Pedestrian & Driver Responsibility In Silicon Valley

Over the last week, there have been seven (7) pedestrian deaths in Silicon Valley. One pedestrian death was the result of pedestrian vs. VTA 522 Rapid bus incident in Palo Alto on November 8. Another pedestrian death incident involved a pedestrian vs. car incident in Mountain View on November 10. Making matters worse, were two recent pedestrian vs. train incidents within five days in San Jose, with one pedestrian still fighting for his life. One incident involved Caltrain; the other involved VTA light rail.

Some people have argued that such incidents are the consequences of building San Jose (and other areas) around the personal automobile. Many of Silicon Valley’s major thoroughfares, like El Camino Real and Branham Lane in southern San Jose, have 6-8 lanes for automobiles. In fact, one portion of El Camino Real at Castro I frequent has crosswalks only at major traffic lights every 1/2 mile. At El Camino and Castro, one has only 30 seconds to safely cross El Camino Real itself amongst 8 lanes of automobile traffic, ready to race down El Camino Real with the zeal of drag racers awaiting the green light. Not very safe if cars are turning right on to El Camino Real, and if you are a senior citizen on a walker.

Ultimately, this boils down to a lack of responsibility on the part of pedestrians and automobile drivers to respect one another. Here are some how-to guides to help pedestrians and automobile drivers respect each other, and the road we all share:

These same tips – and more – are also available in the Basics section of our Transit Guides. Please learn these rules, master them, and teach your children these fundamental rules. You will help make Silicon Valley a safer place to live in.

Only when there is sea change amongst everyone in terms of mutual respect for each other, and in building around each other instead of private automobiles, will these deaths cease to occur.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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