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Guest Opinion: Where are the Palo Alto police and traffic-safety planners in protecting our children?

'I have taught my children to be cautious, but I don't feel safe letting them walk and bike around our neighborhood'

The sun was shining that winter evening I saw my daughter almost get hit by a car.

I had driven to pick up her up in a part of town highly frequented by pedestrians, bikes and many children and families. She had her bicycle with her: She would bike home and I would drive.


Arianne Teherani. Courtesy photo.
I pulled out of my parking spot to the crosswalk and waited for her to cross in front of me. The car behind me also stopped.

Then, suddenly, another car swerved around us. It was going at full speed, well above the 25 miles an hour limit, and it missed hitting my daughter — still in the crosswalk — by a hair.

Thank goodness my daughter was unharmed. But a few days later, at a crosswalk 100 feet from the one she'd been at, a pedestrian was hit by a car and collapsed.

Sadly, such unfortunate incidents seem to abound in Palo Alto, a town where walking and biking are almost a religion whose value our children are taught early on. Three school children we know personally were hit by cars, one of them was seriously injured. Our neighbor's child was hit by a pickup truck biking back from school — it plowed through our neighborhood at full speed, hit the child and took off, leaving the injured child alone.

After my daughter's experience, I did my due diligence. I followed the car that almost hit her, copied down the license plate number and called the police to report the incident. They took down the information but said there wasn't "much" they could do. Since the car hadn't hit my daughter, they considered the incident a "minor traffic infarction," not least because I had no evidence.

The police also told me that bad driving is "extremely common" in Palo Alto these days: Their list of bad driving reports was long and increasing every day.

Undaunted, though, I spent the following days visiting every single business in the neighborhood where my daughter had been riding and tried to locate witnesses who saw the incident. Several kind and helpful people were eager to help. Some pulled their video footage, others asked customers and employees if they'd seen anything. Many followed back up with me via email or phone.

I was surprised to learn that more than half of the people I spoke with said they, too, had their safety jeopardized at the crosswalk or knew of someone who had.

It is a shame that the police dismiss so many of these incidents as simply a consequence of "bad driving." Palo Alto prides itself on being a bike safe city and thousands of our children bike or walk to school daily. Each day, over 100,000 people drive in and out of Palo Alto for work, but though Palo Alto's transportation division is working on changes to a limited number of bicycling and pedestrian corridors on larger streets, it's not enough.

These new measures will force cars to slow down on larger streets, but what about the smaller residential and business streets? Why are the key crosswalks, especially small-street ones in business districts, not monitored with video cameras? Why is it that concerned parents have to independently search for video footage to prove their child's safety was jeopardized? And why are the police doing nothing about the growing list of "bad drivers?"

I have taught my children to be cautious, but I don't feel safe letting them walk and bike around our neighborhood after one of them, through no fault of her own, was almost hit by a car. There are no police or city systems in place to protect my child, and the onus of proving my child was almost hit by a car fell squarely on me.

Our schools promote "Walk and Roll" days, and there are citywide events encouraging biking. Do the schools and parents who organize these events realize that the police list of bad drivers is lengthy and so many children on bikes are not safe in our city?

Protecting children and adults who walk and bike should be a primary effort of the police department and the city -- a concerted effort requiring active, ongoing communication and collaboration with families and residents. Traffic-safety planners must work with the police department and families to create a visible and streamlined process for child safety on all Palo Alto streets.

The police department must proactively monitor all areas and publish all bad driving incidents for residents and schools to see. Parents should have a right to know which streets pose safety threats to their children, and they shouldn't be responsible for proving dangers facing their children.

Arianne Teherani has been a resident of Palo Alto for almost 20 years. She has been involved in local and district school efforts for the city. She can be reached at teher74@gmail.com.

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Comments

29 people like this
Posted by Bicycle Safety
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 4, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Bicycle Safety is a registered user.

This is a great example of why the City of Palo Alto Transportation Department's attempts at bicycle boulevard's have fallen short (e.g. Ross Road). They assume that if they force bicycles to drive in the same lane as cars, that cars will slow down and behave. However, not only is this shown not to be safer based on studies but all you have to do is observe the lack of concern many motorists display for bicyclists safety. That is why separated bike paths are much safer (90% less accidents) and bike lanes are a big improvement (40% less accidents).


20 people like this
Posted by Sign Of The Times
a resident of Downtown North
on May 4, 2019 at 3:17 pm

People in cars are in too much of a hurry these days + there are too many of them.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm

This near accident is worrying as overtaking at a crosswalk is wrong, illegal and irresponsible.

However, crosswalks are for pedestrians walking at walk speed, not for bikes, children on bikes or any type of pedal powered vehicle. They move faster than walking speed. Even "joggers" should walk across the street as they are moving often too fast for the reaction of drivers, particularly if they are coming out of shadows on a bright day or in the dark.

Please teach your children that if they are on a bike they are not pedestrians and they have to behave like the vehicle they are.


15 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Statistically this is a surprisingly safe town, considering the inattention and casual mutual provocations by both drivers and their prey.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 4, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Arianne Teherani / Contributor

>> It is a shame that the police dismiss so many of these incidents as simply a consequence of "bad driving."

Arianne, I agree with you 100%. There is virtually no traffic enforcement at this time. I have seen numerous incidents -exactly- like what you describe. And no, it isn't the fault of the bike boulevards, it isn't the fault of bicycles legally occupying the middle of the lane when safety requires it, or roundabouts, or whatever. It is the fault of drivers who refuse to slow down. It is the fault of the drivers who run lights, stop signs, speed, and, most basically, refuse to slow down when required by safety.

When I took driver's ed "back in the day", the California Basic Speed Law was the very first thing they taught us. It was the law then, and, it is the law now, but, it is ignored constantly everywhere in the city. State law requires drivers to slow down "around children".

I would encourage you to talk to the police department about it. There are many thousands of us out here who agree with you. Experience has taught that many people just won't slow down until they start collecting a bunch of traffic tickets.

== Web Link++ ==

California’s “Basic Speed Law” means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions.

Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on:

- The number and speed of other vehicles on the road.
- Whether the road surface is smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow.
- Bicyclists or pedestrians on or crossing the roadway.
- Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty.


12 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2019 at 11:58 am

> Protecting children and adults who walk and bike should be a primary effort o
> the police department and the city --

Traffic is the curse that has followed prosperity in this town. The town has attracted too many businesses, and the general wealth of area has targeted Palo Alto for continuous rebuilding. The roads were designed for the early 1900s, when there were no cars. A clear example of how Palo Alto’s road design is mismatched with the needs of the later-half of the 20th Century is the difference between Middlefield Road in Palo Alto and in Mountain View. In Mountain View, there is a divider between the lanes—allowing for a speed limit of 35 mph.

Palo Alto’s 25mph and one thousand stop signs makes people who must drive through the city crazy. Attempts to increase the speed limit to 35mph always fail because people who complain about traffic come out of the woodwork, screaming "over my dead body."

It is amazing that so many people are endorsing the increase of maybe 10,000 new dwelling units in this town, but don’t seem to be able to recognize that a significant increase in traffic to accommodate these new people is inevitable. The idea of mass transit to avoid new vehicle trips is absurd.

As to the premise of this opinion piece—the idea that the police should be monitoring the movements of every child and adult who walks, or bikes around the town is typical of the Utopian views of far too many Palo Altans. Given how irresponsible teenagers on bicycles can be—it’s hard to believe that parents whose children were ticketed for running red lights and stop signs would not be outraged that their children should be expected to honor the laws that govern the use of the roadways. The City spends well over $500,000 a year hiring crossing guards to help children cross the streets safely. It’s doubtful that many parents in this town have any idea how much money is spent trying to insure their children get to/from school safely.

As to pedestrian safety—the advent of smartphones has changed the way that people walk in public. Virtually all pedestrians seem to have their noses in their phones, and many have ear-buds in their ears so that they are not likely to hear clearly what is going on around them. It would be interesting to see the public’s reaction to a police proposal banning the use of smartphones by pedestrians.

Children’s safety is more in the realm of the parents than the city government. Every parent needs to spend whatever time it takes to educate, and train, their children about the dangers of crossing streets and railroad tracks. While the police and traffic people can always do more, the real responsibility for their children's safety lies with the parents.


11 people like this
Posted by Safety First
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2019 at 1:22 pm

The problem we have is the City trying to get ever more creative so they can SAY they are doing things trying to improve safety, in order to continue an unsafe level of development given the hard constraints of the infrastructure.

Residents have been trying to convey the serious safety risks for years and years. What we get is expensive window dressing, a level of signage and street marking bordering on street clutter, and often less safety. And then more and more development without any regard for what is sane and possible given the infrastructure.

One of the problems with some of the thinking (evidenced in a few comments above), is believing if only "drivers" or "bicyclists" behaved in a perfect manner and never made mistakes or took common liberties, then there would be no danger and that is something to strive for or achieve (people being perfect). Nonsense. Safety is about realizing humans are flawed, things go wrong (such as in earthquake and fire emergencies), anticipating the way those flaws will interplay with the realities of a given system, and designing to prevent accidents nevertheless.

Remember the Oakland firestorm of 1991? Thousands of homes burned in Oakland and not so many in Berkeley, even though arguably the neighborhoods in Berkeley were more rife for it. But, as the later analysis found, Oakland had different sized hose fittings to the hydrants than any of the surrounding communities, so mutual aid firefighters not able to help in Oakland, only in Berkeley. The feeling of planners in allowing this situation was that having adapters was sufficient, and they they could always pass out adapters in an emergency. (And the regrettable and avoidable excuse always given: "we never anticipated such a major emergency", and similar inexcusable excuses where safety is concerned.)

And yet, we witness the fires at Paradise or Coffey Park in Santa Rose, but are busy building up obstructions on Arastradero and Foothill by Stanford in order to slow traffic (hello! has anyone heard of gridlock?!! no dumb road furniture necessary) Without the stupid road furniture and signage pollution, there is a clear shot for emergency vehicles in an emergency, but no way to get by if it's all cluttered up in the name of "bicycle safety" that isn't. I still remember vividly how an early morning tragedy by the railroad tracks resulted in a police car having to drive on the sidewalk to get there, where luckily there was enough clearance (not usually the case).

Good traffic circulation, separated bike paths, city amenities near where people live already, those would encourage biking and be safer. But because our City Hall seems to work for the developers (at the expensive residents, literally), we just never get any action in the direction of improving civic life and safety. We get stupid expensive unsafe experiments with our lives, including the kids.


7 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Downtown North
on May 5, 2019 at 5:01 pm

I see this quickly devolving into a driver versus cyclist story but it’s not. People drive too fast on residential streets, period. Pedestrians are more distracted these days, period. There are more vehicles on the road these days, period. Parents appear to teach their cycling children to disregard stop signs, period. The police should be writing more tickets, period. All true. And all parts of the problem.

With that said, there will never be enough police officers, crossing guards, or signage to keep up with the combination of cars, cyclists, and pedestrians traversing our streets. Does that mean the city should throw up it’s hands? No. They should collect data on areas with high incidence of collisions and complaints alike, and direct enforcement and revised signage there. But publishing a naughty list of people who “almost” hit something or someone based on citizen complaints is wacky.

I’m holding out for the time when autonomous cars are ubiquitous and better at avoiding collisions than today’s drivers!


4 people like this
Posted by Jocelyn
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2019 at 7:29 pm

I have never been run over by a car. But as a pedestrian I have been crashed against by a bike while on a crosswalk with the signal in my favor. As a pedestrian I have also had a lot of near misses with bikers. As an attentive driver I have successfully avoided a s substantial number of accidents. The proposed
Solution requires a policemen in every corner ready to be witness and punisher. What an idea!
I bet that if someone were to follow every biker they would verify that they have a very lax attitude towards safety, law and the rights of others. Bikers are difficult to see in traffic. Better be aware of that.


11 people like this
Posted by Hmmmmm
a resident of Community Center
on May 5, 2019 at 10:09 pm

I wonder if the fact that you were following your daughter on her bike on the way home had anything to do with this incident? I have seen a number of overly cautious Palo Alto parents driving their cars slowly alongside their kids biking as they go down the sidewalk. for drivers behind the parent who is following the kid on the bike, it is not always apparent what they are doing and they are interested in getting around this slowly driving car so they pull out and drive past at wood would seem the speed limit. Following your child in your car as they bike on the sidewalk, creates a terrible hazard 4 the people who are driving behind you. Driving so slowly can feel like it's erratic driving behavior to the person behind you and they are just trying to get around. I have seen this happen a number of times and why you think you are protecting your child by driving slowly beside them it is in fact a hazard for everybody. It is time Palo Alto parents allow their children to do things on their own instead of following their every move and thinking they're always unsafe. If your child is on a bike, let them ride home on their own. Don't be a snowplow parent.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2019 at 10:32 pm

Posted by Jocelyn, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> The proposed Solution requires a policemen in every corner ready to be witness and punisher. What an idea!

I didn't see anyone proposing that idea. Certainly, I didn't. I do propose hiring some traffic enforcement officers who would be expected to do what they always do. What they used to do. Stake out high-violation intersections and crosswalks, and stop and cite lawbreakers. When motorists become aware that a particular intersection is frequently monitored, they tend to obey the law more often.

For example, not that long ago, driving down ECR into Mountain View, everyone would suddenly slow down at the MV border because MV had a lot more traffic enforcement. I presume they have cut this back in MV, because, people don't slow down like that any more.


Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Downtown North
on May 6, 2019 at 8:23 am

@Anon -

I agree that you did not propose a policeman on every corner but the author of the original piece seems to...

"The police department must proactively monitor all areas and publish all bad driving incidents for residents and schools to see."

We should all agree that the police ought to be use complaints and accident reports to inform where enforcement and a visible presence should happen. So, if that's what the author meant, ok. But, the idea that any City would have the resources to "monitor" all areas is far from realistic.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2019 at 9:11 am

[Post removed.]



4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2019 at 10:03 am

Posted by Frank, a resident of Downtown North

>> I agree that you did not propose a policeman on every corner but the author of the original piece seems to...

>> >> "The police department must proactively monitor all areas and publish all bad driving incidents for residents and schools to see."

Frank, we seem to have a disconnect regarding the use of the word "monitor". If some traffic enforcement officer traversed every street twice a day at unpredictable times, I would call that "monitoring". On some corners, there is reckless, lawless, or excessively aggressive behavior every minute at certain times of the day.

How many officers would it take to do such patrols? With somewhere around 500 lane-miles of streets in the city Web Link at a speed of 15 mph average, 8 officers on duty should be able to provide that level of patrolling. Of course, at first, they would spend most of their time citing people, because there are currently so many infractions to cite, but, over time, once scofflaws collected their 3-4 tickets, the officers would be spending a lot less time in citation mode. I don't think it is too much to ask to have 8 officers on traffic duty in a city with "on the order of" 100,000 people working here during the day.

One particular thing that I would like to see enforcement for is aggressive right-turns-without-stops. Sure, no big deal at 1-2 MPH, but, "right turn on red after stopping" has turned into "no stop when turning right (red light or stop sign)". This particular thing makes walking and driving a real grind. You can't assume that cars will stop, or even slow down, when turning right, even if there is something or someone in the way. It is especially bad before the hour in certain locations. e.g. 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM.


4 people like this
Posted by Neighbour
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 6, 2019 at 10:21 am

Punishment is the only real deterrent.
If there no consequences for your actions, nothing is going to change.

The trouble seems to be in determining the how.
A simple step would be to have law enforcement folks around schools junctions during drop-offs and pick-ups. Even rotate the locations throughout the week if there are not enough. But start there.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2019 at 10:59 am

Those folks wanting the police to write more tickets need to remember that it takes 10-15 minutes to write a ticket. Then, the officer needs to appear in court if the motorist decides to have the court hear his/her case rather than pay the fine. In those situations, the officer must do so on his day off.

Using machines that measure speed and write tickets for violations has been very controversial, since the pictures used to prove the violation frequently have been challenged in court.

Better “black boxes” that are now standard equipment in all new cars could monitor speed and location—and upload that information to a police server, which then could issue tickets for speed violations. That kind of monitoring would go a long way towards identifying serial violators—which everyone knows drive in Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of University South
on May 6, 2019 at 11:18 am

Every time the City transportation staff tries to do something that will rein in these reckless drivers, the city council throws them under the bus. After the hell the staff caught for the Ross Road project from the crowd with torches and pitchforks, don't expect them to do anything much in the near future.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Don't forget the requirement to track and analyze demographics of all alleged offenders who may be cited. Age, color, ethnicity, religion, income bracket, gender, hairstyle, apparel, residency, language spoken at home, visible tattoos, vaccination records, any possible group who will claim unfair enforcement.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction (Palo Alto's third law).


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm

> Don't forget the requirement to track and analyze demographics
> of all alleged offenders

This requirement, imposed by the city council, was removed several years ago.


Like this comment
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2019 at 9:07 am

Re: Joe. I think monitoring of all vehicle black boxes is a great idea. Palo Alto can install cameras at all entrance points to the city (just like Atherton is doing) to keep track of all non-resident vehicles.

Then monitoring of all vehicles for location and speed would tell of of all the speeders, people who blow through stop signs/lights and any other traffic violations. There would be no contesting since ALL vehicles would be monitored. No discrimination.

/marc


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2019 at 9:45 am

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Those folks wanting the police to write more tickets need to remember that it takes 10-15 minutes to write a ticket. [...]

IOW, give up on traffic enforcement. I don't agree.


18 people like this
Posted by Give Kids Independence
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2019 at 11:36 am

Give Kids Independence is a registered user.

Re: "I have taught my children to be cautious, but I don't feel safe letting them walk and bike around our neighborhood after one of them, through no fault of her own, was almost hit by a car."

Children who are not allowed to walk and bike in their own neighborhoods never develop the independence and life skills necessary to grow up. Instead of sequestering kids as a result of a scary incident, use the experience to teach valuable life lessons and give them more freedom, not less. Model safe biking (there are bike safety classes), give them adult world skills, and instill confidence not fear. Kids can't remain at home in bubble wrap forever! All child development experts note how overprotective parents are today and recommend giving kids more independence. At a minimum, good biking skills translate into good driving skills: all research notes that kids who bike are better drivers and do better in school. I have two successful college students so I speak from experience that giving them more indpenendence is critical to growing up and setting them up for success. We did not let bad drivers cheat our kids out of the experience of independently walking and biking to school, to their friends, and around the neighborhood.


4 people like this
Posted by midtown senior
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2019 at 11:38 am

midtown senior is a registered user.

The bike street "answer" that is Ross Road creates it's own potential disasters. On Bryant street bikers regularly pedal through at high speed without stopping for stop signs. A police sampling of bike traffic at the intersection of Bryant and Loma Verde will demonstrate this. It doesn't even take police attendance ... just set up a video camera for a couple of days and watch. Same thing on Ross Road! The camera could also see the numbers of bikers (especially kids) riding the sidewalks. This should dispel the fictional biking ideas of the City Council.


2 people like this
Posted by ACAB
a resident of Mountain View
on May 7, 2019 at 1:05 pm

"The police department must proactively monitor all areas and publish all bad driving incidents for residents and schools to see."

It may surprise you, but the US Supreme Court has ruled the Police to not have a duty to protect the public from harm. In fact calling 911 has proven to be dangerous to the caller. Plenty of instances in the news about the 911 caller being shot and killed by the police they called for assistance.

See the article:
Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone
Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by Hyperbole is not helpful.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Hyperbole is not helpful. is a registered user.

So much hyperbole in this article.

I have walked and biked as my primary mode of transportation in Palo Alto. I have for all 24 years I have lived here. It's just not that hard, and (if you are careful) it's not as dangerous as this driving mom seems to think.

Get on a bike with your daughter. Take a class together and learn how to bike more safely. Skilled bicyclists know what to watch for and are better able to avoid crashes with other road users--even when they behave badly. I bet you will lose ten pounds in a couple of months. You will be more fit than ever, and you will feel great.

Enjoy the ride!


2 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of Barron Park
on May 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Art is a registered user.

Caltrans is in the process if installing "Hawk" or "Hybrid" beacons at a number of crosswalks along El Camino from the Ventura/Barron Park area to Mountain View. These beacons are traffic control devices activated by pedestrians that will stop road traffic, and thus allow pedestrians (or cyclists walking their bicycles) to cross safely. A year or so ago, Caltrans installed several crosswalks on El Camino at places in between controlled intersections, and while pedestrians had the right of way to cross, they were taking their lives in their hands when there were several lanes of traffic in either direction. These new beacons will provide a much greater level of safety for pedestrians. One of these has been in place for several years in Atherton, at the intersection of El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue.
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on May 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

It is absolutely INSANE that the pedestrian activated lights are being put on major thoroughfares. There is a reason there are “timed lights”, we need to move tremendous amounts numbers of cars in the most effective way possible. Giving ONE PEDESTRIAN the ability to stop this traffic is ridiculous. I absolutely HATE the ones on San Antonio in Los Altos, morning rush hour and we’re a bunch of cars waiting at a red, finally get our green to go and just 100 ft ahead one morning dog walker hits the light and cars have to very abruptly stop. It’s not safe, there is literally no warning light and I cannot tell you how many pedestrians I’ve seen hit that button and the second the lights start flashing just start right across that walk. An automobile going 35mph, the speed limit, can’t just stop on a dime.

These HAWK lights are at least safer and allow for a ‘warning’ to slow down/stop however they are still highly ineffective at moving traffic. Again, why allow ONE PERSON to effect the travel of many cars at any time. Ridiculous.


12 people like this
Posted by To MV Resident2003
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2019 at 5:29 pm

To MV Resident2003 is a registered user.

Of course, all public roads should be designed to meet your personal needs and wants. We'll hop right to it.


3 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on May 7, 2019 at 6:14 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

As I very clearly said, lights are timed to maximize traffic flow, has nothing to do with me. Frankly I’m not typically in a hurry to go anywhere so it’s not that much of an effect for me, however if I were a commuter I’d be extremely frustrated.


3 people like this
Posted by D B
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 7, 2019 at 6:29 pm

> I don't think it is too much to ask to have 8 officers on traffic duty in a city with "on the order of" 100,000 people working here during the day.

Then go ask the city council to increase funding to the police department salary pool. In the past 10 years, the traffic safety team in the police department has been disbanded and recreated three times. At its height, the team is only two daytime officers. There is a shortage of officers overall. And working traffic is not regarded highly at all in the department. If you want a raise or a promotion, you work on property crime or killings which get you attention when cases are solved. (This is true everywhere, not just in Palo Alto). The high cost of living in Palo Alto makes it challenging to hire and retain officers.


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 7, 2019 at 9:09 pm

"It is absolutely INSANE that the pedestrian activated lights are being put on major thoroughfares."

Our city leaders are showing their disdain for climate change mitigation in the most effective way they have: forcing automobiles to maximize their carbon emissions by stopping and re-accelerating as frequently as possible.


3 people like this
Posted by Profoundly Confused
a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2019 at 1:12 am

We have at any given time about 6 to 10 hard working police officers on duty for the massive area which is Palo Alto. Is it the writer's contention that bike traffic is a real priority over crime? Does the writer not realize that her children could walk to school or take a uber?


4 people like this
Posted by So much misinformation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2019 at 12:01 pm

What I really hate about online forums is the number of people who write in with strong opinions that are presented as fact and exaggerated, anecdotal evidence about complex issues they clearly have not studied in depth. Almost every single post on this thread is thinly informed. I would say almost none of the writers (including the writer of the original post), have read our city budget, learned about our comprehensive Safe Routes to School program, or have knowledge or have bothered to track down actual data on PAPD staffing or where ticket revenues go. These are all relevant matters to this discussion.

PAOnline is a bad place to go for information. It is also the wrong place to address your concerns. LEARN by paying attention to City Council agendas and staff reports that are posted weekly on the city's web site (to find them, Google City of Palo Alto City Council Agendas). WORK WITH YOUR ELECTEDS to effect change where you see it is needed by writing (politely and thoughtfully) to your representatives on City Council at City.Council@cityofpaloalto.org . THEY are the key decision-makers. The so-called information that gets written here is mostly uninformed people blowing off steam.

Let's comport like responsible adults and be active, informed citizens instead of whining and blaming. Let's be willing to recognize and get informed about the complexity of problems that the city is grappling with. In a democracy, responsible adults STUDY problems that concern them and reach out to electeds with ideas to work on solutions together. WE, the people, are the government. That's how it works. We can do better what is represented on PA ONline.


8 people like this
Posted by midtown senior
a resident of Midtown
on May 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm

midtown senior is a registered user.

Dear "so much misinformation": Try getting heard or getting answers. I attended two meetings with City Council members regarding the Ross Road project. The answer I got was "You'll get used to it."


4 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on May 9, 2019 at 12:27 am

"Following your child in your car as they bike on the sidewalk, creates a terrible hazard 4 the people who are driving behind you."

If they are creating unsafe conditions, shouldn't they also receive tickets?


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

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​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

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