Reader makes plea to ‘end tyranny of the automobile’: Roadshow – The Mercury News

Today's E Edition
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Today's E Edition
Q: The 2022 death toll on San Jose’s streets is ticking up and it’s only April. If the city is serious about Vision Zero, praying to the god of “personal responsibility” by calling on people to drive more carefully is not going to cut it. Law enforcement cannot be on every street corner 24/7.
Eamonn Gormley, SanJose
A: Vision Zero is the goal many California regions have to reduce roadway fatalities to zero. It is admirable. It will be difficult to achieve. Agencies are employing new strategies to make roads safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Q: For every report of a fatality, I look at the Google street view of the location. It’s almost always an oversized, multi-lane road that’s hostile to pedestrians and invites drivers to feel safe driving at high speeds. The only way we are going to keep ourselves and our children safe is by redesigning streets to forcibly slow the cars. Designing them as high speed highways is a death sentence for the people who live here. One person’s “freedom” to drive at high speed condemns an entire neighborhood’s children to live under house-arrest, where even stepping out onto the sidewalk is a daring act.
The tyranny of the automobile has gone on for long enough. It’s time to restore people’s freedom to walk and cycle in safety.
Eamonn Gormley
A: That’s why we’re seeing road diets, extended curbs at intersections, possibly lower speed limits, and other changes to make the roads safer.
Q: A reader asked what could be done at the northbound Highway 85 exit at Fremont Avenue where cars often back up beyond the exit ramp, causing heart-stopping slowdowns.
Your response should have been, “There is plenty of room. Cars should pull up to within 3 feet of the car in front of them, rather than leaving 20+ feet of unnecessary space.”
What’s worse, a car rear-ending another car at 65 mph on the freeway or a car rear-ending another car at 20 mph on the ramp? Leaving so much space serves no purpose (except on very steep roads).
Gerald Sylvester
A: I get this complaint frequently. In addition, if you leave 20+ feet between you and the car ahead, it allows other cars to duck into the lane in front of you, adding danger and confusion.
Q: Can I still use the carpool lane as a solo driver with my carpool sticker on Highway 101 south after 237, where the new HOV lane ends? I don’t have my FasTrak yet.
Jill Cohen
A : Yes. You need a FasTrak flex tag to use express lanes, but you can use other carpool lanes with your stickers.
Look for Gary Richards at, or contact him at [email protected]
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