Portola Valley calls for quick study on traffic-calming policy

The problem of how to deal with cut-through traffic to and from Corte Madera School via Corte Madera Road and its tributaries is now in the hands of Portola Valley's Bicycle, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee.

With the cut-through traffic an ongoing issue, the Town Council at its April 23 meeting stressed the need for a rapid turn-around by the committee of a new policy based on a draft policy drawn up over two years by the town of Los Altos Hills.

Corte Madera Road and the other roads in this neighborhood are narrow and have no sidewalks or paths for local students walking to and from school.

Residents complained to the council in March about drivers from outside the neighborhood using Corte Madera Road to bypass the major Alpine Road intersections at Portola Road and Indian Crossing. Avoiding those intersections is also convenient for parents with children at Ormondale Elementary School, residents said.

Working from the Los Altos Hills draft, the council commented on where the policy did not quite fit with Portola Valley's circumstances. For example, the Los Alto Hills' draft includes an escalating three-level response to traffic problems. For example, the Los Alto Hills' draft includes an escalating three-level response to traffic problems.

Level 1 includes educating the public about the issue and collecting speed data. Level 2 allows the installation of new landscaping and Botts dots on the road surface. Level 3 would allow median strips, raised crosswalks and speed bumps.

Councilman Craig Hughes proposed collapsing those three levels into two for Portola Valley, and his colleagues agreed. There's overlap, they said.

In previous discussions, the council has appeared to coalesce around the idea of a temporary sign regulating access to Corte Madera Road at specific times of day.

Dean Asborno, a resident of Canyon Drive, advised the council that a forcing mechanism -- speed bumps -- was necessary to slow down and discourage drivers from behaving badly. He said he would accept speed bumps in front of his house.

"I don't think there's anything else that will be effective," he said. "It would slow people down and save somebody's life."

Portola Valley also has had a parking problem with people parking along Portola Road when the lot at the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve fills up. Mr. Hughes suggested that perhaps the policy on traffic calming could take on parking as well.


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