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Solution to Town and Country Center backups

Original post made by Allen Podell, Community Center, on Dec 22, 2009

Extend the existing overpass on the western (El Camino) side near the railroad tracks to allow cars to cross over Embarcadero Road. Instead of a encountering a left turn signal, east-bound traffic into the T&C would bear right, and then turn left to cross over the overpass into the T&C. This would also carry east-bound T&C traffic back to loop onto Embarcadero. To keep the turning radii manageable, no truck traffic would be allowed on this route. Trucks would enter and exit the T&C from El Camino.
This would also aid the tie-ups from student drop-off and pick-up, because that traffic could turn into the T&C loop, and travel over the overpass in a clockwise loop, dropping students, and then continuing around back onto Embarcadero Road eastward.
The student traffic and the T&C traffic peak at different times, so that this arrangement would be mutually beneficial. Both the school and T&C would have to give up land to make this work.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Woodside
on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:30 pm

The traffic there is a nightmare. T&C was so sleepy until they re did the parking lot. Now with Trader Joes it is a congested mess. At least the businesses are seeing some life I bet.

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Posted by Very expensive
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 31, 2009 at 8:53 am

"Extend the existing overpass on the western (El Camino) side near the railroad tracks" and whose going to pay for such an expensive project? Since PA will be deep in the red next year this is a non-starter.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:11 am

Any near-term (or not so near term) remodeling of the existing Caltrain crossings has to come from the HSR budget. No one else is interested in funding this type of work. Hopefully, HSR can move crossings like this to the top of their construction priority list so we can take advantage of the improvements even before the rest of the railroad is done.

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Posted by Allen Podell
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:38 am

How much time is wasted, and what is that worth? A second issue is the ecological cost of congestion, which raises the level of exhaust products, smogs our city and wastes energy.
Say 40 cars/minute pass in each direction on Embarcadero Road for 1 hour twice a day at rush hour. The average delay is perhaps 3 minutes. And, finally, the people in the cars are paid $20 per hour. Thus, 3 minutes of their time is worth $1. I am assuming that each car has one person, an unfortunate reality.
Then 40cars/min*60min*2ways=4800 cars =4800 people are delayed twice a day for 3 minutes. This gives 4800cars*2passes*$1=$9600 per day of rush hour time wasted. Per year, this gives 52*7*9600= $3,494,000 of wasted time. Moreover, there are safety considerations in eliminating the left turns. With better traffic flow, the T&C will get more business. Of course, not every day has a rush hour, but no delay was assumed for the other hours of the day...This is just a quick guesstimate.
It is not obvious that this is a bad investment. The shoppers, the students and the shopping center will benefit.

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Posted by bad math
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I dont buy that math, but even if I did believe the math, the figure "saved" does not overcome the cost of constructing this "solution" for which the city has no money.

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