, there is evidence that near misses occur on a regular basis, as heard during the Public Comment period of MCC meetings. Even when an Officer is involved, if there is no injury, an incident report has not always been filed as documented in emails to DPW in prior years.
- There are NO SIDEWALKS in Montara on the most popular thoroughfares to school, such as along LeConte, 7th St. and along Franklin. This makes the effective width of those streets much narrower, because children are walking or biking in them at the same time cars are driving them.
- Montara is not a strictly residential neighborhood. There are businesses, care facilities and many popular public use trails (e.g. GGNRA) that bring visitors that are unfamiliar with the narrow and busy streets, and uncontrolled intersections. One access to GGNRA is right behind the school and results in many vehicles traveling and parking there.
We request stop signs and/or other traffic signage at the following five (5) locations:
- All-way STOPs at 5th and LeConte and 5th and East (Connect the Coastside supports this recommendation, as part of providing a safe route to Farallone View Elementary School.)
- 2-way STOPs at Birch & Franklin and Acacia & Franklin (These lead to the heavily trodden pathway alongside the alpaca farm next to Farallone View Elementary School)
- 2-way STOP at 7th and East (Which is on the ‘drag strip’ leading to the Montara Post Office, the most-visited location in the area. Prior accident and photos forwarded to DPW)
We urge DPW to agree to place traffic signage in the locations requested for the sake of public safety for Montara’s most vulnerable population, our children, and the Supervisors to agree to fund that effort as needed.
This request is supported by many community members, Farallone View Principal and the Parent Teacher Organization, members of the Midcoast Community Council, the Safe Routes to School Coordinator (SRTS), as well as high ranking officials in the Cabrillo Unified School District. A partial list of co-sponsors follows. A set of DPW Traffic Control Request Application forms is attached, including explanation of the needs at each location.
Most Urgently and Sincerely, (via email)
Gregg A. Dieguez
Midcoast Community Council Vice Chair (writing as an individual)
P.O. Box 370404
Montara, CA 94037
Carlene Foldenauer, SRTS Coordinator, Cabrillo Unified School District
Amy McVicker, Principal, Farallone View Elementary School
Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent, Cabrillo Unified School District
Mary Beth Alexander, Board President, Cabrillo Unified School District
Mr. Dieguez is a native San Franciscan, longtime San Mateo County resident, and semi-retired entrepreneur who causes occasional controversy on the Coastside. He is a member of the MCC, but his opinions here are his own, and not those of the Council. In 2003 he co-founded MIT’s Clean Tech Program here in NorCal, which became MIT’s largest alumni speaker program. He lives in Montara. He loves a productive dialog in search of shared understanding.