But proponents of safer streets apparently can’t count on support from Belmont City Council Member Coralin Feierbach, who voiced her opposition to bike lanes and red-light cameras this week. “Cars come first,” said Feierbach, according to the Daily Journal. ”It’s our lifeline.”
Feierbach seemed to have no problem with the fact that “when you ride your bike on Ralston you take your life into your own hands,” deeming it “impossible” to reduce speeding from drivers.
With crosswalks typically placed up to a quarter-mile apart, and the street spanning five wide lanes of motor traffic, walking on Ralston can also be nerve-racking, and often deadly.
But Feierbach’s defense of the dangerous status quo on Ralston won’t do much to help mothers like May Dembowski, who lives in downtown Belmont and regularly walks her 8-year-old daughter on Ralston to Central Elementary School.
“I’m nervous all the time — it’s very stressful to cross. We’ve almost been hit by cars several times,” said Dembowski. “The crosswalk lights don’t give children enough time to get across — even many adults can’t make it. And many drivers are in a hurry and just run the red lights.”
There are 10 schools on or near Ralston, a 2.5-mile long street where drivers often exceed speed limits, which vary from 30 to 40 mph, according to data from the Belmont Public Works Department [PDF]. The street serves as a connection for drivers between the 101 and 280 highways.
According to data from the Belmont Police Department, Ralston saw 70 traffic crashes last year — an average of one every five days. Since 1998, the street has seen an average of 65 crashes annually, according to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In those crashes, 193 people suffered injuries — 160 drivers or passengers, and 33 people walking or biking.