The VTA/County BPAC approved these changes to the Expressway Plan (also called Implementation Plan), on September 10, 2008, Agenda #13. The vote was one NO and all others YES:


Add this (text):

If contradiction exists between prior Board of Supervisors policy and the Implementation Plan of a later date, the Implementation Plan takes precedence.


Add this (text):

The Implementation Plan is official policy of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Santa Clara County.


Add this (text):

A “wide shoulder” shall be a shoulder that meets bike lane standards, which are shown in the pedestrian–expressway maps of the 2003 Implementation Plan as five feet or wider width.



The reason for the changes were, respectively:

   To prevent County Roads from citing obsolete policy, as they have, in their opposition to pedestrians along expressways. While the 1991 policy opposed pedestrians on shoulders, the 2003 policy supports pedestrians on shoulders, but County Roads repeatedly, and falsely, stated that Board policy opposes shoulder use. This false statement resulted in the loss of repeal of the pedestrian prohibition in Santa Clara, in 2006 (by a vote of 4 to 3).

   To prevent County Roads from making a claim that “the 2003 Expressway Plan does not represent Board policy.” This claim was to continue the Department’s non-compliance with the Plan, especially with regard to supporting pedestrians on shoulders.

   A technical correction: The term “wide shoulder” is not defined in text in the 2003 Plan, but is explicitly shown in the expressway-pedestrian maps (e.g., the San Tomas Expressway map) as shoulders that are five feet wide or wider.




The following month, at the Expressway PAB (Policy Advisory Board) meeting of 10/9/08, highway staff successfully countered this vote through the use of false statements. Highway staff claimed, as shown the staff report, that the BPAC’s “intent” was to eliminate all prior pedestrian policies. The fact is, the BPAC wanted compliance with existing policies, not elimination of these policies.


Richard Swent, who is Chair of the BPAC, and previously always supported pedestrians in his votes, switched sides, from supporting to opposing pedestrians. He came to the Expressway PAB meeting and also made a series of false statements, while falsely claiming to represent the BPAC. These false statements nullified the entire effort for pedestrian safety, and resulted in axing all pedestrian safety and pro-pedestrian policies by the Expressway PAB. Details of Swent’s false statements, and the truth, are in this link:

At the PAB meeting, Akos Szoboszlay spoke to keep existing pedestrian-safety and pro-pedestrian policies. Links: Speech.  Handout of photos.  Vote results.


Background information is at the Expressway Topics, Links page.