The Bar-On Brief: The traffic issue is back

Individual involvement is key in solving it

Illustration+by+Elinda+Xiao+

Illustration by Elinda Xiao

By Shauli Bar-On , Columnist

The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column
The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column

It’s the reason HHS faculty members are standing in the horseshoe every morning, the reason the Principal’s Advisory Committee marked it as the first topic to be discussed and the reason the City of Cupertino and Sunnyvale scheduled a “Safe Routes to School Bike and Walk Maps” event next Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time traffic issues have come to the center of attention: in March, I spoke to Sunnyvale mayor Glen Hendricks after the PTSA hosted him and other speakers to discuss plans to address the community’s traffic concerns.

Dealing with traffic is the duty of the school and the city, and both of them are working to ease its flow. But what I wrote last March regarding bike accidents also applies to traffic as a whole: the city and school community is actively working to ensure the flow of traffic, but for the best possible commute, individual involvement is key.

A few months ago, the city of Sunnyvale began construction to make way for began along Mary Ave.

Mary Ave. might be a mess to navigate right now because the lane markings were removed for construction purposes, but by the end of the month there will be a functioning bike lane all the way to El Camino.

“It’s weather permitting so we don’t have an exact date, but that’s what we’re applying towards…by the end of November,” Steven Ozzy with the City of Sunnyvale said.

The new bike lane will ensure the safety of bikers, but it will reduce the number of lanes on Mary Ave. to one, just as it is south of Fremont Ave.

The change on the road change calls for an adaptation on the community’s part: simply put, drivers and bikers will have to accommodate the lane shortage and leave home earlier.

I too biked to school as an underclassman, back when my bike fit me. I’m aware of the number of bikers and the hassle of the street lights even when it seems as if the world is plotting to make you late.

But I was also aware of how long it took me to get to school, and I planned to take an extra five minutes just to be safe. It’s no different now that I drive, and it should be no different for parents who drop their kids off each morning.

Our faculty guides traffic in the horseshoe, where a majority of students are dropped off. The police department handed out citations to bikers who violated traffic laws, which in turn slowed down drivers, not to mention put themselves in danger by cutting across cars.

I’ve also seen improvement in the student parking lot, and based on the discussions with principal Greg Giglio, I know administration is still looking into improving that area even more.

The school is doing everything it can to ease the flow of traffic, the city is doing its best under the budget and resources it has and now it’s the community’s turn.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of working from the ground up, and we had a strong foundation to promote this issue to the school and the city. We’ve worked the traffic issue to be priority status for the school and local government. Now we need to make sure the work does not go to waste.  

And with that, I rest my case.

The Bar-On Brief is a weekly column that runs Thursdays. 

Follow Shauli Bar-On on Twitter @shauli_baron