BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Mark Goodman wept with relief after convincing the Los Altos City Council to drop the idea of installing stop signs with constantly flashing lights outside his house on the corner of Los Altos and W. Portola avenues.
“I’ve been told sometimes I get too emotional about this,” said Goodman, who also got choked up when the Post interviewed him last month. “This has been a nightmare for me for almost 12 weeks.”
The council voted unanimously Feb. 12 to remove the lights from a set of traffic safety measures that are 80% complete at the intersection.
Goodman succeeded after a campaign that included rallying his neighbors against the lights.
The city’s Complete Streets Commission recommended in January 2018 that the city replace the intersection’s stop signs with signs that would flash LED lights 24 hours a day.
Other intersection changes include new sidewalks, curb ramps, striped crosswalks and new signs.
The intersection is within blocks of Egan Junior High School, Bullis Charter School and Santa Rita Elementary School.
The city held a meeting about the project in February 2018, but didn’t notify the neighbors of the specific changes, so no one attended.
It wasn’t until late last year that Goodman became aware the city was intending to install flashing lights, which he said would be an eyesore in his house and garden.
Lights said to be unnecessary
Several neighbors testified that the lights were unnecessary and that the crossing guards and traditional stop signs prevented pedestrian crashes at that intersection, even when kids were crossing the street or riding bikes.
Since they began their campaign against the flashing lights, Goodman and Los Altos resident Mike Ellerin have both volunteered as backup crossing guards in case one of them is late for work.
Los Altos Avenue resident Carol Starbuck, who has lived in town since 1953, joked that the city should sell the flashing signs to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who was recently injured in a bike accident.
The city’s 2011 Collector Traffic Calming Plan, which identified roads where drivers often speed, ranked the intersection as a 10, indicating the lowest priority on a scale of 1 to 10.
In 2015, the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan stated that a $20,000 traffic calming study for the intersection was a “medium priority.”
City officials, including City Manager Chris Jordan, Interim Engineering Services Director Aida Fairman and Consulting Traffic Engineer Jaime Rodriguez, recommended that the city remove the flashing lights.