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Several injured in crash near San Antonio Road

Original post made on Sep 24, 2012

Crews cleared an off-ramp on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto Sunday after a solo vehicle crash in the area left multiple people injured, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 24, 2012, 8:40 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2012 at 9:18 am

Not very surprising. Highway 101 is dangerous at present due to the construction, it seems every time I use it something has changed and I see so much confusion from drivers entering or exiting. The through traffic is not very aware how short the merges are and how much they need to give way to merging cars entering at the on ramps.

Posted by boondoggle
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

This construction boondoggle was poorly planned, poorly executed, and a complete waste of $100 million. Why didn't they spend the money on local road projects that could have a real impact on safety, for a fraction of the cost.

Posted by one
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

I agree with Resident above.

We are waiting for something to happen so that police and construction supervisors change the situation such as too short merges and multiple, fading or temporal divider white lines.

However it should not cost people's lives before they fix them when many people already notice the problems.

Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

Too many people are exceeding the construction zone speed limit of 55 mph, which is not obviously posted!

But I agree, the lanes keep changing, merging onto 101 NB from San Antonio is tricky, and the SB exit could use some clarity.

I'll be happy to see this project DONE.

Posted by Incomplete Job
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

And after spending all this money, there route to southbound 101 from south Palo Alto will still be Charleston, with its dangerous merge, rather than a new ramp at San Antonio Road.

Posted by Barron Squared
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

The merge onto northbound 101 from Oregon Expressway is currently a death trap. Zero visibility for either sides of the merging traffic!

Posted by jerryl
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

I was commenting to my wife just this weekend about the horrible lack of progress on this project. At San Antonio there appears to be zero
progress month after month. They quickly tear everything up and then seem to just sit there. I don't know what can be done or who is managing the boondoggle but something ought to be done like withhold progress payments or a day by day fine for slippage or something.

Posted by Driver Dan
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

I have no problems whatsoever negotiating any of these area roads people are complaining about. I slow down to a prudent speed for conditions and don't try to force my way in. When in doubt, I let the other guy go first. I really wonder what others are doing that make it so difficult.
Hope you all figure it out before you kill me.

Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

rem is a registered user.

Hay folks PAY ATTENTION to what " Driver Dan" says about. Better still print it out and PUT it on your "frig" so you will read it regularly..

The key word is SLOW DOWN

Posted by driver
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

The problem is that some of the construction work makes it really hard to see where the other cars are. For example, the northbound entrance ramp from Embarcadero to Hwy 101 has a concrete wall between the merging lane and the highway. That wall effectively blocks the vision of merging drivers so they cannot see if there are any cars in the lane they are trying to merge into, until the last second when slowing down is not an option. Car drivers on the highway are generally courteous about letting the mergers in, but that can be difficult when a line of cars are trying to merge one after the other. There are no merging lights to spread out the cars.

Posted by Lily
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

This comment bear"The merge onto northbound 101 from Oregon Expressway is currently a death trap. Zero visibility for either sides of the merging traffic!

Amen. I heartily agree and hope drivers proceed with extreme caution. At one point the driver must beware of cars merging not only from the left, as usual, and now from the right as well. It is a very tricky situation and requires both extreme alertness and a sense of humor.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

A few weeks ago, construction was in full swing on San Antonio Road. However, some brilliant planner decided to rebuild the sidewalk and edge of the road (for drainage) on the corner of Middlefield and San Antonio Road (along the Valero gas station).

This made for a terrible amount of traffic and several "near misses" that I observed while I pumped gasoline in my car.

Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Don't forget southbound entry from Embarcadero - no way to see if any cars are coming so you just have to pray and go forward. This whole thing is a mess even if you are driving slow. I cringe every time I hear the ambulances racing by. I know they are going to this awful construction zone.

Posted by Shaking head in disbelief
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Its shockingly true: You cannot expect things to stay the same day to day in a fluid project like the freeway construction. Yes, it will cause strange merges with limited visibility. No, you will not be able to safely drive it a "normal" speeds. YES you must slow down. The only solution to all these construction merge and visibility issues is the simple one. Slow down. If you can't see, slow down until you can. Hell, slow until you stop if you have to. If you slow and pay attention you'll have no problems, unless you lack the abilities to negotiate such easy obstacles. If you drive like a me first entitled goof, you'll continue to run into issues. Quite literally I would imagine

Posted by driver
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

My driving instructor said never stop in a merge situation, except when traffic is stopped in front of you. Stopping on a freeway onramp is going to get you rear-ended regularly. Even if you don't get clobbered from behind, trying to merge into 55mph traffic from a standing start is really dangerous, even in a sports car.

Yes, people on both sides of the concrete wall need to spread out and allow space for merging. Advising people to come to a complete stop when traffic is moving at freeway speeds is reckless.

Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

From the California Drivers' Handbook:

California has a "Basic Speed Law." This law means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited for driving "too fast for 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 walking on the road’s edge or crossing the street.
Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty.

Not so complicated.

Posted by Uh-Huh
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

driver, you teacher gave you great advise for normal driving conditions where the flow of traffic is at normal speeds what did the instructor say about construction zones and heavy traffic merging at 10-25 mph?
"When you cannot see, keep going until you hit something" ?
Maybe that's the problem. We need new area driver's ed teachers! (JK)

Posted by Watching Laughing
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

The solution is very simple at first blush: Slow down, be courteous and don't play the "gotta get in front of this guy next to me" game.

REALLY simple stuff for any community right? Well, except when you realize its Palo Alto drivers who need to act this can see the issue now.

I see no end to the complaining about these issues, perceived to be the fault of someone else, unless the location of the construction is moved to another city.

Posted by driver
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

@Uh-Huh - If you read my comment, you should have seen "except when traffic is stopped in front of you". Obviously, that covers the case you are talking about.

The merging situation that people are complaining about is relatively safe when traffic is slow. It is only when traffic is moving at 55mph that the lack of visibility becomes dangerous.

Posted by Yona
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I agree that the exit on to 101 north from Oregon Expwy. is very very dangerous. And yes, I am afraid that if I slow down too much, my little car (Honda Insight) is going to be rear ended. Didn't the construction people how dangerous this exit has become now? I really wonder about that.

Posted by Eyes on the Road
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Driver Dan,rem,Shaking Head in disbelief,Driver,David Pepperdine and Watching Laughing
For your suggestions on how to handle the drive through our construction zone.
Slowing down, being courteous and leaving room actually does help.

I will be glad to share the road with you.... see ya on the road.

Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Agreed that 101 is too dangerous now, even with courteous driving.

I have decided to call the CHP business line every Friday, and report 101/ San Antonio area as a dangerous road hazard. Feel free to do likewise on Fridays, ... maybe we can get the point across.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Imagine the complaints if in the name of safety they simply closed the impacted 101 on-ramps during construction. There are surface street alternatives. In any case, drivers should be awake, sober, and off the phone. To which of these will the accident story above be attributed? Pardon my speculation, but I doubt it was due to heavy traffic or construction at 2:40 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I'm sure everybody agrees that the construction zone on 101 is poorly planned and very dangerous.

However, the story posted by Palo Alto Online, sourced from Bay City News, is completely wrong. The car was traveling SOUTH on 101. The accident happened on the northbound San Antonio Road ramp. It's likely the construction zone had little to do with this incident. No one was taken to the hospital, either by a county ambulance or PAFD.

Why didn't the editor simply call PAFD and check the facts of this story? PAFD had an engine, the rescue unit and an ambulance at the scene assisting Mountain View Fire.

How can Palo Alto Online ask us to "support local journalism" when they forgo checking the basic facts of the stories they post?

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I was wondering which trees they talked about cutting. And still wondering. Guess I'll have to go look.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

Perhaps this was just due to driver fatigue at this time of night.

Perhaps the road configuration or a merging driver took an unsuspecting through driver by surprise.

I would really like to know what happened and hear the results of the investigation into this accident. I would be very surprised if the construction did not play even a small role in this accident.

I can't understand why people think that slowing down on the merge would help. If the through traffic does not give way to the merging traffic then it will not help the situation. The merging traffic is very much at the mercy of the through traffic all the way through this construction mess. Yes, the configurations are changing all the time and the signage is not helpful. The flashing yellow signs are no help because it takes too long to read them when drivers should be paying attention to the traffic, not reading signs!

Posted by Mayor of Palo Alto
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 25, 2012 at 11:33 am

It's just unfortunate that everywhere seems to have construction at the same time.

This section of the 101 should be cleared up by October 16, if the signs are any indication. Should be much smoother if they can open up another lane.

But right now, it's messing up Bayshore, 101, San Antonio. Not to mention they need to fix the timing of the lights on University and Willow towards the Dumbarton.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Once again...Palo Altans have their precious knickers in a knot by simple matters of daily life.

Get used to it. Periodically freeways and roads need to be fixed for all kinds of reasons. Be patient and aware of the changes.

Or get some perspective by taking a trip down to West LA and drive a bit on the 405, where the multiyear freeway construction completely CLOSED the major artery for a population of 10 million people (and will close it again in a few days). Everyone predicted chaos but Angelenos showed considerable patience and tolerance and just dealt with the reality of the situation.

Pretty sad when LA demonstrates more community cohesiveness than Palo Alto.

Posted by miffed in midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

First the peanut butter at Trader Joes is bad, and now this!

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