News


Bicyclist killed Tuesday was a Silicon Valley executive

Jeffrey Donnelly of Palo Alto died in incident on Page Mill Road

Jeffrey Donnelly, the bicyclist who was fatally struck by a car on Page Mill Road Tuesday morning, was the chief operating officer of Silicon Valley company Zeta Instruments in San Jose, company CEO Rusmin Kudinar has confirmed.

Donnelly, 52, of Palo Alto, was riding his bicycle west on Page Mill near the intersection of Christopher Lane in Los Altos Hills at around 6:50 a.m. when he was hit by a black 2014 Volkswagen Golf. The driver, a 19-year-old Palo Alto man, was also traveling west. Donnelly had come from Old Page Mill Road, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Art Montiel said.

The driver remained at the scene. His name has been released by the CHP, but given that he is not a public figure, the Palo Alto Weekly will not be publishing his name unless criminal charges or a civil suit are filed.

Kudinar said he had been a colleague and friend of Donnelly for 20 years at various companies. Donnelly had a wife and three children, he said.

"He was a good man; a good friend. Everybody at work loved him. It was a shock to all of us. He was a very well-rounded, very bright person," Kudinar said.

Tryg Ager, a neighbor, said he was shocked to learn of Donnelly's death.

"He's been my neighbor for a long time. The whole family is active and fit.

"They are a great set of neighbors. It just blows my mind. He and I used to joke that he would've been as fit and active at 75 as he was now," Ager said.

Ager said that Donnelly was a careful rider who biked in groups on morning rides and did group events.

Ager also used to ride his bicycle in Palo Alto and along Embarcadero Road when he traveled to work at Sun Microsystems, but he is doubtful that he would ride on the city's streets today because it's not as safe. Now he keeps his bike in the garage.

"Idiotic Palo Alto. I wouldn't ride on Embarcadero Road like I used to when I went to work. I wouldn't take rides anywhere in Palo Alto except the Baylands.

"We're at a point where simple things are becoming dangerous," he said.

Donnelly and his wife were just finishing a rebuild of their house. It was a labor of love and a year-long project, Ager said.

Donnelly was a hard worker, he added. Kudinar said Donnelly's background was mainly in sales and marketing. He was an entrepreneur and seasoned senior executive, according to the company's website. He joined Zeta in March 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he spent nearly 12 years at KLA-Tencor, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, as group vice president of growth and emerging markets.

He was the founding CEO of a venture-backed software company, BlackHog Inc., and started his career in Silicon Valley as a product line manager for Varian Medical Systems in 1993.

Donnelly was a nuclear engineering officer in the U.S. Navy for five years starting in 1985. He held a master's degree in business administration from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He was fluent in Japanese, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He was also a member of the board of directors of the Opportunity Fund in San Jose, a micro-finance provider, and LS Biopath, a medical company that develops technologies for real-time imaging of removed tissue during breast cancer surgery, which helps surgeons identify and excise cancer cells around the margins.

Tuesday's incident is still under investigation, according to Montiel.

Comments

35 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Rest in peace.

I hope that we can honor him by quickly and seriously improving safety on Page Mill Road. This is especially important for Palo Alto residents, since this is the main route that we must use to get to Arastradero Preserve or Foothill Park.


7 people like this
Posted by Journalists should report facts
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm

[Post removed. The driver's name has been released by the CHP, but given that he is not a public figure, the Palo Alto Weekly does not publish names under these circumstances unless criminal charges or a civil suit are filed.]


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Stephen Meier
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Journalists should report facts. This is very tragic and indeed is a dangerous intersection. Cyclist have to cross from right side to left side of the street in the same area as an intersection. I have looked at video and pictures of the scene. The bicycle ended up in the median. The covered body was in bike lane which is on the left side. Until accident investigators determine anything more these are the video/photo facts. What I find disturbing is on Google Maps the Earth view shows 2 cyclists and 1 of them is not in the bike lane. Disclosure: I'm an avid cyclist and I respect both cyclists and motorists as well as pedestrians and equestrians too!
Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Stephen Meier - the picture you grab is just at the start of the bike lane as cyclists are merging from the opposite side of the road. You talk about context and have none - the photograph does not show the cyclists side to side momentum - but we know he has come from the shoulder towards the bike lane, unless he was coming down Page Mill in the left hand lane.


10 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Stephen Meier: "What I find disturbing is on Google Maps the Earth view shows 2 cyclists and 1 of them is not in the bike lane."

Not sure what you find disturbing about the photo you published. It's perfectly legal for a bicyclist to overtake another bicyclist, which is what this looks like. There's no way to tell any trajectory of motion, let alone personal intent from a 2D snapshot, so you're projecting a false inference that the cyclist on the line is somehow doing something wrong.


17 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

It is perfectly legal for cyclists to cross two lanes of traffic in a 50mph zone, but it is an inherently unsafe situation.


9 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Slow Down: "It is perfectly legal for cyclists to cross two lanes of traffic in a 50mph zone, but it is an inherently unsafe situation."

It is a 35 MPH zone where the bicyclist was killed, and the inherent lack of safety posed by putting the bike lane first on the right and then suddenly on the left across those two lanes of traffic at the bottom of the hill is why VTA is proposing a traffic light and/or other changes (which have to be coordinated with CalTrans) here.


6 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@ Pete - the 35 MPH zone starts right after the first northbound onramp, the accident happened before the ramp, The speed limit is 50 MPH where the inside bike lane starts. Having bikes cross two lanes of 50 MPH traffic is crazy.


5 people like this
Posted by @Pete
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 4, 2015 at 9:01 pm

It's still the 50 mph zone. 35 mph is posted at the next median break.


9 people like this
Posted by mama
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 4, 2015 at 9:08 pm

@Stephen Meier and Pete, if you look at google earth and zoom out a little what you'll see in the photo that is even more disturbing is all of the screech marks from people speedily making a U-Turn. That's evidence of how people are driving in the area. I have biked this route often over the past 13 years and it has gotten insanely busier with traffic. And most of the new traffic are people from outside the Bay Area and Palo Alto who don't respect the cycling way of living.
Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:07 am

"Idiotic Palo Alto. I wouldn't ride on Embarcadero Road like I used to when I went to work. I wouldn't take rides anywhere in Palo Alto except the Baylands.

"We're at a point where simple things are becoming dangerous," he said.


Same here. Spouse used to ride to work, bike's in the garage now. All the green paint in these unsafe situations is an affront when they should be doing the hard work to actually make the infrastructure safer, and caring about things like traffic circulation.

Our condolences to the family.


8 people like this
Posted by Journalists should report facts
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 7:46 am

Journalists should report facts, especially when the facts are publicly available information. Here, so far, this paper/site covers up what journalists with better judgement report.

This paper/site's justification for selectively reporting the public facts, "...[the driver] is not a public figure", has no merit. As a matter of law, public figures have lesser rights to privacy for facts that are not publicly available. But its also a matter of law that no one has a cognizable right to privacy for what is publicly available information.

Here, the driver of the car that collided with Mr. Donnelly has no cognizable expectation of privacy when the CHP has released his name to the public. It's public information after that. The verbatim statement of the CHP, including the driver's name, is also public information. It was public from the moment the CHP uttered it to journalists. Moreover, it was after at least one other paper reported it. The San Jose Mercury News reported the CHP statement as to who drove the car [portion removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Justthefacts
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

There is no reason to castigate the driver or the cyclist. It is a tragic accident in an area that is very dangerous to cyclists, regardless of the speed limit (which is 50 mph in this area), due to crossing two lanes of traffic in a short amount of time. As well, there is a rise there, which makes it hard to see.

How many times have you been driving (or cycling), and been doing so safely and attentively, and still had someone suddenly come into your line of sight? I know it's happened to me both ways. Terrible accidents happen to everyone.




55 people like this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

Continually demanding that a teenage driver's name be published, for the sole purpose of subjecting him to scorn and the "angry mob" that this forum can become when there are no facts available to conclude he did anything wrong, just seems highly vindictive.

This accident could have happened to anyone one of us drivers, for any number of different reasons. Even if the accident was a result of driver error (which has yet to be determined), he wouldn't be the first, nor the last, to make a mistake.

If the facts show he did something wrong, I'm sure we'll get all the sordid details and the angry mob can further ruin his life at that time. In the mean time, let's focus on constructive discussions of how to avoid these type of accidents and send our condolences to Mr. Donnelly's family.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sad Story
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:39 am

I have ridden and driven this many times. Not an expert, but people speed here. Traffic planners know when you don't put a stop sign or light between a place to gather speed and a a highway onramp, people speed anticipating the highway. If the cyclist was going 15mph and the driver 50 in the same direction with the car driver braking before impact, not sure this would be a fatality. I rode by this to check out the scene and did not see a long skid mark before accident site. This is a tragic event.


Like this comment
Posted by Journalists should report facts
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:44 am

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:51 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Sad Story - at 50mph (the speed limit) , 1 second is 73 feet travelled. There is no margin for error at those speeds. The car being driven would have anti lock brakes, so you won't necessarily see skid marks. Guarantee you the driver hit the brakes hard at some point, before or after the accident.


Like this comment
Posted by Sad Story
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

@Slow Down - my point is that at 50mph car speed subtracting 15mph bike speed-- it's 35mph, That is 17 yards per second and a different situation.


29 people like this
Posted by Jim Turner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:33 am

I'm an active cyclist and ride between 6000 and 7000 miles a year. Among local rides I consider the situation near Page Mill and 280 where the accident occurred the most dangerous maneuver that I go through. Having to cross two high speed lanes to get from Old Page Mill to the cyclist's lane is just plain scary.

There has to be some way to improve cyclists safety in that area.


8 people like this
Posted by Stuart Berman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:49 am

I concur with Jim Turner.

The basic design of the Page Mill-280 highway interchange is incredibly dangerous. I have ridden this route for 35 years and it has gotten increasingly dangerous as traffic has increased. It is also dangerous at the 280-Sand Hill Road interchange though slightly less so, especially with the small improvements made to it in recent years.

Cars have been hitting bicyclists at these intersections for many years, though we mainly hear about the accidents when deaths are involved. Though excess speed on the part of cars is often to blame, these poorly designed roads need to be redesigned before they are the underlying cause to more deaths.


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Sad Story - you are assuming the bike was travelling parallel to the car, which would not be the case if the cyclist was crossing the road to reach the center bike lane. Either way, a 35mph impact is plenty fast enough to kill.


19 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

OK. So now that we all agree that a bike lane crossing two lanes of speeding traffic at the bottom on a hill just before a freeway on-ramp is an incredibly bad design, what are we going to do about it?


2 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Very sad indeed
Very tragic. Families are impacted for life.

My prayers.


9 people like this
Posted by Bill Dally
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm

This accident is tragic and could easily have been prevented. What is badly needed here is a stop sign at Christopher lane to stop the cars and give bicycles and pedestrians a safe place to cross. Yes, this will slightly inconvenience motorists who have to stop, but it will save lives.

In the meantime, I have changed my bike route to/from Stanford to take Hillview to Arastradero to Page Mill to avoid this intersection entirely. I recommend others do the same. It is not possible to cross two 50mph traffic lanes safely on a bike.


14 people like this
Posted by Truthseeker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Truthseeker is a registered user.

@Anonymous: "what are we going to do about it?"

Excellent question. Page Mill is a dangerous corridor for bikers. This is sad for biker and driver. I know it sounds insensitive, but the reality is that sometimes, government does not act until enough people lose their lives Page Mill Rd. is a county road. It seems the county officials have "grappled" with the situation for "years" and requested funds to improve safety, according to this SJ Mercury News article about the same incident: Web Link

Contact our own Joe Simitian and the County Board of Supervisors: Web Link

Here is information on the various alternatives for this particular interchange:
Web Link

I wonder if the same person who designed that intersection also designed the Alma underpass/ Embarcadero Rd./ Town & Country disaster zone.


17 people like this
Posted by dennis
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Cyclists; no matter how strong you feel about your right to ride anywhere you please the simple fact is that any altercation between you and an auto will end up with you being the loser, just a law of physics. Being a cyclists today on public roadways is one of the most riskful things in life you can do, and being so is it logical to put your life on the line just because you enjoy the activity and feel it is your right. It, as shown by the times, simple not worth it anymore. Sorry, but the reality check is that truth.


12 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm

There is too much traffic in PA. It is totally unsafe to ride a bicycle in such a congested town. Even the bike lanes are dangerous. Maybe the city council and staff shouldn't have allowed the massive construction that has made PA a much more unlivable town. Instead of good city planning, the city govt wants to try and force it's citizens to negotiate the dangerous traffic conditions on a bicycle. Totally ridiculous. Shame on recent city councils for destroying this town.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Woodside
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:42 pm

If the accident report does show that the driver was not at fault, and it is clearly a dangerous risk for cyclist to cross from one bike lane to the other, then Cal Trans could have a big liability for not addressing it.


5 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

If there was ever a spot to sue the transportation authorities for neglect. This could be the spot.

Tragic incident (not an accident because it could have been mitigated) for all involve. Thanks for keeping the drivers name confidential unless facts determine otherwise.

My condolences go out to all involved.


8 people like this
Posted by Brian Moriarty
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm

1. I'm so sorry for Jeffrey, his family and friends. This is heartbreaking.

2. That intersection is dangerous for cyclists. Crossing two lanes of relatively high speed traffic is dangerous. Compounding the problem is that drivers are coming down a hill -- this limits the visibility of both cyclists and oncoming traffic.

3. Over a year ago another cyclist was tragically killed a few miles north at the Alpine / 280 offramp. Significant improvements were made afterwards which have made the intersection safer.

I'm no expert in city / traffic planning, but would love to see a short term solution (i.e. next 60 days) that makes the situation safer - rumble strips / flashing lights for vehicles? I know there is a long term solution in the works, but let's not wait years to address this hazard.



8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The only solution is to physically separate bicycle traffic from automobile traffic whenever the prevailing speed is over 25 mph.

Until that is done bicyclists will continue to be on the losing end of any collision.


"96 percent of people using protected bike lanes believe they increased safety on the street and they reduce bike-related intersection injuries by about 75 percent compared to comparable crossings without infrastructure. "

"ÂœNew York City's protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56 percent reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57 percent reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29 percent reduction in injuries to people walking, as well as an 84 percent reduction in sidewalk riding."

"ÂœStreets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure."



5 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm

There're two major issues with PM/280, one is relatively high traffic speed, the other is a poor visibility.
280 SB exit ramp have a stop sign and the merge has a steep curve, traffic slows down significantly. Motorists and cyclists are visible to each other, you can easily calculate the speed of traffic and make a safe maneuver.

280 NB ramps allow the traffic to travel with a relatively high speed. Exit ramp turns into two dedicated traffic lanes; merge ramp has a shallow curve allowing to enter it with a relatively high speed. Cyclists have to merge across TWO LANES of traffic going over 45+mph in less than 50 ft distance. At that traffic speed/merge distance, it is really easy to misjudge the time it'll take you to safely hop into the bike lane. A very confusing traffic routing and lack of info about the traffic flow encourage motorists to drive unsafely.

At 50 mph, you don't have the time to read the small green info sign telling that the bike lane will now be on your left. You don't see the cyclists until the very last few seconds when they have to cross the road in front of you. You certainly not even expect them to do that, if you're new to the area. You won't have time to react and you'll take a cyclist's life at that speed.

I personally think that a proper well-lit roundabout will work best for the NB. Motorists and cyclists will be more visible to each other, and traffic speed will be more predictable, that's the magic of a roundabout.
As an example, consider the roundabouts in Truckee at CA89-I80.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are no bicycles allowed on the roundabouts in Truckee at CA89-I80.

Putting bicycles in a high speed roundabout is simply asking for tragedies. In a roundabout every car ends up making a right turn and that it exactly where any bicycles would be.


2 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm

@ Peter Carpenter -- didn't see any signs prohibiting cyclists from using the roundabouts and there are multi-use wide sidewalks along both of them. Roundabout's speed limit is 25mph and as a cyclist, you can take the whole lane if you need to. I realize that some people might be very upset having to drive behind the cyclist for 30 or so seconds.


Posted by I will miss you Jeff
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm


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1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm

>The only solution is to physically separate bicycle traffic from automobile traffic whenever the prevailing speed is over 25 mph.

@ Peter: I agree. One simple approach is to make enough speed bumps in the road to make the cars slow down to 25 mph...stop signs, where necessary. Cyclists should also obey any stop signs in front of them. Cross walks with flashing lights are also in order.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"One simple approach is to make enough speed bumps in the road"

Speed bumps create a huge problem for fire engines - even if they are going 25 mph the mass of a fire engine and their suspensions create vertical movements that are dangerous to the firefighters and damaging to the fire engines.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:49 pm


>Speed bumps create a huge problem for fire engines....

Not if properly designed:

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note what your citation states:"Special approval by the Fire Department is needed for use on critical emergency response routes."

MPFPD will NOT approve new speed bumps - period.


18 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm

dennis: Sorry, but you are not being constructive at all. People die in cars around Bay Area every single day. It barely makes the news. Yet, you don't see people giving up on driving. Traffic accidents with fatalities happen, and they are tragic. Be it between two cars, or between cars and cyclists/pedestrians. Remember that even if you drive a car, sooner or later you'll have to cross the street.

This particular interchange was identified as unsafe years ago, and there are plans to completely rework it. It is part of much larger set of improvements for Page Mill all the way from El Camino to I-280. The total cost of project is estimated at about $100 million if all of the improvements are implemented. Almost all of it is for improving flow of traffic on Page Mill, but small part of it also significantly increases safety at I-280 interchange. The work on interchange itself is projected to cost about $20 million. Both for cyclists and residents that live close to it. Just like cyclists have to cross 2 lanes of 50 mph traffic, residents of that area also have to do risky crossing of those two lanes to get onto Page Mill. On Tuesday it was car and cyclists. Tomorrow it can be two cars at exactly same spot with many more fatalities. Since it will take many years before work on that project can start, and current layout was already assessed as unsafe, the proposal also contains short-term fixes that are projected to cost about $200,000 to implement. Unfortunately, it was already too late to save one life. I hope this tragedy will accelerate implementation of interim solution for that interchange. I also hope that even if the county and the city decide not to go forward will full Page Mill improvement project, they will at least consider fully implementing I-280 interchange improvements.

See Web Link for many more details. It's worth a read.

As for traffic worsening every day, it's really NIMBY problem which forces people to live far from where they work. Traffic congestions generally come from long-distance commutes. Every time you vote against new residential developments (e.g. against building new condos) because they will cause "more traffic", you are really voting for "more traffic". Because it creates more pressure on housing in the city, which in turn makes prices skyrocket, which in turn makes living in Palo Alto unaffordable for more and more people, forcing them to commute long distances, creating traffic mess you see on major city routes today.


8 people like this
Posted by Truthseeker
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Truthseeker is a registered user.

@AL - I second everything you said. As I said in my previous post, people should also read the County page on this matter and the project options that have been thrown around: Web Link

I also want to reiterate something you said, because it is so important to think about: less housing in PA will actually = less traffic, at least on weekdays. Sounds counter-intuitive; but the two instances in which I worked for PA employers, I usually biked to work (yes, I had to take Page Mill in one of those cases). I rarely drove during the week. Now I have to drive 12 miles in 101 traffic, and that makes me irritated, with all the construction. What about all THAT traffic and stress we generate with NIMBY policies?

Imagine people biking, walking, taking the bus to work because the office is CLOSE TO HOME. What a concept. The city would have more reason to make our streets friendlier for people to get out of their cars. However, cars are a necessity now, because everything is far away.

Palo Alto will always be a desirable and expensive place to live, even with more high-density housing near public transportation. While we need to plan thoughtfully and build carefully, I believe we need to be more forward-thinking. Change is difficult for some people; I get that. However, we should be grateful about the privileges we do enjoy as residents here. It is still my favorite town - which is why I still call it home. Let's continue to work on making it safer, cleaner, and a better place for future generations.


8 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm

One of the best ways to increase safety in Palo Alto for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers is for Stanford to purchase land in places like Manteca, Lodi and Bakersfield and move many of the Stanford Industrial Park companies to those areas. Palo Alto roads and streets keep serving the heavy traffic those companies generate, and the danger, noise and pollution involved. We need to put a stop to the state of mind where Palo Alto is considered a bottomless sardine can.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The companies in the Stanford Research Park BECAUSE it is next to Stanford.

Palo Alto without Stanford would be like Gilroy - but without the garlic.


3 people like this
Posted by OR
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm

And Stanford with a different town?

Maybe a city with soaring buildings and even more traffic

Palo Alto without Stanford but WITH garlic is my vote.

Gilroy can't be too bad.

Does Gilroy have airplane noise?





29 people like this
Posted by Responsible journalism
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm

@Journalists should report facts

Yes, they should, but they should also report responsibly. When l was sexually assaulted, a newspaper "factually" printed my name and address, where the assault took place outside my home. Two days later, when I was still recovering from this trauma, a group of teens showed up outside my home late at night, waking me up with taunts and laughing.

There is no excuse for reporting facts that are injurious to innocent people. The facts of this accident have not been determined by investigators, so we really don't know if the driver is at fault for this tragic accident or not.

Imagine if you struck someone and it wasn't your fault. You are already traumatized for life. How would it be for you if vindictive, angry persons -- who assumed your guilt without any facts -- started calling you at home or sending angry letters or even pillaring you publicly on social media sites such as Town Square?

It was a wise and thoughtful decision on the part of the Palo Alto Weekly to withhold the driver's name on principle, even if other papers chose to publish it, rather than to jump on the bandwagon. If he is cited or sued, then it's appropriate to report his name.

Deepest condolences to Mr. Donnelly's family.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm

@mauricio

Using that logic couldn't you much more easily yourself move to Manteca, Lodi or Bakersfield? It's not like you or anyone else has more of an inherent right or need to live in Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm

PA has fallen victim to poor city planning by our city leaders and incompetent city staff. The downtown is a mess, no shops downtown, our roads are jammed, no parking to be found, foreign investors leaving homes vacant, airplane noise, high prices for everything, ugly monster buildings being erected everywhere, dirty downtown sidewalks, rude frustrated motorists, construction and noise everywhere you turn. What has happened to this town!!


12 people like this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

@Responsible Journalism:

Very well said, and thank you for putting into words what I could not clearly get across very well. I'm so sorry for the traumatic experience you went through and sincerely hope you are in a good place (physically and emotionally) now. Part of your comment bears repeating:

"There is no excuse for reporting facts that are injurious to innocent people. The facts of this accident have not been determined by investigators, so we really don't know if the driver is at fault for this tragic accident or not."

Exactly. It's possible road debris, a bright reflected light, or a small animal caused Mr. Donelly to lose control of his bike and veer in front of the unsuspecting driver, but most people don't consider that as they rush to judgment of the driver.

My heart goes out to Mr. Donelly's family as well as the young driver and his family. God must have intended some good to come from this tragedy, and I pray that we, as a community, can recognize that purpose and accomplish the needed.

@Robert:

Actually, I think it is entirely reasonable for existing residents to have more right to live here than people who want to move here, or for companies that want to hire out-of-area workers and expect to get them to get cheap housing here. Setting up expansion offices of local companies in areas that want the jobs and opportunities that commercial opportunities offer is a win-win.

The whole planet cannot descend on Palo Alto and expect existing residents to move out or squeeze into teeny tiny boxes in order to make room for them. There are other, great places that would love to have more jobs and where housing is infinitely more affordable. Manteca, Lodi, and Bakersfield sound like great places to set up satellite offices. After all, most of these big companies are already global, leveraging cheap workers in India and China, so why not Bakersfield?


5 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm

In that morning on my way driving my son to his school, I saw the body laid in the middle of load covered by a yellow sheet. I was speechless and sad, R.I.P. buddy. This is the second accident at the same spot I saw in a year that a car hits a bike. Last time the bicyclist was lucky, and only the bike was damaged.

This section of Page Mill is so dangerous for bicycles because bikes have to cross two lanes to get to the middle of lanes, and cars often driving at 50 mph. Worse is that this area seems no city cares. Caltran is planning on improving the intersection of 280 off-ramp and Page Mill road, but I didn't see anything to address the bicycle lane issue. Palo Alto residents, please raise your concerns to your city leaders.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm

@Give it a Rest

Sorry, when I read "move many of the Stanford Industrial Park companies to those areas" I thought he meant moving those companies to those areas... not suggesting they expand elsewhere to take advantage of lower housing costs for imported workers


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Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

@Robert:

I don't know what Mauricio meant, but wholesale moving of companies is a non-starter, so maybe it was me who assumed he meant expansion.


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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

@Robert, by owning a house in Palo Alto, which I purchased without outside help and without demanding long time residents to change their life style so I could afford it, I, without any doubt, have much more of an inherited right to live in Palo Alto than someone who was hired, irresponsibly, by a local company without having housing here, and who demands that long time residents give up their chosen lifestyle, or even move out, and except a drastic reduction in their quality and life, AND, provide them with "affordable"housing that fit their salaries too. People should live where they can afford to, and companies should never move to areas that are prohibitedly expensive, while hiring workers without established housing, and expect the locals to solve their employees housing problems for them.

This area is maxed out, there is no more room, and long time residents will not move out so those who feel they must live here or life will have no meaning can move in. Local companies should move some of their operations to other areas with cheaper and more available housing, and new companies shouldn't move in, because their new employees will not be able to find or afford housing here. There is all the reason in the world to create many Silicon Valleys, instead of trying to squeeze in more into what has become the most expensive sardine can in the world.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"have much more of an inherited right to live in Palo Alto than someone who ...."

You have to be kidding! An inherited right to live in Palo Alto?


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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 6, 2015 at 11:02 am

The one who initially mentioned the words inherited right was the poster who suggested I move out of Palo Alto. By virtue of owning a house in Palo Alto, which I managed without asking long time residents for help and never demanding they give up their life style and quality of life in order to make it possible for me to live here, I have a right to live here, much more than someone who can't afford to live in Palo Alto, but demands that long time residents provide him with housing that fit his income, or just move out so he can move in.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

If you read my statement I didn't mention anything about demanding housing or anyone giving up their quality of life. I was responding to the suggestion that, in order to make more room in Palo Alto for mauricio, others in Palo Alto should leave.

His statement also implied that, all things being equal, there is no difference between living or locating a company in Palo Alto or Lodi or Bakersfield... so if he has concerns about crowding, logically it would be much easier for him to move to one of these other locations, rather than entire established companies to do so.


8 people like this
Posted by Bud
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Reality check. People in Palo Alto (and surrounding cities, in no way this is Palo Alto only issue) own all of their wealth to the fact this area is economically strong. Some fueled by large and strong companies, as well as many small companies. People tend to gravitate towards such areas. It's a no-brainer. Complaining about all the people that have moved in over last decade or two, or about more recent newcomers is... Well, you were all more than happy to take the money, a lot of it, and now you complain about it? Sorry, but you can't keep a cake and eat it at the same time. It never worked that way.

You all sit on millions of dollars of personal wealth that you milked out of that economy. Or in some cases by simply sitting on your assets and doing mostly nothing, but watching them skyrocket. I'm 100% sure you are absolutely unwilling to give up any of that wealth. Every single one of you. But you are all eager to complain? Want old lifestyle back? Sure, bulldoze all of the local economy, replant those orchards. And go back thinking $50k/year is decent income for an engineer, if you can find a job. At that point, you'll be probably considering relocating to someplace else where economy is strong.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

>MPFPD will NOT approve new speed bumps - period

@ Peter: The city of Pleasanton figured it out, to the satisfaction of the local fire agency. If speed bumps/humps/lumps can be signed so that fire engines can pass through at relatively high speed, but those vehicles with a less wide wheel base have to slow down, wouldn't that be a good solution to the Page Mill/280 approach? After all, I am in agreement with you that 25 mph is the appropriate speed on that hill. Given that it is too dangerous, as is, why not try a quick and effective fix?


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Posted by OR
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Bud,

OR a lot of people worked and earned the money they have sat on, are sitting on, or invested. Market forces are not stealing (not exactly) but it happens to be the system in this particular country. How is asking people to "give up" one's earned savings or windfalls not stealing (sort of).


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"@ Peter: The city of Pleasanton figured it out, to the satisfaction of the local fire agency. "

Right, they figured it out alright - read your own citation: "Speed bumps are NOT approved traffic control devices and are not used on Pleasanton roadways."


2 people like this
Posted by Bud
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

OR, I'm not saying everybody was just sitting on their asses (I wrote assets, small in spelling but big in real world difference ;-). Many people worked hard to make what is here today. But what they worked to create, is what we have today. To look at it the other way, an area can either slowly decline, or gradually grow. There's really no middle ground, that's how economy works. Stagnation eventually leads into decline. Would you rather see growth on expense of some densification and change of landscape around you over time? Or would you rather see gradual decline that eventually leads to no jobs by the time your kids are out of school? As I said, there's no middle ground. Pick one and stop complaining about your choice.


2 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

"Speed lumps are similar to humps but
divided into three lumps with one foot of
space between each lump. The space
between the lumps is specifically
designed to accommodate the axle
width of fire trucks. This allows fire
trucks to pass through without having to
go over the speed lumps. All other
vehicles with smaller axle widths have to
go over the lumps with at least one side"
of the vehicle."

I made the incorrect assumption that you actually read the reference that I provided for the city of Pleasanton CA, before you reacted to it. The above quote is from that reference. There is clearly a way to make it happen...if there is an open mind to real solutions.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is no misunderstanding - Pleasanton PROHIBITS speed bumps - period.
" "Speed bumps are NOT approved traffic control devices and are not used on Pleasanton roadways."

They do permit other less damaging speed control devices IF those devices have the fire department's approval:

"Special approval by the Fire Department is needed for use on critical emergency response routes."

It is an illusion to think that traffic speeds on this very busy county highway can be controlled by speed bumps.

And a bigger illusion to think that there is an "easy" solution that permits the continued mixing of bicycles and cars on the same roadway.


3 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm

>They do permit other less damaging speed control devices IF those devices have the fire department's approval:

Yes, the city of Pleasanton DOES permit speed 'lumps', which act to slow down traffic from normal vehicles, but allows fire trucks to pass through at relatively higher speeds. That city's fire agency seems to have approved.

If there were speed 'lumps' as described in my above post, that traffic speed on Page Mill/280 approach would be substantially slowed, while still allowing fire trucks to pass through efficiently (assuming that they have their lights and sirens going).

My essential question is: What can be done NOW? It is a big problem area, obviously. Speed 'lumps' CAN be done now. Why not try to improve the situation, NOW? A strict separation of bicycles and cars is an ideal, but it won't happen for a long time.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Compared to 46 percent of the general population, an overwhelming 64 percent of people who would like to bike more say that protected bike lanes would make a difference to their transportation choices"

Web Link


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Posted by OR
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Bud,

This is not really the thread to argue boom or bust. But you cannot have it both ways -threaten bust if you don't fuel more boom (which has associated costs) and then complain about market forces and consequences of boom.

Sadly, it is a thread about someone getting killed, and I notice many good ideas to improve that crossing to avert another tragedy.




2 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I finally read Craig Laughton's post about Pleasanton, and its efforts to slow down traffic, while still allowing fire trucks to move through at higher speeds. It makes sense.

Craig is right about an immediate response to this stretch of Page Mill. The traffic needs to be forced to slow down, and speed lumps seem like a very rational way to do this. Let's just do it! NOW! It's a no brainer.


6 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm

What Peter wrote...

General population could be divided as follows regarding cycling to destination less than 5 miles away:

1) Hardcode, bike anywhere, any street, don't care about cars
2) Comfortable in traffic
3) Interested in cycling at least some of the time, but concerned about safety
4) Would never bike

It turns out the largest of these is (3). (1) accounts for a percent or two of population. (2) maxes out at around 20%. (3) is whooping 40-60%, depending who does the counting. I.e. given half-decent cycling infrastructure, about half of the general population would take bikes over cars for short trips. Unfortunately, a single badly designed intersection is sufficient to put off this particular group from cycling.

Places with high rate of cyclists are places where "interested but concerned" group feels safe. This is really what building up cycling infrastructure boils down to: allowing people who are interested in cycling to actually do it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Loose Fillings
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

"The space between the lumps is specifically designed to accommodate the axle width of fire trucks."

That works for any truck or RV of comparable axle length, so not everyone gets slowed. Does anybody know anything about BMW's optional speed bump tuned suspension?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This stretch of road is a critical emergency response route and even Pleasanton does NOT allow speed lumps on a critical emergency response route.

I predict that the speed devices proposed by Craig and others would actually increase the risk to bicyclists as many drivers would simply cut into an unprotected bike lane to avoid the speed devices. And at night when the speed devices were less visible fast cars could easily be thrown out of control.

Please, there is no quick, cheap and easy solution to this problem. The only solution is to provide separte and protected bicycle paths.


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 6, 2015 at 3:24 pm

[Portion removed.] It's not about asking others to leave Palo Alto. People who desire to live in Palo Alto but can't afford to, are demanding that residents densify and allow the building of "affordable" housing that will fit their salaries. We also hear more and more from those who absolutely must live in Palo Alto and nowhere else, that residents just leave, so they can move in. Companies who insist on moving to an incredibly expensive real estate market while hiring employees who don't have established housing here and little to no chance of finding any, are largely to blame. If they moved to other, less expensive areas, we wouldn't have this problem. Palo Alto is already a sardine can. We need to think of de-densification, through the relocation of companies or at least some of their operations, not adding more sardines.


1 person likes this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Put stop signs at the Christopher intersection. That's the fastest, cheapest, best way to slow traffic down. Bicyclists can then make eye contact with car drivers before entering the intersection to cross over to the left side bike lane.

Also put big, yellow "Caution - Bike Xing" signs at all four stop signs (including the one at the northbound off-ramp).


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Posted by Eric Wolff
a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Old time charm
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

@bud, regarding your statement "stagnation leads to decline" I have to disagree. There are many wonderful, old, charming neighborhoods with character, class and style that have been around for 100+ years. Explain why it's wrong for someone who was charmed by the look of a community, and so made the decision to buy there specifically because of this, to then want to keep and maintain that charm?

I would say the ones who want to CHANGE it are out of line. And this is from a newbie who would love to listen every on PA but can't afford it. But can certainly appreciate it and absolutely understand (and respect) why those who live there would like to keep it the way it is.


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Posted by Old time charm
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Correction "would love to live in PA"


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2015 at 7:15 pm

>The only solution is to physically separate bicycle traffic from automobile traffic whenever the prevailing speed is over 25 mph.

@ Peter: Your words. I tend to agree. So, how do we slow down the traffic on Page Mill/280 approach to around 25 mph? Some of us have been suggesting some short term solutions...yet you stand stubborn with absolutist solutions (similar to your notions of tunnels for HSR). The issue is here and now, and people are getting killed on this particular stretch of road. I say, slow down the cars with speed lumps, provide some lighting and signs and crosswalks and stop signs, etc. And enforce bicycle road laws...they usually seem to think that they own the road, and can ignore the rules.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" So, how do we slow down the traffic on Page Mill/280 approach to around 25 mph"

Given the nature of this county highway and its relation to 280 that simply is not going to happen.

Here is what the California Highway Design manual clearly states:

"Where the local facility connects to a freeway or expressway (such as ramp terminal intersections), the design speed of the local facility shall be a minimum of 35 miles per hour."


2 people like this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Put in very well marked stop signs. That could be done inside of a week.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Exactly how many such stop signs are on Oregon and Page Mill between 101 and 280?


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Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 11:00 pm

>> Exactly how many such stop signs are on Oregon and Page Mill between 101 and 280?

I don't know, I'm not the stop sign police, but I suspect you have time to count them if you really want to know (I think there may be none - it's all lights due to the heavy cross traffic coming out of the big corporations).

Stop signs work on the west side of the 280/Page Mill intersection, they would be an excellent stop-gap at the Christopher Lane intersection as well, while the County mulls over what to do with the intersection for the long term. Stop signs would not cause a problem for fire trucks, either.

If you disagree, feel free to be clear about your position.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 7, 2015 at 8:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

>> Exactly how many such stop signs are on Oregon and Page Mill between 101 and 280?

"I don't know, I'm not the stop sign police, but I suspect you have time to count them if you really want to know (I think there may be none"

Correct. I suspect that the design standards for multilane county highways prohibit stop signs. And for good reason - stop signs are a poor method of controlling through traffic, particularly bicycle through traffic.

Please, there is no quick, cheap and easy solution to this problem. The only solution is to provide separate and protected bicycle paths.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:15 am

>Please, there is no quick, cheap and easy solution to this problem. The only solution is to provide separate and protected bicycle paths.

At this stretch of road, the problem is immediate...that is obvious. We should not wait for a permanent solution (a complete separation of bicycles and cars), while we can make some intermediate fixes that make sense. Speed lumps is one of these temporary solutions. There is no mutual exclusivity here...do a quick fix approach and then follow up with a more permanent fix. Waiting for a permanent fix will just cost more lives. This is the palpably common sense approach.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Speed lumps is one of these temporary solutions"

Please think through the implications os such a "quick fix".

As noted above drivers will swerve to avoid such speed control devices and that will inevitably INCREASE the number of bicycle accidents. And a 25 mph speed limit at this location is precluded by the design standards - again as noted above.


2 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I agree that a fully separated bike path is the best solution for this dangerous area. In fact, the county has developed a design for such which they presented to the city council this year, but it is not yet funded and probably many years away.
In the interim, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risks.
On each side of the hill there are signs stating "35 Zone Ahead" as one approaches the dangerous intersections. However, the actual 35 mph signs do not occur until after entering the area where cars need to slow down. With the new Dush parking on Deer Creek the Foothill/Page Mill intersection is now more heavily used by pedestrians.
Also, the 50mph speed zone on Page Mill exists for less than a mile and over a winding road that is often full of cars at too high of speeds doing lane changes which makes it dangerous for cars as well as bikes. There would only be a few second delay to cars if the speed limit was reduced to 45 mph.
Lastly, the median under 280 is wide and might be able to be reduced a few feet to create a wider and perhaps separated bike lane where bikes are currently unprotected as they must travel between car lanes.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

>Please think through the implications os such a "quick fix".

Peter, please think about the implications of waiting for a permanent fix...it almost certainly means more accidents with cars/bicycles.

We are looking at a special situation here...and special exemptions from state design rules are required. After all, the current rules are not working.

>As noted above drivers will swerve to avoid such speed control devices and that will inevitably INCREASE the number of bicycle accidents

That is pure speculation on your part. If the car drivers do that, and hurt a bicyclist, they are going to go to jail. Think about it, Peter.

Speed lumps are a good first try to slow down the traffic. They will still allow the fire trucks to get through efficiently. The situation is critical, and it is time to demand exemptions from the various agency rules that would prevent a fix.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Craig - You and I simply disagree. I believe that your quick and cheap solution will increase the danger to bicyclists - particularly since the posted speed limit cannot be reduced below 35 mph. Just imagine hitting your speed lumps at 35 mph and the opportunity for both loss of control and the temptation for diversion into the bike lanes. And all of this on a stretch of highway that has a significant gradient.

BTW - can you point to any four lane highways that have speed lumps?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Peter, please define a 'four lane highway' in this county where bicyclists are allowed to cross two of the lanes. The current situation allows it at the Page Mill Road/280 approach.

Time to demand exemptions from rules that don't apply to specific deadly situations, like the one at the Page Mill/280 approach.


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Posted by Foothill Expy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm

I routinely bike across two lanes of high speed traffic (45 mph zone) getting to the left turn lane for Edith off southbound Foothill. Looks legal to me. Central Expressway presents the same situations, 45 mph south of San Antonio. El Camino cyclists get to cross three lanes.


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm

>I routinely bike across two lanes of high speed traffic (45 mph zone) getting to the left turn lane for Edith off southbound Foothill. Looks legal to me.

You are lucky to still be alive!

If bicycles are to be allowed on 'highways' then the highways need to have car traffic-slowing devices built into them. Bicyclists are notorious for breaking the rules of the road...and they should be ticketed for doing so.

There are some common sense fixes that are available at this point. Speed lumps are here and now for particular places on our roads...why not employ them?


4 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Ban all bikes on that stretch. It's too dangerous for them now, and rapid regional population growth is making it ever worse.


3 people like this
Posted by @Mauricio
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Mauricio: perhaps, in a prior post on this thread, you meant "inherent", as opposed to "inherited".


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Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Ah, caro Mauricio,

Alas the Bill of Rights doesn't mention any inherent or inherited right to live in PA, so I take it that I can take my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness wherever I see fit and that may even be Palo Alto. Maybe Mauricio is concerned that the city will become a favela of sorts, so I say you move Mauricio....


1 person likes this
Posted by OR
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2015 at 9:25 pm

ndn,

People in favelas don't have as many cars as people here, or bikes. Public transportation is better in a lot of places and a favela in Palo Alto would not be very convenient if the jobs all require cars. The comment that a permanent fix for this crossing is "years" away is yet another sign of how complicated infrastructure and public transport is here. Piling people into cities that can't keep up with the cars or bikes may have been the point that got the inherent and inherited nonsense going.


6 people like this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm

@Pat Burt:

Dropping the speed limit from 50 to 45 will not make any difference, but I appreciate you engaging in the discussion!

I drive this stretch of road regularly, continuing past 280 and up into the hills. Every time I drive it, I am struck by what an incredibly dangerous place this is for bikes, and confusing for cars as well. I see two immediate solutions, while we wait the years it will be (if ever) before any safe, separated, bike crossing is created:

1) Lower the speed limit to 35 MPH and put a stop sign at the Christoper Lane intersection. The stop sign would be no more intrusive than a metering light getting onto 280 north or south.

2) Lower the speed limit to 35 MPH and put in a stop light at the Christopher intersection that remains green for Page Mill traffic unless a vehicle is sensed or a "pedestrian" button is pushed (which could be pushed by a bicyclist).

3) Ban bicycles from this stretch of road altogether and continue it's use as a vehicle "highway," not a country road for bicyclists to get a good exercise ride in.

Something has to change about this crazy stretch of road - the only thing I find to be completely amazing is that there have not been more accidents between cars and bikes - it actually makes a very positive statement about our drivers and cyclists.

Please make a change very soon. Mr. Donnelly's death cannot be in vain.


2 people like this
Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Sorry - meant to also say, I think "speed lumps" are a very bad idea. Slowing traffic is less effective than stopping it, and frankly I think an awful lot of cars won't even realize they are there and will fly over the top of them, damaging their cars and potentially losing control of their vehicle. "Speed lumps" are hard to enforce by the police/sheriff/CHP, stop signs are easy to enforce and easy to see (especially with "Stop Ahead" and "Cross Traffic Ahead" signs).

I also disagree with waiting for the nirvana solution of physical separation of bikes from the roadway. That will take a VERY long time to get through the process and politics, and we cannot afford to do nothing in the mean time.

Lives matter.


5 people like this
Posted by Neighborly
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:21 pm


Not being a biker, I keep seeing green painted squares, lines and drawings all over intersections in local towns. I have no idea what they mean but hopefully will learn overtime. They are also hard to see. In the mean time they take time and attention from what should be spent just trying to focus on and keep up with our horrible traffic. To learn a whole new system in this over crowded area is at least risky if not down right dangerous.


2 people like this
Posted by @Give it a rest
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Your suggestion of dropping the speed limit to 35 MPH makes sense, because there is a 35 MPH sign about 100' from the collision. Many drivers wouldn't really slow down for that, but active speed signs have been shown to help.

One of the big problems here is jurisdiction. This is not under PA, it's under Santa Clara County and the VTA, but they can't do anything without approval and cooperation from CalTrans. The VTA has been working up proposals for this for several years now, and they are still on the table. I too agree that a practical improvement here would be a great memorial to Jeff, and anyone can go to the VTA's web site to see the proposals and status; the last round of public comments recently closed, but there will be more:
Web Link

Bicyclists will not be easily 'outlawed' from this roadway, by the way, because it's not an interstate highway.


8 people like this
Posted by @Craig Laughton
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 7, 2015 at 11:33 pm

"Bicyclists are notorious for breaking the rules of the road..."

Says who, you? BFD. Cars are the leading cause of death of children in the US, but you don't see us banning them from the roads.


7 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 8, 2015 at 9:15 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The quickest and easiest solution would be to put in a stop sign for the bicycles who would then only proceed across the two lanes of traffic when they could safely do so - exactly as the cars on Christopher and other side streets with stop signs now have to do before they enter Page Mill .


Bicyclist who run this stop sign would do so at the risk of their lives.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 8, 2015 at 9:29 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

V C Section 21802 Stop Signs Intersections

Stop Signs: Intersections

21802. (a) The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.
(b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a) may proceed to enter the intersection, and the drivers of all other approaching vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle entering or crossing the intersection.

(c) This section does not apply where stop signs are erected upon all approaches to an intersection.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 8, 2015 at 9:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

VC Section 21200. (a) A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.


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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 8, 2015 at 10:46 am

For every bicycle that doesn't stop at a stop sign, I see a car that glides past the same stop sign, drives too fast on a residential street, or the driver texting or speaking on his/her cell phone while barely paying attention to the road. This is for those who claim that cyclists are notorious for breaking the rules of the road.


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Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

Then, Mauricio, those cars need to be cited. However, that behavior does not alter that bicyclists ARE notorious for breaking the rules of the road, and anyone who doubts the reality has only to hang out near some stop signs in my town and watch. In fact the strongest complaints I see about it are from friends who get around mainly or entirely by bicycle.


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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm

No, both car drivers and cyclists break the rules of then road at roughly the same rate. Since bicycles are far less dangerous and unlikely to cause death to others who share the road with them, cars are the real and present danger. With the attitude prevalent now in Palo Alto and some surrounding areas, cars are becoming increasingly dangerous to everybody: cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 8, 2015 at 12:52 pm

>Bicyclist who run this stop sign would do so at the risk of their lives.

@ Peter: That is not a serious (enough) response to a serious situation. Sure, stop signs (and cross walks, etc.) might help, but the speed of the cars on that road is the elephant in the room...it cannot be ignored. You said, "25 mph" and I agree with you. It won't happen with warning signs alone...there needs to be obstructions in the road to make the cars back off the gas, and tap the brakes on the way down the hill. That is why I think speed lumps are a good first approach.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

To be very clear - I have never advocated a 25 mph speed limit for this highway and the California design standards preclude a 25 mph speed limit on this highway.

Put a stop sign in for bicycles and rigidly enforce both the bicyclists stopping and cars yielding to the bikes when they have properly entered the crossway.

Much better for 1 bike to be stopped than hundreds of cars.


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Posted by PerfectlyLegal
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Regarding bicyclists' belief that if what they are doing is "perfectly legal" it is also "safe", I hate to tell you but that is not true. If you're a sailboat in the SF Bay and are on a starboard tack downwind from an oil tanker, it may be perfectly legal to cut in front of him, but it is not safe. You guys are out on the road with vehicles much heavier and faster than you.

This tragic accident most likely occurred when two people had a momentary lapse. One person doing 50 MPH inside a giant metal cocoon, the other doing 20 MPH with no protection at all.

Bicyclists must take responsibility for their own safety, whether that seems "fair" or not. As someone who drives Page Mill Road every day, I've seen some really dangerous behavior on the part of bicyclists and there's only so much I as a driver can do to compensate for that.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm

>Put a stop sign in for bicycles and rigidly enforce....

@ Peter: [Portion removed.] When was the last time you saw rigid enforcement of bicycles stopping at stop signs?
The answer is to slow down the traffic, period...then add in the stop signs and cross walks, etc. This is a special case situation. Put in the speed lumps, then see how it goes....


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Posted by SV Ex-Pat
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I biked this section of PMR from the mid-80s until June this year when I moved out of the area. I'm old enough to remember how the pavement buckled right under 280 because of Loma Prieta. Anyway, I don't feel that stop signs on Page Mill at Christopher Lane is a practical solution--the traffic is at times simply way too heavy and at commute time the cars would be backed up to at least the top of the hill.

The problem Peter's suggestion above is that I have at commute times been forced to stop at Christopher Lane in order to wait for an opening in traffic, but I never liked doing this because when proceeding to cross PMR it's sometimes difficult to get a cleated cycling shoe to engage in a pedal while one is looking at high speed traffic bearing down . Unfortunately simply walking (running is more like it) across the lanes with the bike isn't really practical because the distance is too far. Sort that's sort of a rock and hard place situation.

A stop light that can be engaged by pedestrians/bikers is more promising. However there is a danger that a light itself can take drivers by surprise--there would definitely be a learning curve associated with it. I assume the cost of placing it would be considerable also.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Comment
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Why isn't there more effort to create separate networks/ I've seen to many people misuse the studies of what happens in completely non-comparable situations of bikes driving on sidewalks to avoid discussing how much safer it would be to have separated networks that only intersect with bikes and cars as equal vehicles. As long as bikes are treated like an afterthought by traffic design conventions, these accidents will continue to happen. I'm so saddened for his family and friends.


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Posted by Give it a Rest
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2015 at 4:43 pm

[Portion removed.]

A light at Christopher that stays green except when triggered by a car or manually by a button would not be very expensive compared to the potential loss of life and the serious injuries that could be averted. Warn drivers of the new light ahead with signed further east on Page Mill.

Any driver that can't see and stop at a red light is driving dangerously. Just because they don't expect a light there does not mean they aren't responsible for seeing it and stopping. Yes, for the first few weeks some people will run it, but they'll catch on. Bicyclists will still have to be extremely careful, but at least a light gives them a more reasonable way to cross.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"A light at Christopher that stays green except when triggered by a car or manually by a button would not be very expensive"

The Town of Atherton and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District have partnered to put in a $330,000 "Hawk" light on El Camino Real at Almendral Avenue that will remain dark unless activated by pedestrians, bicyclists or the Fire District.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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