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Broken Traffic Signal: City Employee refuses to have fixed

Original post made by Stephen Rock, Adobe-Meadow, on Jan 14, 2009

As you can read below, one of our employees has failed to do her job and get the traffic lights in Palo Alto working. As of a few days
ago the signal is still broken. This results in delays, more pollution and unhappy people.
It is obvious to me that I have done my job if I report a significant problem about signal lights to the city. It should not be up to me to figure
out which jurisdiction is in charge of which intersection. The Palo Alto City Govt should make sure that traffic lights work either by doing the
work yourselves or contacting the appropriate agency.

You should also fix the PA web pages so that there is a menu of who to contact for which problem (e.g. How are most people to know if it is Utilities or Public Works to contact for signal lights. Other nearby cities have this and PA used to have it before you put in your
horrible new web pages.

----- Forwarded Message ----
mFro: Stephen Rock
To: Utilities <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:08:40 AM
Subject: Re: broken signal lights

Dear Leslie,
Thank you for your note. It should not be up to me to "suspect" which govt. is in charge of which traffic signal.
You should have the list and you should forward my e-mail to the appropriate authority.
Do you really expect each Palo Alto resident to know who manages each intersection? Perhaps that is taught in the
Palo Alto schools, but unfortunately I was educated in a different place.
If you do not want to do your job, I will contact the city council and ask them to persuade you.

From: Utilities <>
Cc: "Ignoffo, Phil" <>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 12:59:54 PM
Subject: RE: broken signal lights

Dear Mr. Rock,

Thank you for your email regarding traffic light issues at Charleston and San Antonio Road , and the other at Stockfarm and SandHill Road . As Karen mentioned, not all traffic lights are under the purview of the City of Palo Alto and thus she supplied to you phone numbers for Santa Clara County and the California Department of Transportation, if you suspect that the light in question is a county or state traffic like, say like those on the El Camino Real, which are under the state, feel free to use those phone numbers provided and call them in. If the traffic lights are under our jurisdiction, we will be making the repairs, I have forwarded your email to Phil Ignoffo in the traffic lights department, his crew will address any city traffic light repairs.


Leslie Clarkson

Administrative Associate I

Utilities – Customer Support Services

From: PWD
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 2:40 PM
To: Rock, Steve
Cc: Utilities
Subject: RE: broken signal lights

The Public Works Department received your e-mail regarding the above referenced-subject. All inquiries regarding this matter will be forwarded to the Utilities Department and the contact number is 650-329-2266.

Please be advised that some intersections belong to the County of Santa Clara or California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).


County of Santa Clara-Traffic Signals 408-299-3604

California Department of Transportation 510-286-5820


Karen Mitchell, Administrative Assistant

Public Works Administration 650-329-2373

Web Link

From: Stephen Rock
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:40 PM
Subject: broken signal lights

Dear Folks,

The following signal lights are broken.

1) Charleston and San Antonio . Left turn signal on Charleston in both directions activates when no cars are in either turn lane and

stays green for a very long time. Observed 12/10 at about 9:30 when I was N or W bound on Charleston at San Antonio in the forward going lane in a car and the I observed the left hand turn lane turning green and I had a red light even though there were no cars

in the left turn lane in my direction or the opposite direction.

2) Stockfarm and Sand Hill. The left turn light on Stockfarm is not activated by bicycles. This condition has occurred several times in the past year (and I have informed the city previously). Observed 12/4 at about noon.

Have a happy holiday.


Comments (1)

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I don't think posting your complained on Palo Alto Town Square is going to help you much at all. However, you are correct the pedestrian signal at Middlefield and East Charleston is out but if you're careful you can still cross the street safely.

Thank you City Departments for all your help

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