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St. Helena Pedestrian Safety Improvement

Home » St. Helena Pedestrian Safety Improvement
September 14, 2017
Edward Smith
St. Helena Pedestrian Safety Improvement

On August 26, 2017, a local paper reported that the St. Helena Planning Commission approved a 3-1 vote on a new pedestrian bridge that will link the Las Alcobas Hotel on Highway 29/Main Street with the nearby Beringer Winery.

The construction project is expected to improve the safety of pedestrians in the area and includes stipulations regarding lighting, environmental impact, and maintenance of structural integrity.

The Bridge

The prefabricated, steel truss bridge is expected to be 10 feet wide and 65 feet long and will span the distance of York Creek, a small stream running through the newly built 68-room lodging and one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley. The construction project is also slated to involve habitat restoration efforts that will require the approval of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


According to officials from both the hotel and winery, public safety is the primary reason for the project. The Las Alcobas Hotel guests need to use a small sidewalk on the side of Highway 29 to walk from the hotel to the popular winery. The sidewalk affords pedestrians little distance from passing vehicles, so the bridge offers St. Helena visitors a safer alternative.


Members of the Commission raised numerous concerns about the new project, including issues such as maintenance, trash removal, and lighting. Commissioners also discussed environmental impact, zoning, and flood control.

Public Comments

During the public comment portion of the meeting, two St. Helena locals living near the proposed construction site voiced concerns over their ongoing frustrations regarding the hotel. The residents indicated that they believe the new project will enable the hotel to host “uncontrollable events” and that the hotel and winery already cause their neighborhood serious parking problems.

However, despite their grievances, the community members admitted that the area is a pedestrian hazard and likely to lead to traumatic injuries.

City Responsibility

At the meeting, Beringer Winery representative Jennifer Locke noted that the city bears some responsibility for the hazardous pedestrian walking situation, highlighting that the city approved the plans for the hotel to be built so close to the winery.

Locke suggested that it is only natural that hotel guests would want to visit a popular tourist destination and that “the last thing (the city) needs is a fatality.”

Pedestrian Accidents

When pedestrians are hit by cars, the potential for injury is very high. Pedestrians lack any form of protection, and even slow-speed accidents that may not pose much of a threat to passengers in a vehicle can mean fatal injuries for those on foot.

To learn more about pedestrian collisions, visit this page published by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).

More from St. Helena Car Accident Lawyer Ed Smith

St. Helena Car Accident Lawyer

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, R.H. Henry Bridge by GilbertThompsonCC BY-SA 4.0 :ms rey [cs 671] bw cv