Below are the tweet and news release from Santa Monica. I’m interested to hear what cyclists think about these — they certainly seem effective as a way to slow down cyclists before intersections, but I’m guessing some cyclists will find them unnecessary.
As to why the gates are there…I just spoke with Constance Farrell, a Santa Monica spokesperson and she explained that the gates were required by the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates light rail in the state. The CPUC looks at each rail-street crossing and makes a determination whether any safety measures are needed.
In the case of these three intersections, the CPUC decided that gates were needed because of the combination of at-grade rail, a pedestrian crossing and a bike path crossing the sidewalk. The particular concern was limiting problems between pedestrians and cyclists. The requirement was made before Expo opened and the gates have been there all along — but were locked recently once the necessary signage had arrived and was installed.
Your thoughts? Comment please.
— City of Santa Monica (@santamonicacity) September 28, 2016
The news release:
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Six sets of staggered gates along the Exposition Corridor Bicycle & Pedestrian Path will be activated today, September 28. The green gates have been installed on the bike path since opening on May 20th. They have been unlocked until today. The locked gates are a safety measure required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
When the staggered gates are locked, they slow cyclists down before major intersections to reduce conflicts with pedestrians at sidewalk crossings. Signs have been installed to notify cyclists of an upcoming staggered gate so they have warning and can dismount their bike. There are six sets of staggered gates located on 19th, 20th, and Stewart Streets.
The CPUC is responsible for reviewing and approving all rail crossings and each crossing is evaluated separately. The CPUC has reviewed the Expo bike path crossings along these streets and determined that the staggered gates are required as part of the controls for these intersections.
While this is a permanent bicycle and pedestrian safety measure, City maintenance crews and Santa Monica Fire Department staff have keys to unlock the gates when necessary.