ADDRESS THE SEVERE WILDLIFE-VEHICLE COLLISION ISSUE ON I280, SAN MATEO COUNTY. Uphold your goals of Safety, Stewardship and Leadership and take direct action to resolve of the collision issue on I280.
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We are asking Caltrans to uphold their goals of Safety, Stewardship and Leadership, and take direct action towards resolution of the Wildlife-Vehicle Collision safety issue on I280. We do not want wildlife, large or small, going out onto the highway in the path of drivers.
It’s been two years since the Interstate 280 Wildlife Connectivity Research Study: Findings and Recommendations (“Collision Study”) was completed and yet nothing has been done to address the Wildlife-Vehicle collisions on I280. The Collision Study study showed collisions occur at least once every 3 days on Interstate 280.
25 large animals were killed by vehicles in October this year, alone, and strikes are not contained to one or two months of the year. According to Caltrans databases, 362 collisions with deer occurred between January 2005 and July 2012, or roughly 48/year. At least one person was killed in 2011 due to colliding with a deer. (https://www.facebook.com/Remembering-Dan-Strickland-166502560100761 | http://www.scu.edu/fyi/blog.cfm?c=11088).
A collision with deer at highway speeds often results in costly property damage (http://www.nbcbayarea.com/video/#!/news/local/UC-Davis-Roadkill-Report-Maps-Out-State's-Deadliest-Stretches-of-Road/300241111) and injury to drivers (http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=27397).
In addition to the negative impact on wildlife and commuters who collide with animals, the California Highway Patrol officers also risk their safety when they must exit their vehicle and walk onto the highway to drag animals off the road. “Move Over” laws were put in place to protect those who protect us, is it really acceptable that we ask them to go out onto this highway to drag wildlife off of it all year long?
We applaud Caltrans for their recent collaborative actions addressing Wildlife Connectivity on Highway 17, Wildlife Passage Structures project (“approximately 207 animals have been hit and killed on Highway 17 in the past several years (incl.158 mule deer”), as well as in San Bernardino County, CA. Biologists have erected fences along State Route 58 to complement underpasses (culverts) that are being used by the threatened desert tortoise. After the introduction of the fences, tortoise deaths declined by 93% during the first four years. Cameras have shown that also many deer safely cross using under-crossings.
We are asking the Director of Caltrans and the District Director to take action on these three items:
1) Find funding to commence work on I280 including Grant opportunities (Ie. Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants or TIGER Grant Funding) and other program funding, and aggressively pursue these avenues;
2) Re-commence the collection of wildlife collision data that is open to the public in order to measure success of solutions deployed (fencing, widened culverts, electric mats for on/off ramps, etc), and for Caltrans staff use during their planning processes;
3) Erect proper wildlife fencing along I280 with respect to the I280 Final Recommendations, 2013 (among other Measures and Recommendations found on pages 53 & 54 of the Collision Study).
There is no reason why the most beautiful highway in Silicon Valley should not be at the front of the charge to ensure the safety of wildlife, motorists, and CHP officers.
So let’s get moving.
BEAUTIFUL SOLUTIONS: Colorado has completed hundreds of wildlife corridors and here is a link to a photo of new undercrossing currently under construction: LINK
Wildlife Crossings Guidance Manual California Department of Transportation (2009) | “This manual is part of a larger Caltrans strategy to 1) catalog sources of information and knowledge about wildlife crossings, 2) generate, accumulate, and disseminate this information, and 3) develop guidelines for best practices and effective strategies to address road/wildlife conflicts.”
Animal-bridges-around-the-world | “...They also assist in avoiding collisions between vehicles and animals, which in addition to killing or injuring wildlife may cause injury to humans and property damage. It has been reported that vehicle-animals collisions costs the United States a staggering $8 Billion a year. The first wildlife crossings were constructed in France during the 1950s…”
http://arc-solutions.org/new-solutions/ | “While Europe has many, indeed hundreds, of wildlife crossing structures, North America has relatively few...Bridge structures (have) proven remarkably successful in restoring ecological connectivity and in improving road safety....”
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