Residents sound off on Ross Road changes

Palo Alto officials vow to improve public outreach after outpouring of criticism

After installing a host of "traffic calming" measures aimed at promoting bicycling on Ross Road, Palo Alto officials are now facing an equally tough task: calming the residents who are frustrated and enraged by the rapid transformation of their streets.

And if the Tuesday City Council meeting is any indication, they have plenty of work to do on that front.

More than 100 residents packed into the Mitchell Park Community Center on Tuesday evening to hear a presentation on the recent changes, which some have called a welcome boost for the city's bike-boulevard network and which others characterized as an accident waiting to happen. About 50 sounded off on the new changes, with opinions ranging from applause to anger.

For the City Council, the new bike projects are a point of pride and the culmination of years of planning and significant investment. In 2012, the council unanimously approved the Bike and Pedestrian Transportation Plan, which aims to transform Palo Alto into one of the nation's most bike-friendly cities. It also approved $20 million toward implementing the plan, which includes projects on Bryant Street, along Greer Road, Homer Avenue, Moreno Avenue and other segments.

No project, however, has generated the kind of outpouring of concern like the changes recently made on Ross Road as part of a $9.6-million project known as the Neighborhood Traffic Safety and Bicycle Boulevard. The 7.1-mile project includes medians, curb extensions, slotted speed humps, three raised crosswalks, five raised intersections and 11 roundabouts, including a prominent one on Ross and East Meadow Drive.

As the Tuesday meeting demonstrated, the project defies neutrality. More than 1,000 people had signed a petition started by resident George Jacquette, calling the improvements "unsafe and unhelpful."

"In pursuit of traffic calming, the changes have created dangerous interactions between cars and bikes," the petition states.

Many residents who attended the Tuesday meeting channeled that sentiment and blasted the project for forcing drivers and cyclists to share space in the roundabout area, often to the detriment of the latter's safety. One resident, Rita Gold, called the changes on Ross Road "traffic stressing" measures and described the project as the worst decision the council had made in the past 35 years. Another resident, Laurie Mandel, questioned the city's definition of "success" in designing these projects, which she said don't appear to make conditions safer.

Terry Martin, an engineer, was blunter. He said he considers the project "an incredible waste of money" and "an epitome of incompetence."

"It's made my neighborhood less livable and has negatively impacted the safety of friends and family and so forth," Martin said.

For many others, the Ross Road project is a welcome boost to the city's transportation network. Bruce and Christine Moision, who live in the area and who frequently bike, both said they welcome the recent changes. Bruce Moision called the Ross Road project "an improvement to safety." Bill Higgins, who lives on Louis Road, agreed and applauded city leaders for their work on the project.

"My biggest regret about the Ross Road project is that it's not the Louis Road bicycle boulevard," Higgins said. "I'd like those traffic-calming elements on my street."

Yesh Galon, who lives on Ross Road, encouraged others in the audience – including the council – to keep an open mind.

"One of my biggest concerns was that there would be a knee-jerk reaction to rip this out," Yesh Galon said. "Let's wait and see."

For the council, the Tuesday meeting was largely an opportunity to listen to their constituents. Early in the meeting, city leaders gave an overview of the city's bike program and acknowledged that they could've done a better job in conducting outreach and getting people used to the new changes.

"We certainly can improve the process of how we acclimate the community to a new set of conditions," Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus told the standing-room-only crowd. "But as we implement these changes, the main thing we want to share is that we're listening and adapting as we go."

Some changes have already been made. In March, the council hit the brakes on those phases on the bike project that are not already under construction (contractors proceeded with several pending projects, including a roundabout on Ross and Moreno roads; raised intersections on Louis Road at Moreno and Amarillo avenues; and a new crosswalk at Colorado Avenue and Sandra Place). And in April and May, the city's contractor made a series of temporary markings and mock-ups to give residents a sense of planned changes, including a planned roundabout on Greer Road and Amarillo.

Yet a new report from the office of City Manager James Keene makes the case that the best way to win support for projects like the one on Ross Road is to give them more time. It typically takes about six months to a year, the report states, for residents to adapt to significant street changes.

"Recently, as construction has wrapped up along Ross Road, staff has heard more community members expressing support for the Project and bike boulevards," the report states.

Now, officials hope that they can apply the lessons learned on Ross Road to future components of the ambitious project. Early next year, the city plans to extend the Bryant Street bike boulevard to San Antonio Road and pursue various improvements on Stanford Avenue, between El Camino Real and Park Boulevard; on Park Boulevard, between Castilleja Avenue and West Meadow Drive; and on Donald Drive and Maybell Avenue, between Georgia Avenue and El Camino.

"I think it's really important that we are attempting to knit and connect together some sort of network that allows for travel across our city," Keene told the assembled crowd Tuesday. "Of course, it's not something that can be done in one point in time, or even within a one-decade period."

After hearing all the comments, council members readily acknowledged that the project had some shortcomings. Councilwoman Karen Holman criticized the quality of the work on some parts of the corridor, while Councilman Greg Scharff urged staff to make sure that improving bike safety does not entail making conditions more stressful for drivers.

And just about everyone agreed that the city needs to do a better job communicating. Mayor Liz Kniss said the city has a "PR problem" with the project, while Councilman Tom DuBois conceded that this was an area where the city "clearly got this wrong in communication, design and execution."

"We heard you tonight," DuBois said. "We can do better. We will."

As a result of feedback from Tuesday's meeting, city officials announced on Friday plans to speed up work on Louis Road, which will be closed between Marshall and Bruce drives for crews to complete the roadwork between June 21-29, before they slow down construction work.

Crews will mill, pave and install art during the nine-day closure, according to the city.

On Friday, city staff went door-to-door to inform residents of the planned closure and potential traffic diversion on neighboring Ross Road and Greer Road, which are both south of Oregon Expressway.

City staff will be available to answer questions or discuss the project this Monday, June 18, from 6-8 p.m. at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple, 2751 Louis Road.

Related content:

Webcast: Ross Road Bicycle Boulevard


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.


70 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2018 at 10:38 pm

Why was Alta Planning chosen to design the bike boulevards in Palo Alto? Josh Mello, Transportation Director for the City of Palo Alto, worked at Alta Planning prior to taking the Transportation job in Palo Alto.

123 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm

A better question is why Josh Mello was empowered to do an "independent" analysis and review of the project, which ended up being a group of boutique consultants reviewing the work of a boutique consultant. He worked for Alta Design, he did not apparently manage the contract (they did not do the traffic analysis required in the contract), and he ran the "independent" review of the work. Wow.
If our pension plan had lost millions investing in hedge funds, we wouldn't hire three hedge fund managers to review our investments (they would likely recommend more investments in hedge funds). We would compare our returns to those of Menlo Park and Mountain View, and we would ask an independent auditor to analyze the differences and explain why we fell short.
The city thinks the only problem is communication ... but the real problem is with the design, which does not conform to national design standards and probably increases the odds of bike/car accidents. Many of us support biking in Palo Alto, but are convinced the current project is just making it more dangerous to bike on Ross Road or through the new mini-roundabouts. We don't need more education, we need safe sightlines and an alternative to "taking the lane" ... we do not want our children to be speed bumps.
It is a pity that the city doesn't have traffic analysis to defend their designs, and we are all left to express our feelings regarding the changes. It did NOT have to be this way.

16 people like this
Posted by Robert Neff
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:58 pm

Robert Neff is a registered user.

Alta Design won half the contract to design the bike boulevards, for the ones in the project described tonight. Fehr and Peers won the other half of the bike boulevard design contract, the ones grouped in Phase 2 (Park/Wilkie, Bryant Extension, and others). That all happened when Jaime Rodriguez was in charge of Transportation. Those two teams were chosen because they were the best of the 6 consultant teams that applied.
Josh Mello did work for Alta before joining the City of Palo Alto, and had worked at Palo Alto community meetings during that time.

12 people like this
Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2018 at 11:58 pm

[Post removed.]

39 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:14 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Dear Local, maybe it's not just George and Ross Road that are dangerous, wrong, etc. since those of us on Middlfield Road feel much the same way.

Which reminds me: they said at the meeting they're going to do a review of the Middlfield projects. If anyone has more information on how that review will work and to whom we can give feedback, it would be much appreciated.

45 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:16 am

Folks in "Another Palo Alto Neighborhood" should understand that George Jaquette is a local hero in Palo Verde.

122 people like this
Posted by Martha
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:43 am

This was never about improving safety. It was always an expensive, vain and arrogant project aimed to aggrandize Keene and Friend, and show off Palo Alto as the most innovative bike city in the region.
It expressly aimed to force the old folks to bike or adjust to becoming irrelevant.
Of the speakers tonight, several biked from their homes in other communities to praise the project. One even admitted that she has not seen the project. That did not stop her from praising it. What audacity.
And What a fiasco.

93 people like this
Posted by Residents
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:03 am

Again, we see a City Council that cares about development, not residents. Residents annoy them. Vote them out.

32 people like this
Posted by Renderings
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:37 am

In neighboring cities, they have beautiful 3D Renderings of what projects will look like. In the age of VR, Palo Alto is stuck with crappy 2D diagrams that communicate poorly.

Same with the Train proposals. Pathetic 2D cross-section architects drawings, for a multi-million dollar project.

44 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:13 am

Even the tone of this article is incredibly condescending towards tax-paying residents, exposing the links between PAOnline and the city government. This article is propaganda, and the message is "we can do whatever we want, cars are evil, YOU are the traffic, it's YOUR fault, etc. etc.

What we have here, folks, is TYRANNY.

111 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:55 am

The only acceptable solution is to rip it all out, terminate this entire "bike project" citywide, stop the egregious waste of OUR money, and restore sanity to Palo Alto.

Anything short of that is pointless. All the fake "civility", raging in the comments section, town hall meetings and petitions have yielded zero results in stemming the arbitrary force of government power. They are so caught up in moral licensing that they couldn't care less!

Isn't it time we take the gloves off? Something akin to taking bulldozers and literally destroying the road furniture. It may result in some legal fees but how else do we get the point across that this is UNACCEPTABLE?

121 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:22 am

Where are the studies that say this type of structure increases safety? Someone mentioned the structures do not conform to national design standards. I have to agree. The roundabouts are incredibly narrow strictures that force bikers and drivers interact. Instead of widening the roadways and allowing a large path for biking... the roads are now narrower and tighter making it more dangerous.

Why are there no studies and data to support such bizarre designs? Why are national standards not being followed? Even roundabouts in College Terrace have more space for bikers and cars to flow through than what is happening in Midtown. And the roundabout that was built in College Terrace neighborhood (at Yale x College) took 1 day or so.
Why is the midtown roundabouts taking such extensive time? MONTHS upon MONTHS upon MONTHS. It just seems like a ploy to increase the costs and use up the funds.

All of this stinks of something hinky. It seems a complete excessive waste of funds. Why does it take MONTHS to create a roundabout in MidTown, whilst it only takes a day or two to make a roundabout in College Terrace? And the College Terrace roundabout is MUCH MORE NORMAL and nicer and easier to use without stressing out the residents.

What is going on? Who is in charge of this project?
Who approved of this project?
How was the bidding process? Was it blinded and neutral?
Who is doing the auditing of this?
What is the data to support this weirdly odd bizarre roundabout and narrowing of the roadways compared to normal national standards?

Take a look at Stanford University roundabouts along Campus Drive.They have INCREDIBLE amounts of traffic and biking traffic but the roadways became LARGER and WIDER near the roundabouts..... not narrower and more stressful to navigate.

Who is determining the layout of these intersections?

At what cost? Seems like a way to funnel money from Palo Alto coffers into private construction companies. All of this stinks ... when there are high costs and the results are so poor.
When examples of good construction and good interactions for bikes to operate safely alongside cars.. without forcing cars and bikes to interact at a dangerous level.

Residents of Palo Alto are being ramrodded over while the city is wasting massive amounts of money.
Vote these folks out. Speak with our votes.

71 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

I just read in the Daily Post that the Ross Rd project is estimated at $8.7 million.

Josh Mello used to work for Alta Design....

It is time for Josh Mello to be Audited.

40 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:52 am

[Post removed.]

140 people like this
Posted by Maryann H
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:55 am

What really angered me at the meeting was the condescending tone of the council and many of the commenters and their statements that those against the project are misinformed and need "education" to understand the wonderfulness of the Ross Road improvements. I am an experienced biker, having ridden in both large cities and suburban areas and have lived in Massachusetts with its many roundabouts. The pro-Ross contingent fail to understand how unsafe some of us feel riding a bike at 10-15 mph *in front* of a vehicle doing 25 mph. The speed and weight mismatch are just too great. Many people at the meeting mentioned how much safer and pleasant is it to bike on Bryant: fewer stop signs in the direction of travel and reduction in through traffic by use of car exclusion points.

I am now concerned that they are extending the same ideas to Louis, taking away an efficient north-south travel corridor for cars. One woman at the meeting mentioned that the planners wanted to discontinue bus service on that road, which, if true, is sad news for those of us who would like an improved public transportation system.

I hope that after last night's meeting, the council will try to give more consideration to opposing viewpoints, rather than see them as something that can be "re-educated" away.

73 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:14 am

The roundabouts are awkward and force traffic to a speed of approximately 15 mph or the speed of the slowest bike. Visibility on approach is very difficult as traffic cannot be seen on the other quadrants until you have reached the roundabout. I have seen a video of a fire truck which has to reduce speed to a crawl to navigate the roundabout, not a good thing in an emergency. It will only take one large movers truck full of furniture to get stuck on a roundabout to bring traffic to a halt throughout the Palo Verde area.

The other part that makes absolutely no sense to me is what has been done to the Y entrance. Cars use that entrance/exit and are not paying enough attention to either road traffic or sidewalk traffic, some pay attention to one or other, but not to both. Looking at the concrete and the landscaping, there are big divots (for want of a better description) where it is very apparent that vehicles have got stuck. Whereas there may or may not have been enough outreach to residents of Ross Road, there was absolutely no outreach to Y members and as a member myself the Y has done absolutely nothing to prepare members. Saying this, it is not the fault or the responsibility of the Y to inform drivers how to use the entrance, but I tend to think that the City has ignored the fact that this facility is used by many drivers who live outside the immediate area who were taken by surprise about the changes. The Y has no other entrance except Ross Road. It is one of the busiest addresses on Ross Road. Making entrance and exit to this facility so dangerous was not a good idea. I tend to think that in leaf falling season and in the December/January months when it is dark at 6.00 pm this entrance will be even worse as the reflective strips get buried by leaves and the darkness hides the obstructions.

These obstacle courses are not safety features. As a driver I have noticed that my focus has to be on the obstructions themselves rather than bikes and pedestrians or other vehicles. There are races at the narrowings between bikes and motorized vehicles as to who gets there first and who has to give way to whom. I have never seen UPS/FedEx trucks approach from opposite directions at the same time, but which direction has priority when two vehicles cannot pass side by side is not apparent. When vehicles like these that are working to a time schedule and drivers have to complete their routes within a certain amount of time or receive fines and perhaps work this route for the first time, we are not talking about residential traffic being more careful, but the frustration of those who drive for a living, being the most unlikely to reduce speed to that of a slow bike rider. We are just waiting for an accident to happen or a serious incident of road rage.

95 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:28 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

I intend to vote against every council member who approved this waste of our money and I encourage everyone else to do the same. There are more than enough people irritated about this to swing the next election. The idea that if they leave this abomination in place long enough we will get used to it is true - it is called the Stockholm Syndrome and that is also why the "Pedestrian and Bicycle Coalition" had been happy to lie and distort to get their way.

108 people like this
Posted by Drain the Swamp
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:53 am

The meeting last night was a waste of time for the residents of PA. City Manager Keene nodded approvingly every time a pro bike boulevard proponent spoke. Keene’s closing remarks at the conclusion of the evening was that the residents need more education and outreach and that they will get used to the debacle. I guess he thinks we are stupid. The problem is the incompetence of the Transportation Dept, the city manager and many council members. The Ross Road bike design is a a waste of taxpayer money and an embarrassment to the city. Period.

60 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:08 am

I just used the Stanford University Roundabouts at Bowdoin & Campus Drive and realized how incredibly smoothly the flow of traffic and bikers go. That roundabout has nonstop car traffic and biking traffic, not to mention runners/joggers, and pedestrians. It has ample space and there is no forced interaction between the bikers and drivers. It's clear the Stanford University roundabouts were well designed, thought out and built.

Wondering what is happening in Palo Alto. Why are the designs so horrendous for these roundabouts? Who approved such ridiculous designs and why is it no longer FIXABLE? Instead they talk about forcing the residents and users to become accustomed to 6-12 months of this.

It's like turning up the temperature on the frog in the boiling water. We start to become so accustomed to it... we fail to realize its boiling water.

City council should realize Stanford University didn't take 6 to 12 months to make it's users "get used" to their roundabout. They built it and then it was up and running. You can't dot hat at a busy congested intersection. And people or users have not felt unsafe, angry or unheard because of a roundabout being created where there once was a 4-way stop intersection.

What's the difference? Perhaps Stanford used NORMAL and PROVEN design layouts of roundabouts... while Palo Alto city council is approving a set of designs unproven or tested. Wait until someone is hit or run over by a car at these spots.

The moment a biker is hit by a car due to "forced interactions" because of the ridiculous designs..... there will be lawsuits. Here is to hoping the council members who approved of this outrageous design layout also gets sued.
People's comments stating how unsafe they feel biking with a car behind and in front of them... will go down as part of the evidence of willful neglect by the city council to approve and continue horrendous designs. Without conforming to normal roundabout designs.... there is no hard data to truly implement a one off style design in Palo Alto and putting everyone at risk.

This is an accident and lawsuit waiting to happen. Who will be responsible then? The councilors who sat by and didn't stop this project should be held accountable.

48 people like this
Posted by Drain the Swamp, indeed
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:14 am

Things I haven't gotten used to:

*Pointless lane reduction at Charleston/Arastadero causing monstrous congestion
*At Middlefield & Cowper: Bollards, road narrowing, consecutive 1-way stop signs!!! and those huge stupid protected left turn lanes and traffic getting backed up behind right-turners... horrible changes that never should have happened
*Mismanaged JPA flood project on highway 101, causing brutal and deadly traffic congestion
*Ineffective double HOV lanes
*Ban on plastic bags. To this day, I never "bring my own bag" and have to pay 10 cents for a crappy paper bag and watch the handles slowly tear off and my tomatoes go rolling down the sidewalk...

This is all a result of unquestioned Progressive dominance in this region and I'll never get used to any of it! It wastes our time, money, it is anti-liberty, anti-business, anti-efficiency, and it causes stress and back pain from sitting in a car for too long. Reduced quality of life in supposedly the greatest most expensive place on Earth. It's too damn irrational to get used to. The complete lack of logic in these designs slaps me in the face every time I get stuck in all this artificial traffic.

I can't wait for the omnipotent Forum Moderator to come on here and butcher up all our posts.

36 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:57 am

[Post removed.]

58 people like this
Posted by midtown senior
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:14 am

midtown senior is a registered user.

STEP ONE : vote out the Council
STEP TWO: cancel all contracts for these "traffic improvements"
STEP THREE: tear out the Ross Road "improvements"
STEP FOUR: consider our population changes, bogus forecasts of biking numbers,
parking and road maintenance needs before spending our tax money

61 people like this
Posted by In Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:23 am

In Midtown is a registered user.

I witnessed a full sized school bus trapped sideways across the temporary Amarillo/Greer Rd. roundabout. It was totally hung-up diagonally across the barriers unable to make the right hand turn onto Amarillo presumably on it's way to Ohlone School. At the moment they are working on narrowing and raising the intersection of Amarillo and Louis which will be very difficult to negotiate for cars and school busses as well. And as part of the plan they are removing all the parking on the South side of Amarillo between Louis and Ohlone. Did ANYONE bother to realize that Ohlone is a commuter school housing 2 alternative programs which serve the entire district? It is not a neighborhood school! Nobody walks or bikes to Ohlone! They drive. And park! Usually across my driveway twice a day.

59 people like this
Posted by Another Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:33 am

This whole affair seemed to be a catharsis proceeding for the council and staff to be able to say that they have listened to the community before plowing ahead again to extend the disaster of Ross Road to other areas. The smug smiles of Mello and Keene when a supporter of the project spoke were telling. Also, Greg Scharff must have spent at least 90% of the community comment period ignoring the speakers and working his smartphone beneath the table.

63 people like this
Posted by ro
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 11:46 am

I live just one block off Ross Road and drive it daily. It is an atrocity what they did to "improve" it. I will not let my children ride their bikes down Ross Road now because it is clearly not safe anymore. And it is less safe for drivers to pass through the bump out areas that have turned a fairly wide street into a narrow, more dangerous lane. This is such a stupid civic move that it defies belief that reasonable people can defend it.

14 people like this
Posted by Bruce Moision
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm

The accusations and insinuations that Josh Mello is receiving kickbacks from Alta Planning are completely unwarranted. As are the demands for him to be fired.

The conspiracy theories being promoted by opponents of the project have gotten completely out of hand.

As a supporter of the project, it's concerning to see anger over this directed to personal attacks. Supporters are not trying to destroy your neighborhood, harm you or your children, or steal your tax dollars. They just disagree with you about the impact of the project.

49 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@George Jaquette -- Please run for city council. We need someone with your common sense. Thanks for all you.

19 people like this
Posted by ignore those making personal attacks
a resident of Escondido School
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:26 pm

ignore those making personal attacks is a registered user.

Thank you to the Council members and staff who clearly communicated their goal of fixing the process last night, including hearing from all users of Ross Road (where the buildout was just completed two weeks ago) and acting to correct documented problems as needed. Last night, there were quite a number of Ross Road residents and immediate neighbors who bike, walk and drive on the reconfigured street and provided great specifics on why they found the bike boulevard improvements to be safer (mainly: reducing the excessive driver speeding which prevailed before). Several speakers also noted that the mini-roundabout was in fact safer for bicyclists due to reduced points of conflict with cars compared to the previous four-way stop.
Opponents of the project constituted about half of the +/- 50 who spoke, and quite a few of them described their concerns in a civil, constructive manner without hiding that they were upset. These folks did their cause a great service! Only a minority resorted to the fact-challenged personal attacks and conspiracy theories so prevalent in the above comments.
Questions for Gennady: (1) Why did you fail to report the good news that shows staff indeed heard the specific concerns RE bulbouts at the YMCA driveway making turns too tight, and changes are in the works to fix this? (2) Why did you not share the news about City expenditures for Phase 1 provided by staff? Shouldn't you be correcting incorrect information/assertions that have been propagated so often? (3) Why do the headline and subhead for this story continue to fan the flames of controversy? The actual meeting I attended was an important and hopeful opening of dialogue, where all voices were heard, including not just opponents, but individual voices who have experienced positive results with the improvements but have previously felt intimidated and shouted down by opponents unwilling to listen. Your newspaper fanning the flames of controversy isn't helpful to community efforts to fix the admitted mistakes without returning to the unsafe status quo ante.

51 people like this
Posted by PR problem?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

>Mayor Liz Kniss said the city has a "PR problem" with the project

Mayor Kniss never misses an opportunity to support developers. She thinks we can't see through her manipulation and money focus.
There are workable roundabouts on Lytton and on Bryant and more. These incompetents are literally reinventing the wheel.

59 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:53 pm

The problem is not "lack of communications", the problem is the central tenets of the project: putting bicycles and cars literally in the same space is insane.

Consider a simple bike lane, what does it do? Separate bicyclists from the drivers. Bike Lanes work well. By forcing them in the same space, this is a social experiment to force the drivers to be more aware of the bicyclists.

This project can be done by marking off tradition bike lanes and by adding simple speed bumps. Instead we have social experiment. Someone will get hurt and then there will be lawsuits.

And for Mr. Higgins who live on Louis Road, other Louis residents do not want these changes on our street. As it is, we have now avoid Ross and use Louis as much as possible on our bikes. If you want to take chance on your life, please do so on Ross.

21 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I ride my bike on Ross Road 3x a week. After the changes, motorists continued driving too fast to be safe near bikes. Gradually, traffic has slowed. It appears to me that motorists are slowly adjusting to the new reality — they have slowed down and are sharing the road more safely with cyclists. It could also be that those in a hurry are now choosing different routes— also a good thing if it means bicyclists have a safer route. More Palo Altans on bikes means: less traffic, fewer parking issues and less air pollution, not to mention healthier residents. I’d encourage residents to calm down and accept change more gracefully.

49 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

@Bruce Moision - At least you have identified the fact that there is genuine anger shown by Palo Alto residents who were blindsided by the magnitude of this project, its poor design, and its waste of our City funds. It is stealing funds (we don't want it built). It is endangering children (open your eyes), and it is destroying the neighborhoods so a few adult bike riders can claim a neighborhood street as their private "boulevard". False claims were made that the Ross roundabouts were similar to the Stanford ones. Yep - people are angry. That's a good thing in this city. Hopefully we will see massive turnover in the council after the next election.

18 people like this
Posted by Exasperated
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm

@Rose, sound points but biking and walking may not be a reality for everyone. Further, It is equally if not more dangerous that there are bulb outs so large that take up an entire lane.., a lane where there were two distinguishable lines for incoming traffic. Even if motorists have used alternate routes, this is correlated to increased traffic volume and dare I say increased road rage.

I’m as opposed to the bike boulevard as many midtowners. Keep on keeping on! You have my support~

9 people like this
Posted by PR problem?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Here is one point of view I don't hear often:
Bike riders make driving hazardous and nerve wracking. I drive and do not feel it necessary to explain why. But I have to.

Driving next to or past those vulnerable bikers is nerve wracking. It is too easy to misjudge the space, and unintentionally hit an unprotected person.
I wish they would go away.
California is a car culture, you won't easily change that.

21 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

As a resident of College Terrace, I drove through Stanford daily. There are 2 roundabouts there on Campus Drive (at Bowdoin and one just north of it).

I recall the construction. They took the original 4-way intersection, and increased the size of the roadways in the process of making it a roundabout.

Instead of making the roadway narrower (as Palo Alto city council has approved) with the most ridiculously narrowed lanes, Stanford University went the opposite direction and widened the roadways near the roundabout.

Why can't the city council take what is a proven method and reuse it? Why reinvent the wheel and try something new and unproven?

No doubt, this is an accident waiting to happen. For the bikers.

6 people like this
Posted by Get out of my way
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm

I have a car and it's my right to drive it as I see fit. Anyone or anything that slows me down is OUTRAGEOUS. Move over, speed up, get out of my way!!!
Can't you see I have a Mercedes?!?! Make way for ME!!!!

14 people like this
Posted by responsible government
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:58 pm

We need take the emotion out of this discussion. Spending resources to make a more bike friendly city is a political decision. The city council is elected to make these decisions. Expressing opposition or support is great but is is the councils job to govern the city. They are also responsible to make sure out tax dollars are spent efficiently and provide for the safety of the community. The community should use the ultimate power of the vote to direct the council.

Whether one agrees with the spending or not I suspect we all want the streets to be safe. Where is the data which shows this project's design is safe and meets all applicable standards. That emergency services reviewed the design ahead of time and agreed it would not hinder their ability to access the streets.

The Council should freeze the project until it is proven to comply with all design standards and safety metrics.

If this data is not readily available to the public, why not? Who is responsible?

The community needs to mobilize politically to force proper oversight of city projects. If this project is allowed to continue without clearly meeting design and safety standards the community needs to take action.
Let's see how many people we can get enough to pledge to vote against city council members who vote to proceed without forcing proper oversight of this or any other project. We should also oppose any salary raises, tax increases, and city bond issues unless the transparency and oversight is improved.

For reference, Current Council Members are:
Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth, Adrian Fine, Karen Holman, Liz Kniss, Lydia Kou, Gregory Scharff, Greg Tanaka, Cory Wolbach

Please help make sure the council is listening to the citizens.

34 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm

My son has already witnessed a peer biking to school being hit by a car. These measures do not slow down traffic. They only make it more likely to encourage drivers to squeak past bicyclists and visa versa. The false traffic design assumption is that a driver will do the right thing and slow down when seeing the road ahead narrow due to the new city obstructions put in the middle of the road. This pushes of the car closer to the curb creating a more dangerous situation than what existed.

It's clear to me our city wastes money and has a lack of common sense when it comes to predicting what people should do vs. testing what the will do prior to city-wide implementation.

In addition, the corner curb areas are expanding making bike riders have to navigate toward cars vs. going straight. I watched a young child quickly turn toward the middle of the road.

Who's tracking what's happening - exactly?

30 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:23 pm

It wouldn't hurt if city employees could avoid making personal arguments, too.

When I expressed concern about another bike-related project Josh Mello flamed me for being mean to his employee who had designed it. He said the project had won a design award and refused to discuss my concern on its merits.

(When you see words like "accepted design standards", they mean "what our new urban planning hires learned in school".)

5 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:31 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

@Get out of my way: You need a Tesla. A mere Mercedes doesn't have the acceleration to efficiently get back up to speed between traffic circles. Who knew that Elon Musk foresaw Ludicrous Mode as a requirement for navigating urban Palo Alto. :)

11 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Roundabouts are supposed to force traffic to slow down. They replace four-way stops that force traffic to come to a complete stop. I'll leave it to the Fire Department to decide whether they're safe for emergency vehicles.

When I get to a roundabout I have to look to my left for traffic. When I get to a four-way stop I have to look for cars and bicycles coming from three directions in the roadway and bicyclists on the sidewalks, some of them going the wrong way. It's much easier to drive safely in a roundabout.

Things I'd like to see:

- Yellow diamond signs 100 feet from the roundabout advising people to slow down. This is part of teaching our drivers how to use roundabouts.

- Tall plantings in the roundabouts to make them more obvious. It's easy now to look right over the ones on Ross Road at the road and the traffic on the other side of the roundabout, which is not a good way to drive.

- Big street signs showing where each arm of a roundabout goes. It's no longer enough, as it was when we used stop signs, to have a small street sign on one of the four corners.

15 people like this
Posted by A few helpful facts.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm

A few helpful facts. is a registered user.

About half of the people at the meeting spoke in support of the project. The speakers on both sides were much more polite at the meeting last night than many of the writers on this forum have been. Why do people do and say things online that they would never do or say in public? What does this say about character?

I drive and bike on Ross--as does my daughter. It works fine for us. When I drive, I slow down. When we bike, we feel safer. I like the new roundabout. I heard some people agree with me and some people disagree last night. We are a big city with many different people with many different opinions. One speaker last night said to Council, "I don't envy you your job." I agree. I thank them for gathering information. It sounds like a few things are going to change. I suspect that no matter what they do, some people will feel disappointed.

Also, a writer above said the Ross Road project was $9 million. This person misread the information in the article. Ross is one street in a network of streets that will be improved. Last night they said that the entire Phase I network will cost a little less than that.

30 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm

I love the Bryant Street bike boulevard.

It's wide and smooth. People enjoy riding in the street. They relax and talk to one another as they ride.

Car traffic is not heavy, and drivers expect to see cyclists. Since there are so few stop signs and fewer riders on the sidewalk than on other routes there are many fewer opportunities for bicyclists and cars to surprise one another in dangerous ways.

Please don't let the city add speed bumps to screw this up. It's a wonderfully civilized resource just as it is.

31 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Densely's right about Mr. Mello refusal to respond to or address substantive complaints and problem reports.

The Middlefield restriping and Jordan bike lane are prime examples of when he should be listening to residents, not ignoring us. Cars sill back up into the Oregon intersection when a car is trying to turn onto N. Cal Ave and through traffic can no longer go around. The N. Cal Ave / Middlefield intersection is still so tight Middlefield traffic has to back up to allow N. Cal traffic to navigate the turn.

Mr. Mello's [portion removed] response is to have the COUNTY change the Oregon light timing rather than acknowledge or fix his mistakes.

Many residents advised against the Middlefield restriping and were ignored. Now you've got cars zipping down the WRONG lanes trying to get into the desired turn lanes.

Undeterred by traffic backing up into Oregon for two years, this year they backed up traffic INTO Embarcadero by making the road a single lane behind a bus stop leaving room for only THREE cars at one of the busiest intersections in the city. (This problem was so obviously dangerous it only took about a month to fix but the problematic restriping remains.)

Parents are complaining about accidents at Middlefield and Lincoln but has anyone bothered to check how eliminating the right-turn-on-red at Embarcadero has pushed traffic back for blocks all the way to Lincoln?

Constantly shifting the number of lanes on Middlefield and sticking bollards everywhere are unnecessary, dangerous and a waste of money.

Mr. Mello's response to the Ross Rd petition -- that he'd hire an outside consultant for $400,000 to determine if it was "feasible and appropriate" to fix the problems ore than 1,000 people experienced daily -- shows why so many people are angry.

29 people like this
Posted by Observations
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:26 pm

- though I drive a small/medium size car, the incredible lane narrowing on Louis Rd is a huge downgrade for me. Louis used to be a lovely wide cross -city boulevard. Wide bike lines on the side afforded clear views and forward motion for everyone. Now it’s being re-modelled unnecessarily into a hodge-podge.
- the Midtown roundabouts are difficult for my car to fit around. What about those who have a SUV or longer wheelbase vehicle?!
- I am NOT intent on speed, but like all other residents need routes to transit this city. I truly disagree with the lane-narrowing of Charleston and the above projects.

22 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:43 pm

The speaker at yesterday's meeting who said "I don't want to be a rolling traffic calming device when I ride on Ross Road" had a point.

The California Vehicle Code says that bicyclists should stay as far right as is practical. Experienced bicyclists interpret this to mean just to the left of the door zone.

The city apparently expects bicyclists on Ross to ride in the middle of the traffic lane where the speed bumps are notched, and for car drivers to drive slower than the posted speed so bicyclists can do this safely.

I see two problems: there's no indication for road users that these are the expectations, and the expectations are not reasonable. Motorists have their eyes on the next speed bump so they don't hit it too hard, which takes their attention away from the cyclists who may merge left to use the notch rather than bump over the so-called traffic calming device.

45 people like this
Posted by 50 to ONE
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm

This article WAY under reports the number of attendees opposed to the Ross Road bike nightmare.

I attended this meeting.

The sentiment against vs for was at least 50 to ONE.

This project is as universally hated as anything the City has ever wasted its time on.

To find a few rabid supporters vs the sea of dissatisfied and angry opponents was like finding a needle in a haystack.

Sad reporting

Sadder project.

SOS - Save Our Streets
RRR - Return Ross Road

33 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@50 to One, you're right about under-reporting attendance. Liz Kniss said 150 people attended last night; the Mitchell Park Community site Web Link puts capacity for the Entire El Palo Alto Room at:

"Capacity 250 dining | 300 assembly | 500 standing"

All the seats were taken and people were standing around the room edges.

Since the city's conducting paid polls on our willingness to support various tax hikes (soda, hotel, parcel etc.), they might also poll us on our support for various infrastructure projects like traffic calming.

That presupposes they want to know and won't try to dismiss our opinions like they're doing with the ballot initiative to Curb Office Growth.

17 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I counted 165 +/- 5 in the room at the fullest point, including council, city employees and media people. Some left early and others came late, so maybe add 20 for an aggregate number of attendees.

9 people like this
Posted by Midtown40
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:13 pm

If you are serious about opposing the bicycle "improvements":

1. Organize. Go door to door and collect e-mail addresses. Pass out fliers and organize meetings.

2. Attend every city council meeting in large numbers and speak. An online petition can easily be ignored however many people sign it.

3. Demand an equivalent city commission for people who need to get around PA in CARS. The Palo Alto Bicycle Advisory Commission (PABAC) has a LOT of power.

4. Read the entire 2012 Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan. It has errors. Find them.

5. Monitor the traffic, take videos and post them to YouTube.

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:55 pm

^^^Sounds like a waste of time.
The way to defeat them is at the ballot box.
Palo Alto needs its own Donald Trump. Someone with the balls to pay some construction companies to fire up their bulldozers and destroy everything Josh Mello has built, and restore Palo Alto to its former greatness.
Someone who will give the middle finger to the holier-than-thou do-gooder bicycle fanatics. They can take their spandex-clad behinds to San Francisco where driving is completely unfeasible and cars are relic of the past.

6 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2018 at 7:19 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

So when is Palo Alto going to set up their " re-education camps ". I seemed to have stumbled into a Communist satrap from the Cold War Era.
For all who have complained I am not relevant to PAO, I have done temporary contract work all over the Western part of the country and the SFBA including Monterrey.
You are producing Traffic Roundabouts TOO SMALL for Emergency Vehicles and large transport vehicles like Buses. That may also be considered ILLEGAL under California State Law, just like the PAUSD problems with the OCR. Or is all the " traffic calming " ruled by Green freaks and bicyclists? BTW, Denver and Boulder are already considered " bicycle friendly " cities. That is simply caused by SEPARATE facilities for autos and bicyclists with pedestrians too. Plenty of bicycle/pedestrian and horse trails around Denver make this a Bicycle Friendly place the world over. ( Denver has a " rent-a-bike " place. Just like one in mountain view and palo alto, too [/sarcasm ]. What do you do during a 6 month contract, stay in your motorhome and count flowers on the wall? ). you might want to check out Golden, CO, they have had proper roundabouts for years, the same for many urban areas just outside Denver.
You have MANY new tools like Google Earth, USE THEM! Many roundabouts have a ring inside that can be over-ridden by buses and emergency vehicles that need them. Pretty dumb not to design them but ok for cyclists that break laws on the public highways ( yes, you know who you are! ) Why reward that behavior? Denver has BICYCLE COPS who patrol our separate lanes and give out tickets too. FYI, Boulder has the notoriety of deliberately being a no car city. Scratch that place for my tourist time. If you keep the anti-auto bias, MORE people will leave the SFBA, like many people have decided to do. Facts are facts and nothing changes that. Be careful what you wish for; you just might get what you wish for and regret it. Fix the existing roundabout centers and cancel the other projects until you find out how ANGRY your TAX BASE Citizens feel. YOU ( the town Council ) are stewards of the money being paid. Time to answer citizens questions on how money that you are stewards for. If any body wants to know: I have plenty of tar and feathers and a fence rail...or I can give you rope and plenty of lumber if the need becomes critical. It is best the citizens get rid of politicians get voted out of the offices of the council. Just do not vote worse people in. You may try to stop the sleaze by voting to cut off their funding, which is the solution to stop the graft happening under your noses. A new broom sweeps clean.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

And Golden is a TINY town!

22 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Using bicycles as speed bumps should have been a non-starter. Traffic diverters would have cost about a tenth as much and worked way better. The roundabouts are too small and have dangerous curbs that rip tires and wheels apart. I live on the corner of Ross and Moreno and the AAA folks are making a fortune fixing broken wheels and tires. This is lawsuit waiting to happen. Please don't build anymore of these dangerous booby traps....

4 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:07 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

FYI: Speed bumps are called " sleeping policemen " in other countries. Boulder HAS tried Traffic calming. Many of drivers AND bicyclists complained so much that they have taken out and the road restriped after that fiasco. At least THEIR Town Council listens to those who can vote them out. This town is the one who nationalized Excel Energy equipment and has a High School that celebrates May 1st and hangs a red star over their front sign for the high school. Go Figure...

15 people like this
Posted by Julian G
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm

"wait and see"

With your kids' lives being the bet. I'm glad mine are done with school and out of Palo Alto. Note that city employees are protected by law from consequences of their own stupidity.

31 people like this
Posted by Hold People Accountable
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Dear Resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood.

George represents not just his "point of view" but at least a 1000+ other Palo Alto residents. He is our voice and has full support!

I hope the city heard the strong case for why this is a failed project that has made users of all constituencies - drivers of cars, bikers, pedestrians and responsible home owners - feel unsafe. This is not that we can't accept change. Change needs to move us forward not backwards!

I tallied the "For" and "Against" speakers - my estimate was only 25% were for. The news article does not represent the balance accurately - disappointing.

This project needs serious course correction.

1 person likes this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 13, 2018 at 10:07 pm

@the_punnisher and others: please do not cast "bicyclists" to this insane social engineering traffic plan!

I'd advocate that any future lawsuits (and it will be a matter of when, and not if) be directly toward the actual people responsible and not "the City of Palo Alto".

32 people like this
Posted by Bikedocn
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 14, 2018 at 10:00 am

Have read all the comments including One defending Josh Mello whose defense is that he came into this after-the-fact. BALONEY!!! If you were the boss and came in to enact a project, would you proceed if you thought the design was flawed or dangerous? He is responsible for what is going on. He could’ve made changes or stopped it if he thought it was inappropriate. He hasn’t. In fact he is proceeding in the face of of all the negative reaction... which is in fact justified concern. And I echo that his demeanor at the meeting was far from inspirational. And I don’t simply need more education as the Council suggested ... I have plenty... enough to see incompetence when it exists.

25 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 14, 2018 at 10:46 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Absolute baloney. Josh's supporters kept claiming he came into this after the fact and/or was "new" and hence blameless so I looked it up to see if he was being unfairly scapegoated.

He'd been on the job at least 9 months before the Middlefield meeting and was being quoted in the papers as Transportation head 9 months before. There was a gap of about 4 months between when Rodriquez's departure was announced and when Josh started being quoted so he'd been on the job for between 9 months and a year.

Speaking of Middlefield, last night there was a major 2-car crash at the Middlefield / Oregon intersection at 7:45. Web Link

For years we've been complaining about how his dangerous changes have pushed traffic back into major intersections like Oregon and for years our complaints have been dismissed and ignored.

It's high time for [portion removed] the city to take responsibility.

21 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Ross Road is now an obstacle course that slows traffic by forcing kinds on bicycles in front of automobile traffic. Studies in Europe and Canada demonstrate higher accident and fatality rates for bicyclists when traditional intersections are converted to traffic circles. Ross Road did not provide enough space to put in sufficiently large traffic circles; trucks are having difficulty negotiating these intersections. The work on Louis is making a bad situation worse. The extra wide sidewalks have constricted the street so much that trucks and SUVs need to cross the yellow line to make it through. What in the hell is going on!?

The city has squandered $8.7 MILLION on this fiasco and is looking to RAISE TAXES to pay for their waste and excess. The mayor and city council have ignored research proving the risk of these changes to children and the complaints by residents, the vast majority of whom are strongly opposed to this project. Please remember the city's strong-armed efforts to force high density housing on Barron Park (inappropriate to the narrow streets and opposed by the neighbors) and the transformation of California Avenue from a lovely street-lined avenue to a hot street with glass shards in the sidewalks. There is a pattern of poorly conceived projects, fiscal mismanagement and a cynical disregard for the people who live in Palo Alto.

22 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"The city has squandered $8.7 MILLION on this fiasco and is looking to RAISE TAXES to pay for their waste and excess."

And another $400,000 on outside consultants to respond to the 1,000+ taxpayers who signed the Ross Rd petition so "the city" can decide if it's "appropriate and feasible" to fix the problems resident-taxpayers experience daily.

Since neither the consultants nor the city have the data to complete the study, do we get our $400,000 back?

17 people like this
Posted by sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:23 am

I drove this roundabout this past weekend. It like all the others in Palo
Alto required me to slow to a crawl. It was very difficult for me to steer my SUV around it. All the other roundabouts in Palo Alto are the same--the builder/designer did not allow sufficient room for a proper roundabout that allows traffic to merge properly.
If you want to put in roundabouts in Palo Alto, you will need to seize a large chunk of property from each of the corner lots. There are also some roundabouts on Stanford campus that almost provide enough room for proper merging in the roundabout. For a decent roundabout to study for any such future projects, you need to travel to the New England and New York areas.
Instead of this project you need to get on with separating all the on grade crossings along the Peninsula. An unacceptable solution to the grade separation issue is closing streets at the tracks. We need ALL of the present crossings and a few of those recently closed, too. Stop wasting time and our tax money on "traffic calming" tricks. They do NOT calm traffic; they just bring it to a standstill as we all wait for the slowest vehicle to go by.

32 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 9:44 am

This project has more to do with social engineering than traffic engineering. Using kids on bikes as obstacles for cars is unconscionable. My children will not be your speed bumps! Since the changes went into effect I have disposed of two bicycles. Perhaps I am over-reacting, but my children's safety is my top concern. Perversely, these changes have meant a lot more car trips and a lot fewer bike rides for our family. Last night I walked from Moreno to East Meadow on Ross, and back on Louis. I counted over twice the number of bicycles on Louis than on Ross. Of the bicycles on Ross, one third were riding on the sidewalk (probably the best option). It looks like I am not the only one concerned.

16 people like this
Posted by ccb
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Just got notice that the city is closing Louis Rd. temporarily to finish off THE WORST sidewalk improvement ever. They hand delivered a color glossy rendering to my doorstep that shows far more pedistrians on a sidewalk that has more than doubled in width than I have EVER seen in my over 2 decades of living here and passing through that intersection ~ 2-3x/day.

Like many if not all of these Ross/Louis Rd. "improvements", this double-the-side-walk-width-by-narrowing-the-roadway-to-barely-over-9'-in-width seems to be a perfect example of how a completely-ignorant-of-context-cut-n-paste-design from other cities is jammed down residents throats.

Ask to join obstacle_free_streets@google groups for more.

10 people like this
Posted by ccb
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm

@ Maryann H and to sole female VTA rider who found the courage to speak up on 6/12 ---

Yes. The roundabouts are too large for the intersection. Yes, it is actually FACT per city staff reports that yours truly City Council did in fact INSTRUCT the staff to ignore buses in the roundabout design.

Further, from same document Web Link

"At Ross Road and East Meadow Drive, actual experience confirms the design. Fire trucks are able to make
every turn. The VTA bus could travel straight on East Meadow Drive and make a right turn, but not a left turn
around the roundabout. The current bus route travels straight along East Meadow Drive through the Ross
Road intersection. The school bus could only make the straight movement.There was a general agreement that this is a functional issue, not a safety issue, and that the City can provide information to local organizations like to YMCA to help route buses to their site." !?!?!?!?

Other excerpts:
"The lack of a fully mountable center island is the only non-standard element of the mini-roundabout, but a decision was made by the City to prioritize providing vegetation within the mini roundabout." ["by the city" = who did this?]

"Louis Road and East Meadow Drive. There is planned mini-roundabout at this location. VTA routes
88 and 88L turn left at the location and will require a fully traversable median island."

"During the design process, the City directed Alta not to consider buses." (p. 5 of second section) [!?!?! again, who is making these decisions for the whole of the city?]

Functional issues like streets that can accommodate fundamental public transport options like buses, moving vans are not important elements of street design.
Someone somewhere employed by the city decided this on behalf of all of us residents.
The planned roundabout @ Moreno and Greer was abandoned/deemed unworkable AFTER the mock up was installed and assessed. How many other of these improvements would have met a similar fate had they been mocked up before install?

20 people like this
Posted by busujky
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm

This new bike boulevard on Ross is dangerous and irresponsible. Though well intentioned, it has been driving cyclists and drivers alike to Louis road given the danger and discomfort of navigating the narrow causeways now present at Ross.
This is especially dangerous for the small children attending Palo Verde and Ohlone elementary schools – both of which are on Louis. The increased traffic creates greater possibilities for small children walking or biking to school to be seriously injured in an accident. I have an anecdote to this effect. I know of a child who – biking to school – transfers from Ross road to Louis, and then back to Ross – to get from school to home. This speaks to the inconvenience this new boulevard has introduced.
I enjoy having early morning walks along Ross road and I scarcely see any traffic – cyclist or automobile. Ross road is a ghost road and it is a shame that the city wasted over $9 million to build something that would cause immense frustration and unsafe conditions for our children and for the general people of the city.
I remember meeting a woman campaigning for the next bike boulevard. I distinctly remember her stating that she could not care less about Loma Verde, Ames or Louis Roads – in terms of traffic congestion or safety. She maintained that it was that far more important to transform Ross into a bike boulevard. If this is the mentality behind which the project was instituted, then I am upset to say the least.

3 people like this
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:56 pm

All of you folks posting about a decrease in bicyclists and and increase in accidents on Ross Road have absolutely no data to support your theories. Let’s wait a decent amount of time an then we can judge it.

17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

The city has no data either and is basing its traffic calming plans on 2006 data!! Web Link

Yet it spends tens of millions of dollars on calming AND just awarded a $400,000 consultant "safety" study when it has no safety data either.

1 person likes this
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Online Name [portion removed]

Please cite your source for the lack of data collected my the city and this mythical contract for a $400k study. [Portion removed.]

10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 15, 2018 at 10:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Dear Get, If you have a better number for the contract, please provide it along with a link, Please also factually refute the claims by the petitioner that the contract responding to the petition couldn't be completed for lack of safety data.

Extra credit for defending the use of 2006 data -- which you'll recall was before we were totally outnumbered by commuters -- to spend tens of millions of dollars on traffic calming, road furniture etc. when we've got such huge unfunded pension liabilities and a 30% satisfaction rating?

[Portion removed.]

10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 15, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Ccp wrote "Ask to join obstacle_free_streets@google groups for more."

I'm asking but I'm not finding it in Google groups. Please elaborate. Thanks.

5 people like this
Posted by Much ado about nothing?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

Much ado about nothing? is a registered user.

FWIW, I finally got a chance to drive down the length of Ross Road today. After reading so much on these forums, I was very excited to see it. So I was surprised how unexciting it was. The street looks nice to me (nicer than before), and it was not hard to drive on it. The islands and bulb-outs are nicely done and not to my mind too obtrusive. I would be happy to bike on it as well, because it's clear that cars cannot go fast. In fact, I wish they would do this to my street, which is currently a big wide expanse of asphalt and nothing else, with cars that often go too fast. I'd love some trees and narrowed areas. Obviously I don't use the street as much as others do, but it really did strike me as not a big deal.

8 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
17 hours ago

StarSpring is a registered user.

@Much Ado: Nice to have an outsiders opinion, but the people who actually live here don't want it. The City cannot afford it. Stop the construction NOW. Remove the already installed roundabouts ASAP.

Use the money to pay our teachers a living wage.

If the CC moves quickly to demonstrate that they can learn from their mistakes perhaps they can avoid being voted out of office en masse come the next election. I doubt it though.

Like this comment
Posted by Rational
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
3 hours ago

It's still there isn't it? Thought so. You probably want to get used to it.
Anyone who uses this single issue to try and clean sweep the council is a bit over-reactionary IMO.

6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
1 hour ago

Online Name is a registered user.

IMO spending tens of millions of dollars -- $40K million according to some -- on traffic calming, bollards etc. -- is a bit absurd at a time when council is trying to find every excuse to raise taxes and utility rates is a bit absurd.

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