Is there a way to make access to Christmas Hill Park safer?

Red Phone

I am perplexed at how dangerous the access to Christmas Hill Park is for anyone coming in from the levee. Especially for families with children! In my opinion, any family should have a stress-free stroll to the park and back from their home in a nearby neighborhood. There are two areas of concern, which have been enough to deter my family from visiting the park for years while our kids were toddlers. The first is the intersection at Miller and Tenth. It’s a four way stop, but a very busy intersection. I would love to see a crosswalk with flashing lights, like downtown has. That gets a family safely to the levee, yay! But now, the anxiety sets in; how are we all going to get to the park safely? If you have a stroller, a dog, a couple kids on bicycles, it is really sketchy there going down and back up Miller Avenue over the Uvas Crossing and trying to keep everyone in the so-called bike lane, out of harms way, with cars on your left and 5-foot drop on your right. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the City of Gilroy installed a pedestrian bridge over Uvas Creek from the levee into Christmas Hill Park? Maybe it could exist about 100 yards east of Miller and go from the eucalyptus grove to the grassy landing near the BBQ area by the first baseball field. So, I want a crosswalk and a bridge! What are the odds?
Red Phone: As most Gilroyans know, Christmas Hill Park is the host of the famous annual Gilroy Garlic Festival attended by tens of thousands, so it is an absolute requirement that families from the neighborhood have safe passage to the park, at the very least for this festival.
So good caller, you are suggesting the addition of flashing lights to the intersection to warn drivers of the pedestrian crossing. Once across Uvas, you would also want a safer way to enter the park from the levee trail, such as a pedestrian bridge, because there is a creek bed in the way. Apparently, using Miller Avenue to enter the park is not safe for pedestrians or dogs.
Red Phone contacted Gilroy Traffic Engineer Henry Servin, who has been very helpful in the past in answering similar concerns. Servin said, “These requests are consistent with our Parks Master Plan. The people of Gilroy want to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicycles. However, the city needs to work within budget. Regarding pedestrian safety, our number one priority is to provide safe walkways to schools, and number two is sidewalks in downtown. Gilroy has a Trails Master Plan, which includes the crossing of creeks and streets. The City Council establishes priorities within their budgets.”
Things that come into play when establishing priorities include, “Consistency with the Master Park Plan, level of city participation such as cost sharing, involvement of the Parks and Recreation Director, and City Administrator,” said Servin. When asked about his assessment of access to the park, Servin said, “Miller is safe enough.”
However, good caller, there is hope because Servin also said, “We can look at both requests. It will be a length of time (before anything happens), as we need to fit them in amongst priorities. I will ask for a bit of patience as this is the first time someone suggested these items to us.”
So, good caller, for now, be careful when walking to the park, and always look two ways before crossing the street! (Yes, mother!)

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