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Traffic Light Needed at University Dr and Menlo Ave.

Original post made by Amy Klein on Nov 16, 2006

It happened again! About 5:15 PM on November 13, I saw a pedestrian
hit by a car as she attempted to cross the street at the corner of
Menlo Avenue and University Drive. How many more people will be
injured or killed before we deal with the safety and traffic issues at this corner?

Two years ago, the present council decided to reposition the
crosswalks and stop signs. Poles equipped with orange crossing flags
were also added. According to a report in the Almanac in September
2004 the cost for a new traffic light was estimated to be "$162,000 as opposed to $6500 for the stop sign and new striping."

This is one issue that needs to be revisited. Perhaps, when our new
council is seated, we can find the money to avert injury, save lives, and improve the traffic flow at this dangerous intersection.


Comments (5)

Posted by wonder why?, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 16, 2006 at 11:09 am

maybe you should ask why the city gave back the $100K bond to Draegers that was supposed to pay for the signal as part of their expansion? Business as usual for M.P.


Posted by MPworkingMom, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 16, 2006 at 2:14 pm

I drove past that accident and wondered what it was! Thank you for informing everyone about it, Ms. Klein.

This crosswalk is so dangerous, particularly at dusk and after dark.

Why doesn't the city install a lighted crosswalk like the ones on Santa Cruz Avenue?


Posted by menlomommy, a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Nov 17, 2006 at 8:07 am

This is a very dangerous intersection, but I deeply fear that putting stoplights there will make it more so. The reason is that many people on foot and in cars, accelerate to "make" a light. Some even go through while it is turning red. Having worked in SF for many years, I have seen bad behavior like this; unfortunately, it seems to be migrating to our town, too.
I would like the city to try better lighting, above and in the ground, to improve visibility. Also, to look at moving the crosswalk that goes across University to the other side of the Menlo intersection. I think the diagonal crosswalk is very confusing, especially to drivers unfamiliar with the area. And it puts pedestrians in the crosswalk at different places than drivers are accustomed to seeing them.


Posted by George, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 29, 2006 at 3:06 pm

1) $160,000+ for a stoplight is ridiculous. We pay taxes for this??

2) Just as menlomonmmy stated, drivers will try to beat the lights. That will endanger pedestrians even more.

3) The council should put in a lit crosswalk with lit warning signs halfway down each block. How about rumble strips? How about a permament yellow / yield light?


Posted by Roxanne Rorapaugh, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 10, 2006 at 5:59 pm

VfA feasiblity study by transportation consultants was completed and staff reported to the City Council on Nov 30, 2004. The study concluded that a traffic signal would improve pedestrian safety and traffic operations.

Because the traffic light can be coordinated with the light that already exists at Santa Cruz and University, it seems to me that the problem of people trying to "beat the light" could be eliminated. The city should go with the advice of the experts in the field, the people who have studied how intersections work and how to apply scientific methods to determining the best safety designs.


The traffic light was recommended by staff and January 25, 2005 on the city council unanimously voted to "immediately carry out the installation of a traffic signal at the corner of University Drive and Menlo Avenue". The council did not explicitly fund the light, however, and when a federal grant staff had applied to was turned down (not surprising the me, considering the grant program is intended to help struggling communities improve traffic safety--can any of us truthfully say that Menlo Park is in general a "struggling" city). Once the grant fell through, the item was not placed as a budget priority--so here we sit with no traffic light. The politics of the previous council may or may not have had something to do with the decision, I don't know. Also, some people might have thought that the flags and striping were enough to make the intersection safe --they were wrong.

The current city council should fund this light immediately. I think the design for the light has already been done, so putting it in place should not take long.

Here is a link to the staff report presented at the Nov 30, 2004 meeting:
Web Link

Here is a link to the staff report for the Jan 25, 2005 meeting:
Web Link


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