Almanac

News - August 27, 2014

Deputies cite 75 for speeding in Woodside, Portola Valley

by Dave Boyce

Seventy-five speeding tickets, 15 tickets for "distracted driving" and eight for seat belt violations were issued to drivers in Woodside and Portola Valley on Wednesday, Aug. 20, according to statistics from the San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association.

The Aug. 20 enforcement, part of the county-wide initiative known as the Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program, was the eighth this year, Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt said. Officers in squad cars and motorcycles concentrate on "trouble spots" in the county, looking in particular for speeding violations, unsafe turning movements, and cell phone and seat belt violations.

In Woodside, one apparent trouble spot was the stretch of Woodside Road between Alameda de las Pulgas and Interstate 280. The Almanac's Town Square online forum lit up with comments responding to a poster complaining about having been cited for speeding on Woodside Road as it approaches I-280 and the speed limit drops to 35 mph from 45 mph.

That stretch of road is infamous. Michelle Mazzei, a fourth-grade teacher at Oak Knoll School in Menlo Park and an experienced cyclist and triathlete, died in October 2005 after being struck by a car while cycling westbound on Woodside Road. She was 34.

The STEP event allowed officers to monitor any location inside the limits of Woodside, Portola Valley and Redwood City. Ms. Rosenblatt said she did not have specific information as to where the deputies were deployed.

The day yielded 133 citations at locations within Woodside and Portola Valley and 156 in Redwood City, according to the association's statement. To date in the county, officers participating in the initiative have isssued 1,598 citations for 2014, including 411 for "distracted driving."

"The participating officers remained committed to making a high volume of traffic stops in this coordinated saturation, while maintaining the highest levels of community awareness and professionalism," she said. "The number of stops and citations during this most recent deployment reflect a sustained enthusiasm for this program and traffic safety on the Peninsula."

The program is funded by the state's Office of Traffic Safety. The goal: to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in accidents that involve alcohol and "other primary collision factors," according to an OTS grant application. Methods available include DUI checkpoints and patrols as well as what the officers were doing on Aug. 20: concentrating on speed, distracted driving and seat belt violations.

"These strategies are designed to earn media attention, thus enhancing the overall deterrent effect," the grant application says.

Police departments from around San Mateo County are listed as participants in the program, including police in Atherton and Menlo Park. More deployments are coming, the statement said. "The San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association has committed to this important safety initiative."

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