Town Square

Post a New Topic

Pedestrian hit at intersection near Draeger's

Original post made on Aug 3, 2009

A car struck a pedestrian in the notoriously problematic intersection by Draeger's market in Menlo Park on Sunday, Aug. 2. The 75-year-old man, a Menlo Park resident, was taken to Stanford Hospital as a "precautionary measure," but had no visible injuries, said police spokeswoman Nicole Acker.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 3, 2009, 11:52 AM

Comments (25)

Like this comment
Posted by LLBB
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Menlo Park might start with enforcing the crosswalks around town.

I'm surprised no one has been hit crossing Oak Grove in front of the post office. I've seen many, many near misses. I've called the police department many times over the years but not once have I seen an officer there to enforce the law. Many hardly slow down despite flashing crosswalk lights.

Like this comment
Posted by LLBB
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

When I say "enforce the crosswalks" I mean pull over the drivers who go speeding through crosswalks with no regard for the safety of the pedestrians. Often times they're too busy talking on their hand-held phones. ; - )

Like this comment
Posted by Many Driver
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

It is a tricky intersection, so then it's up to the driver to navigate it more carefully than they would at a simpler intersection. Traffic signals would obviously help, so would a No Left Turn rule. It's worth the cost of the signals to save a pedestrian, if there's money available.
But here was an 85-year-old hitting a 75-year-old. Undoubtedly they both have reduced perception, reaction, and evasion skills. Menlo is full of older drivers and pedestrians who need to get around and be independent. I'm sure this incident will teach those two a lesson in caution, but what about the ones who don't read about this?

Like this comment
Posted by Silent but deadly
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Remember in the old days, it was the Cadillac drivers that always drove so erratically? Nowadays it's the Prius drivers. Whenever someone is too slow on the freeway or stops in front of you for no apparent reason or sneaks up behind you when you're walking to your car in a parking lot because you can't hear them - it's the Prius drivers.

Like this comment
Posted by AnneMarie
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm

What about adding flashing lights in the street lines of the crosswalk itself? This is present in a crosswalk on Welch Road near Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital. There is a button to push
that starts the lights flashing and remain flashing for some given period of time (the amount of time that it takes a 85-year old person to cross the street?). These lights work very well as they really bring attention to the fact that someone is crossing the street.

Like this comment
Posted by Logan's Walk
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

AnneMarie, read LLBB's first post for an opinion on the efficacy of those lights. I think they work, but others disagree.

Maybe it's time to ban all oldsters from MP. Would probably empty out this board too.

Like this comment
Posted by Monica
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I use this intersection as a pedestrian every day, and I can't even count the number of negligent and insanely ridiculous things I've seen drivers do. My very favorite incident happened when I was crossing Menlo Ave towards Draeger's, and an older woman, barreling down Menlo Ave, completely blew through the stop sign, making a left turn onto University. I was IN THE CROSSWALK. Oh, and I was 8 months pregnant. She missed me by about 3 feet as she took the turn at around 15 mph. (Strangely, she was not driving a Prius; though I've had far too many near-misses with the Prius drivers, too. What is UP with those Prius drivers?!?) If I'd had a rock, I would have thrown it at her car. I was so upset.

None of the crosswalks in downtown are safe, even the one with the lights on Santa Cruz near the Peet's. I think the lights make people *feel* safer, but lights don't make a difference to the seemingly infinite number of drivers who don't realize that cars MUST YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS. Do licensed drivers not know this? It seems like there is a pervasive mentality in this area where many people think they're simply too important, and their time just too valuable to stop for us lousy people on foot. I've seen drivers swerve into the lane of ONCOMING TRAFFIC in order to avoid stopping while I was walking in that crosswalk. I would love more than anything to see these people receive very costly citations from the MP police.

It's all fun and games until someone gets hit.

Like this comment
Posted by GM
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm

This intersection is tricky, but that's not the only issue. Look at the fact that elderly people are involved. How many injuries need to happen before driving "fitness" is checked with older adults?

Like this comment
Posted by JJ
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

My husband and I live downtown and walk all over town. Neither of us will start across the street until we make eye contact with the oncoming driver. And pedestrians can't assume that since the car traveling east/west stops for you that the car traveling west/east will also stop...

Last week I was half way thru the crosswalk on Oak Grove (by fire station) when a 20 something barreled down the street. Fortunately, I saw him coming and stopped, throwing my hands up in dismay. He slowed down long enough to flip me off.

Three days prior to that incident, an older woman driving a new Lexus also cut me off halfway across, although she did not flip me off - just kept her eyes forward pretending she didn't see me. I'm 5'9" and was wearing bright yellow and again threw up my hands, shouting "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO STOP!"

Recently, I have seen a motor cycle policeman monitoring the Oak Grove area, but, unfortunately, not on either of the days mentioned above.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm

A similar thing happened to me a week or so back in Portola Valley at Golden Oak Drive and Alpine Road.

I was crossing Alpine Road inside a crosswalk and the oncoming driver, who had plenty of time to stop, instead swerved to avoid me and passed through the crosswalk with me standing a few yards away.

It seems unbelievable, but then we are just over eight years of GW Bush, and it's been some 30 years since Reagan made selfishness respectable.

Like this comment
Posted by Rae
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:03 pm

As a parent of 3 children, I've taught my kids to never assume the car is going to stop. Stop at the cross walk (MANY pedestrians do not stop but dart out into the crosswalk without looking), wait for the car to slow down and make eye contact. . . .only then, do you cross . . .and cross quickly and continue to watch for oncoming cars. Even though it is the law for cars to yield to pedestrians, it isn't going to make you feel any better knowing the accident was not your fault, when you're lying in the hospital or worse. While not always the case, I do feel most pedestrian accidents could have been prevented had they been more aware when crossing the street.

Like this comment
Posted by MOE
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I'm 78 years old and apparently in a minority because I have this oldfashioned idea that we are ALL equally required to exercise some caution in traffic.
Crossing a street in an intersection without stop sign or signal I will never challange drivers but always wait until there is a safe break in traffic.
At a stop sign I will first make eye contact with a driver and make sure he/she is yielding to me and I will attempt to do the same with the driver across the stret when I get halfway across.
Stop lights are nobrainers.
Driving, and I do so daily, I try my best to yield to pedestrians. In 60 years, and over a million miles of driving automobiles, I have never had a confrontation with a pedestrian or got cited for running red lights or stop signs. On some rare occations when I saw a pedestrian a little later than I should have I don't "flip them off" but wave a hand and call out an apology.
Bottom line:
Accidents are regrettable but don't expect "government" to lead you across the street by the hand, or call immediately for "government" to put up a forest of stop signs or expensive signals.
Yes the authorities have responsibility too.
How about targeting "problem areas" for frequent enforcement (withiny butget and man power limitations) of existing laws with max sentences for the guilty party. (Driver, pedestrian or biker)
And how about better sreening of ability of older drivers. Yes, I'll soon be facing a tough decision myself.

Like this comment
Posted by Giovanni
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Walking in downtown Menlo Park is a nightmare. I walk downtown just about every day and feel lucky to be alive. The main problem is that drivers typically stop only after they've plowed through the crosswalk; they're only focused on automobile traffic and frequently do not even watch for pedestrians crossing the street. I've had many near misses with drivers who look only in one direction before making a turn. Once a woman driving a Lexus plowed right through the stop sign/ crosswalk while only looking to her left before turning right on Valparaiso. I was just stepping into the crosswalk on her right and would have been flattened by her Lexus if I had assumed she would stop for me. She was only focused on automobiles coming at her from the left and didn't bother to look to her right. I yelled at her and she rolled down her window and whined that she couldn't look everywhere. I told her she only had to look to the left and to the right. Unbelievable. Drivers: please come to a complete stop BEFORE entering the crosswalk and then carefully look to the right and left (at the sidewalk and road) before proceeding - it only takes a few seconds. I NEVER cross the street until I've made eye contact with the driver and they nod or make some kind of sign that they see me.

Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

That is one of many downtown intersections where a pedestrian with a wheelchair, stroller, or walker, needs to go down and up badly maintained curbs, navigate narrow sidewalks, and wait in the street if they are in a group. Many pedestrians end up outside of the crosswalks making it hard for drivers to know where to look for them.

Why not make two crosswalks crossing University, one on each side of the problem intersection instead of a crosswalk that is hard to access and isn't straight. If that's impossible the city could at least maintain the corner curb in front of 901 University so that the curb cuts lines up with the crosswalk with no large dips in the way for wheelchairs and strollers and room for more than one person to wait on the sidewalk corner.

Like this comment
Posted by typical lack of MP enforcement
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Draegers was required to put up $100K for a signal as mitigation for its expansion and new Parking lot. Somehow, by administrative fiat, that money was returned to Draegers without council review.
We have to live with that malfeasance by prior city officials.
Santa Cruz needs overhead flashing red lights at key intersections, Menlo/University could use similar.
Frankly, drivers are out of control, still yacking on cell phones, running stop signs, flooring it to beat that Red Light at ECR, pedestrians are fair game.
MP Biz as usual, and yet another expensive, worthless "outside traffic consultant" study that never fixes the problem. Why is it that our overpaid staff can't be proactive in these matters?
Serious vaccuum of leadership in this town.

Like this comment
Posted by Cha Ching!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Has any MP citizen concerned about quick, preemptive action on traffic control ever had a satisfactory conversation with Chas. Taylor, Rene Baille, Kent Steffens, our men in charge of traffic control in MP? At best, they are glorified bureaucrat form fillers, grant application and RFP "outside consultant" solicitors. Repeated recalcitrance to be assertive with a clueless city council.
There is no pro active leadership from the dais. Council putzes around lamenting about lack of funding for more studies.
Time to get our overpaid staff to earn their paychecks.
San Mateo County has been quick in protecting the unincorporated neighborhoods around Menlo Park from agressive drivers.
Not so MP, always some lame excuse of the need to observe political process to achieve overwhelming consent before any "no brainer" solutions are field tested, adjusted and implemented to restore some sanity to our city neighborhood streets.
Can't expect much from this council. At a minimum, please vote out Boyle, a guy with no concern for traffic impacted neighborhoods.

Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 4, 2009 at 9:02 am

Please vote out Heyward Robinson, and Richard Cline. They are part of the do nothing council majority who would rather fritter away the taxpayer's money rather than take bold decisive action. John Boyle has recommended safety improvements for this intersection and so have Charles Taylor and Rene Baile. I have worked with all three. And all three are dedicated to public safety

It is the council majority that has chosen inaction and reckless endangerment of the community over safety. They are the ones who should be given the boot.

Like this comment
Posted by No Left Turn
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 4, 2009 at 9:40 am

Eliminate the left turn from University to Menlo Ave., make the traffic go down Santa Cruz, turn right at the next block and then left down Menlo. Would help pedestrians who get blindsided by drivers turning left from University, would reduce tie ups with the cars turning left into the parking lot next to Draegers.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve Nahmias
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 4, 2009 at 1:21 pm

This is an unfortunate intersection. The changes made in 2005 are a major improvement, and at this point if a pedestrian is hit, it is almost definitely the driver's fault. The suggestion to remove the left turn there is not feasible. It's the only reasonable route towards 101.

Like this comment
Posted by TownWalker
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Been here since late 50's. Gotten worse and worse and worse, walking downtown Menlo. FLASHING LIGHTS DO WORK.... better than those dumb orange flags that are always getting stolen or shoved in a bush. That was a hokey fix. FLASHING LIGHTS like at Oak Grove. They are very effective. I walk to the post office a lot from my apartment and have never seen a problem with the flashing lights and pedestrians. Drivers see them for the most part I am sure of it. That 75 year old man was lucky. They should re-test folks in their 80's for sure.

Like this comment
Posted by Solution Provider
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Let's demolish those 10 homes/apartment buildings along that small stretch of Menlo Ave to shift the street 10 feet so it lines up with the rest of Menlo Ave. Or just wait for the next earthquake to do it.

Done and done.

Next issue?

Like this comment
Posted by check your facts Hank
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Boyle voted against traffic study/traffic calming in the Willows, and voted against traffic calming for the Oak Knoll School neighborhood. Like, Hank, Boyle has long toed the conservative, "do nothing to reduce neighborhood cut through traffic because it might be bad for business" old fogey line. Everyone knows Mary Gilles "resigned due to relocation" from the Transporation Commission so Boyle could take her place and give him the "credentials" of commission service to run for council 3 years ago. He eked out a razor thin margin over Vince Bressler

Like this comment
Posted by we can do better
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm

No Left Turn has the best idea for this particular intersection. A traffic light would turn the accidents into fatalities because drives will speed up to make the light and pedestrians would falsely think the light protects them. The only sensible thing is to limit the types of turns allowed.
Yes, downtown crosswalks are frightening. In addition to cars rolling through the crosswalk as they look in only one direction, there are bushes interfering with the line of sight. The city can and should enforce trimming such vegetation and do periodic ticketing at intersections.
I hate to say it but drivers aren't the only problem. Pedestrians often just walk right into intersections without looking to see if a car is already making a turn. This is really a problem at Draegers where countless pedestrians walk out of the store right into the crosswalk without slowing down even when cars are already there and starting a turn (after a full stop).

Like this comment
Posted by Boyle's drifting moral compass
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Can only agree with Check your facts Hank.
Boyle's one of those midwest transplants, Stanford MBA, whose private sector legacy from failed dot com Pluris and failed start ups beyond, ending in one lawsuit after another, is well documented. Makes his fortune on the backs of hard working engineers. Gets into local public political life with squeeky clean build up, but exposes his brahmin attitude to ordinary MP residents and successful local private sector residents as just another pretty face, transparent analytic, ambitious politician.
One 4 year term and he's gone. The voters will show him the door.
Time to get another Bob, Hanko

Like this comment
Posted by bwilson4web
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm

We've looked at the Prius-pedestrian, fatal accident rate and found they are at the same rate as ordinary gas cars. This study covered 2001-07 using the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Fatality Accident Reporting System (FARS.) In fact, the 2007 data suggests the Prius in large numbers may be _slightly_ safer for pedestrians but with only three fatal pedestrian-Prius accidents that year, it is too small of a sample-set.

In the whole history of Prius-pedestrian accidents from 2001-2007, we've only found 11 where just a Prius was involved. The other ~400 Prius fatal accidents were primarily vehicle-only or multi-vehicle accidents with a handful of pedestrians.

We asked the NHTSA for their analysis and they reported 'they don't have sufficient data' (this was last year, before the 2007 data became available.) But the newer, 2010 Prius is even safer.

The 2010 Prius has pedestrian impact designed bumper, hood and quarter panels to minimize pedestrian injury in an accident. This means the newer ones will have an even lower pedestrian accident rate with fewer fatalities and injuries.

Bob Wilson, Huntsville AL

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Coming soon: Fire Oak & Barley in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,101 views

The Saddle Room – A True Friend of Kids
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,947 views

Meditation Before Medication for Better Mental Health
By Chandrama Anderson | 11 comments | 1,868 views

The Four E's--Pope Francis and the Middle Class
By Steve Levy | 2 comments | 823 views

My College Mindset is Intrinsically Motivated
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 668 views