Monday, November 27, 2006

Bad street design of the week

And the winner is... Lawrence and Arques in Sunnyvale.,+Sunnyvale,+CA+94085&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=37.38136,-121.995599&spn=0.007246,0.021629&t=h&om=1

On the south side of the is a small shopping plaza. On the north side is another mall shopping area. In theory you could just cross the street to get from one to another. However, there is a nice big median blocking the way. So a pedestrian has to walk down to Lawrence or Lakeside. The distance is not too far. Unfortunately, the sidewalks are incomplete, and there is no cross walk on the near side of Lakeside.

For a car, the situation is much worse. They can go through the parking lots to get to Titan and then over to Lakeside, and then up to Oakmead, then down to Central, and over to the plaza. About 2 miles, with 3 stoplights - all to go across the street. If you are on Arques and need to go down Lawrence instead, you can add an additional stoplight, while still traveling around 2 miles.
However, don't expect to do a simple U-turn at Lawrence - its not allowed, so if you do want one, you will have to wait through the 3-minute light cycle twice to go through. Oh, and don't expect to make a U-turn immediately on Arques, either. There is a median, and then a no u-turn sign. But there are a few parking lots that you can use to make a turn.

So, why do they have a median and not let you cross? Well, you can go south through the light on lakeside to get to the plaza on the south. However, you have to go a few hundred feet through the Toshiba parking lot, signed as not allowing through traffic.

What about just removing the median? That would be too easy. But the left turn traffic on Lawrence backs up for a ways. They do have two left turn bays, but one they are extremely short, so once its backed up, it is essentially one. Why not just shorten the light-cycle on Lawrence, so that Arques traffic can go twice as often, and then eliminate the semi-redundant left turn? That would be too easy of a solution...

And don't forget pedestrians. Today a group of peds approached the intersection right as the light turned green. Sorry, they didn't hit the button in time, no time for them.