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Menlo Park traffic jam expected to last weeks

Original post made on Oct 11, 2012

Lately it's taking almost an hour to drive from one end of Menlo Park to the other along a two-mile stretch of El Camino Real during commute hours. Drivers sit staring at green lights and motionless traffic, wondering what's going on.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 11, 2012, 10:59 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm

But we like this kind of traffic - so lets cram more housing into Menlo Park and surrounding cities, so that others can share in the joy. Then we can have this kind of traffic ALL the time, not just on special occasions like this one.


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Posted by AME
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

2 to 3 weeks....isn't that the time it takes to travel from Earth to the moon? What fools!


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Posted by Questions
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Why does it take two to three weeks to fix severed electrical lines? Is Caltrans working 24/7 to fix this problem which they appear to have created? Why doesn't the Almanac ask more questions or provide more information?


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Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

We'd like answers to those questions, too. Caltrans has not yet responded, as the story indicates.

Sandy


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

It's simple.
Governor Moonbeam told CalTrans to go slow on the fix because MP has been fighting his beloved HSR.


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Posted by Patrick
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I, for one, welcome these traffic jams. People won't change their habits until they're forced to do. Start bicycling!


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Patrick-

Perhaps we should ban those pesky automobiles altogether. It certainly would be good for the environment. I could hardly wait to see everyone bicycling to work. It would also be a lot of fun watching the elderly biking to the grocery store and carrying their groceries home on their bikes.


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Posted by downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

This is a blessing in disguise if it makes people aware of the hazards & outcome of adding more housing in MP.
@ Planning Commission & Council - no, the anticipated new residents there will not be walking to non-existent local jobs, riding CalTrain daily, or biking for all their shopping trips & medical appts.
The green lights for new housing projects are mainly to profit from developer fees. The resulting overcrowding lessens the quality of life for the people who are already here.
Try eliminating all street parking on ECR and make it 3 lanes wide.


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Posted by bc27
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

So stay away from El Camino, hard to believe residents have not figured out the side and back roads. Tougher at our end of Menlo Park with the huge trucks rumbling all morning along Sand Hill along with lanes shut down, we have fewer options for local travel, I find myself in Woodside and Redwood City instead of Menlo.


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Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Henry Riggs is a registered user.

Patrick will get his wish. Reduced vehicle lanes and priority to bike lanes emphasized by council member/candidate Kelly Ferguson reviewing the Downtown Specific Plan. And this week, "I am a proponent of bikes first - we need superb priority bike parking at every downtown Menlo Park business." The CalTrans work will be a test of how we like lane reductions.


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Posted by X-Walk
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Maybe while they are at it, they can fix the crosswalk signals too. The ones on the north side of El Camino and Santa Cruz haven't been working correctly for months but they have recently added fancy new buttons.


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Posted by Henry Fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

YES Henry. Let's pretend while we are sitting in ECR traffic, that we have bike lanes on either side--as Council Candidate Kelly Fergusson suggests. It's like a bike-lane demo now.

The fire chief has already expressed his "vision" for ECR bike lanes, while commenting on the increased business the paramedics will have.

Can't we green without being crazy? There are alternative easy-to-create bike routes running north and south.


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Posted by Adina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Reduced vehicle lanes? Nobody is proposing reduced vehicle lanes. The staff report for the El Camino/Downtown Specific Plan recommended leaving the same number of vehicle lanes.

The problem on El Camino is that the light synchronization is broken. Nobody is proposing leaving the lights out of synch, either. Leaving the lights out of synch doesn't do anything to help bikes.

The lights are out of synch, and people are blaming bikes?


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Posted by E. Moritz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

There seems to be an element missing from this discussion. "Show me the money."

The road right-of-ways (including traffic control lights, sidewalks, lighting, etc.) have been prepared, repaired, and upgraded through dedicated taxes collected from car and truck owners. Fuel taxes, registration taxes, parking fees, and even tolls are all based on the premise that if the user gains a benefit, those users should pay for that benefit. Regardless of whether parking spaces or traffic lanes are removed from use the motor vehicle users are being denied access. And if the bicyclists are given exclusive access of this right of way, then they get a benefit they haven't paid for.

Now that the roads are in place, who's going to PAY for the bike lanes? Sure, bicycle riders pay sales tax on their equipment and accessories. But that tax goes to the general fund, just like taxes on clothing, furniture, appliances and Starbucks coffee.

As an analogy, this is like a family buying a new home with a big back yard and then all the neighbors come over all day and play touch football in the back yard. And the neighbors are even asking the owners to put up lights so they can play games even after the sun goes down. When the homeowners ask the neighbors to leave the back yard so they can use it they're told to be quiet and go back in the house.

I have no complaint against the growth in popularity of bicycling. It's a fun, healthy sport. But I've spent much of my life in the field of transportation where the allocation of cost for right-of-way access is a constantly debated issue. Bicycles and their owners need to be brought into that debate. In this age of growing public deficits I'm surprised (not really, it's California and politicians think everything is free) the cost of bicycle rights-of-way aren't recognized as having "costs". If we want to build wider streets for better access for bicycles, fine. I'm good with that But let's also talk about how the bicyclists will pay the required taxes to finance their new right-of-way, whether on a fully allocated cost basis of a marginal cost basis.


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Posted by Adina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Almost every bike rider in Menlo Park drives a car, and already pays for the roads with a variety of taxes. In Menlo Park, 35% of residents already get to work without driving (recent census data), including 9% who bike to work as their primary mode of transportation.

Traffic congestion is a marginal phenomenon. If you have a traffic jam and take 10% of the vehicles out the traffic clears up. Each incremental increase in cycling (and transit, and carpooling) helps reduce vehicle congestion.

In Palo Alto, with some concerted effort, the share of kids walking and biking to school has gone up to about 50%. Imagine what it would do to reduce traffic congestion in Menlo Park if more kids walked and biked instead of being driven?


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