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Car flips into Palo Alto parking garage, hits Mercedes

Original post made on Mar 14, 2012

A car that slid on a rain-slicked road fell into the Birch Street garage near California Avenue and crashed into a new Mercedes Benz Wednesday morning. The driver of the Toyota was trapped in her vehicle, Palo Alto Fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 1:29 PM

Comments (35)

Posted by lower the speed limit
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Cars go 50mph on Oregon near the Alma interchange. That is way to fast under any circumstances and especially too fast for cars that are turning on to Alma. Turning drivers are afraid to slow down before the interchange because they could easily be rear-ended by speeders on their tail. Crashes are very common at this location, including multi-car crashes.

The city should lower the speed limit on Oregon to 25mph between El Camino Real and Middlefield Road. That will make the road tremendously safer for everyone.

Posted by Helmut
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Yet another spotlight on the "me first" Palo Alto drivers.
If you slow down and quit driving like entitled lunatics these stories wouldn't be happening every week

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

There was another accident at this location within the past few weeks.

Maybe it's time to do something that positively reduces people's speed, such an electronic speed annunicator, and perhaps some speed bumps, or Botts Dots, which would require motorists to slow down in order to negotiate the exit from Alma up to Birch.

Posted by JackieTreehorn
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Let's be fair, she was prob sending/recieving an important text message...

Posted by Perfect
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I can't tell for sure but it looks like the person w/ the benz found a nice safe corner spot to park in, away from other cars and thus safe from all those door dings and...DOH!!!

Posted by Bleezy
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Condolences to the Benz owner.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

If she had understood oversteer and understeer she might have survived the skid.

Posted by AMRW
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Helmut, Judging by your location, you live in Palo Alto as the pot calling the kettle black? The report said nothing about her driving like a lunatic or being entitled. It didn't even say if she was going fast. Have a little compassion.

"Yet another spotlight on the "me first" Palo Alto drivers.
If you slow down and quit driving like entitled lunatics these stories wouldn't be happening every week"

Posted by Car
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Why is one a car and the other a Mercedes in the header? Are not all cars, cars?

Posted by Helmut
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Sorry AMRW, I stopped driving locally 3 years ago. I use a Zip car when I need one for road trips outside of PA so you can't pin that one on me :) Since you're outside PA, I'll clue you in: The drivers are the most arrogant selfish "Me first" drivers on the peninsula. Its astounding how many times a day I have to dodge them while they try and roll the red light on a right turn when I cross on the green,
and then react as if I'd just done something wrong.

Yes, I'm sure the driver wasn't doing anything to cause this solo accident. Cars just seem to fly off the roads in this neck of the woods. Why its astounding it hasn't happened every single day don't you think? Certainly if the local paper didn't say she did anything wrong, then of course she didn't. I wonder how all those other drivers negotiate this section of road without flying into parking structures? This poor girl was a victim of a poorly designed road!

No, when its all said and done it'll be proven driver error, excessive speed or the like and then in a week or two we'll see another accident reported. It'll happen because Palo Alto roads are filled with selfish drivers, all trying to get ahead of the next guy.
I know you don't have as much experience in this town as i do, but trust me, I've seen it going on for years. Then when you get out of town, suddenly drivers are less selfish. Not entirely selfish, but much less. We should admit our fault so we can proactively deal with it.

Posted by Ouch!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm


Posted by Safe Driver
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Yes, Helmut, I'm sure that your experience is entirely objective and research-based, and once you get out of town, for example on the freeway, there are no reckless, aggressive drivers who go too fast for the road conditions.

I'll grant you one thing, drivers have gotten way more aggressive. Not sure it's just Palo Alto. Does the word "evidence" mean anything to you?

Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

That's how the Mercedes bends,...

Posted by Bleezy
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Helmut, Palo Alto drivers are fine. That's what's up.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I fail to see where in the report where it says the driver is from "me first" Palo Alto. No residence or identification was given.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

This is a type of accident we all want to avoid. I wasn't there and didn't witness it, so I will withhold specific judgement on this driver, still...I am interested that car makes/models are crucial elements to some crash reports around here.
Doesn't matter if it's a Benz except to the Benz owner -- same would apply if it were a Beemer -- entitled, do you think much? I suppose if the person had crashed into some used car, nobody would bother to specify the details since it would be deemed less important.
Also - please, Palo Alto drivers, put on your headlights when it is raining. I saw tons of cars out not doing this - it's required by law and it also makes driving safer for everyone.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I recently read that Palo Alto has a nighttime population snug in bed of about 60,000.
In the daytime it's said to be about 110,00 or more. No one has said where the
people in this incident live. So until the facts come out - everybody should just
'hush up'. And really it makes no difference where they live. Borders here are meaningless.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm

All right. Enough. There is clearly a safety hazard here and it doesn't matter why, it's only a matter of time before a person is hurt.

The city traffic department needs to make this a priority to figure out why these crashes have happened or at least how to prevent them.

Can we please have a map so I can avoid parking there?...

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Sorry for the owner, but it sounds like the Mercedes may have saved this woman's life. Maybe they should just leave it there until they improve the safety of the garage, it might save the next person!

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:02 am

Wasn't this the same place where a while ago an "allegedly" drunk driver rolled his car in the early morning, got out of it walked home, and went to sleep to return later sober and say he was too tired to talk to police or something?

Can we know who that was and what happened in this case.

Again, I posted a few days about Palo Alto drivers running straight through red-lights, and every day since I have seen at least one red-light runner whenever I drive, although not necessarily downtown.

We need a traffic enforcement system like I have heard like Sweden's where they tax people on the basis of a percentage of how much money they make ... this will be the only thing that will affect affluent Palo Altans, and may be the only thing that can balance the city budget too - DAMMIT - START ENFORCING THE TRAFFIC LAWS AND NOT JUST ARBITRARILY EITHER - PULL OVER AND TICKET PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING DANGEROUS THINGS.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:17 am

Maybe I'm easily impressed, but I still find it amazing that I can read this article and then in a few seconds pull up a Google street view showing the exact white column with the smudge above the red stripe in the photo. The garage is on your right as you come up the off-ramp from westbound Oregon to northbound Birch. A regulation-sized yellow diamond sign midway up the ramp shows the approach of a sharp right curve and a suggested 15 mph speed.

The two yellow road signs in the median mentioned in the article are at the "gore point" where southbound Birch traffic forks off to the on-ramp for westbound Oregon. Fortunately at this instant there apparently was no southbound Birch traffic, and the young driver was able to return to her side of the road, and then some.

Sadly I must agree that the location could use a guardrail of some type. The city and the private garage operator can argue over who should pay for it. Of course this begs the question that ALL of our city streets should have guardrails along both sides of their entire lengths to contain errant vehicles. Fret too much and nobody in Crescent Park will get out of bed in the morning.

Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

Palo Alto drivers turning their headlights on when it's foggy and rainy? That would be the day.

Posted by In my 70's
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:42 am

Love the references to the "poor girl", "young driver" and "texting". Read the article; apparently the driver was in her 70's, so although I would love to be considered a cool texting young 70 year old, I would be condemned as an "elderly driver".

Posted by 20s
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

I thought the article originally said the driver was a women in her 20s. Did I read it wrong, or did they edit it without telling anyone what changed?

Posted by Hey!!!
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

70 IS young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Lachen McClellan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

A few of us who adhere to the Palo Alto speed limit of 25 mph have frequently experienced outraged fellow drivers who wish to speed it up exhibit their impatience by either tailgating, passing on the left on two lane residential streets, screaming obscenities, rude hand gesturing, horn honking, or all of the above. It would seem that a public awareness program involving ticketing and substantial fines is in order.

Posted by Just don't get it...
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

All this "Palo Alto drivers" is nonsense!! Probably 60 -70% of the drivers are from out of the area and don't know the curves there.... or anywhere else in town. Having learned to drive here many years ago I find that most PA drivers are quite courteous. It's the out of town folks who have the problems. Lighten up!!

Posted by Member
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm

This is the 3rd incident at this exit in the past few months, not second. I work at the building next to the parking lot.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm

"I work at the building next to the parking lot."

If you have a view of the curve you could probably sell tickets.

Posted by hft
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm

the lesson is, don't find solace in material goods benzes . silicon valley needs this lesson. your true nature is already complete without mercedes or whatever

Posted by friend
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm

For all you people wanting to blame the accident on the driver for excessive speed, and texting etc: She doesn't even own a cell phone, and is a very cautious driver. She hydroplaned in the heavy rain. When it happens to you, you will understand.

Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

The roadway there could be made more grippy for tires. They are going to do that on parts of Highway 17.

Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

@Car - They did say the other car was "an older model Toyota"
@ JustMe - HAHAHAHAHHAHA!!! That's a good one, I love it!
@resident - I want to park my "OLD" Benz there! I need a new one!

Sorry to the owner of the Benz - IT didn't look like an old one that needed replacing.
To the lady who caused it, I am glad you're okay, accidents happen, that's why we have insurance (hopefully yours is up to date).
They really should have some sort of guard rail or bars along the opening of the garage...rather than dealing with all the criticism of human mistakes.

Posted by Hmm
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I guess all the terrible "me first" drivers from out of town all go through PA because I simply don't see the impatience and rudeness in the surrounding communities. Either that, or....I wonder why all those out of towners are dropping their kids off at PA schools?
I've seen far too much rudeness on Charlestone rd between Alma and Middlefield from parents dropping kids off. They don't even care that there are kids everywhere. Just today I was flipped off because i dared to drive 25 in an active school zone. This sort of impatient rudeness is sadly a common part of my day since I like to obey traffic laws.
Nope, I know its unscientific, but from my experiences, PA drivers get the 1st place in Rude prize. Once out of their cars though, most are quite nice :)

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Gunn High School

on Jun 5, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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