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City proposes right-turn-only islands, but no traffic signal, for Lincoln and Middlefield

Original post made on Jun 28, 2023

With car accidents a continuing problem for the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, city staff are proposing measures to curb the crashes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 9:43 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by jguislin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 28, 2023 at 3:35 pm

jguislin is a registered user.

My neighbors worked for years to get the city to recognize the dangers on Middlefield between Lytton and Palo Alto Ave. Afters 4.5 yeas the road we reconfigured and included no right turns on Middlefield at Everett and Hawthorne. The signs are routinely ignored by drivers and there is never any enforcement in the area. These turn restrictions are only effective if they are enforced and there seems to be no coordination between the transportation office and police. In fact, as a pedestrian I have almost been hit on more than one occasion by a driver going the wrong way on Middlefield to circumvent the turn restriction.(Driving around the island is not that difficult.)

I will also point out that the report from the consultant hired to look at Middlefield and Lincoln indicates that there are not enough accidents to warrant traffic lights or other safety improvements. They undoubtedly used the SWITERS database (Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System) to look at accident totals and our research on the north end of Middlefield indicates that 3 out of 4 accidents are never reported. Sadly this is even the case when police are called to the accidents report is required. Bad data leads to bad choices.

Unless we improve our data collection so we track the reality that residents see everyday, we are unlikely to implement effective solutions.

Posted by
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2023 at 9:21 pm is a registered user.

Sometimes the federal guidelines for not implementing traffic lights just don't apply to a specific case. Lincoln might be one of them. I am crossing Middlefield via Lincoln by bike quite frequently. Lincoln is a major artery to bike towards the Crescent Park area. It should not be blocked and four-way stop doesn't make sense, as it would slow traffic on Middlefield. Traffic light giving priority to Middlefield is the only reasonable solution. Blocking crossings or left turns defeats the purpose of roads and diverts the issue to other streets.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2023 at 6:15 am

Annette is a registered user.

Note to City: your most reliable consultant in this is J. Guislin. He is reasonable, knowledgeable on this issue, and he has skin in the game.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2023 at 7:20 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I hate to say this as I know I will be shouted down, but this is a good example of why many countries put in mini roundabouts. They work well in the UK and various other countries and it is only the American mindset which prevents them being usable here.

Posted by Marco Schuffelen
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2023 at 1:51 pm

Marco Schuffelen is a registered user.

I'm not sure the proposed traffic circles are that safe. My son fell a few weeks ago in the one on East Meadow @ Ross to avoid a car ignoring the stop sign that was about to hit him

Posted by Lhj
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 29, 2023 at 8:22 pm

Lhj is a registered user.

Roundabouts can be an excellent solution to slow traffic and promote safety. Unfortunately, there needs to be enough space and a large enough diameter for the circle to allow free movement of cars w/o requiring actual stops. Sadly, (most of) our city intersections are much too small to be converted to (mini) roundabouts. See for example the intersection of E. Meadow and Ross, which was a resounding failure. An intersection of the size of Charleston and El Camino could be big enough. Or Middlefield and Oregon. But not at this location.
-carl jones

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 30, 2023 at 9:42 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Oh, goody. More "traffic calming" obstacles on Middlefield -- as if there weren't enough bollards, confusing merges, lane reductions, elimination of right-turns ensure maximum traffic backups....

Posted by Craig Y
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Craig Y is a registered user.

Your count is wrong;
At least,
14 accidents in 2018
13 in 2022
5 so far in 2023.
How can the city base engineering judgements and capital expenditure on inaccurate data?
The data above is collected by people who live here and is fully documented and free.
How can paid consultants make reports without even interviewing the people who live here and have the data?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 2, 2023 at 3:56 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"How can the city base engineering judgements and capital expenditure on inaccurate data? The data above is collected by people who live here and is fully documented and free. How can paid consultants make reports without even interviewing the people who live here and have the data?"

It's a PA tradition -- count traffic and the number of parked cars only at the times that will generate results staffers want -- and for which former traffic czars Jaime Rodriquez and Josh Mello were famous.

When confronted with these inaccuracies and the consequences of acting on inaccurate data,deflect the blame elsewhere -- like blaming the county for problems caused by the city's decisions.

Then ignore any and all further complaints noting the city -- not the county -- is responsible for Middlefield traffic lights.

For extra credit, award these former employees multi-million dollar contracts to assess and maybe address the problems they caused when city employees.

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