Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) will launch a six-month pilot program by the end of 2018 designed to increase safety near light rail in downtown San Jose.
SCVTA says enhancing safety near light rail is the goal of the Light Rail Safety and Speed Pilot Project in Downtown as a first step toward eventually increasing operating speeds in the area.
Downtown San Jose is the slowest part of the light-rail system, where trains average 7.5 mph between stations and the regulated operating speed for light rail in downtown is 10 mph.
SCVTA explains that the current design of the transit mall lacks definition between the pedestrian and transit environments. This can result in unpredictable pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle intrusions into SCVTA’s trackway. SCVTA says these unsafe movements are a perennial source of near misses throughout the day, and must be addressed before it can increase operating speeds in this area.
The pilot will be installed on Second Street between San Fernando and San Carlos. SCVTA and community stakeholders underwent an iterative process to define appropriate enhancements and ensure design elements address the needs of the community, businesses and residents.
SCVTA says the estimated cost of $900,000 for the pilot is fully funded through local transit funds and a confirmed cost will be known during final design.
Designs are scheduled to be finalized by the end of summer and will include railings that will run the length of the pilot block with breaks for driveways and the Paseo de San Antonio crossing. The railing will help delineate the sidewalk from the trackway. Wayfinding signage will also be added to help guide people to designated crossing areas.
The results of the pilot will inform SCVTA’s decisions about future improvements along the transit mall.