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The new traffic light to Paly

Original post made by Michele on Dec 7, 2009

With the new traffic light only 5-6 cars can turn left into Paly from Embarcadero in the morning. Because of that, there is a huge traffic jam in starting at 7:30am, and kids get out of the cars in the middle of the lanes. I called the traffic guys and they said they are aware of the problem and the city engineer doesn't let them change the lights. I left a voice mail to the engineer but he never got back to me.
Before someone will get hurt, can someone take care of it?

Comments (59)

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm

How about turning into one of the side streets and letting the kids walk 1/4 mile to school instead of driving into Paly.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:20 am

Michele -

Who is the city engineer and what is the phone number? We can all call about this.

It took me 10 minutes to get from the underpass into the Paly parking lot. And yes, the kids can be dropped off and walk, but if you are in the left lane on Embaradero, there is no where to turn to the left and I don't want my child getting out in the middle of Embarcadero.

And 5-6 cars is being generous, I usually see only 4 making the turn.


Posted by Judy, a resident of Southgate
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:05 am

Hooray to the Paly parent who suggested avoiding the parking lot on Embarcadero entirely and having the kids walk a few blocks!


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

There should be a crossing guard, and part of their job should be making sure kids aren't getting out of cars in the middle of the street. Parents driving their kids to school who cant wait 10 minutes seem to be the problem, not traffic lights. Since Christmas is coming up, why don't you buy your kid a bicycle?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

Some mornings, the traffic on Embarcadero backs up from the Town and Country light all the way to Cowper. Most other mornings it is at least past Bryant (including people who block the intersection of Bryant and Embarcadero and the bike lane).

Its fine to tell the kids to take an alternate route, bike or walk. But what about the people who aren't heading to Paly at all, but are now stuck in a huge, new, daily traffic jam because of these lights? What about the teachers who drive to school? The rest of the employees... And what about the Paly kids who drive to school? They are also stuck in the traffic. There are not a lot of alternative routes if you are heading to Stanford.


Posted by citizen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:24 am

Why are we talking about work arounds or blaming it on lazy kids? The city engineer obviously needs to adjust the light timing to accommodate the morning rush hour. If enough people call the engineer, they'll fix it.

BTW, there are not enough bike racks to handle the number of bikers going to Paly at this time.


Posted by Walk /bike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:33 am

I like the walk suggestion. Get in the right lane on Embarcadero, turn to the right and drop off nearby and avoid the campus left-turn signal altogether. A high school age kid can cross a street safely with a signal. There's a good sidewalk there.

Why are these kids being driven to school anyway? How long is their commute that they need to go by car at all?



Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:37 am

Since the light was just put in, I am sure the city will adjust once they have collected some data on how it effects traffic flow. People already neglect the 25mph speed limit so people need to adjust to what the status quo is. You can find something wrong in every situation if that is how you want to spend your life, or you can adjust, adapt, overcome. Don't whine.


Posted by Green Commuter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:54 am

Buy a bike!


Posted by bill, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm

the City needs to get a light that is programmable AND use the extra capability intelligently: i.e., on Saturday do not have a Paly light when no one is there. I experienced that already. You sit and wait for the light to change even though no one is/was there. The City Manager needs to get involved if the Department is not capable of making a "judgment" decision. In the meantime...the drivers are waiting.........


Posted by john, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 2:47 pm

another problem that needs addressing is coordinating the newly installed lights with the lights that allow students to cross between school and town & country. i have seen numerous times where the student-crossing light will be red, causing a backup in the small space while the new light is green going forward, while it would be more effecient to have the other side of the new light green.

all in all, the timing of the new lights needs to be adjusted, and there needs to be a cohesive coordination between the new ones and the crossing light that was already there.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

It's ridiculous to have lines of cars waiting in both directions to go straight on Embarcadero while the left turn arrows (for turns into T&C and Paly) are on for a cycle with NO cars waiting to turn left in either direction... this just isn't smart planning -- why doesn't the left turn signal only respond to an actual car wanting to turn left in each cycle? Just in the last few days, I've been through this intersection, and at least half the time have observed this phenomenon.


Posted by Driker, a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Why are there so many traffic issues in Palo Alto? Just seems like the city doesn't fit into its clothes.


Posted by Nosmog, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Get your kids a warm coat and an umbrella, sensible shoes, and let them walk to school.
There is no 'divine right of driving' folks. The automobile is a privilege and a curse. What message do we send ambulatory 13-18 year old kids if they are driven to school- that they will be in a pampered bubble all the way from Paly to grad school to the next upper class ghetto?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Paly kids are only a small part of the equation. The lights are an issue for anyone traveling past Town and Country.


Posted by resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Not all of us have kids at Paly or can bike 100 percent of the time. Some of us have elderly parents who cannot bike, or twin babies, etc. Sometimes driving is the only choice. Let's stick to the facts - there is a crazy backup now and there wasn't before the light was put in. Period. The City Manager/Engineer needs to fix this.

For those of you upset about the Paly kids not walking/biking to school - I'm with you - I grew up walking in midwestern snowstorms.. etc.... but this is scapegoating - the light is poorly timed.


Posted by Trader Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm


Why is anyone surprised by this latest fiasco. The Paly light was brought to you by the same city govt that massacred the Cal Ave trees!

I thought I was the dumbest person in PA, but there are at least a few others of similar limitations working at city hall...


Posted by frustrated, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

the issue has nothing to do with whether or not kids are driven to Paly. It has everything to do with a set of new lights that were put in because of the new trader joes and which are not properly tuned. the problem effects EVERYONE that drives through that intersection. I just drove home today (traveling east) and it took nearly 10 minutes to go across El Camino and under the train tracks. one of the problems is that the new lights are not pressure sensitive, they simply go through their times regardless of how many cars are waiting at the intersection (even when there are no cars waiting they go through their sequence). the other problem is that the new traffic lights are not synchronized with the older crosswalk lights. each one of them goes off on their own sequence. the city needs to fix this


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Relax, it is Christmas and TJ is great for Christmas family shopping, PAUSD Christmas vacation is next week.
Plenty of time to fix any light timing problems over the Christmas holiday.


Posted by timing is everything, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Here's the real scoop from a traffic engineer:
The controller for the new light has not arrived, so the lights are running on fixed times until it can be installed. This should be soon.

The reason the light was made operational before the controller was installed was that Trader Joes opened last Friday. Imagine the fury of the drivers if there were no way to turn left out of the Town and Country driveway because the traffic signal was not activated!

Meanwhile, for the last few days of school at Paly, parents who can't imagine asking their pampered teens to bike to school should try turning right on Bryant or Emerson and seeing how much more time they have in their own day. Or carpool. Or leave home ten minutes earlier and be amazed. Lots of options other than blaming others while contributing unnecessary fumes and CO2 in a backed up line of cars.

Peace and joy to all.


Posted by Solutions, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2009 at 5:19 am

"Meanwhile, for the last few days of school at Paly, parents who can't imagine asking their pampered teens to bike to school should try turning right on Bryant or Emerson and seeing how much more time they have in their own day. Or carpool. Or leave home ten minutes earlier and be amazed. Lots of options other than blaming others while contributing unnecessary fumes and CO2 in a backed up line of cars."

If this traffic mess happened to you on your commute to work....

Would your pampered co-workers (and you perhaps?) take kindly to a suggestion that their pampered dierrie's could all just ride bikes? Or should you all then run amuck on back/side streets while late and needlessly endanger people?

In case you haven't noticed it has been raining lately. My wife left about 20 minutes later than usual to take our kid to Paly and still 10 minutes late. (My kid usually does walk home, but in the AM it fits with my wife's work commute and the AM bedlam management for them to ride together).

I don't necessarily want to see heads roll, but a bit of blame is warranted. Perhaps the opening of Trader Joes should have been delayed until school break, or the new controller arrived?

Ya think?

(BTW I've been bike commuting now for over 15 years. It's what I do but I don't get all arrogant about it or try to force it on my kids.)


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 6:49 am

The traffic there is no worse than it was 8-10 years ago when there was no light, and almost all the Paly kids got to school by car. Embarcadero had huge backups every mornin. As more and more Paly kids switched to bikes the backups eased and everybody forgot about them.

The City can't control when TJs opens. Don't blame the traffic engineer for that!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

Even without a light that entrance to Paly backs up to Bryant on a rainy day. So back when I used to drop off on rainy days how did we deal with it. Rather than fight a losing battle we adjusted.

These 3 strategies all seemed to work. 1. Use the Churchhill entrance instead. 2. Turn right into T&C and drop off near the ped crosswalk have they walk in from that point. 3. Arrive 15 minutes earlier. Maybe the new light dynamics have changed this, but 15 minutes was all it took to experience a reasonable backup.
That entrance will always be bad, it can only accomidate so many cars at a time, light or no light.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:16 am

The traffic at T&C and Paly was the best when there were NO lights and the students had to cross at El Camino.

Since they have known about this light forever, why weren't the controllers ordered in time for turning them on?


Posted by Cindy, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:40 am

For those who offered to buy bikes to kids, do you bike around town in 32 degrees?
If the city put a traffic light with turns to Paly, that's because there is a need for one. Therefore the city should know how to make it work. If the city would have just sent someone to look at it, and see how insane the traffic is now every morning on Embarcadero.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:47 am

This new light situation just underscores the fact that Paly as a campus is not designed to get nearly 2,000 students plus staff to arrive within a 15 minute window.

Our schools are growing and even if we get more classrooms and more staff, we are not going to be able to fix this problem of transporting kids to school the way we do now.

The number of bikes at each light change crossing Alma in the mornings is incredible. There is not enough space for the bikes to wait at Churchill and then the bike lane cannot cope with the volume when the light changes. The fact that vehicles must turn left between 7.30 and 8.00 makes little difference on Wednesdays and Thursdays when school starts at 8.15 and 8.45 plus the fact that many, many vehicles ignore the rule and drive straight anyway.

Parents who insist on driving their kids to school, also insist on driving onto campus rather than using a sidestreet and making their kids walk a block or two, but once again, there is not enough space at Churchill for all the bikes and all the pedestrians to wait - particularly as the light sequence is always interrupted by trains and the wait can be much longer than the regular sequence.

When the controller for the light on Embarcadero arrives and the lights are better sequenced, it is not going to alter the fact that there will be more and more people trying to get to Paly and also T & C. A few years ago there was a ghost town feeling in T & C whereas now it is vital. All these businesses have their employees arriving, possibly by the same means as the students, at the same time as the students, and this intersection is only going to get busier.

We must get better public transportation in Palo Alto. The shuttles are a free service and do not serve all areas of the City. If we could expand the shuttles and cover the costs by sensible charges, then a great deal of our morning traffic commute problems around Paly (and Gunn) could be alleviated. Students getting to school by bus would make a great deal of sense. At present, the buses and shuttles cannot alleviate the problem as what is presently available is also crowded.


Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of Ventura
on Dec 9, 2009 at 9:47 am

Just between you and me, my kid is riding his bike to school in the tropical 32 degree dry weather. Quit hovering over your kids so much.


Posted by Former Paly Student, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:30 am

Yes when i was going to Paly I biked in the cold and in the rain.


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Cindy, I bike commuted to Stanford for 8 years in cold, heat, rain, or shine. Then when I got home I ride 10-30-60 miles for fun. Its called weather, deal with it.

I would rather see a thriving T&C shopping center, I am less concerned about a little traffic. Parents are complaining about the light, but I am sure they are also giving there kids 5 bucks a day and telling them to just go to TJs for lunch and buy some sushi.


Posted by bridge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm

The best thing for pedestrian and bicycle safety would be to install a pedestrian bicycle bridge from Paly to the T&C side. There's plenty of room for it on the Paly and T&C side. Then start ticketing all who insist on illegally crossing the street instead of using the bridge. Construction could be done w/o interfering with traffic by having a factory built bridge/overpass installed.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:32 pm

The traffic light screw-up isn't the end of the world. But a screw up nonetheless.

To everyone who wants to react per either a busy-body (great chance to get on a high horse and tell others how they should live) or a whiner (blather on about "kids today"---other people's kids that is)..I just have to wonder... if the situation arose where your daily car commute got similarly fouled up would you be so complacent?

Is it even conceivable that this traffic screw-up would ever have occurred and impacted University Ave.?

I hereby declare Embarcadero Road to be the NEW North/South divide as regards Palo Alto!

The proof is that this inhumane and cruel disparity could ever occur!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:51 pm

A bit hyperbolic dont you think?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Of course, that is the point.

Like in fly-fishing, just trying to "match the hatch".


Posted by wallyneedle, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

why is the light even the issue. trader joe's and the shopping center without adequate parking is the issue. and why are parent driving high school students to school anyway. are they 8 years old?


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I havent had a problem parking at Trader Joe's yet, and its better then a few years ago when that parking was always empty. Gladly, I will ride my bike there as well. I think its great that the center has had such a big boost in the last year, with University Avenue storefronts going empty, and the abandoned mall on Alma. I gladly embrace the new store and accept the lights that accompany it. If a traffic light is your biggest problem, then count your blessings.


Posted by Engineer, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Hey Bridge,

There is already a pedestrian bridge available between the T&C entrance and the Caltrain. The City built it, and the more recent pedestrian signal, as part of upgrading bicycle/pedestrian routes through Palo Alto.

To others, why delay TJ's and forgo holiday tax revenue? Or have you already forgotton about the City's budget problems?


Posted by shopper, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm

My biggest irritation with the light is that there are no triggers. I'll be sitting at the light at midnight with no one else around yet I have to wait for it to let the non existent Paly and Town & Country traffic go, then wait for the left turn arrow to go, then finally continue to go straight. It's just a big traffic mess.


Posted by MeMe, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:10 am

When I went to Paly in the early '70s my brother and I walked from our home on Washington Avenue up Alma to Paly -- rain or shine, whether the temperature was 32 degrees or 82 degrees. If it was raining we put on ponchos. Kids who lived further away rode their bikes. There was no flotilla of chauffeur-driven SUVs getting 12 miles per gallon ferrying kids to school.

Just sayin'.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:44 am

There are no chauffeur driven anythings at Paly and fewer SUV's all the time. There are a lot of old Volvo's that mom used to drive when the now JR or SR was in kindergarten. Lots of old Hondas, Toyotas, etc.

I used to walk to school too - in Wisconsin - and its a lot colder there. I still like driving my son to school, I hear lots of what is happening in his life. If it costs me a little gas to stay close to my kid, so be it. I'll save it gas in other ways.

And I think it is safe to say that this intersection is used by mostly drivers other then Paly Students and parents. It doesn't work well for ANYONE driving down Embarcadero.


Posted by bambi, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2009 at 11:49 am

Well I am happy to hear someone will be addressing this situation.
The left turn light off of Embarcadero into the T&C Center left us sitting time after time without ever changing at all while alllights in the other directions changed. Maybe 10 minutes until we all decided to run the light as it was never going to change risking a ticket. Obviously the timing is way off and i will be patient for the engineer to arrive and address. But not sure we needed to rush for the Grand Opening of Trader Joes. This seems more of a ness than once was.


Posted by hoover School parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Do not take Kellogg Avenue!!!!!!
I need to drive my kid to Hoover School everyday and need to turn Left on Kellogg. Since the last couple of weeks there is a line on Kellogg avenue from Waverley to go Left on Alma and go to Paly that starts as early as Hoover Elementary. I live my car parked on the street everyday and turned to Alma and have to get in like the disney movie Wall'E and I will continue doing that until the Palo Alto high School parents get out of my street.


Posted by MeMe, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

palo alto mom: if mom or dad is driving then they are in effect the "chauffeur" -- you seem to have missed that reference.

It's great that you get to bond with your kid during the drive but in our family there was always time to talk to my (divorced) mom when we walked to Paly and Jordan and rode our bikes to Walter Hays. In addition, walking and biking intoduced no vehicle emssions into the atmosphere and consumed no gasoline which was more plentiful 40 years ago.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Hoover parent - unfortunately, you'll have to leave earlier for school until this gets resolved, we are leaving 15 minutes earlier every day and hit a lot less traffic (although only 4-5 cars make it into the Paly parking lot with each arrow...)

MeMe - I understood your derogatory meaning of chauffeur. I'm not a chauffeur, I'm a parent. Although I do think its great that your mom walked you to school even in high school.

For some reason, too many people on this forum assume that all the Paly kids are spoiled (chauffeured) and rich. They are not.


Posted by Walk and Bike, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Get out and walk and bicycle, Palo Alto, instead of sitting in your car stuck in traffic!!


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Unfortunately, I have very little sympathy for those who have chosen to put their children in a school which is outside their neighborhood, e.g. Hoover. You chose to do this. There are a lot more in Palo Alto who had no choice but to end up in a school across town.

We have 3 middle schools and they are fairly well spread out across town and very few middle schoolers are more than a reasonable walking/biking distance across town. There are only 3 grades in each school and although Jordan and JLS are growing in size, they are nowhere near the size of Paly and Gunn.

Paly and Gunn are our only two high schools. They are fairly well distanced from each other, but they are both the same side of the one obstacle that causes traffic problems, namely the Caltrain tracks. This means that approximately half our high schoolers need to cross these tracks every day. In the morning commute there are a large number of trains that can increase the commute for students at our grade crossings, regardless of whether they are on bikes, walking, buses or cars. These two schools are also growing rapidly with four grades in each and getting on for 2,000 students. Neither schools has easy access for this number of students to get their in a 15 minute window.

Some parents, for reasons they feel are important, consider driving their almost adults into the campuses every morning. This is what is clogging up our commutes and on weekdays when there is no school, I imagine that for those driving around town during commute hour, it is a breeze.


Posted by Gunn sympathizer, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I biked my first year of high school. Let me tell you that is NOT FUN in the winter. Worse yet, if it rains, then after 2.5 miles of cold rain, you've gotta get your frozen hands working again so you can lock up your bike (otherwise it'll be stolen faster than free boxes of pizza laying around the quad during lunch).

It's almost a blessing after that to have PE, as at least you'll change out of your drenched clothes and in a semi-warm gym, as opposed to some cold-portable which has its temperature moderated by some teacher that wants to conserve energy.

I believe Paly has kids commuting all of the way from Loma Verde and 101. That's probably ~4 miles of biking, and a good 20 minutes, factoring traffic conditions.


Anyone "smart" enough to recommend buses obviously hasn't ever taken one for extended periods during rush hour. I've seen the 88 bus pass by whole stops with ~10 people waiting because the bus is already bursting at the seams with people. Gunn subsidizes ~50% of the cost for month bus passes, but I am not sure the same thing happens at Paly, so any Paly kids who want to ride will have to fork over the full $40 each month, or pay $1.50 per ride on the 35. And on top of that, they'll have to work out the bus schedule - if they're late by a second, the bus is gone, and you've missed your first period class.


Posted by Commuter, a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I called the Palo Alto traffic office the 3rd day of the traffic mess and was shocked they knew nothing of the problems these two lights are now causing...they were oblivious and said no one went out to check the situation after the new traffic light was turned on. Even before they turned on the new light to the mall, I was thinking to myself "these two lights are way too close to each other and will cause problems." So someone w/ a degree in traffic engineering didn't realize this?? My goodness who do you employ in Palo Alto? The "engineer" told me it will be several weeks before the problems are fixed - they didn't think to order a piece of equipment to synchronize the two lights to help traffic move through more efficiently...they forgot. A few weeks...into 2010.


Posted by old skool, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Are the days gone when I rode my trusty 22lb. 10 speed from Loma verde/greer to the bike racks at paly in 10 minutes flat? 15 minutes at a brisk but steady pace...It's 3 miles...LOL, had gym first period so I could wash up the sweat. I finally got my 125cc motor cycle at 16 and that was heaven...although, it only saved about 2 minutes once I had to obey the traffic signals and all..LOL...ahh the good ole days. Here's a tip kiddies, when it gets down in the 30's, wear a scarf...they work.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 12, 2009 at 7:51 am

We drive our kids - but my wife does it since she has to drive that route to get to work - carpooling. We often take a neighbor as well. If you're going to drive, why not carpool?

The problem was not nearly as bad before the signal went in. Hopefully the fix will solve most of the problem and those of you have nothing better to do than complain can find somebody else to pick on.

Unless you ride your bike on a side street (as I do most days on my way to Stanford), the ride to the Paly/T&C area is very dangerous. There are no bike lanes on Embarcadero and using the sidewalk is often dangerous due to pedestrians and the cars not seeing you as you cross the intersections.


Posted by Paly09, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 8:21 am

I'm a recent Paly alum who biked to Paly from Loma Verde near Middlefield for 4 years. I found that it took more or less the same amount of time to bike to school as it did to drive because the traffic headed towards Paly was so bad. When it rained, it was even quicker to bike than it was to drive, so I would bike to school and my jeans would be soaking wet by the time I got to school and I would have to sit in them all morning. While I think that it is important for students to bike to school, especially since Palo Alto is so bike-friendly, it isn't fair to expect all students to come to school wet and disheveled because of the rain. I agree that it would be unacceptable to ask adults to do the same thing, and students have no time to take a shower and change at school before classes. My point is, there are various reasons why students will need to be driven to school. Besides inclement weather, some students need to bring posters, large musical instruments, food for activities, or other unwieldy items to school, and the only way to do this is by driving to school. I'm incredibly surprised by how harsh some of the posters have been toward students who drive or are driven to school. The commute to Paly is difficult for everybody, be it because of traffic, crossing busy roads, or because it is long. Everybody is just trying to avoid being tardy and getting dropped from their 1st period class. Please have a bit of sympathy. Paly students are not the entitled monsters that some posters are making them out to be.


Posted by old skool, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Unless you ride your bike on a side street (as I do most days on my way to Stanford), the ride to the Paly/T&C area is very dangerous. There are no bike lanes on Embarcadero and using the sidewalk is often dangerous due to pedestrians and the cars not seeing you as you cross the intersections.

----------------------------

Damn right it's dangerous, In order for me to make it ten minutes I had it split in two parts...5 minutes Loma verde to Embarcadero, and then the festivities begin...try and make it from Greer to paly on the left hand sidewalk of Embarcadero in under 5 minutes...hitting the green light at Middlefield at full clip was always sure to get the heart pumping, as you prayed no one was planning on making a right turn on the red...good times


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Anyone biking coming from south of Churchill to Paly should get to Bryant and then turn on Churchill to the rear entrance. Churchill vehicle traffic must turn rather than go straight on Churchill between 7.30 and 8.00 am which makes this a much safer option than using Embarcadero and the main entrance.


Posted by old skool, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Anyone biking coming from south of Churchill to Paly should get to Bryant and then turn on Churchill to the rear entrance. Churchill vehicle traffic must turn rather than go straight on Churchill between 7.30 and 8.00 am which makes this a much safer option than using Embarcadero and the main entrance.

------------------

If you're running late , you can't chance getting caught at the Alma and train crossing...otherwise, yes Churchill is safer, but if you've just run the gauntlet of the only timesaving direct diagonal thoroughfare the city offers, why bother getting trapped in that Churchill mess?... remember, tardies wait for no one, and they go on your permanent record, so make tracks kiddies


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm

"I'm incredibly surprised by how harsh some of the posters have been toward students who drive or are driven to school. The commute to Paly is difficult for everybody, be it because of traffic, crossing busy roads, or because it is long. Everybody is just trying to avoid being tardy and getting dropped from their 1st period class. Please have a bit of sympathy. Paly students are not the entitled monsters that some posters are making them out to be."

Stop being surprised. It's the new fad....

Web Link


Posted by Ann, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2009 at 10:06 am

I love to drive my kids to school. My parents always drove me to school and I appreciated that.

The traffic lights, however, are not very functional right now and it is creating traffic. I definitely don't want to put my children in that cross street chaos.

Maybe a little up there cross walk bridge for those kids who must walk to school or must go to Town and Country.


Posted by Side note, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

"Old School," I don't find Churchhill safer. My kids will never walk or bike over the train tracks. I will avoid this at all cost. I am just driving them.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Just a reminder, we are talking about high schoolers who are almost old enough to start driving, old enough to be considered adults and old enough to be thinking of moving away to College. If you are protecting them so much now by driving them everywhere because you think it is safer, what will you be like when the start driving, voting and living away from home. Give them a little independence now and guide them while you still see them everyday, and you will find that your high school grads will have skills they need to live without you when you won't be there driving them everywhere and protecting them from life.


Posted by PA Commuter, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:00 am

The traffic problem on Embarcadero between ECR and the Caltrain underpass is not a exclusively a Paly problem. It's really caused by inadequate planning on the part of City of Palo Alto employees who did not install the correct equipment at the time of the TJ opening, despite the fact that we (and they) knew about the schedule a year ago. Eastbound traffic between 5 and 6 p.m. is scary as cars merge aggressively from ECR onto Embarcadero and as all cars on Embarcadero then have to merge into one lane after the Paly driveway. Sudden stops are the norm as the two (untimed) traffic lights turn red.


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