Santa Clara County eyes safer crossings near Palo Alto, Los Altos schools

'Pedestrain detection system' will be installed at Foothill Expressway and Arastradero Road near Gunn High School

Seeking to protect students who use expressway intersections, including one in Palo Alto and two in Los Altos, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for the installation of "pedestrian detection systems," according to a press release from the county.

The intersections will be equipped with sensors that detect pedestrians in the crosswalk and send a signal, which gives the pedestrian additional time to cross the street, according to the county. This will prevent pedestrians from getting "caught" when the light turns green for traffic.

The systems have already been installed at 11 intersections throughout the county, including two crossings on Oregon and Page Mill expressways near Ohlone Elementary School in Palo Alto.

The new detection systems will be installed at Foothill Expressway and Arastradero Road, near Gunn High School; Foothill Expressway and Springer Road, near Loyola Elementary School in Los Altos; and Foothill and St. Joseph Avenue, near Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos.

Supervisor Joe Simitian said in a statement that the goal of the effort is to "make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school across our busy expressways."

"It's our responsibility both to make sure that our roads are safe and well-maintained for drivers, but also that they are safe for pedestrians, especially kids and their families," Simitian said.

The board allocated a surplus from the Adult School Crossing Guard Program to fund the new crossings, which will be combined with funds already allocated to the project from the Santa Clara County Road Fund.


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16 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Please put one by Palo Alto High School at Alma!

18 people like this
Posted by Escondido Mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 31, 2016 at 4:06 pm

There needs to be something to make crossing El Camino on Stanford safer for bikers. I've seen so many children and adults almost hit by people turning left, or people turning right on Stanford coming from El Camino North and not stopping at the cross walk to check, if this all makes sense. It's just a crazy intersection during school times.

14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I would advocate for Loma Verde at Middlefield.

20 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2016 at 5:32 pm

The intersection mentioned in this article and all the intersections mentioned in the comments are known danger zones. The primary danger is cars turning across the crosswalks at the same time that the pedestrian walk light is active. How about a common sense solution of not allowing cars to turn when the pedestrian light is on? No right turn on red either. I know that San Francisco does this for intersections with a lot of pedestrian traffic. Why can't Palo Alto do the same? I know there have been car vs pedestrian collisions at all of the intersections mentioned above.

7 people like this
Posted by midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2016 at 6:43 pm

ha! as i watched a bicycle blow through a RED light at bryant and oregon expressway (headed south) not 30 minutes ago. (papd please look at the video footage - if you're ticketing cars for running reds using your cameras then bikes should be identifiable and ticketed as well!)

Like this comment
Posted by downsizer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2016 at 12:04 am

A little more exercise and better diets would make for healthier and more alert
kid and adults...

18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 1, 2016 at 1:16 am

They also need to highlight the crosswalk on Embarcadero Road from Paly to Town & Country Village. A Paly sophomore was hit a few weeks ago when a car drove through a red light. Her pelvis was broken and her face hit the windshield. Questionable whether the driver deliberately drove through the red light or simply didn't see the crosswalk and traffic light due to looking further ahead. There is a lot going on at that intersection that the crosswalk should be more visible.

Like this comment
Posted by Kaui
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

I vote for something to keep kids safe on Hanover crossing page mill expressway. The light timer has been lengthened and modified to show seconds remaining. But still cars on Hanover take a right on red, putting our children at risk. There is a large community of children who commute from Stanford and College Terrace to Terman, Gunn, and Barron Park elementary.

2 people like this
Posted by PalyStudentsShouldWalk
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2016 at 11:03 am


8 people like this
Posted by Bill Warren
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2016 at 11:23 am

I do not recall what it is called, but in San Fransisco at some of the very busy intersections, the auto (and therefore bike) traffic is stopped in all directions, at which time all walkers can cross in all directions. After some number of seconds, the auto & bike traffic restarts. For example, north - south, followed by east - west. When the auto & bike traffic is moving, all walkers are stopped.

3 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 1, 2016 at 11:33 am

Put the Charleston, Meadow, and Churhill crossings, below grade, just like they did with Embarcadero and Page Mill / Oregon.

Easiest answer (it's already been done twice).

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

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