Almanac

News - April 23, 2014

Portola Valley: Are traffic-calming measures coming to Corte Madera Road?

by Dave Boyce

The Portola Valley Town Council on Wednesday, April 23, will consider whether anything should be done to slow or prevent twice-a-day traffic on steep, narrow Corte Madera Road and nearby streets with similar characteristics — no sidewalks or paths for the Corte Madera School students who walk there twice a day.

Parents driving students to school have been using Corte Madera Road to quickly bypass major Alpine Road intersections at Portola Road and Indian Crossing, and have been using it to quickly cross town to Ormondale Elementary School, according to neighborhood parents.

In March, they told the council of their efforts to caution motorists, and of motorists who repeatedly ignore them. The council asked staff to come back with options. The report for Wednesday references a draft traffic-calming model developed over two years by Los Altos Hills. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley.

The problem in Portola Valley may not need such extensive study, given that it's largely the behavior of four vehicles and the absence of statutes deputies could use to cite the drivers, said Leslie Latham of the town's Bicycle, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee in a letter to Mayor Ann Wengert. Committee members have been studying the problem.

Ms. Lathan recommends a cautious approach that could include a temporary sign restricting turns from Portola Road on to Corte Madera Road and deputies posted to catch scofflaws. The temporary aspect, Ms. Latham said, is key to not over-reacting and to avoiding a bandwagon effect if other neighborhoods were to reconsider their own traffic issues.

Also on the agenda: the town's Nature & Science Committee has drafted a letter of interest for a $9 million plan to rehabilitate the rundown structures on the 79-acre Hawthorns estate at the corner of Alpine and Portola roads, now owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The committee proposes nature-and-science-oriented activities, including an interpretive center, a native plant garden, and limited housing. Most funding would come from donations.

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