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Patch Watch: Intersection of Lark Avenue and Los Gatos Boulevard

Our weekly look at blight and other problem zones in and around Los Gatos.

On a recent morning, an elderly man in a mobility scooter at the corner of Lark Avenue and Los Gatos Boulevard was trying to cross the intersection heading south on the Los Gatos Boulevard crosswalk.

Unfortunately, there is no ramp at the start of the crosswalk on Lark Avenue, so he was forced to use the vehicle access to the, 15171 Los Gatos Blvd., to get down to the street and access it.

He then proceeded to the large triangle island, which has the traffic light, but his access again was impeded due to the lack of a ramp. He had no choice but to go around the island to rejoin the sidewalk and attempt to cross the street.

While the light was red, however, he was forced to wait on the actual crosswalk and was nearly hit by a truck traveling eastbound on Lark Avenue and making a u-turn to travel westbound on the road. The truck driver backed up, adjusted, backed up, and finally had enough room to move forward and not hit the man. 

When the road was clear, he finally continued southbound across the street only to find another missing ramp from the smaller triangle island, which also has a traffic light. Once again, he had to go around to finally access a ramp on the south side of Los Gatos Boulevard.

LOCATION: Corner of Lark Avenue and Los Gatos Boulevard.

PROBLEM: ADA non-compliant intersection prevents those in mobility scooters, wheelchairs from access islands that have no ramp access and no gradation to allow for safe passage. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, building on an earlier law requiring curb ramps in new, altered, and existing sidewalks, added impetus to improving conditions for sidewalk users. People with disabilities rely on the pedestrian and transit infrastructure, and the links between them, for access and mobility.

RESPONSIBLE AGENCY: Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Department, which is responsible for maintaining the town's public parks, facilities, and infrastructure. The department is comprised of five organizational units: administration, engineering and capital projects, parks and forestry, facilities and streets and signals.

CONTACT: Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Department, (408) 399-5770, or email department director Todd Capurso at tcapurso@losgatosca.gov. 

DATE REPORTED: Nov. 14, 2011.

DAYS ON WATCH: 9

Meagan November 16, 2011 at 07:36 PM
It would be wonderful to see this intersection fixed to better serve the needs of the disabled people in our community. It was mentioned earlier, but this is a very high-traffic intersection, which makes it all the more dangerous (and all the more high-priority to fix). Please get this fixed, Los Gatos!
Brad Hayden November 22, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Okay Los Gatos Town Council. You now have the attention of a lawyer. An ADA Lawyer at that. Which means, (Sorry Tonya) this person is now going to watch this intersection like a vulture, simply waiting for the opportunity to slap Los Gatos with a wrongful death case. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and needs to be addressed now not when someone dies or gets hurt. We, as a society, tend to wait until someone dies before we make much needed safety changes. The question you should be asking yourselves is what do we say to the family of the victim if you don't fix it. If its fixed, this question is never asked because there is no need. It will cost you far less to fix it now than it will if someone dies or gets hurt. For those politicians who don't understand the complexities of reality, we have a bad economy and a potentially deadly situation which needs to be resolved. Let's not wait for tragedy to happen before we get motivated to do something.
Mike Calahan November 23, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Funding has been allocated for repairing this intersection in July of 2012. Not the immediacy that we may want, but it is something.
Sheila Sanchez November 23, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Hi Mike, yes, I was copied on Mr. Todd Capurso's email to you yesterday that contains a lengthy explanation of when the town will fix this problem. I'm working on a story about this issue for Friday or the weekend. The important thing is that he has responded and the town is aware of the dangers and potential liabilities presented by the ADA non-compliance. Thank you.
Mike Calahan November 23, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I'm so happy to hear this. Thanks for your hard work, Sheila. You've done a great service by bringing this to everyone's attention.

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