City of San Carlos - Traffic Safety Task Force
Sorry, this page has moved!
Please click here to go to the new location.

City staff receives numerous traffic and pedestrian safety complaints and requests on a regular basis averaging six to eight per month. The concerns range from excessive speeding and high traffic volume to suggestions for improved traffic and circulation engineering in specific locations and complaints regarding crosswalk and intersection safety.

Many traffic, speeding or pedestrian safety issues have ramifications from a traffic engineering, law enforcement and community educational standpoint. Historically, traffic or pedestrian safety complaints have been handled on a first come first served basis with very little if any coordination with Police Department staff on best practices, alternatives and solutions. Acting Director of Public Works Al Savay and Police Captain Greg Rothaus recently initiated a staff level Traffic Safety Task Force (TSTF) to address citywide traffic and pedestrian safety issues and complaints. The intent of the Task Force is to more efficiently and effectively coordinate efforts and to use staff’s expertise to generate safe, timely, creative and cost effective solutions to community traffic safety complaints. The Task Force is made up of Public Works and Police Department staff with technical expertise in traffic enforcement, engineering and pedestrian safety.

Some solutions generated by the Task Force will result in recommendations to the Transportation and Circulation Commission or enforcement or educational efforts on city roadways.

To handle the recent increase in traffic and pedestrian safety complaints and to better manage traffic engineering workload, the TSTF has developed a Traffic Study Prioritization List. The intent of the list is to use it to evaluate and rank traffic complaints and to help manage the appropriation and timing of staff resources. It can also be used as a tool to help the public understand how traffic engineering complaints are handled and where a particular complaint is in the process of being resolved.

Some of the Traffic Safety Task Force objectives include:

• Reduce 85th percentile travel speeds (the speed at which 85 percent of vehicles travel at or below on a particular street) to within 5 mph of the speed limit
• Reduce cut-through traffic where existing levels are inappropriate and where the remedy will not create a problem on other streets
• Improve safety for motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians
• Provide adequate access for emergency vehicles

These objectives are met through a combination of parallel strategies, known collectively as the “Three E’s”:

• Education: Information-sharing and awareness raising, targeting drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists about the safest and best ways to share the road.
• Enforcement: Targeted police enforcement that supports neighborhood goals.
• Engineering: Physical measures constructed to reduce speeds, improve safety, or otherwise reduce the impacts of automobiles.

The San Carlos Police Department provides neighborhood enforcement of traffic speeds and rules of the road. While enforcement cannot be conducted 24 hours a day, a routine enforcement program can regulate and reinforce driver behavior citywide. Engineering measures, on the other hand, are a viable alternative that is typically self-enforcing 24 hours a day. Together the “Three E’s” approach provides a comprehensive program.

The goal is to evaluate each request fairly and objectively, and place them in such an order that the City can address them case by case in a systematic manner. The following steps are taken with each complaint:

1. When a request comes in it is added to the log entry section. Location, submittal date, and specific concerns/problems are added to the log entry. Pertinent information specific to the issue is added to the list to help evaluate the site.
2. The next step is to check off the criteria to help build the weighted score for the project ranking. The system ranks the requests in two main ways: Life safety first and date of submission second.
3. Within the public safety category staff has created “weighted criteria” to categorize and rank the entry.

The criteria categories are:

• Pedestrian Safety = 6 points
• Covers situations where pedestrians are at risk

• School Zone = 2 points
• Is the site is located within ¼ mile of a school?

• Speeding = 5 points
• If the complaint is speeding related

• More than 5 accidents in a 3 year period = 3 points
• Determined through state or local records

• Intersection Safety = 4 points
• This covers sight distance, stop sign violations, right of way issues, etc.

• Bike Lane Improvements = 3 points
• If the request is related to bike lanes or bike safety enhancements

• Parking Improvements = 2 points
• If the request is to improve or add parking

• Convenience Improvements = 1 point
• This covers non-life safety situations

Once the site is added to the list, a compiled ranking sheet is completed. The list is ranked by the TSTF first by weighted score criteria (highest score to top ranking) and secondly by date submitted, oldest getting first priority.

To access the priority list, click here.