Get Rid of Those Roundabouts! | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

E-mail Diana Diamond

About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

View all posts from Diana Diamond

Get Rid of Those Roundabouts!

Uploaded: Jun 14, 2018
Roundabouts are the new “in” thing for Palo Alto’s Transportation Department – and these drivable road circles are part of an $9.6 million bicycle boulevard plan that, when completed, will build 11 roundabouts on two-lane residential streets in town. They finished one recently on Ross Road and most neighbors have complained vociferously that they just don’t like them.

Get rid of these roundabouts, I say. They don’t belong in our city.

They are unsafe and confusing for children, since they force cars and bikes into the same lane; new cars to the area could be confused navigating them, especially at night; and they are just too tiny to do an efficient job. Fire trucks can slowly maneuver about them as they approach a burning building, buses and school buses have difficulties with the circle, and large moving trucks – forget about them!

There was a petition opposing roundabouts that garnered 1,053 signatures a month or so ago, but city officials seemed to pay little attention to it. Then on Tuesday, more than 100 residents came to a city council meeting devoted to Ross Road bicycle improvements -- changes that include narrowed streets, speed bumps, raised crosswalks and intersections, medians, bike boulevard stencils, roundabouts, and sidewalk bulb outs (sidewalk curb extensions) at intersections, all an effort to slow cars down and make the road safer for cyclists. It’s overkill in a big way. I’ve driven down Ross Road several times and find it a confusing street to navigate. Pity the elderly person driving down that street on a dark, rainy night.

A couple of council officials wanted to quell public anxiety. City Manager Jim Keene said the staff did not do a good job communicating with residents about the project, while Mayor Liz Kniss suggested maybe the city needs to improve its public relations about this bicycle plan. Nonsense. If I were a resident and knew in advance that the city was going to build a roundabout, narrow the road, force bicyclists to drive in the same lane as cars and put all sorts of other street “furniture” on my road, knowing about this in advance would not make a difference nor would better PR. A bad idea is a bad idea and PR doesn’t help. Other council members said change takes time, and in a year or so, residents will feel better about the improvements,

I’m not against roundabouts in general. When I was in England whose roads are rich with roundabouts, I thought they were great. The roundabouts were big with large diameters, giving enough time to see an oncoming car entering the lane, and easy to navigate.

Ditto for the new roundabouts at Stanford that eliminate stops at the four intersections and let the traffic flow smoothly. Big improvement.

But what Palo Alto plans to install on narrow two-lane streets are 10 more roundabouts, plopped unexpectedly in the middle of the road, that are so small that there’s not enough time to figure out the best time to enter the circle. Bicyclists have the same problem.

It’s ironic that these small roundabouts presumably built to make it safer for children make it more dangerous for bikers – and residents.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

"City Manager Jim Keene said the staff did not do a good job communicating with residents about the project, while Mayor Liz Kniss suggested maybe the city needs to improve its public relations about this bicycle plan. Nonsense."

It does make sense. Advance communications would have been advance warning, and made a fait accompli impossible. Like, could those California Avenue trees have been clearcut if residents had known of the plan in advance?

Just follow the ego. Some prestigious organization whose members do not have to live with these LEGOLANDed streets will give the city an award for creating them. It will not only grace somebody's office wall, it will be a featured addition to several resumes. Forewarned residents could ruin all that.

Posted by Cowper Street user, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Maybe 2 years ago, a "temporary" roundabout was installed at an intersection on Cowper Street, a few blocks north of the mayor's home, and stayed for maybe 6 months. A sign advised that it was there just to see how it would go over. Apparently residents did not like it; it was removed and has not returned. Note that nothing like that happened in Midtown or South Palo Alto. We just got them -- period. Hmmmmm..... location, zip code, evidently matters.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm

There is a lot of nonsense here. I saw the plans in the PAWeekly and understood a bike boulevard meant something like Bryant. I tried looking at the tiny sketch with lots of jargon that meant nothing to me.

I tend to think there was a deliberate ploy to hide what they were going to do, otherwise their outreach would have been better, in plain English and on a scale that was easy for anyone to read without needing a magnifying glass. The term bike boulevard in Palo Alto means Bryant. Not the mess we have to deal with now. Also, it is not residents that they have to worry about but all the out of town drivers experiencing the mess for the first time.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Love living on Ross Road and the new roundabout! I feel that it is much safer for the JLS students returning from school and making a left onto Ross Road. That corner always scared me with kids always running the stop sign and making a sudden left turn in front of ongoing traffic. I also believe it is safer for cars and bikes to take turns entering a smaller sized roundabout. A large roundabout defeats the purpose of separating cars and bikes next to eachother.

My kids keep asking me why the adults complain so much about our street. They say "it is really not all that confusing". They traffic has slowed and cars actually seem more respectful and are watching out more for both bikes and other drivers.

It was great to have the city council come and give a great overview and listen to comments. People were very civil and with about 50% for and against the changes.

I am in favor of more roundabouts along the school routes. It forces cars to go slow and look out for others in the intersection. We know that the high school kids are going to run most of the stop signs and it is safer for them to put their hands back on their bicycle handles and look up at the cars. Just a thought.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The fire department is not complaining about the roundabouts. They seem to have enough routes to get to "burning buildings". School buses have already found different routes. If we can keep large trucks off of residential streets with lots of bikes then all the better!! The smaller roundabouts slow down traffic.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jun 14, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Agree, it is probably better not to have an elderly driver on ANY road in Palo Alto on a rainy night.

Posted by Palo Verde, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:50 am

As someone who lives bang slam in the middle of Palo Verde, I am disgusted by all this "keep off certain roads" attitude. These are public roads and I have every right to drive on any one of them to get to and from my house to all points on the compass. When we moved to our house, a large truck delivered our furniture and car. I doubt very much that the truck would be able to navigate a way to our house now without getting stuck on one of those narrowed intersections.

If it is was just one street, that would be something I could perhaps contend with. But every single street seems to have been impacted by this street furniture.

I am not happy.

I acknowledge that all drivers are not perfect, but it seems that blaming speeding drivers is quite acceptable. But nowhere does it seem to be acceptable to criticize the behavior of bikes. I am pleased so many people like to ride bikes to commute or to get exercise, but they must learn to share the roads with cars and not expect to break all the traffic rules.

Posted by Shattered, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Tyranny of the minority rules in Palo Alto.

A dozen fanatical bike Utopian adherents have destroyed our streets.

This was never about "safer streets". It has always been about bike fanatics attempting to remove autos from the streets of Palo Alto to achieve a Bike Utopia.

The fact that this was not well advertised/communicated was part of the plan. Sneak this by the citizens with the VERY LEAST amount of communication was the plan. It worked. Good for them.

Now we need to take back our City and return the streets to a safe, conventional, and useful configuration.

Lesson learned is Pay Attention.

Now everyone involved in permitting this atrocity should do the right thing and leave the City. We will have to pay to clean up your mess.

Posted by Scott Batson, a resident of another community,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm

These are neighborhood traffic circles, and bike riders have the same right to the road as motor vehicle operators.

Like you, many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. High speed, east coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D'Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts.
The Brits even call a merry-go-round a kid's roundabout.

What is, and is not, a modern roundabout:
WA DOT: Web Link

Posted by DianaDiamond, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm

DianaDiamond is a registered user.

Scott Batson --

I am presuming the roundabout on Ross Road is a "modern roundabout," since it was just installed. But I don't think it works well, especially having bikers and motorists together use the lane.

And the two new wonderful roundabouts on Campus Drive at Stanford are, presumably also "modern," and they work fine.


Posted by Native To The Bay, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Know the facts, fight the fear, ignore the fray. Most against round-abouts reside on the very streets they exist on. 4 Way Stops create 38 points of contact, roundabouts reduce that to 8! Residents of PA against these changes are mad about fighting traffic on a different scale they can't control - the 150 thousan workers who commute in and out of here daily. These are the same residents who hire low income service workers to clean thier houses, cut thier lawns and bag thier groceries. Most against roundabouts do not want to drive the speed limit and want free reign to go fast on the streets they live on and supposedly pay taxes for. Yet they are the same ones that voted for Prop 13 over 40 years ago. Prop 13 keeps low income people out. Gas is $4 a gallon in Palo Alto but this against any alternative the car can pay these prices and don't care. Those against roundabouts are freaking out for not! The only road furniture in the road are parked on either side of the road or moving about on giant casters, spewing emissions into the air, Prius or no Prius: These are the same crowds against idling and criminalizing cigarette smoke. Cars are KING, obviously.p to opponents Let's change the things we can, Ourselves! Quit scapegoating our children and those who support a saner, safer, quieter, environmentally friendly way around town. My father with two hip relacements, a quad bi-pass, a pacemaker and dentures Rode a bike until he was 85 years of age. He did not own a car. I'd seniors can't ride a bike or use this as a reason to oppose roundabouts is rediculous. These are the same people who circle a block several times to get a spot in front of a store and travel several shot trips a day to get errands done. If not, they are using a out of towner Door Dash. Should a senior citizen feel too aged or ill to ride a bike the DMV can issue hands-capped placards. When someone says that driving roundabouts are counterintuitive - I am worried. Driving is not intuitive! When I was 14, I was walking my bike across a blvd in a crosswalk. I was hit by a car who did not see me. I was thrown to the ground with bike. Luckily I was not severely harm and only minor scrapes and injured. The elderly gentleman was very upset and caring. He kept repeating, “So sorry. I did not see you “ It was very scary to get hit by an object moving and weighing over two tons. What is it said. “Unsafe at any speed".

Posted by Rob, a resident of Atherton,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Pro Roundabouts. Best thing that has ever happened was installing these things.

Posted by Just a Thought, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 16, 2018 at 1:15 am

To a certain extent it does have the side effect of traffic calming because now its so confusing and much slower to use Ross and likely you will get a ticket for doing something wrong that more traffic will be diverted to Middlefield and Louis. That said, it probably could have been achieved using much, much cheaper speed bumps. Also, it would seem obvious that painting a center line would help prevent head on collisions between cars and bikes going the opposite directions.

Posted by Just a Thought, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 16, 2018 at 1:15 am

To a certain extent it does have the side effect of traffic calming because now its so confusing and much slower to use Ross and likely you will get a ticket for doing something wrong that more traffic will be diverted to Middlefield and Louis. That said, it probably could have been achieved using much, much cheaper speed bumps. Also, it would seem obvious that painting a center line would help prevent head on collisions between cars and bikes going the opposite directions.

Posted by StarSpring, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

Stockholm Syndrome folks. The people living on those streets DO NOT WANT the concrete litter the City seems so intent on installing. Bring in a front end loader, remove the concrete hazards, and be done with it.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm

As for the mess on Louis at Amarillo? I can't quite see the logic...

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:51 am

I have to reject the idea that Palo Alto children are not smart enough to figure out roundabouts. As I drove through town today I saw a woman riding her bike at Middlefield and Embarcadero with two children each on their own bikes behind her. One of them looked about 3 and was so small and on her own bike riding on the sidewalk. I see children much younger than I was when I had just learned how to ride a bike as a kid riding alone through town. It kind of scares me a bit, but it's also pretty amazing to see this in a place where traffic is so much more complicated than it was when I was a kid. Kids seem to be smart these days and Palo Alto parents mostly are pretty competent.

I also notice that as I come up on a roundabout one has to slow down, there is no choice. It is not like a traffic bump, or a stop sign ... stop signs that Palo Altans routinely ignore these days. The roundabout forces drivers to slow down which in turn allows other people approaching the roundabout to see them and react. There are a lot of intersections in Palo Alto where you have to guess if someone is coming or just hope no one is coming. I'm mostly thinking of the Professorville area there. The roundabouts make avoiding collision a little easier I think.

Like everything new people have resistance at first, and it seems foreign and unfamiliar, but I can see some value in these roundabouts. Even though they are not perfect and do seem a bit small, they do allow drivers to do what they do now - go through intersections without stopping, in a more safe and visible way. I think they can work.

I just say I think we should give them a chance and take time to get used to them. Maybe they will have to tweak them a little over time. Could be the circle in the center is too big, and there might be something to the Fire Truck criticism, though I think a Fire Truck could roll over those curbs easily enough. They are there, let's try to be open minded for a while. There are not that many of them, let's see how they work and evolve.

Posted by StarSpring, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 17, 2018 at 10:00 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

@CrescentParkAnon: The City is not putting in ONE roundabout to see how it works. That would make sense. Instead they are littering a path across the entire city with those things. The fact that you saw one family make it through says nothing. You also saw kids riding their bicycles on the sidewalk. Parents are instructing their children to ride on the sidewalks, endangering pedestrians, because they don't trust the vehicular traffic! Now the City wants to force everyone into the same scrum.

The City should -STOP- further construction for a couple of years until we've evaluated the work already done.

You are correct on another point. The curbs are mountable for delivery and emergency vehicles. In fact, you could drive straight through with your passenger car should you so desire.

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jun 17, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

As per one of the cc member's newsletters, the city has spent or will have spent $40,000,000 on traffic calming "improvements.

$40,000,000 when they're working to "calm" traffic while adding more and more commuters to our roads? $40,000,000 when we have huge unfunded pension liabilities? $40,000,000 when they keep raising utility rates to give then $20,000,000 to siphon into the General Fund?

$40,000,000 when they're asking for more tax increases for more unwanted projects? $40,000,000 when the city has a 30% satisfaction rating?

Posted by Timmy, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Not sure what all the excitement is about. You are still free to drive on roads with roundabouts and other traffic calming measures. By now, "most" drivers have figured out how to negotiate these seemingly complex structures. Cyclists too are negotiating these areas without much difficulty as far as I can tell. I drive and cycle in Midtown every day. Whenever I am going from the Oregon Expressway area to points further south, I engage in a calculus. I can take Ross, Louis, Middlefield, Bayshore, 101 or even some more convoluted route I suppose. Depending on the time of day, and the mode of conveyance, I make a choice. Why is the addition of a few more variables- the fact that Ross Road is a slower road - such a burden for people? You make these calculations all the time, you just need to change your personal algorithm a little bit. Change can be hard, but I know we will persevere.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

StarSpring, you misinterpreted my post. My comment was that smaller and smaller
kids are riding bikes in Palo Alto with less accidents means that children are able
to understand, obey and utilize our roads. There is no understanding problem with
kids as was claimed earlier.

You have to put enough roundabouts out there or no one will use them, as we have
now, people who don't use them or just hear about them are weighing in with a
bias against change, not an informed point of view. They put in one roundabout
somewhere I think on Bryant near or in Professorville. It was strange and at first
I really disliked it, but then I recalled how I used to approach that intersection
and with the cars parked over over it was hard to see anyone coming. I remember
inching forward only to have to stop because a car would whiz past without
a care in the world, speeding, from the non-stop signed cross-street. The
roundabout is an improvement.

I don't like riding in bike lanes with traffic myself. I used to do fine on busy streets
on the sidewalks, and if I saw someone I would slip down into the street before.
I don't trust the drivers these days, it is not the road markings that are the problem.
To me, the roundabouts make more sense as a bicyclist I think they are easier to
get through.

> The City should -STOP- further construction for a couple of years until we've evaluated the work already done.

That would not bother me if there was an objective evaluation, if that is possible
with the way so many people are stuck in their rigid way of thinking. All I said was
give it a chance. I think they work better that people think and the criticisms I
hear from most are exaggerated or unfounded.

Posted by StarSpring, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:13 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

@CrescentParkAnon - It's simple. Just go watch the existing roundabout for awhile. No need to guess. No need for an adjustment period. Even the supposedly straightforward median barriers serve only to aim automobile traffic at the pedestrians -on the sidewalk-!

What you seem to view as a "rigid way of thinking" is actually considered observation and rejection of arbitrary taking of our neighborhood streets by some bicycle coalition who doesn't live on those streets.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Roundabouts are a solution many US cities have used, as well as other countries. Why are PA residents are against them?
The most likely reason: they have not been built for THE PEOPLE AND the fact that that BICYCLIST HAS TO DISMOUNT AND BEHAVE LIKE A PEDESTRIAN TO USE ONE!
If you want to demand that your rights are being taken away, a bicyclist has to follow the rules of the road AND OBEY THE SAME SIGNS A MOTORIST MUST USE.
The best roundabouts used has a Yield sign at each entrance: people in the roundabout have the right of way. Only when there is a SAFE opening, you no longer have to wait. I posted several Golden, CO ( the source of a certain beer ) roundabouts in a previous post. These roundabouts use a YIELD SIGN at every entrance; every driver and bicyclist uses those signs and there are no problems with that. Some other countries have MULTIPLE LANES in their roundabouts; we have no multiple lane roundabouts simply because no one can use on; they require people who behave while driving and are not arrogant about " their rights " about driving. Remember that driving IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT, which many US drivers do not understand.
Many roundabouts that have a single lane have a inner curb that is sloped to handle big vehicles; some are designed with NO obstacles in the center; emergency vehicles drive straight through these roundabouts, feeling only a slight bump from the curb.

My contracts all over the West have had me use roundabouts in some cities and towns. Golden, CO has the best examples. Downtown is still downtown, the business sections have the roundabouts. You want them as a quicker means to get throughput for traffic, not a " traffic calming " device. They are designed to keep traffic moving, even buses and emergency vehicles moving. NOT AS A " TRAFFIC CALMING DEVICE!

This is why I recommend that cyclists have a license,registration ( with plates displayed ) and insurance like all other vehicles. Finding a $1500 bike gets recoovered quickly through the NCIC and NCIB national database. That can often remind bicycle operators that driving is not a right and you can lose your ability to drive if you keep on " blowing off " traffic signals.
In short, traffic roundabouts are designed to move traffic, not as a " traffic calming device ". Many US cities use them to move traffic, not as a traffic calming device. A Police Presence would deter speeders and unlawful behavior, NOT A ROUNDABOUT! Anything else said is a lie! A " feel good " misapplication.

Ihave a bucket of tar a fence rail and some feathers. This is how we bused to deal with lairs and cheats in our country. In extreme measures, we used some lumber and a good, strong rope. YOU are the boss, not the city council. Sometimes these were a reminder who is really the boss.

Posted by Novelera, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Thanks, Diana, for a well-written blog piece. I am definitely up to my back teeth with the overused "lack of communication" refrain of our city council members. I attended the meeting. There were some obvious, salted folks who said they liked the new Ross Road "improvements". I was quite suspicious about who selected the speakers and in what order. Where I sat and for rows and rows around me there was not a single supporter of the Ross Road Bike lane disaster. It was definitely not 50% in favor!

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

P.S. Using emotions instead facts rarely gets things done in a civilized democracy and can lead to a leader who may promise much. These were the tactics used by a certain rabblerouser that deposed the Weimar Republic new area now known as Germany. Yes, he and Ferdinand Porsche designed the Peoples Car ( Volks Wagen ) and Autobahns to drive them on. That Ferdinand Porsche designed most of the leaders tanks and had a hand designing the V-1 buzz bomb has been glossed over for many decades.To get things done, get rid of a Democracy by claiming to be just another one. Have devoted followers, like Ferdinand Porsche, to to create his miracles FOR THE PEOPLE
makes good on his promises.
Is that what you want? ( yep, Ferdinand Porsche adored his leader, and joined his party willingly. Look it up. prepare to read German. Not the Allies propaganda. The first human atrocity was the firebombing of Dresden, not the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Nagasaki was a military target. Popular emotions have been used by leaders as a tool to control the sheeple. Once you know this, you never will be a sheeple again.

Posted by EdR, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 4:15 pm

I live on Loma Verde and frequently walk/drive/bike the streets with the most change. It seems like cars drive slower and more carefully near the roundabouts. I appreciate that I have less of a distance to walk across the street at other intersections. I've managed to adopt to the new traffic patterns.

I'm curious to know if there has been time to collect any data after the changes to these streets. Average speed, traffic tickets, and numbers of accidents, have these improved since the changes or is it too soon to have any meaningful data?

There are a lot of users of these neighborhood roadways and sidewalks. They all deserve convenience and safety.

Posted by Its the latest reason!, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Traffic will suck with or without them. This just happens to be the latest "reason" people can rail against. Take them out, leave them in, traffic is still gonna suck. My college kid talked me into using a bike about 10 yrs ago for the in town errands I make. I'd have left the area if not for that sanity tip.

Roads filled with too many cars are the most efficient traffic calming measures in the world. Too many cars in the road is a ruthlessly efficient way of bringing traffic to grinding halt. Think about that then take a deep breath. What can you do? Get in your car and drive away? (nope)

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 18, 2018 at 8:12 pm

I agree with much of what EdR says. If nothing else the roundabouts make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists at possible a tiny expense for drivers. But even drivers do not have to come to a complete stop as they would at a stop-sign or traffic light, they merely have to slow down and do a little turning. I admit the turns on the roundabouts do take a modicum of effort, but some improvements in safety come with that.

Roundabouts make much more sense than all the speed bumps and the focus at intersections where you really need people to pay attention.

Roundabouts also do away with the broadsides of cars or bikes making left turns across traffic.

It would be interesting to know what the reasons are to people who oppose them. Are they just stuck in their ways and eventually will get used to them and accept them or are they sad they have to slow down where they would normally just drift through a stop sign like the majority of drivers do anyway now.

I have yet to hear a fact-based well-reasoned argument against these roundabouts. Bring it! ;-)

Posted by senor blogger, a resident of Professorville,
on Jun 19, 2018 at 4:06 pm

The lane width of the roundabouts violate the Fire Code. So does some of the traffic islands on Ross.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Give the actual measurements to the PAPD, gather the PAO picture crew and make the City Council do the PERP WALK! Turnabout is fair play!

Posted by Allen Akin, a resident of Professorville,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

The City doesn't bother to measure traffic in neighborhoods, so it's up to the residents to do that legwork. But based on experience with Bryant and Waverley, this sort of change tends to move traffic onto adjacent streets. Some folks living on the changed streets will feel it's an improvement, but it's clearly not an improvement for the people living in the sacrifice zones.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm

I have now traversed the Ross/Meadow circle many times. I have had no issues and have not seen any issues. Not all seniors hate the new roundabouts/circles. I'm a senior and I think they are just fine. No problem. In fact: drivers around here ignore stop signs anyway when they are turning right -- so, for a right turn, it is not a change, it just makes it official. What is the big deal?

Posted by Louis too narrow, a resident of Palo Alto High School,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm

I think Louis is being made too narrow, with wide sidewalks instead of the previous clear-sight lined effective bike lanes. How many people will use those huge sidewalks !? Meanwhile, I get the message the city is attempting very hard to prevent me from driving across this town. We have a right to drive cross-city. I bet drivers will use apps to try creative, neighborhood cut- throughs instead of established boulevards, congratulations City of Palo Alto. Costly, unnecessary alterations.

Posted by Robert Neff, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 11:41 pm

Robert Neff is a registered user.

@Diane Diamond,

Some time ago you wrote that you like the roundabouts at Stanford. Yes, those are modern roundabouts. I like them, too. Note - Bicycles and automobiles share the lane when entering the roundabout. Or, timid cyclists can walk their bikes on the crosswalks. But that is an enormous roundabout compared to just about any intersection in Palo Alto, except maybe the largest ones on El Camino.
The mini-roundabout at Ross/Meadow operates the same way, just much slower, because the turns are tighter. Bikes must merge with cars on entry, and timid cyclists can elect to walk their bikes around with the pedestrians. There are ramps for cyclists to get onto the sidewalk if they want to go that way.
I like both kinds. Less stopping.

Posted by Too many agree they're OK, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 21, 2018 at 5:57 am

There are simply too many residents who are OK with or don't care about the roundabouts for there to be any action to undo them. It doesn't have to be anywhere near a majority, but enough for the council to justify not doing anything.

Posted by @like_roundabouts, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 2, 2018 at 9:06 pm

I both bike and drive a car in Palo Alto. In fact, I just crossed a roundabout with my bike coming home today. I had no problem with crossing it. I negotiated with a car that was just about entering the roundabout and got him to observe the right of way.

One relevant issue that also affects roundabout traffic is that many Californians do not observe (or understand) the triangle yield sign. A yield sign means that you must yield the right of way. It does NOT mean let us merge nicely with other cars! It means 'stop' until the cars with right-of-way clear the traffic.

Until, this is well understood by all drivers, we all need to cross roundabouts carefully.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 30, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Roundabouts, now blue fish crossings. Have you seen the distracting blue crosswalks on Louis? I would call this blight and a distraction to what drivers and pedestrians need to do which is to pay attention to each other not count fish!

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Which homes should lose gas service first?
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 3,734 views

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,633 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Page 15
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,308 views

By Laura Stec | 14 comments | 1,141 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed over $300,000.