6 September 2021
Stevens Creek Trail is a multi-use path that runs through Mountain View. It is heavily used by Googlers cycling to and from work. As the days get shorter, the commute home gets darker and more dangerous. The center-line markings are so worn down as to be effectively invisible. This results in cyclists using increasingly brighter floodlights, blinding those they pass. Time to fix this.
I bought a gallon of yellow traffic paint, two pounds of reflective glass beads, and a four-inch roller. Then starting at midnight, Sierra and I swept the trail clean, carefully repainted the center-line markings, and lightly sprinkled the glass beads on the wet paint. It took five hours to do 500 meters of trail, but the result was a significant improvement.
So why did we do this ourselves instead of just notifying the City of Mountain View? Well, back in 2007 I reported an issue with traffic light timing to the city. The problem was that when a train approaches a level crossing, the lights turn green to clear the tracks, without giving warning to pedestrians. It took them eleven years to reach a decision, and another three years and $1.7 million dollars to implement. Their solution was to eliminate left turns from Castro street onto Central Expressway. Apparently this was easier than moving the train detectors further out so that enough warning could be given.
The length of time it took to address the issue was ridiculous. The solution was poor. The expense was horrifying. Clearly it's best to avoid dealing with the City of Mountain View if there's an alternative.
The history of lane markings is actually quite fascinating. Turns out guerrilla painting is nothing new.