News

Arastradero Road lane-reduction may be extended

Palo Alto planners hope to stretch controversial lane re-striping project until July 31, 2012

Palo Alto's lane-reduction experiment on a busy stretch of Arastradero Road could be extended for another year as staff continues to gauge its impact on traffic.

The city began implementing the Arastradero Road project last year as part of a broader effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility in the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor in south Palo Alto. The Arastradero segment stretches from El Camino Real to Gunn High School.

The project, which the city implemented in 2010, involves changing Arastradero from four lanes to three, with dedicated left-turn lanes going in each direction, widening the crosswalk at Arastradero and Clemo Avenue and changing traffic signals to provide left-turn arrows during the busiest travel times. The traffic signals at Arastradero and Coulombe Drive are scheduled to be modified later this month, according to a report from Transportation Project Engineer Rafael Rius.

The Planning and Transportation Commission will discuss the project Wednesday night and consider the staff recommendation to extend it until August 2012 (view agenda).

So far, the plan has received a mixed reception from the public, with some city residents claiming that the new design has significantly slowed down the traffic in the busy corridor. The city hosted a community meeting last month, after which time residents submitted comments describing the project as a "complete failure" and a "poor design," and citing increased road rage.

Others praised the project for making the road safer for students and bicyclists.

The city's own traffic study found mixed results, at least when it comes to vehicle traffic. The study showed that in some portions of the Arastradero Road corridor, travel time increased significantly, while others have seen little change.

The amount of time it took eastbound drivers to get from Foothill Expressway to El Camino Real during the busiest morning rush (from 7:30 to 7:55 a.m.) climbed from 4 minutes and 49 seconds in 2006-07 to 6 minutes and 22 seconds between fall 2010 and spring 2011. For westbound drivers, however, the travel time slipped from 7 minutes and 53 seconds before the project was implemented to 6 minutes and 24 seconds after fall 2010.

The project's impact was less significant during the evening rush hour, staff found.

Given the remaining uncertainty over the project's success and the continuing modifications to the Arastradero segment (which make improvements difficult to measure), staff is hoping to continue the project for another year.

"It is difficult to be conclusive about travel times given somewhat different data points and the delayed implementation of project improvements," Rius wrote.

The City Council is tentatively scheduled to consider extending the project on Aug. 1.

Comments

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Posted by just say no to reckless driving
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm

The reckless drivers on that road brought this on themselves. If they promise to behave from now on, no one will believe them. There are too many schools and homes on Charleston and Arastradero to let the rampant speeding continue.


Like this comment
Posted by Stop-It-Now!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

> There are too many schools and homes on Charleston and
> Arastradero to let the rampant speeding continue

What rampant speeding? Where is the data?

What value is continuing this travesty?


Like this comment
Posted by Not Happy
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm

A bad decision from the start is extended. Were the concerns of the teachers and students along the corridor ever considered? If not for a small few, this catastrophe would never have happened. Oh-that's right-this is Palo Alto. It doesn't matter about logic or planning ahead. What apparently matters is the voice of the few.


Like this comment
Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm

"It is difficult to be conclusive about travel times given somewhat different data points and the delayed implementation of project improvements," Rius wrote.

I'm disappointed that the transportation project engineer did not establish any definitive criteria or metrics for which to judge the efficacy of this project. That seems like something that should be considered in the proposal/planning stages and not after the projects completion.

It is also irresponsible to push ahead on continuing this project, when the managing engineer admits that the results are inconclusive.

Last point: the stated goal of this project is to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility, yet there is no data or conclusions regarding its impact in this effort either.

Report link?


Like this comment
Posted by Failure is an option
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:35 pm

No amount of additional time will turn this failure into a success. It is okay for an experiment to fail. What is not okay is to prolong matters in the hopes that results will somehow change simply with passage of time or try to find and fit "data" into a desired conclusion.


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Posted by Arastradero Inhabitant
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2011 at 1:03 am

As a resident living on Arastradero for nearly forty years, I have witnessed first hand the "rampant speeding" and "reckless drivers." This experiment is nothing short of genius. For the first time in many years, cars pass at staggered speeds so I can actually leave my driveway safely. No longer do I hear careening vehicles, fearing that I am about to witness an accident or a fatality in my front lawn. I was fed up with vehicles using my residential neighborhood as a convenient detour to speed through illegally. It's disrespectful and dangerous. This is not hyperbole. The City knew they had to do something and so they did something drastic. I for one applaud them.

And for my fellow posters from Mountain View, Midtown, Greenmeadow, and Another Palo Alto neighborhood, I suspect you bemoan the fact that you can't exploit the road outside my house quite so easily anymore. You don't know what it has been like to live on a road which had deteriorated into a quasi-highway when it was never designated as such. This is a residential neighborhood but I don't think anyone ever noticed because they were driving too fast.


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

The traffic will be much different this year with Gunn's new start time. Had Gunn administration responded to the project request to do this a year ago it would have helped a lot.


Like this comment
Posted by bicyclist
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

It's been great bicycling through there. Cars don't pass me at 50mph anymore...


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Posted by notafan
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

There is a definite problem right before Pomona coming from Foothill and heading to El Camino. When you pass Gunn it is one lane then opens up to two at Terman Middle. Right away it goes back to one lane -- this is a very confusing merger right before Pomona and with some of us trying to make a right onto Pomona with cars merging at that point. What is with all the numerous two lanes going to one, going to two, going to one along this corridor? I can't believe that is safer since I have to jockey for position each time.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

An unnecessary "make work" scheme. Anything to spend money and inconvenience drivers trying to get across town. It has nothing to do with speeding.


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Posted by tracey Chen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

The only real trouble spot is the portion between Alma and Middlefield. By having that at one lane --IMMEDIATELY after crossing the tracks and Alma, a huge slow back-up is cause on the other side of the tracks (between Alma and El Camino). It can take FOREVER to get through there when trains are going by and it's anywhere near rush or school hours. It's OK the way they have it west of el Camino, but the part east of Alma has to go back to two lanes. I have to turn in to the circles right there after waiting half an hour sometimes and then, sit and wait at that stupid mini-turnout for the other cars (to sometimes) let me turn left there, and it's stupid that I have to merge right IMMEDIATELY before swinging left into that half-pocket. At the very least DO NOT put anything raised there, because the only way to keep the traffic moving as they try to clear that dangerous intersection is to just cross over the damn line (because cars from the other direction are cleared out since they always go first) and let the people you would otherwise be slowing down to merge right into go free ahead without slowing. That part NEEDs to stay two lanes for safety.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

Put me in the "Others praised the project for making the road safer for students and bicyclists." camp.

Bicycling through there is much safer and pleasant.

This "Automobiles First" attitude is so last century.


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Posted by Philip Melese
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

I appreciate the safer lane configuration. I live on Arastradero - my kids walked to Terman and Gunn, I ride my bike, and my wife commutes by car. This new configuration should, and does in my opinion, "calm" traffic for safety - which was one of the primary objectives for this project. We want to encourage our kids to walk and bike. I've lived on Arastradero for 8 years and the morning school rush hour has always been an issue that directly effects me - but this was the case before re-striping as well. I vote for safety over using Arastradero as a freeway.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:49 am

> “I'm disappointed that the transportation project engineer did not establish any definitive criteria or metrics for which to judge the efficacy of this project. That seems like something that should be considered in the proposal/planning stages and not after the projects completion.”

EXACTLY! From an email exchange I had with Jaime Rodriguez in October 2010:

Me: The Daily Post quotes you as saying, “We expected there to be some congestion” on Arastradero. How much is “some”? What does the city consider acceptable congestion? Please be specific.

Rodriguez: We can’t provide an exact limit on how much congestion will be acceptable until we are finished with the one year evaluation and determine what, if any significant delays are observed.

Me: This seems backwards. You’re saying you don’t have a target for what’s acceptable, but will decide that at some future date. Targets/goals are set up front. If you wait until you’re finished, you could decide that whatever the congestion is at that time was your target.

Rodriguez: I can’t provide you any further information since we’ve just started the data collection process.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

I see the changes as a vast improvement in slowing traffic. Safety of students and bikers should be predominant. With multiple schools along this corridor, this stretch of road needs to be made as safe as possible.

The speed meters are also really helping to slow traffic.

Some design changes still need to be made to correct a couple of problem spots but overall I regard the changes as very beneficial.


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Posted by Gunn Mom
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

My daughter bikes to Gunn a couple of miles up Arastradero. Her commute is much safer now, although I still wish they would fix the El Camino intersection, but I understand from the recent community meeting that Caltrans has to do that--so it is a few years off. She gets off her bike at El Camino and uses the signal to walk in the crosswalk and then gets back on her bike where the bike lane reappears. I use the route by car to get to the 280 with some regularity during the peak hours. It's about the same as it was before the trial from my door to 280--the congestion has always been awful. That is not new. However, I have always driven the posted speed limit, 25mph. Perhaps that is the difference in my perception and that of others.

I have no trouble navigating the merges. At 25mph, it is not a problem. I also try to be polite about yielding and observing the KEEP CLEAR signs. I find that the road works very well when one observes the school zone speed limit and practices common courtesy.

There is something going on with the Alma signal timing, since the tragic train accident there, that is new--and creating back-ups on Charleston. It would be great if the city would look at that to see the timing can be readjusted.

Thanks for listening...and share the road safely.


Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I am also in the camp that finds the new design much safer and relatively easy to manage, for both biking and driving. Are there some times it is inconvenient? Sure. But the safety and overall comfort tradeoff seems well worth those moments.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Wouldn't it make greater sense to make the entire stretch of road 1-lane in each direction? Add a center turning lane (the kind that is bordered by yellow/broken yellow markings). Single lane will help keep the speed down and give plenty of room for bike lanes.

By eliminating the merge/un-merge of 1-2-1 lane transitions, the traffic will move on a much smoother basis.

You can add "speed tables" at cross walks if you want.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

What the people who complain about the road changes don't like is not the road changes themselves. What they don't like is the 25mph speed limit which is unchanged. However, the road changes have made 25mph enforceable which is was not before. The limit now becomes self-enforcing, because enough law-abiding drivers follow the signs so that the speeders can no longer speed past in the fast lane. Let's keep the changes for the safety, not just of pedestrians and cyclists, but of automobiles too.


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Posted by Millie
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Our "traffic dept" is out of control. Why do we need more traffic jams?
Look at what they did to Town & Country Shopping Center with all the lights and backups.


Like this comment
Posted by Back to Basics
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I hate to say that lane reductions just push one problem to another portion of the city. In this case you just move that backup down the road.

If you want to have safer roadways then you don't spend money on projects like this but you employee police officers for heavy enforcement and direct the traffic team to make this a daily priority.

There is a similar roadway in Redwood City (Farm Hill Boulevard). They have such a massive enforcement of that road over the years that you don't see motorist flying down the hill. Their brakes are smoking hot because they have to ride them as they go down hill because Redwood City Police with their radar guns are peppered up and down the roadway. Then if you go to fast the other way the CHP are waiting on the top.

So back to Arastradero, demand for the Palo Alto Police to keep their department fully staffed and increase the number of traffic officers with a special focus for this roadway.

City Council...are you listening. Stop cutting manpower and stop spending money on "projects" and "studies" such as this.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

> What the people who complain about the road changes don't
> like is not the road changes themselves. What they don't
> like is the 25mph speed limit which is unchanged

John, I don't think that's true. Going from 4 lanes to effectively 2 has reduced the capacity of Arastradero. The study and trial promised two things: improved safety along the corridor while smoothing traffic flow. So far, residents along Arastradero and the City have praised the trial because of they feel the trial has increased safety. However, traffic flow into and out the area has been a mess. Getting onto Arastradero from El Camino is very difficult. Perhaps a later start at Gunn will improve things. There's certainly much more cut-through traffic on Maybell as a result of the change and a much larger backup on El Camino. Dumping the traffic onto other streets or waiting for State to improve El Camino isn't a satisfactory outcome in my mind.


Like this comment
Posted by Old Fashioned
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Einstein once said "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
What ever happened to the old fashioned way of stopping speeding...police officers writing enough tickets until the speeders get the idea. Would help the city coffers as well.


Like this comment
Posted by Speed matters.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Pretrial 1,506 cars were recorded on Arastradero traveling at 30-49mph during school commute times on a school single day. Wow.

The probability of a pedestrian being killed in a crash is:
3.5% if the vehicle is traveling at 15 mph,
37% at 31 mph
83% at 44 mph (Limpert, 1994, p. 663).

These numbers are for the whole population, including adults. Children have smaller bodies that are less able to withstand the force of a crash.

Please drive 25mph in school zones. Kindly abide by the law and stay off your cell. Driving is a huge reponsibility.

Myth: Tickets don't help the city coffers. Most of that money goes elsewhere.


Like this comment
Posted by Speed Matters
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Correction. Meant to say, It's a myth that tickets help city coffers. Most of the money is snapped up by other governmental bodies. It costs money to write tickets.


Like this comment
Posted by Use-Real-Numbers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

> The probability of a pedestrian being killed in a crash is ..

While this may be true in general .. no pedestrians have been killed on the Charleston/Arastradero Corridor over the past fifteen years, although 33 have been injured.


Like this comment
Posted by Use-Real-Numbers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

> Her commute is much safer now

And just how is her commute "safer now"? What metrics are you using to make this claim?


Like this comment
Posted by Root cause
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I think I got lost on this issue when I found out that a 25mph speed limit on a road like Arastradero is unenforceable. When we have a moronic situation such as not being able to enforce a particular speed limit, every solution to fix the problem is going to make even less sense.


Like this comment
Posted by Response ot root cause.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It is only unenforcable if the road is not designed to support prevailing speeds in that range.

The former configuration encouraged speeding. It had to be changed.


Like this comment
Posted by 33 pedestrians
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Someone quoted a number of 33 pedestrians injured in these few blocks. I assume they were all hit by cars. That is terrible carnage for a single neighborhood. Too many reckless drivers were using a residential road as their own private speedway. I am glad that the city finally did something about it.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I love the current (new) arrangements on Charleston/Arastradero. Good job engineers! No more speeders tearing by at 50 MPH, weaving in and out, etc. Much improved safety!


Like this comment
Posted by Failure is an option
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Dear John,

The biggest problem I have with these changes has nothing to do with having to drive 25 mph, which I did before these changes.

My greatest concern are the numerous merges from two to one lane, sometimes just after opening up fron one to two lanes (by Terman). I'll bet there have been more accidents as a result.


Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm

People living along a busy road can be expected to cheer when it is made inconvenient for traffic, thus changing their local neighborhood from higher/faster traffic to lower/slower traffic. Most people who don't live along the corridor but use it to get from point A to point B will generally be against the changes. This natural tendency/self-interest seems to be well represented in the comments here (including mine!). The changes have certainly made me choose an alternative route unless I absolutely have to drive to Gunn High ... the lane configuration changes are terrible as is the traffic backup it helps create starting from the El Camino intersection. I'm glad people living near Arastadero road seem to like it... I will avoid it if possible. As for why 25 mph was not enforceable ... it is because that speed limit doesn't make sense for a 4-lane straight shot road... now that you have created obstacles in the roadway, 25 mph suddenly makes sense. brilliant. Next step should be to put arbitrary lane changes into Oregon Expressway , San Antonio Road, and Embarcadero Road to cut down speeders on these roadways... then do the same for 101, 280, 85 freeways.


Like this comment
Posted by notafan
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Dan, you make a good point. For those who bought homes on Arastradero, which used to be a busy corridor, these changes are good for them with slower traffic. But I don't think it is safer with these mergers going back and forth one to two lanes. And what about pollution? It takes me longer to get out of my side street onto Arastradero.

Of course, if this is so good, then let's do Alma, Oregon, etc! Even better we could be the first city to ban cars!


Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

I'll wait an extra 5 mins if it helps save the life of a local mom.
I just wish I could wait an extra 5 mins for the one who recently lost her life here...I'm sure her kids wish that too.

An outcry over a 5 minutes delay at an intersection which has already proven to be deadly...unreal. The "Me first" selfish drivers of Palo Alto rear their heads yet again. On the plus side, maybe you'll have more time to text.


Like this comment
Posted by A perspective
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I'm looking for a plan that balances the needs of drivers and pedestrians and bicyclists because I live in a nearby neighborhood and have to use this road a lot (my kids do, too). I drive, bike and walk--so I see the road from all of these perspectives...daily.

Unfortunately, the city doesn't have additional right-of-way, so they have to accommodate all of the users within the existing footprint of the street. That is a huge challenge. Given that hundreds of kids use this street as a school commute route, safety is very important. It is also a residential arterial, so efficiency for motorists is important, too.

Lots of other people of all ages also use the street throughout the day. For residents who live south of Arastradero, every trip they make to parks, the research park, Arastradero Preserve, shopping, libraries, community centers takes them on this street.

They said last night that one of the reasons they want to extend the trial is to gather a full year of crash data now that the striping plan is almost fully implemented. They said a number of significant changes were made over the course of the year at the request of the public. (This is a paint trial because they needed flexibility to make adjustments as they observed how it worked.) With so many variables moving around, they couldn't fully evaluate the experiment this year. The crash data will give us a clear understanding of whether or not the changes have improved safety.

As a driver, the merges don't bother me, but I understand that everyone is different. To me, the uncontrolled stops, turns and lane changing of the four-lane road at high speeds felt more dangerous. I think we'll get a good quantitative handle on that when we see the crash data at the end of the trial.

From my perspective, this is worth doing. I think extending the trial after all the work that has been done to date is a sensible decision.

In the meantime, I'll do my best to share the road safely with my fellow citizens. I appreciate courteous, law-abiding people who observe school zone speed limits and other rules of the road. Each of us contributes to an environment that we all enjoy more. Thanks for considering my point of view.


Like this comment
Posted by Perturbed
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I agree with the comment by Old Fashioned. These "temporary" changes unfortunately will be made permanent. The voices of the few have spoken. Logic is just a word. So Palo Alto, so sad.


Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm

>As a driver, the merges don't bother me, but I understand that everyone is different.

As a driver, the most dangerous situations and worst traffic congestion I generally experience are directly related to lane merges. Most drivers simply don't merge safely ... and even when they do, it excessively constricts the flow of traffic. Look what happens on almost any road that has moderately heavy traffic when a lane ends and drivers are forced to merge. How many times have you been stuck in a traffic jam for seemingly miles only to find a lane is ending and drivers are forced to merge. Once you get past the lane merge, traffic begins flowing smoothly again even though the number of lanes has been reduced. Think laminar flow in fluid mechanics vs turbulent flow caused by obstructions. I'd been driving for 25 years without ever having even a minor accident or ticket until someone ran into me from behind because they weren't paying enough attention to a lane merge that caused traffic to slow. Certain lane merges such as around Shoreline on 101 are worth avoiding at some times of the day for your own safety even if it means taking a detour.


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Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Please remove the maze on Arastradero and paint the lines they way they were with two lanes in both directions!

I have lived in Barron Park for about 50 years and this is my first complaint to the city. The two lanes in both directions never posed a problem along Arastradero in the past and allowed the traffic to get through. People have always driven cautiously when children are present along Arastradero and speed up appropriately when they are not, so there have been very few traffic accidents in the past.

Now it is not safe because the lanes change at all the intersections and drivers have to merge in and out of one lane!
With significantly more people living in Palo Alto due to the increased amounts of dense housing, such as on the corner of El Camino and Arastradero where Ricky's used to be, and the two lanes are reduced to one, we have major blockages with road rage every workday morning and evening that overflow into other streets! Additionally, this lack of traffic flow makes Palo Alto less accessible, which makes Palo Alto less desirable for businesses and residents!

The current maze is causing:
*More potential for crashes.
*More potential for hitting bicyclists and pedestrians.
*Definite increases in peak and off-peak travel times.
*Definite increases in delay at signalized intersections.
*Definite increases in drivers along our side streets trying to get around the blockages on Arastradero.

The solution is to remove the maze on Arastradero and paint the lines they way they were with two lanes in both directions to restore the traffic flow and improve the quality of life in Palo Alto!


Like this comment
Posted by bothsides
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

everything has its bad and good side¡£ we can now have less trafic and business with new road design¡£


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Posted by D
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm

This situation is absurd.

No fatalities in the corridor for 15 years before restriping. At least two fatalities in a year since restriping. For what other proof of the project failure they are waiting? Two more deaths? Ten more deaths?

Maybell and Los Robles are now battle zones during the morning school rush. It is no longer possible to reliably use Arastradero for getting to or from Juana Briones school, so parents drive a lot more on narrow residential streets.

Measurements on Arastradero are not going to be meaningful because lots of drivers now avoid using it. Northbound traffic on El Camino Real after the Arastradero intersection has grown dramatically, as drivers can no longer use Arastradero to reliably get from El Camino to Foothill, so they drive on to Page Mill instead.

Closure of Peninsula Day Care exacerbated the situation, as there is no longer safe assembly point for children of parents who need to get to work earlier. Changing the Gunn's bell time exacerbated the situation further still - now pretty much all schools in the area start at very close times - frankly, the stupidity and dangerousness of that decision is so grandiose that it borders on criminal negligence. Or maybe it crosses the border?

The decision to start Gunn's school day later is stupid because it is based on confusion between "getting more sleep" and "getting up later". While getting more sleep is generally beneficial for teenagers, it could also be achieved by going to bed earlier. And getting up later could simply incentivize students to stay up later. A wash at best.

That decison is dangerous because Gunn students used to bike and walk to school between 7:15 and 7:45 a.m., when traffic is much lighter. More senior students are conditioned by years of that experience to behave as if they were the only traffic participants. Now they are forced to commute during the peak rush hour. The commute routes, especially along Los Robles, are simply unsuitable for concurrent cars, bikes, and pedestrians traffic. There are parked cars rear ends sticking out to the bike lane, trash cans intruding into the bike lane on some days, random junk, and pedestrians. Children on bikes are forced to swerve into the car lane, suddenly and to great surpsise of car drivers, who are in turn forced to evasively manuever into the oncoming traffic lane. Now, with Arastradero all but impossible go get onto, Juana Briones parents are forced to drive back from the school drop-off along the Los Robles or Maybell, so the oncoming traffic lane is not as empty as it used to be. And to top it off, some "smart" children are now biking on the left side of the road, so that the oncoming cars can't swerve to the right without hitting a child anymore. Apologies for a lengthy explanation - just drive on Los Robles toward Gunn between 8:00 and 8:15 a.m. and you'll see the mayhem I'm trying to describe.


Like this comment
Posted by Thought counts
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2011 at 6:28 am

But, ...but...it is the THOUGHT, not the results, that counts, right?




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Posted by D
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

There are plenty of documented cases when an unarmed, untrained, fragile woman would overpower and disfigure armed, habitually violent, hulking criminal - if she believed that said criminal intended to harm or kill her child.

While Palo Alto traffic and school officials are not habitual criminals, they are bureaucrats and politicians, and as such they are used to getting what they want from their constituents, and this over time developed feelings of superiority and invulnerability.

But this time they crossed the line. The children are subjected to clear and present danger. The parents, who silently endured traffic inconveniences caused by the officials' prior actions, are not going to tolerate the now significantly hightened threat of injury and death to their children.

The bureaucrats and politicians are going to be unpleasantly surprised by what furious mothers and fathers will do to them....


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

Perhaps it is time for Briones to get on board with walking and biking to school.

Even for families who have to cross town, it is possible to drive to say the Walgreens parking lot on El Camino and walk from there. Parents can even benefit from the 10 minute walk to school as they will have that 10 minutes to talk to their child and then meet some of the other parents as you walk back together to your cars.

I urge all parents to strongly consider getting their kids to walk and bike in elementary school as otherwise you are teaching them to be parent dependent for rides rather than independent as they progress into middle and high school.

This is not meant to be a flip answer, but some worthy advice from a parent who has been there.


The less cars driving to school make it safer for those who walk or bike.


Like this comment
Posted by D
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm

To Resident:

I agree that it would be great if more Juana Briones children were walked to school by their parents.

In that vein, it would be also great if the Ciy redirected a tiny portion of the money wasted on the Arastradero project toward creating and improving walkways along Maybell and Los Robles.

Additional pedestrian crossings across Maybell and Los Robles would be be nice too.


Like this comment
Posted by improve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Now that they already decided to continue,we as parents and schools only can hope they can fine tune it,good idea.


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