Saturday, July 27, 2019

Car Privilege Hurts Bay Trail Detour

The San Francisco Bay Trail is an excellent facility for walkers and bicyclists. It takes them away from cars and next to the bay where they can enjoy bird watching and nature. However, car privilege and thoughtlessness can really screw it up.

For 2 weeks from July 24 to August 7, 2019 and then later for an 8 week period from August 21 to October 21, Sunnyvale has closed the Bay Trail section next to the Sunnyvale Smart Station and the Water Pollution Control Plant while some construction happens for the Water Plant.

Alas the detour that was put in place has major negative consequences for walkers or bicyclists. Cars are fine on Caribbean Drive so bicyclists and walkers should be fine too, right? Wrong!  Each of the following problems (and not choosing a better detour) is an example of car privilege -- prioritizing car convenience over safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

For pedestrians:
1) the east bound detour routes walkers down very long sections of high speed Caribbean Drive where there are no sidewalks and no easy shoulder to walk on. WTF!
2) if walking on the road they are required to walk with traffic, not against it, contrary to standard pedestrian guidelines.
3) Caribbean has high speed traffic that is not at all a trail-like experience.

For cyclists:
1) a U turn across 6 lanes of Caribbean. This is very difficult to do even for an advanced bicyclist!
2) the bike lane has a number of stretches where there is a ridge along the gutter in the bike lane that could catch a tire and cause a fall.
3) Caribbean has high speed traffic that is not at all a trail-like experience.
4) this detour routes bicyclists who were expecting to be on a safe trail through the same unmodified section of road where a bicyclist was killed last year.

These serious issues put trail users at considerably greater risk and also expose the City of Sunnyvale to significant legal risk as well -- people tend to sue if they are hurt by poorly designed facilities.

People use the Bay Trail to avoid high speed streets like Caribbean. It is not acceptable to route trail users onto Caribbean without more accommodations for them.

There is a pretty easy solution if you put car privilege aside.

Since Caribbean is 3 lanes in both directions but due to traffic volumes only 2 lanes are needed, a thoughtful detour would block off one entire car lane on the bay side of Caribbean and turn it into a 15' wide temporary "popup" shared bicycle and pedestrian path completely separated from motor vehicles so bikes and pedestrians would have a substantially trail-like experience and just need to negotiate a single crossing at Borregas where the traffic is much slower to rejoin the Bay Trail rather than deal with multiple intersections across the much wider and faster Caribbean Drive. This option would provide an excellent trail-like detour and would also be a good test to see how well this works and possibly make it permanent from Borregas all the way down to Baylands Park. It is also advantageous for commuter cyclists using the existing bike lane on Caribbean as they get a bit of relief from cars speeding past their elbow -- a 15' wide multi-use path is easy for all bicyclists and pedestrians to share and pedestrians also have the option of using a super wide flat shoulder as well with one small exception (a sign fully blocking said shoulder) noted in the photos below.

This car lane closure option would significantly reduce risk to trail users and legal risk to the City of Sunnyvale.

Going forward, since Sunnyvale continues to have challenges in keeping bicyclists and pedestrians safe (3 motor vehicles recently hit 3 bicyclists in 3 different locations of Sunnyvale on July 23 and July 25), it would be good for the city to consult some bicycle and pedestrian experts before making willy nilly changes (even temporary ones) to bike and pedestrian facilities in the future. I've asked the Sunnyvale Public Works Department for an explanation of their current detour choice and am waiting for a reply.

Another good option to assess whether a facility is well designed is to have an 8 year old and an 80 year old navigate any new proposed bicycle or pedestrian facility to see if they are happy with it. If both an 8 year old and an 80 year old think it is great, it is likely great for all users. For more about this 8 & 80 city design principle, see


Here is the closure announcement from the Sunnyvale City Manager:

Temporary Bay Trail Closures and Detour

As part of the Pump Station No. 1 Rehab Project, a temporary closure of the Bay Trail began on July 24. This closure is expected to be approximately two weeks in length. The trail will be temporarily reopened for two weeks following the sheet piling work and prior to the contractor excavating the levee that the Bay Trail runs on. A second closure is expected to last about eight weeks.

Bikes and pedestrians are being detoured onto Caribbean Drive during the closures. For more information, contact the Department of Public Works at 408-730-7605 or email

See page 3 of 5 in the City Manager's July 25 update at


Here are pictures of the challenges running from the western closure to the eastern one. Click on a picture to get a larger view.

Here is the initial signage showing the closed trail with informational signs.

This picture is from the other side of Caribbean where the detour directs pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrians don't have a sidewalk here but there is reasonably flat dirt.

The detour sign then points across Borregas and east on Caribbean.

So across Borregas we go.

Ooops, there is no sidewalk on this side for a pretty long stretch.

And the landscaping could be challenging to navigate as a pedestrian. Should pedestrians then walk with traffic in the road?

Detour continues east on Caribbean. At least the shoulder is grass at this corner but no marked cross walk for pedestrians and just landscaping on the other side.

This section does have a sidewalk, but bicyclists must watch out for the edge that can catch a tire between the concrete gutter pan on the right and the asphalt on the left. Hard to see but if it catches a tire, you are likely to fall. Current Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission chair Richard Mehlingher was caught by such an edge on a street not far from here and fell and suffered a compound fracture.

Here at least is a sidewalk and a crosswalk, but no detour reminder signs.

Sidewalk disappeared but at least no landscaping in the way of walking.

Across the road, there is where we need to go but crossing here between intersections with high speed traffic is not recommended plus a bicyclist would need to hop the curb.

No sidewalk but at least level lawn to walk on. Bicyclist now needs to do U turn across 3 high speed traffic lanes to get to left turn lane.

Now on other side heading west to get to detour there are 2 problems:
1) no sidewalk for pedestrians although there is a narrow trail of sorts where you duck under trees
2) another sketchy road edge in the bike lane that could catch a tire

Finally approaching the end of the detour, no shoulder to walk on, pedestrian is on the road walking with traffic

Turn right onto detour and notice the gate is closed!

On one side there is a narrow opening that barely fit my handlebars. Many bike handle bars would be too wide to make it through here.

The baskets on my bike jam on both sides when squeezing through but they do push through after some wiggling. If I was riding my touring bike which has wider panniers, I would have to take them off to get my bike through. If I was pulling a trailer (which I often do), I could not fit. The gates here really should be open so bicyclists can ride through and not get blocked.

Now heading west from the eastern closure, there is a wide shoulder to walk on without landscaping blocking it.

Further on there is some sidewalk.

Sidewalk goes away but the shoulder is still wide.

Wide shoulder but either crawl under the Sunnyvale signage or walk on the road a bit to get around the sign.

Now we are back at Borregas looking west. Pedestrians can use the cross walk. Bicyclists can take a right then a left to get back to the Bay Trail.  Regardless, Borregas and Carl Road here are relatively easy to deal with compared to biking or walking along Caribbean with no lane closures. West bound is better than east bound but it would be best for both bicyclists and pedestrians if the west bound section had a traffic lane blocked -- turning that lane into a fully separated bidirectional multi-use path.

The following map shows the detour problems and options for improvement:
Click on each line to see notes about it.

At the Tuesday July 30, 2019 Sunnyvale City Council meeting, the Council approved the new Vision Zero Plan.  The goal of the Vision Zero Plan is to eliminate all deaths and major injuries due to traffic crashes. Vision Zero is all about prioritizing safety for people over convenience for machines. Implementing an excellent temporary detour rather than one riddled with issues would be a good example of the city pursuing Vision Zero rather than falling victim, yet again, to car privilege.

Please send your concerns and suggestions to the Sunnyvale City Council and the City Manager at


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why this blog has been quiet...

Well, I'm not posting much on this blog at this time. For my current thoughts on the world, please see the public posts on my Facebook page at

Also I'm currently posting status on my 2016 adventure to achieve zero waste at


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marriage Equality

The US is at a historic crossroads that will separate the bigots from those who truly believe:
1) "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,..." and
2) "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

I will be ashamed of the US Supreme Court and our nation if we do not unequivocally support equality.

No one is harmed by marriage equality, but millions will benefit from it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

California 2012 November 6 Propositions

I hope all voters in California will read the propositions and vote!

Voting "no" on all of them because you don't believe in the proposition process is a cop out. These propositions are a valuable part of our democratic system in action and we all get to make direct choices ourselves that have real impact! (And not push it off to someone else to make a decision for us)

Please vote based on the merits of each and not based on prejudices.

Here is how I'm voting. I hope you'll support my positions :-)

YES!! -- Prop. 30, Increase in sales tax and higher earners' income tax to fund education -- a reasonable tax proposal that is needed to fund education.

Yes -- Prop. 31, Two-Year Budget Cycle -- not perfect but is moving in the right direction to fix CA budget process.

No -- Prop. 32, Ban on corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates -- deceptive.

NO -- Prop. 33, Change in auto insurance regulation -- a big insurance company is trying to fool voters again.

YES!!!! -- Prop. 34, Repeal death penalty -- too many mistakes, saves a lot of money, life with no parole is sufficient (and much less expensive).

Yes -- Prop. 35, Stronger law against human trafficking.

YES!! -- Prop. 36, Changes to three-strikes law -- saves money, reduces prison overcrowding and prevents nonsensical 3 strikes situations.

Yes -- Prop. 37, Labeling of GMO foods -- although mixed, this is a step in the right direction and we need to be more careful.

Yes -- Prop. 38, Increase in higher earners' income tax for education -- Prop 30 is better, but we are much better if at least one wins rather than neither. This is a change in my original position.

Yes -- Prop. 39, Sets one method of tax calculation for all businesses -- helps keep businesses in California.

YES!!! -- Prop. 40, Maintain citizens' redistricting -- no system is perfect but this system is more balanced than the alternatives. Plus a "No" vote changes the status quo whereas a "Yes" vote leaves things alone (this measure was engineered so that those who just always vote "No" on everything will be tricked into causing a change -- and a bad one in this case).

For additional information on the CA propopistions, see:
CA Official Voter Guide:
SJ Mercury News recommendations:
SF Chronical recommendations:
KQED perspectives: 
CA Council of Churches:

[10/7/2012: Added links to KQED & CA Council of Churches]
[10/20/2012: Changed my position on 38 from no to yes]

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Making the Best Better on the 4th

Holidays, especially the 4th of July, are great opportunities to reflect on where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Our great nation has accomplished much, yet still has far to go.

Here are the most important areas where I think we, as the United States of America, can improve so that our children and children’s children will have a better future.

Education – All should be able to get a good education regardless of their economic situation. Well-educated citizens are critical for a successful democracy. Education helps our nation make the most of its human resources. Public education and libraries helped build the foundation that made our country great.

To improve our educational system we should greatly increase teacher salaries, reward teachers based on performance, measure performance in ways beyond just standardized tests, and remove tenure for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers.

Prisons – We should minimize the number of people that must go to prison by ensuring they are educated and prepared to get whatever job they are best suited to do. Prisons should work on reforming and educating criminals to become productive citizens rather than be warehouses for punishment that foster criminals teaching crime to other criminals.

Housing large numbers of prisoners is expensive and a drain on society when those people could be productive citizens. The prison system should be rewarded based on reducing criminals and maximizing good citizens rather than locking them up indefinitely. We cannot afford this. Some resort to crime because there are no other good alternatives.  Better education is a good place to prevent criminal behavior. Reform and education must be emphasized for those who slip thru while indefinite lockup is reserved for those that cannot be reformed. The death penalty should be abolished because it is far too expensive as well as error prone with no recourse.

Health Care – Everyone should be covered by basic healthcare so valuable human resources are kept healthier (in better working condition) and are treated through less expensive preventative or timely curative treatments rather than expensive and last ditch emergency care. A stitch in time saves nine.

The Affordable Health Care Act was a step in the right direction. Encouraging Health Maintenance Organizations over traditional health insurance is even more cost effective and efficient.

Taxation – Taxes are not evil. They are investments in our government and our shared infrastructure so we can enjoy a more stable, safe, and productive community and society. We must embrace reasonable taxes and not keep dodging them at all costs. Endless tax cutting ends up hurting all of us. The wealthy have automatic advantages over the poor and also benefit immensely from a stable society that consumes their goods and services. It is a good thing for the wealthy to pay proportionately more in taxes than the poor.

To better use tax revenue, we need to balance our budget and put performance metrics in place so our government is naturally rewarded for effectiveness and efficiency. Legislation should focus more on outcomes rather than the hows. Let government professionals figure out how to maximize results just as we let the free market economy figure out how to best satisfy demand.  The City of Sunnyvale is a good example of performance metrics as well as a balanced budget in action. Please also note that the vast majority of government workers are middle class and few if any are wealthy. Tax dollars directly employ a larger number of people in government than concentrating wealth in the hands of a few.

Civil Rights – Everyone is entitled to equal rights and equal protection under the law. We are close to achieving this beautiful vision as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

Yes, any two consenting adults should be entitled to marry and enjoy the economic, legal, family, and child rearing benefits of such a union.

Democracy – This is the most sustainable form of government yet invented. A “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is the only practical way to govern people as they do it through their own choices rather than being told what to do by others.

We need to have positive policies to foster democracy abroad as well as encourage our populace to participate actively in our own democracy. The legal system that supports our democracy is the best defense we have against corruption.

Sustainability – Our resources are not unlimited. Resources include energy, materials, space, and time. We all must strive to budget ourselves so we make the best use of the limited resources we have and hold ourselves accountable before nature itself forces us to be accountable.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Our government is in the best position to put checks and balances in place to ensure we do not overly abuse our environment. Protecting our environment is extremely important yet too long term an objective to be otherwise factored into our free market economy.

Poverty – This is really the bottom line. Better managing all of the above will help reduce poverty and the inequitable distribution of wealth. When none of us want for basic needs, there will be less war and less crime. Having wealth widely distributed benefits us all. It only stands to reason. No one should want for adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Security alert: Email accounts under attack

Here is an article I wrote for AYSO, but it applies to everyone. Since many close friends and family have been hacked recently, I'm posting it again here. Yahoo email accounts (and thus Pacbell and ATT too) seem particularly vulnerable. I think there is some fundamental flaw in Yahoo email security that has yet to be discovered and fixed by Yahoo.

Please read and take action!


Email account hacking is an epidemic that is effecting just about everyone. If you haven't been hacked yet, review your security measures to make sure your account is hacker proof.

If your email account is broken into, your account will be used to send dangerous or misleading spam emails to all your friends. Your email archives and address books may be deleted. Your stored emails may reveal sensitive information about you as well as others that can be used to break into other accounts owned by you and your friends. All of your other accounts and your friends accounts will be attacked using the information in your email archives

From interviewing many of the people whose accounts were hacked, the most common theme is passwords that were less than 10 characters long -- often just 8 characters. It is also possible their computers were infected but most had up-to-date virus software. Some have had old operating systems or browsers.

All AYSO volunteers should do their part to keep AYSO information safe and secure by using strong passwords for their email and AYSO accounts and ensuring their computers are secured and kept safe. This will protect your own personal information as well!!

Some key tips:
1) Keep your computer(s) malware-free by using good virus protection software and only installing software from safe sources.
2) Keep your operating system and web browsers current with the latest releases that have had security holes patched.
3) Do NOT click on links to suspicious sites. Those sites may be able to attack your computer simply by visiting them.
4) Never have your web browser save your passwords. This stores passwords in insecure locations where malware can get them.
5) Use different strong passwords for every account you have.

What is a strong password?

Strong passwords:
1) are long -- ideally 16 characters or more (sentences can be memorable strong passwords);
2) use many different characters -- upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even punctuation or other special characters;
3) are unique – use a different password for each account (so if one account is compromised that password cannot be used to break into other accounts);
4) are hard to guess -- not something that is easily discovered about you like your dog's name or your mother's maiden name – which also means you should treat your security questions just like passwords (!);
5) are changed periodically.

If you have more than 2-3 passwords, doing the above and remembering them is challenging.

Many of us have a dozen or more online accounts between email, AYSO, banks, credit cards, Facebook, and more. How can you remember many different strong passwords for each of these accounts?  You could write them down on a piece of paper, but if you do please store it securely and make a copy (backup) in case you lose it. A better solution is to use a password manager to handle your strong passwords so you just need to remember one password -- for the password manager itself. One of the best password managers is LastPass (

LastPass can remember all of your passwords and it also:
1) enters web usernames and passwords automatically so you don't have to type them (saves you significant typing and mistyping);
2) generates strong passwords of any length;
3) backs itself up automatically to a secure location so your passwords are available to you (and only you) on as many computers as you wish (even if your computer is stolen);
4) prevents phishing/spoof attacks by distinguishing valid websites (where it is safe to enter passwords) from invalid ones;
5) is your safe deposit box in the sky for other critical but sensitive bits of information (account numbers, PINs, combinations, etc);
6) is itself very secure (reviewed by many independent security experts and companies); and
7) is free and easy to use!!

For additional password managers and safe computing practices, please read:

Thanks for doing your part to protect yourself and your AYSO team!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Crystal Cox, yes she's a scammer...

The proof is in the pudding and people tend to hoist themselves by their own petard.

Crystal Cox, who claimed to be a blogger-journalist, has shown through her own actions that she is not one, but really a scammer and extortionist.

Please see the smear campaign she is attempting against the 3 year old daughter of a friend of mine:

Please also read:


Even if she were a journalist, that does not protect false speech:

Despite the online harassment, Marc Randazza is a man of principal and noted today on Facebook:

It is extortion. But... ...I am trying to "Walk the walk" when it comes to the First Amendment. The typical response would be criminal charges or civil complaints. I want to show that we can cure bad speech with good speech. Let lies and smears fade in the sunlight of truth. I've preached it my whole life. I need to stay on the path now more than ever.”

Thankfully the light of truth and justice is shining very brightly on Crystal Cox now.