Residents challenge proposed traffic signal on Page Mill

More than 300 sign a petition calling for state, county, city to reconsider project at busy Interstate 280 offramp

A proposal by state, county and local officials to add a traffic signal at the Interstate 280/Page Mill Road interchange is encountering resistance from Los Altos Hills residents, who are circulating a petition that claims the change would make safety and traffic in the area even more problematic. More than 30 Palo Alto residents have also signed the petition.

"We are deeply worried that the signalization project would jeopardize our safety, further erode our rural environment and negatively impact our property values," states the petition, which is available online at "The implementation of the signalization project would result in a number of risk factors affecting not only the neighborhood in the vicinity of the interchange but also numerous other areas of Los Altos Hills."

The residents are asking the Los Altos Hills City Council, the Santa Clara County and the state Department of Transportation (better known as Caltrans) to reconsider the proposed change, which proponents say is being driven by safety concerns in the busy area around Page Mill Road and Arastradero Road.

The southbound ramp typically experiences long backups during peak commute hours. A January 2013 traffic study found that cars waited more than 90 seconds at the intersection during the morning commute.

"The purpose of this project is to enhance the safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians by regulating traffic movements and minimizing driver confusion which was found to be the cause of the accidents within these intersections," Bijan Sartipi, district director for Caltrans, wrote in a response to Los Altos Hills resident Garo Kiremidjian.

Sartipi said an investigation of accidents in the area revealed "numerous accidents at the subject intersections that were caused by driver confusion and are correctable by traffic signals."

"In addition to addressing the vehicular accidents at the intersections, there are other benefits associated with the proposed signals, such as facilitating difficult turning movements currently uncontrolled, safe pedestrian crossings, orderly flow of bicycle traffic, as well as reduced queuing on the exit ramps," Sartipi wrote. "The new signals will be traffic actuated and interconnected, and will operate in a manner so as not to create excessive or disproportionate traffic delays and vehicular queuing on Page Mill and Arastradero Roads."

But critics of the plan believe the project would merely shift traffic problems during peak hours off 280 to other roads, including Arastradero, Purissima, Fremont and Foothill Expressway.

"This will substantially impact travel times to and from Palo Alto area offices and cause further deterioration of fast freeway access," the petition states.

As of last Friday, the petition had 332 signatures, according to a letter Kiremidjian sent to the Los Altos Hills City Council.

The council is scheduled to hear an update on the signalization project at its meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, 26379 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by Maryanne, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

As a cyclist, I strongly support the installation of signals at this intersection to improve safety for everyone who uses this intersection. I have seen too many close calls with cars completely disregarding the rules of the road for cyclists trying to navigate through the intersection. I question whether a potential "negative impact on property values" is more important than potential injuries and accidents that could be mitigated by traffic lights.

Posted by A signal please, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

As a regular bicycle rider, the intersection of page mill with 280 is horrible. Cars moving at 50-60 mph coming onto page mill from 280 north. Cars at similar speeds coming from page mill to 280 south. The similar intersection of Sand Hill and 280 has a light that does an excellent job to calm the traffic and provide a good flow. This petition seems ill conceived.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

I agree with Maryanne -- virtually every time I have ever been up there or driven through there, there seems to be a basic, either misperception on how to handle the current configuration or a glaring driver incompetence. A groups of signals would make this easier for people to understand and negotiate, as well as making it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Until I hear some substantial and good reasons that signals would make things worse I just have to assume this is just LAH being obstructionist or resisting change.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

I have to laugh at the Los Altos Hills people who are worried about degrading the "rural environment". It's a freeway off-ramp!!! How rural is that? Caltrans doesn't act quickly, and only when there is overwhelming evidence of a safety problem, so those who claim it would degrade safety are blowing smoke (or smog).

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

This is long overdue. The safety of 1000s of vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians trumps the need to maintain a "rural feel" at the intersection of a heavily traveled freeway and off ramp.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

Use this intersection frequently both to get to Foothill Park and also for 280. The problem is that for those of us who know what to do, which lane to use, etc. there is no problem. But we are only 50% of the traffic. It is quite apparent to me that there are drivers who are confused as to what is expected of them. They merge late, frequently use the wrong lanes and see the stop signs at the last minute. When they are stopped they are then confused how to proceed. This happens so frequently that it is proof of a bad overall design.

This intersection does need a better configuration for all those who use it who are not "locals" to navigate safely.

Posted by Me, too, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

I have had many close calls over the years with drives who were confused by the configuration. A few have even tried to cross all the lanes to change direction, only to stop in the middle, nearly being broadsided, due to heavy traffic flow,in the opposite direction.

This area needs some traffic calming post-haste!

Posted by parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

Page Mill & I-280 is currently the single most dangerous intersection in or near Palo Alto. I applaud Caltrans for trying to make this safer. Shame on the NIMBYs for opposing their work. Also shame on Stanford for never delivering on the path that they promised to improve bicyclist/pedestrian safety at this intersection.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

Resident has it right. If you're a local, you know what to do - car or bike. A similar circumstance would be our goofy rail crossings at Churchill, Charleston and Meadow.

But it is easy to imagine that a non-resident/worker would get confused at 280/Page Mill or the railroad crossings.

Posted by never knew there was a problem, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:05 am

As a driver, I never knew other people saw the intersection as a problem. For me, the Page Mill/280 intersection is easy to navigate and super efficient precisely because there is no traffic light. The stop sign makes sense to me where it is because there really isn't much traffic south of the intersection. I'm sure the perspective from cyclists is dramatically different, but at least from a traffic flow perspective without consideration for safety, I've always seen the 280 onramp/offramp at Page Mill to be quick and easy.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:26 am

(former 38 year resident of P.A.)

Here's an idea: why not have a TEST/TRIAL period and see what happens. If it makes things better, keep it. If it makes things worse, lose it. DUH!

I'd bet that this same problem exists, and has been handled, in many other places in the state and country so that there are accepted and tested methods for dealing with it. I would trust highway engineers with a bigger scope of experience and knowledge and an approach which would be best for all, before I'd trust a few well-off, self-serving NIMBY-type people living nearby. Having lived there for 38 years I'm well acquainted with how the whining of a few well-off people can sway things against the best interests of the community as a whole. That's how the town went from so charming to a place of McMansions of those with plenty of money and very little taste.

Posted by maren, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

I agree with all of the bicyclists. This is a horrible intersection, especially heading west on Page Mill, having to merge across several lanes of traffic and ride in the middle of cars headed to the freeway. The bicycle/auto situation is insanity. It is almost as bad on Sand Hill Road at 280.
With so many of us who commute by bicycle, as well as ride recreationally, something has to be done to protect us.
In general I am not in favor of more traffic signals, but it time I think it is overdue, AS LONG AS A SENSIBLE WELL THOUGHT OUT SOLUTION FOR CYCLISTS (and the occasional pedestrian) is included.
Either that or we need a walled off lane for bikes, such as that installed on Channing at Alma, or a bicycle bridge.

Posted by Commuter Bob, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

Speeding in the area is rampant as people race to be first to the off ramp. Once again, drivers misbehaving then being mad that someone had to do so Death has also occurred here so I'm glad someone is looking out for those who don't just live in the immediate area. Should we wait until the next death or do something now? Your mom? Your kid? I would hope residents find preventing deaths in their community a benefit, not an inconvenience. Telling tale of the selfishness in some of the community. I for one cannot wait until that death ramp is fixed, because I drive it 2x per day, and yes, its a white knuckler due to the way people drive it. Hurry Cal Trans!

Posted by Not a problem, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

Notice how every time a topic deals with traffic we get the usual hysterically pronouncements, exaggeration and outright lies about drivers. Terms thrown around are reckless, death, cars blowing by, speeders, unsafe etc etc etec. Yet the facts about this intersection do not bear out these claims. Where is the data showing all the accidents happening at this intersection? There is no data, because many of the claims above are nt based on any real facts. They are just the usual scare tactics invoked by the usual suspects.

Posted by Ruth, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

No we don't want this. All this will do is attract the homeless. They know this would be a good spot to come and stand with there signs begging for money. Just like they do at the bottom of Sand Hill Rd.

Posted by Commuter Bob, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Not a problem, ask the family of the woman that was killed here last year if its a problem area. Check facts first before you proclaim safety.

Sorry some may have to actually view those less fortunate, but I'd rather have my kids mom come home to them, even if I may have to actually see a poor person with a sign asking for money...I'm just funny that way.

Posted by David, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Long overdue! And the notions of lost property values, degradation of the rural character, etc, are nonsense.

Posted by Not a problem, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Commuter bob-- what accident are you talking about? Provide a link to the news story for this event. As I said people come up with great fictional stories to try to make their point instead of letting the facts speak for themselves.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

He may have confused this intersection with the Alpine/280 bike/truck accident...

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm

This would make life easier for EVERYONE. Los Altos hills residents aren't worried because they don't sit in traffic on the off ramp for 20 minutes every morning. I guess I would be screaming "NIMBY!" if my property value was going to only go up a measly 24% this year :(

Posted by Not a problem, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Bob-- if you are sitting on the off ramp for 20 minutes each day, there would be horrific backups on 280. However we hear nothing in the daily traffic reports about these backups. I rest my case. Next factoid, please

Posted by A signal would help., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm

As a driver who uses this intersection about 1X/week transporting a child to a distant location on 280, I have had scary interactions with confused drivers who don't seem to know how to navigate the intersection. I think a signal would help.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm

@Not A Problem,

This is a FACT. I suggest you try driving up to Alpine, hopping on 280 South, then exiting Page Mill. The single lane off ramp is forced to split into two organic lanes that go against the striping, and these two lanes of traffic are OFTEN backed up all the way ON TO 280.

Check it out. It's real.

Posted by Not a problem, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Bob-- before it was sitting on the off ramp for 20 minutes EVERY day. Now it is OFTEN backed up to 280. Next. Of course the question is will a traffic light solve this problem or make it worse.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

@ NAP You are correct! Everyday the off ramp is backed up and splits into two lanes and takes 20 minutes to exit. OFTEN the two lanes are backed up well onto 280. Try it some time. I recommend hopping on 280 right at 8:15 for the full effect.


Posted by Barron Park mom, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I have had to go through this area many times over the past 7 years taking my kids to and from school. It is a challenging intersection due to the traffic load in the morning. It is easy to lose track of which car has right of way, esp if one is unfamiliar with the intersection. The placement of the bike lane and stop sign going west on Page Mill can confuse and surprise drivers and seems dangerous for cyclists. I am continually amazed that there haven't been more accidents. When my kids began driving they also found this intersection particularly challenging. I'd love to see smart traffic signals installed!

Posted by Srihari, a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

@Srihari Agreed! It's amazing that there is wealth of intelligence and resources in this area, yet the infrastructure reflects that of a medieval castle!

Posted by Mary VdB, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I get into close calls there as well fairly regularly, but I don't get that upset at the offenders because I know how confusing that area can be for drivers not familiar with it. I'm glad they are making it safer for everyone.
A signal makes good sense here.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm

A signal makes good sense where?

The first signal you will get is at the 4-way stop where traffic is exiting southbound 280. Right now traffic is metered to one or two cars at a time by the stop sign. When that offramp gets a dedicated green, there will be continuous batches of 40 to 60 cars coming onto Page Mill, soon to merge with the continuous stream entering Page Mill from northbound 280.

How does this help cars or cyclists negotiate all the other ramps? All the comments talk about "this intersection" as if it were one intersection when it's really half a dozen intersections spread over a quarter mile. We could put in more lights than a Christmas tree, and the confusion factor would be as high as ever.

If the intention is to alleviate the southbound off-ramp's F-rating during rush hours, then it's obvious that more vehicles on Page Mill will be the result.

Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

Overdue by about 20 YEARS. This intersection(s) is just too complex to allow the free-for-all to continue.

Probably the worst is the Southbound ramp with people going straight from the Left (turn only) lane.

A driver at that intersection has to watch Seven lanes of cars and 3 lanes of bikes. Turns from wrong lanes. Failure to signal (when a lane handles both turn and straight). Failure to wait their turn(yield to earlier arrival).

Nothing prevents the lights switching to Flashing Red (the intersection would logically be the same)at low traffic times (late night)

Posted by UMe, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

SteveU, I completely agree and luckily, so does CalTrans.

Posted by abitoverkill, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm

On first reading I thought "some controls" would be useful. On looking at the proposed signals and road rerouting, I'm afraid I consider this overkill.

I can understand trying to deal with the southbound 280 traffic that exits and turns left/east on Page Mill or goes straight on Arastradero. But consideration needs to be given to the 'clump' of cars that will need to merge into the single left lane going towards Palo Alto. And if the wait time is reduced for exiting 280 southbound at Page Mill, with that actually increase the number of cars?

On the eastern side of the exchange, I don't see the need for lights. And introducing a light before allowing Page Mill traffic from Palo Alto to go north on 280 seems ludicrous!

So I think there needs to be a lot more thinking about the layout. Again, as it is, I think it is more than is needed.

Posted by Need a car coalition, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

This project must implemented for the benefit of bicyclists and at the expense of drivers. The bike coalition will tell Jaime Rodriguez what they want and he will implement it. The city council will go,along because they believe that cars are evil. Maybe the council can bring back you-know-who to whine about " too much traffic"

Posted by Yunxi, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm

As motorist AND cyclist from another country this very tricky intersection.
I never see anything like this. To many automobile mix with to many bicycle spell trouble!
I vote for new signal soon as possible for safety for all us!

Posted by Robert, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I fully support this change.

The reason Caltrans is doing it is because of the daily backup all the way back up the hill and ~ 200 yards onto 280. It's every work day. I normally don't end up there, but earlier this year after dropping someone SFO early we came back that way. Yikes! Hundreds of non-residents heading to Stanford Business Park are stuck in that dangerous situation every morning.

The reason for the additional lights is to enable a pedestrian access through the intersection. There is currently no safe pedestrian access from Old Page Mill Road on the East side through the interchange. None. The only bicycle access is to behave like a vehicle in the middle of 40 mph traffic. That's ok for some, but scary for most.

The lights that would halt westbound traffic on Page Mill Expressway will be green except when there is bike or pedestrian traffic. Expect a very long green cycle on that light, and no significant impact on traffic flow. It will be green more than the light before it at Deer Creek.

With the change there will be a safe pedestrian access, and bicyclists who would rather not ride with the traffic can use the sidewalk as well. (It is almost always legal to ride on the sidewalk IF you ride in a way compatible with pedestrians).

With this change it will be reasonable to travel from the Stanford Dish area around to Arastradero Preserve by walking or gentle bike riding, without going 1/2 mile out of the way by trail to Purissima and Arastradero. Or, if Los Altos residents want to get to the Dish trail, they won't need to drive their cars to get there safely.

This is a fabulous improvement for all kinds of traffic. The main thing for Los Altos Hills residents is that they will not get to jump ahead of the 140 cars backed up onto the freeway any more if they head down to Palo Alto in the morning. I guess that can really ruin your day, and the rural character of your freeway interchange.

Posted by Hills driver and cyclist, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm

As a resident of Palo Alto Hills and also a cyclist on weekends, I do not support this change. A traffic light at this intersection would back-up traffic on the Hills leading to potential accidents involving both cars and accidents near Arastradero. It would also mean that when the light is green for those coming from 280 South into Page Mill, those cars would be driving even more like maniacs to get to their work meetings. The stop signs are not confusing at all, only to those who don't know how to drive. Put a traffic light there and you'll have a nightmare traffic situation and cyclists run over by crazy drivers speeding through yellow lights.

Posted by good idea, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm

This is my backyard. I live in this neighborhood, and I support a traffic signal at this intersection. It is dangerous and frustrating.

1. cyclists need to be protected. Most do not obey the stop sign, they slow down, but do not come to a full stop. There is high risk for a cyclist to be hit by a motor vehicle, if the cyclist enters the intersection without stopping at the stop sign. Maybe they don't see the stop sign clearly.
2. a traffic signal will provide a more clear and obvious reason for cyclists to enter, or not enter, the intersection.
*exception* when a police car is parked at this intersection, the cyclists recognize the stop signs.

1. Residents here don't want to wait longer exiting the neighborhood on Page Mill -- that part of the 4-way stop sign intersection has a short wait.
2. Exiting the neighborhood, I usually wait my turn at that stop sign usually double, sometimes triple-fold, because many drivers on the 280 off-ramp will enter the intersection immediately, once they roll to a stop -- no matter how many other cars at the other stop signs have already been at a full stop.
3. Placement of a signal will make that wait longer. But at least it will be clear for all 4 segments of this giant intersection -- when cars are allowed, or not, to enter the intersection. A traffic light will reduce confusion, frustration, and danger.
*exception* when a police car is parked at this intersection, all cars will recognize the stop signs.

Posted by Paranoia Will Destroya, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2014 at 8:28 am

Hey, Need a car coalition, its not a city decision. CalTrans is making this happen. They own it. Fail.

Posted by Not a problem, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2014 at 8:42 am

Paranoia-- the story states thatbthe proposal is from state, county and city officials, so sounds like it is more than just caltrans. Epic fail.
Anyway, does anyone know where the lights will be placed? This is not a simple intersection.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2014 at 9:10 am

Just spent some time looking at the aerial view picture attached to the article.

This is a large intersection and I hadn't realized just how many homes were that close. The other thing is that this intersection is very different for those who are traveling straight along Page Mill and those who are entering Page Mill from 280 or elsewhere.

For those who travel straight along Page Mill it is confusing if you do not know what to expect - as visitors might. For those exiting 280 for the first time it is confusing also.

For those who use it all the time it is easy enough.

Therefore, to really understand what they are going to do, we need to see where the lights are going to be and what each light sequence will do to (a) through traffic and (b) traffic entering Page Mill from any one of the different ramps.

I use Page Mill to drive through to Foothill Park and also as my main NB 280 route. I also use it coming off 280 from San Jose as I no longer do the 280/85/101 thing as it is too onerous with the construction.

I can't say I have used it in high commute times so am not familiar with the problems at that time.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

For where lights might go, need to look at the 5.5 megabyte pdf that's linked in the article -- Web Link

Page 13 and 14 of the Fehr & Peers I-280/Page Mill Interchange Feasibility Study shows four traffic light options regarded as feasible. The first is the obvious signalization of the 4-way stop. The next options would signalize and reconfigure ramps on the east side of 280, so that cyclists would not be transitioning across streams of 50-mph traffic. (For maximum confusion, see the "Diverging Diamond" configuration depicted in Fig 9.)

The study gives current traffic statistics, like peak flow of 3300 cars per hour coming down Page Mill in the morning rush. Looks like the highest bike traffic is about one every five minutes in the afternoon. Southbound-280 exit in the morning backs up over half a mile with an 8-minute or more delay. Giving this bottleneck a green light I believe would overwhelm everything downstream. Plenty more drivers would choose this exit if it weren't so backed up every day.

Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2014 at 10:28 am

SteveU is a registered user.

To me, it looks like #4 has the best chance of meeting future traffic needs.
The 'Expressway' design has been implemented in a number of places in Santa Clara county with good results (and amazingly, not really long delays).
The only losers I see are to those that blow through the stop signs.

Eliminating the cloverleaf ramp merges should further reduce sideswipe collisions and allow the drivers full attention on getting up to proper Freeway merging speeds. I see this as another Win.

Posted by Anders, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

@good idea. Very clear and reasonable post. The signal is definitely needed

Posted by Resident of LAH, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

I would normally agree with the comments thus far, however this is not about a traffic light.

Have you wondered why this traffic is becoming progressively worse?

This Caltrans Project will enable Palo Alto and Stanford to gain approvals for additional high-density projects along this corridor.

Great for The City of Palo Alto's and Stanford's lucretive revenue stream.

Bad for Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto residents.

The Page Mill / 280 corridor is the only access artery to and from North Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto Estates.

Los Altos Hills residents have formed a website www.Page Mill/ to oppose the Page Mill Signalization Project. To date, over 500 Los Altos Hills residents have signed petitions in opposition to the signal project.

Palo Alto residents have formed a website to oppose rezoning these massive commercial and planned developments based on traffic congestion and other concerns.

Palo Alto's "High-Density Development Plan" and Stanford's 4,000 acre "Compact Urban Development Plan" is not what residents want.

"Palo Alto, the next San Jose" will impact traffic, fresh water and electrical supply, sewer and treatment capacity and emergency support. There is not enough infrastructure to support this irresponsible growth.

Where will Palo Alto's new "planned epicenter" be located? Page Mill Road just east of El Camino. Where will Palo Alto's and Stanford's other high-density commercial projects be located? The Page Mill Road corridor from El Camino to the 280. What would the City of Palo Alto, Stanford, the Big Developers, and Santa Clara County need to approve this big revenue, high-density new city center ? The Page Mill Road Corridor and the 280 exchange.

Residents do not want our arteries turned into Super Highways, commercial buildings rezoned into high-density commercial projects, and high-density planned developments built to support the high-density commercial projects.

Call us anything you want...nimbys...rural advocates...environmentalists...when you see the irresponsible spike of development, the Compact Urban Goal that is about to will thank the people that are taking their good time and efforts to make this "untold truth" public.

So this IS NOT A SIGNAL, it is the key to a lucretive agenda and a change larger then can be imagined. One of which, hasn't been honestly shared.

Bike paths are not bike paths and signalization is not a signal light, they are facades. They are mitigations (minipulations)so that traffic studies submitted by BIG Developers for massive development can be approved. Take the time to look at the traffic studies enabling these approvals...350 Page Mill for example.

The development plan is irresponsible and the residents will suffer the consenquences. This is a very serious issue.

This is devisive politics at it's best.

Posted by Voters Change Things, a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 11:32 am

Reminds me of the groups hell bent on widening the section of 101 through Northern CA Redwood forests, needing to remove trees in order to do so.
There is no need based on the traffic and locals use, but once you open it up to wide axle trailer tractors (who cannot use it currently)the area can begin much easier massive growth. To date the Richardson Grove has been saved.

Though 101 up there is fine as is due to such little use, I still think the PM/280 area needs help in the form of traffic signals. Voters just need to, as always, keep an eye on the developers and VOTE FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO CAN SAY NO TO THESE DEVELOPERS!!!

Posted by Getting smart, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

Thank you for this perspective, Resident of LAH. It certainly makes me think and want to look into this more. I have been suspicious of anything supported by Stanford for years, and my trust in our CC has totally eroded since I retired and have had time to look into what's been going on. One has only to scratch the surface to get a glimpse of an underlying money-driven agenda behind seemingly reasonable improvements all over town, such as the push to build a superbridge at Newell. Chat venues like this help us all think things through and question the bigger picture. The foxes are in the hen house for sure.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Marie is a registered user.

This traffic light at this very poorly designed and confusing intersection is long overdue. The traffic exists. It is not going away. New office buildings in the pipeline will draw more traffic. It needs to be managed. For the 24 years I've lived in Palo Alto, I've never understood why there was no light at the exit of 280 on Page Mill. True, to relieve the backup on 280, there will now be more backup at Foothill and beyond, but that is the price of development. It's safer to be backed up on Page Mill, than on 280.

I firmly believe Palo Alto needs no more new office buildings. It does need more low and moderate income housing, if for nothing else, to replace the low and moderate income residents in Casa Olga, displaced by the new Epiphany Hotel and the Buena Vista Mobile Home, soon to be displaced by luxury apartments, since our city council seems to be unwilling to do anything to stop this development. To continue the backup on 280, in order to make it easier to for wealthy residents near the intersection, is once more sacrificing the public at large for the 1%. As they sow, so shall they reap.

Posted by Roundabout, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

What about converting these intersections to roundabouts? They have had success with these in a variety of cities throughout the state. I believe it would be more effective than what is there now without the need for traffic lights as it will keep traffic moving in all directions.

Web Link

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

>> "New office buildings in the pipeline will draw more traffic. It needs to be managed."

One way to manage the traffic is maintaining this choke-point at the 280 exit. Thousands of drivers are obviously tolerating the current back-up. There's an additional pool of disgruntled commuters who have elected to exit at Alpine or Sand Hill or take 101 or even (the horror) public transit. Those drivers over the edge will return if this back-up is lessened. I strongly suspect the traffic flow rate onto Page Mill could be doubled and we'd soon have enough returning or new commuters there to continue the present degree of back-up. The amount of development is a bottomless pit.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I agree with Roundabout from Menlo Park that a roundabout would be a good idea for this intersection. They work well in Europe, but is the average American driver smart enough to use one correctly?

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm

How would a bicyclist get across a roundabout of constant merging at 3000 cars per hour? Any safer than crossing those existing high-speed on and off-ramps? Two or three roundabouts would be necessary for the whole interchange. The point of a light or stop sign is at least some semblance of a pause in the action.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Correction - the average American driver or bicyclist.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 6:17 pm


Posted by rural indeed, a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I'm just trying to figure out the rural part of this area. Rural like the freeway cutting through Los Altos Hills? Right?
Maybe I need to google the word "rural", and see if there is a photo of a 4 lane freeway describing the word.

While I'm at it, please fix this intersection, make it safer for everybody.

Posted by LAH Resident, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 21, 2014 at 6:51 am

This is not as difficult a solution as it seems. Once again, there is not enough infrastructure to support this growth. Period. Period. Period.

There are 12 active PA policemen on duty at one time. Think about this. Think about the millions in population growth in residents and commuters that this mass expansion will bring. It would be nice to think that only "nice" people will arrive. An overwhelming percentage of PA residents are seniors. 50% are now renters. Do you see this picture?

Most of the residents have no idea of the scary growth and massive expansion that is about to occur at Stanford and in Palo Alto.

A severe drought is occurring. The water districts have said that PA water supply is at capacity. Water supplies in case of natural disasters ie earthquakes and fires is cited as inadequate. This is why PA is running around and digging emergency wells all over the place.

Wonder why PA residents are going bonkers over electrical increases?

How about school capacity, water waste treatment?

This is all linked to irresponsible and dangerous growth.

Residents of PA and LAH at both ends of the Page Mill Corridor are coming together. NBC News published an interview. Many papers are reporting. More will come.

When responsibility is restored, when residents can worry about preserving trees instead of mass transit, crime, and massive expansion, then we will have solved this intersection and the many problems to come.

In the meantime, read and support and is something amazing afoot. Be part of it.

NO roundabouts, no flyovers, no signalization. AT LEAST FOR NOW. Do not solve the problems of the Council that has and will continue to cause them.

Residents of LAH and PA can and will stop the root of this and THE MANY PROBLEMS TO COME.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2014 at 8:28 am

Resident of LAH has it exactly right about the bigger picture. This
also includes all the excessive signage and street markings changing the character and look of our neighborhoods turning them into commute zones and more dangerous.

Yesterday I was going eastbound on Channing at Addison where the City has installed commercial or industrial zone looking yellow striped barriers in the middle of a residential street,and an SUV coming toward me westbound either got confused by the barrier or just tried to beat me to the Addison intersection and make a left turn in front of me. The driver instead of going around the barrier which is not that easy on the narrow street, cut sharply left in front of it. I was startled and had to hit the brakes to avoid a head-on collision on this residential street.

The heavily marked and excessively signed intersection at Channing/Webster
is now much more dangerous than a simple 4-way stop. I drive through there often. All the sign clutter together with the street paint is distracting and confusing especially to cross-street traffic on Webster even with additional signage which warns drivers it is not a 4-way stop.

The increasing traffic and the City's response together are destroying the look and safety of our neighborhoods in a process just feeding on itself.
What is happening to this City is truly shocking.

Posted by Getting Smart, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

Election day can't come soon enough.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

Besides backing up two lanes deep on I-280 in the morning commute, this intersection is a safety disaster because of vehicles who ignore right-of-way rules. I'm surprised there isn't a daily accident there.

Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:36 am

I drive to Foothill College a few days a week and this intersection absolutely needs a light. Very few drivers seem to get the "take your turn" aspect of 4 way stops unless there is a cop there (which happens frequently in the morning). With the size of the lots west of 280, there will be little impact on the "rural" aspect of those residents.

As far as further commercial development occurring on Page Mill from 280 to El Camino, that is the perfect, appropriate spot for dense office parks. Easy access to a major highway, nice wide road with bike lanes and sidewalks it is already full of office parks with ample parking, it is on bus routes, it is walking distance to Caltrain station, and it is not residential area.

Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Not fixing this intersection is NOT the way to fix uncontrolled growth in the area.

I totally agree with limiting further business (headcount) growth. That is a separate (and complex) issue that needs to address mandates that have been made by out of local region agencies. Does Santa Clara county need to succeed from California to gain back the right to say NO! to mandated growth?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

This topic was under discussion yesterday amongst friends and the idea of a roundabout was mentioned by a very well traveled European. Agreement was reached that a roundabout would work almost anywhere else on the planet except in the USA or in particular around here for the reasons mentioned by posters.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:06 am

The article fails to mention that the intersection for the past 5 years was rated in the lowest safety catagory (least accidents) as compared to other intersections with or without lights. People exaggerating accidents here are uninformed.

People go through this intersection very slowly and carefully because they are forced to stop. If an accident did occur, it would be a slight fender bender at these speeds. Drivers pass intersections with lights at full speed or they speed up to make the light. Those accidents are generally very severe and/or fatal if cyclists or pedestrians are involved. If you read the stats on the light controlled intersections along Page Mill and San Antonio, you will see that the lit intersections have 4 times the accidents and they are recorded by TASAS as severe. I would rather wait at a stop sign then see drivers flying through the intersection trying to make a green light to get on the ramp.

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