Almanac

News - September 3, 2014

Menlo Park council opts for yield signs on Wallea Drive

by Sandy Brundage

Despite the strong recommendations of transportation staff and the majority of the Transportation Commission for stop signs, the Menlo Park City Council voted 3-2 to install yield signs on Wallea Drive instead.

During the Aug. 26 council meeting, several residents who live near the street's two intersections with San Mateo Drive, where the signs will go up, argued in favor of the yield signs on the basis that there had never been an accident to justify requiring a full stop.

As far back as 2007, transportation staff had recommended stop signs. Limited visibility into the intersection made yield signs inappropriate, according to the staff report, which concluded: "Even though there were no reported collisions at these two intersections for the three-year period between September 2003 and September 2006, there had been reports of near collisions at the southerly end of Wallea Drive at San Mateo Drive from residents as well as from drivers."

Interim Public Works Director Jesse Quirion told the council that the recommendation had not changed over the years. "It's still a stop sign," he said.

The council briefly discussed and quickly discarded a suggestion that both stop and yield signs be installed, which Mr. Quirion noted would be "too confusing."

Vice Mayor Catherine Carlton, who said she'd originally leaned toward yield signs, changed her mind, asking how drivers could yield without a clear view of what they were yielding to. Ms. Carlton and Mayor Ray Mueller cast the two dissenting votes.

Councilman Rich Cline, voting with the majority, noted that he had heard the issue discussed before, and said he thought there wasn't the same lack of visibility now as in 2007.

A few days after the meeting, interim Transportation Manager Nicole Nagaya said installation of the yield signs should occur within a few weeks. "The decision was the City Council's to make, and while staff's recommendation differed, we respect their decision and are moving forward."

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