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Residents sound off on Ross Road changes

Original post made on Jun 12, 2018

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 9:59 PM

Comments (111)

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.

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.

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.

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

[Post removed.]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

[Post removed.]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

[Post removed.]

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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~

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.

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.

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!!!!

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.

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?

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".)

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. :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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....

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...

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.]

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.]

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.

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.

Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2018 at 4:49 pm

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.

Posted by Rational
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 7:17 am

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.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 20, 2018 at 8:48 am

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.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

400 Residents from Old Palo Alto oppose changes at Churchill and the city scraps the plans. Over 1,000 South-siders oppose the bicycle boondoggle and the city escalates work to finish the project in Midtown. Maybe the mayor and city council will let us know how many of us in Midtown it takes to equal the influence of a citizen in Old Palo Alto? If a 5/2 ration is insufficient, do our voices count at all with you?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:33 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Resident, I sympathize. But take heart -- the city doesn't respond to taxpayers / voters in other neighborhoods either and has ignored those of us complaining about the Middlfield / Jordan mess for about 3 years.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:39 am

Adobe Meadow, a desire for new leadership goes well beyond the ill-conceived Ross Road Project. In several meetings, the city leadership has displayed a sense of condescension and arrogance in talking with citizens concerned with the safety concerns raised by this work. There have been repeated comments indicating that we just, "need to be educated," or dismissing concerns about children's safety as, "something old people worry about." (actual quotes) Their contempt for our opinions and suggestions is FAR more disturbing than the waste of $8.7 million.

This is the same sort of arrogant and dismissive attitude our "leaders" took when they tried, unsuccessfully, to force Baron Park to accommodate a high-density,low income project. It is the same indifference to neighborhood impact that clear-cut California Avenue and installed sidewalks with glass shards and some of the ugliest public art on earth.

Our major and city council do not represent the needs and wishes of the people who live here. They have their own agenda and are highly influenced by special interest groups. I agree with the idea of replacing them ALL in the next election.

Posted by Got my popcorn
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:38 pm

(Munch Munch Munch)
Watching all the "Us vs Them" people trying (failing) to justify their divisiveness. For those keeping score "Us" are good people, but "They" are evil-doers set on ripping apart all that you hold dear, and they may even be actual demons! LOL!!!
(Munch Munch Munch).

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Adobe Meadow, this may be amusing to you now, but one day it will be your home or your neighborhood. The Baron Park residents didn't find it so amusing when the city wanted to put a high-density housing project into their neighborhood with its narrow streets and lack of sidewalks. The merchants on California Avenue didn't find it so amusing when the city spent a year tearing up their street and clear-cutting the Avenue. Midtowners are angry about changes that are endangering our children, making our daily lives more difficult and about the condescending and arrogant behavior of a city government that disregards the opinions of its citizens. The city's reply to our very specific issues, like yours, is to reduce our concerns to a one-dimensional polemic.

Posted by Getting better
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2018 at 10:19 am

It's better here recently.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Granite Rock construction took out the temporary roundabout at Greer and Amarillo this morning.

Posted by Scooter Mafia
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 11, 2018 at 6:09 am

Ross Road Roundabout Remains.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2018 at 6:51 am

Ross Road Roundabouts remain......For Now.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2018 at 7:27 am

I drove through the Ross Road Roundabout yesterday on my way to the Mitchell Park Library. A bicycle, two other cars, and my car. No problems- functioned exactly as it was supposed to. I -still- don't get the hysteria about roundabouts.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2018 at 8:26 am

It's the bulbouts that are the problem..... And the $8.7 million price tag....wait till they "improve" Charleston! City manager, Keene is a crafty guy, he will be long gone when construction starts.

Posted by Fed Up Mushroom
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 11, 2018 at 8:43 am

Dear George Jaquette,

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

"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" .."

Everything you have said here is also true of the utterly ill-conceived and dangerous changes that were made at the intersection of Donald and Arastradero. Residents there are slow to anger, but I think many are ready to join you if you want to add that intersection to your petition. In fact, why don't you come up with an initiative that requires the city to reevaluate certain changes and bring them to national standards. It shouldn't be possible, for example, to make a change that creates ZERO VISIBILITY for cars entering a busy intersection where cross traffic regularly runs the light, especially since BIKES DON'T EVEN NEED THAT CHANGE, EVEN IN THE 20 MINUTES DURING THE SCHOOL DAY THAT THE CHANGES WERE MADE FOR (THE REST OF THE DAY THERE ARE NEVER BIKES THERE AND THEY DON'T NEED IT ANYWAY).

The "bike box" (in quotes because it doesn't really meet national design standards) at Arastradero and Donald has created life-threatening dangers for cars turning left onto Arastradero, by destroying all visibility and line of sight. Drivers cannot see even one car length to the left if they wait where they are supposed to. If they want to look to the left in order not to be broadsided by cars running the Arastradero light (which happens regularly), they have to pull up and stop after the light turns green, something the DMV manual says not to do because it increases the likelihood of being hit from behind.

I have only twice seen a bike there at other times of the day (than the 20 minutes when there is a crossing guard there anyway) two times ever since they made the change. Once, a young cyclist ignored the green swatch entirely and went around a car TO THE LEFT to enter the intersection from Donald against the light! and is lucky to still be alive today*, and another when a friend (avid cyclist) was crossing as a pedestrian from the sidewalk. I rolled down my window and asked why he wasn't using the bike box. "Too confusing" was the answer. It does not meet standards, is unnecessary, was a stupid idea, and the box part creating the danger for cars is not even necessary for bikes during the 20 minutes in the morning on school days when it is used.

Yes, the City was untrustworthy in the way it "communicated" with us. We have a letter in writing saying that they didn't know how to reach us. Seriously. We had a person on that committee and they know where were live. And they knew where to drop off the little college course in find print on how to use the intersection. But that's not really the big problem. The big problem is that they have created an ever-present life-threatening danger to drivers with an aspirational change that isn't even necessary to achieve the goals and that isn't even really being used that way.

Actually - I didn't get a notice about this meeting, either. Not that I would have bothered to attend, they city HAS communicated that no one is listening and they will not respond even to conditions that create an ongoing life-threatening danger to drivers. I have only narrowly escaped being broadsided at that intersection directly because of that idiotic and dangerous changes.

George Jaquette, could you use some partners across town and how do we reach you? People over here are slow to anger but are really effective when the sleeping giant wakes up.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2018 at 8:56 am

How to I access the PA website that shows the design for the soon to be implemented bike boulevard for Bryant Street between Oregon and Embarcadero? Could someone send the link? Thanks.

Posted by Scooter Mafia
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 11, 2018 at 10:43 am

Agreed. The hysteria over the Ross rd changes has proven to be unfounded now that people have gotten used to it...just as predicted.

Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 11, 2018 at 11:20 am


This link Web Link

shows the Bryant St. construction plans. Note the roundabout at North California!

Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 11, 2018 at 11:25 am

There will also be roundabouts at Addison and Kingsley along the Bryant St. Bicycle Boulevard:

Web Link

Posted by Scooter Mafia
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 11, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Lots of changes coming in the future. Time to evolve and adapt.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

If 75% of the residents on Ross Rd. wanted the bike Blvd. I would be for it. If 75% of the folks would like to make all of Palo Alto bicycle only I would not like it but I would accept it and adapt. However, this is not the case. This feels more like some Commie dictatorship that got shoved down our throats.... Yep, you heard me. "Commie dictatorship!"How else would you describe it? Here is a good one : "surprise! here is your new city manager."

Gee Thanks.

Posted by Uncle Joe
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2018 at 8:07 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2018 at 8:42 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Pickleball Mafia
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

People say "Something must change" but when it does, oooh my ;)

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2018 at 2:57 pm

Just got back from the post office near East Palo Alto. The Bicycle Mafia just had the city install the hideous green powder bike emblems on east bay shore, further more there are about 5 new signs, on telephone . poles,from Embarcadero to the creek. The signs say; "BIKES MAY USE CENTER OF THE ROAD."

Thus is true, just as long as they do not impead traffic.

"Pedestrians must always be yielded the right of way at intersections and crosswalks. Bicycles, since they are considered “vehicles,” are subject to the same rules as other drivers; they are not always granted the right of way. When turning left at an intersection, you must yield to oncoming traffic."

"When operating a bicycle on a roadway, one of the most controversial issues is interpretation of the law that governs how far to the right of a roadway a bicycle rider is obligated to ride. In roadways without bike lanes, there are two primary rules governing positions on the roadway. First, all traffic on the highway, including bicycles, must travel on the right-hand half of the highway. Second, all slower traffic, including bicycles, must keep farther to the right. California Vehicle Code Section 22100.

The purpose of traffic law is to promote safe and efficient traffic flow. What is most important to society is preserving bicyclists’ rights to share the roadways, and preventing local authorities from limiting such rights."

These signs should be taken down immediately.

Posted by JR McDugan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm

JR McDugan is a registered user.

CVC 22100 mentions nothing about slower traffic keeping to the right, try again. If you're in such a hurry that you can't slow down to 15 MPH behind a bicycle then you should have left home 30 seconds earlier. "BIKES MAY USE CENTER OF THE ROAD" means exactly what it says, I don't know how it could be any more clear.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2018 at 5:20 pm

@ JR

A bicycle is a vehicle, and must obey the same laws as All vehicles.

Section 22400. (a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law.

Can't get much clearer than that.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Furthermore, bicycles on Ross Rd. can not stay far to the right, the city put nonstandardized bulbouts in the road.

"First, all traffic on the highway, including bicycles, must travel on the right-hand half of the highway. Second, all slower traffic, including bicycles, must keep farther to the right. California Vehicle Code Section 22100."

The law reads clear as day.

Posted by Bicycle Mafia
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

* Cyclists may ride in the middle of a lane as long as their speed does not impede traffic flow.
To avoid the "door zone"—the space occupied by an open door from a vehicle parked curbside—cyclists must ride three feet from parked cars.

* Riding side-by-side, also called "two abreast," instead of in a more lane-space-efficient single file line is legal if there is more than one lane in the direction in which the cyclists are traveling that motorists can use to pass on the left.

* A cyclist is impeding traffic if followed by five or more motor vehicles. The law requires a turnout to the right in such an instance.

* Cyclists in crosswalks are a very gray area and for the most part left to an individual officer's judgment as to whether a citable offense has occurred.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Color paint now on Louis! Not only do we have green paint it appears that red paint and blue paint has become the new norm on Louis. I can't understand what red and blue can possibly mean other than an abundance of confusion for drivers.

Is this compatible with DMV handbook? Are "they" allowed to put different color paint all over the streets?

Posted by Trisha Knisha
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 8, 2018 at 2:39 pm

I haven't heard of any issues lately. No accidents either. It's all still there isn't it?

Posted by Walker
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm

I was walking Ross this morning and was surprised to find someone riding an electric skate board gizmo in the middle of the street, swerving from left to right at somewhere over 15 mph and not slowing over the speed bumps.

I think it has become quiet because school is out. I wonder what will happen when school gets back.

Posted by Amarillo resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm

We received a notice this morning that they will start work on widening the sidewalk and eliminating the parking places on the South side of Amarillo between Louis and Ohlone school on August 16. The work will take 3 weeks. School starts August 14. THAT will be fun!

As to the safety of the intersection on Louis and Amarillo which now has NO stop sign going South - but one going North - which means a left turn onto Amarillo does not stop: I have had to slam on the breaks and honk several times to avoid an accident when turning left onto Amarillo and my husband, on his bike, had a close call there as well. We hear horns honk at that intersection on a daily basis. It's really only a matter of time for there to be a fender bender or worse.

The whole intersection was never broken. It didn't need to be fixed. And in my opinion it has been made less safe at quite a sticker price. But hey, the kids are going to love the Koi fish cross walks!

Posted by Danger means slow down
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Wow, I guess we all need to slow down through that part of town.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2018 at 4:40 pm

The Louis Amarillo work is useless because Ohlone is a magnet school and most kids do not walk or bike but are driven by their parents.

Posted by Is it really a danger?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

So far no injuries, but I know it's only been a year or so. It's interesting to ponder though; how long will it take for a perceived dangerous intersection to go injury free before those thinking it is dangerous change their minds? Time may prove all claims of "danger" false, or it may prove them right. Time will tell, that's for sure.

I feel safe enough going through, but slow and ANTICIPATE. Danger and close calls will always find the reckless or inattentive.

Posted by Not so bad
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm

"Ohlone is a magnet school and most kids do not walk or bike but are driven by their parents."

That accounts for about 20mins of traffic for only 5 days a week. I can easily work around that.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

I used the roundabout this afternoon coming home. I was in the roundabout planning to continue when some driver who has no idea stopped at the next quadrant then proceeded to enter. I had to slam on my brakes so as not to hit him. He didn't even flinch.

It was apparent that the driver had no idea what yield means and although he stopped for a split second he proceeded in his oblivion. Probably has no idea how close he was to being hit!

Posted by Ready at the brake pedal
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 10, 2018 at 6:16 am

You certainly don't need Ross road to bring out the idiot drivers. I always anticipate that the other guy is going to do something stupid, that way I never have to slam on my brakes or otherwise make an emergency adjustment, because I'm ready for the circus. I's all about patience, speed and anticipation of others.

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