Original post made
on Mar 18, 2008
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In the most recent incident a driver stopped to let a student cross from right to left in the crosswalk. Another driver pulled up behind the stopped car and honked. When the front car didn't move, the driver passed on the left, nearly striking the child in the crosswalk. The driver was seen to be talking on a cell phone the whole time! How can a traffic engineer "fix" stupidity like this with paint and signs? The real problem is that too many drivers are too impatient and too distracted to be safe behind the wheel of a dangerous vehicle. We need better drivers, who actually care about the safety of others.
All crossings outside school should be more visible than they are. The best ones are the ones outside Paly on Churchill. These plastic cones in the middle of the street are the best idea outside schools, but on top of that should be flashing lights embedded in the street like the ones on Fabian. These are for office workers, aren't our children in more need of these extra special crossing zones?
The problem is the row of parked cars makes the crosswalk and pedestrians very difficult to see. How about just removing the parking spaces within 50 feet of the crosswalk? An elementary school doesn't need parking, right? If non-students want to use the field, they should walk or bike there instead of drive. Parking used to be banned along the entire length of this street during commute hours; who decided to allow parking again?
The problem of Stratford school is that it is a commute school and this means that most of the students do not live within walking (or biking distance). Therefore, street parking is necessary as Stratford insists on a parent signature before letting out its students. As a result, I would imagine that the crossing is more likely to have been used by Jordan students or others who use the Jordan playing fields for after school sports.
Parking along the side of the street with the playing fields means that cyclists already have to worry about car doors being opened on them as well as cars crossing the bike lane to park or to get back into traffic. Parking on the other side of the street is allowed after 7.00 pm and cars do park there in the evenings for sports and also for evening activities at Jordan and Stratford.
Better crossings would be the best solution.
I live in Southgate, the neighborhood next to the 'best' crosswalks that Parent refers to on Churchill by Paly, where my child graduated. I pass by that intersection frequently. I have to agree with Donald - we need better drivers.
Even with all the markings, drivers RARELY stop for pedestrians in that 'best' crosswalk. Ask any Paly student and they will tell how frustrating it is to stand there in the rain, waiting for a car to stop.
Bright stripes, cones in the middle of the street, "State Law" signage, flashing lights - these are all fine and good. But until we have better drivers, those gadgets provide a false sense of security - especially for younger children.
I drove to Paly around 3:30PM today. I was on Embarcadero. A guy blew through a red at the light there at the crosswalk and it's a miracle some students weren't hit.
We have a big problem with drivers turning LEFT out of Town & Country onto Embarcadero, too. I have news for you" when you turn left, you do not have the right of way.
This is a place with a lot of close calls.
Visibility of crosswalks was not an issue in the most recent incident. The first driver saw the crosswalk and the pedestrian, and stopped and was waiting for the child to cross. The driver behind chose to pass illegally. When there is a car stopped in front of you, no paint or flashing lights or signs will be visible. You need to use some brains and figure that the driver is stopped for a reason, and have the patience to deal with it. Paint and signs can't make someone any smarter.
The flashing lights for crosswalks are expensive and not that reliable. I have seen the ones on Fabian malfunction, with one whole lane not working. The driveways from Paly and Town and Country onto Embarcadero are going to get an overhaul, including a traffic light. This should help, but only if drivers obey the lights and use some common sense and courtesy.
Remember, at Paly, many of the drivers are actually students themselves and there is a power struggle going on. Some of the student drivers are under instruction from parents, but they still know they are being seen by fellow classmates. Do you know that there is an unofficial race to In N Out Burger once a month? The winner is the first one back to Paly to eat their burger in the parking lot in front of those arriving back later.
These are the kinds of things that are making Paly so dangerous for everyone else.
Parent, I don't dispute that those things happen. My experience (again, I travel through that intersection daily) has been that the vast majority of student drivers are considerate at that intersection. It's the preoccupied adults who fly down Churchill that worry me. Try crossing there sometime. It usually takes at least 3 cars before someone will stop. That's 3 out of 4 people who disobey the law in a well-marked crosswalk. One of the 'best' in the city. If this is a model crosswalk, I don't know where else to point the finger but at the drivers. And they're not students turning into Paly, I can tell you that.
The area in question has always been a dangerous section. Even when I was attending Jordan during the early 70's!
I am surprised that PA has not stepped in and stamped their singature "speed bumps, and, or traffic signal"! Ha!
Seriously, I do agree with most. If there is a motorist that has stoped in the roadway, then there is a very good reason for it! Period!
One thing is for sure, most people do not care about pedestrians, and cyclist! Period!
This was something that was even true in the 70's, which was long before the cell phone was introduced to the general public!
Maybe the solution is to close N. Cal Ave during normal buisness hours!
Why are the Stratford School and the chinese private schools on this site.
Are they paying full market value for this site which we subsidize with our property taxes?.
Both schools are commuter schools and bring a great deal of additional traffic into the area morning and afternoon.
Why are private commuter school using PAUSD space when our own Palo Alto students need more school space.
I think both schools should move out of residential areas.
Why can't they just put another stop sign up at the intersection of Barbara and California as it would kill two birds with one stone.
1) Make the crossing safer during.
2) Slow Down traffic on California avenue between Newell and Louis where people speed regularly.