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April 21, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Traffic survey shows significant cut-through traffic in Willows neighborhood Traffic survey shows significant cut-through traffic in Willows neighborhood (April 21, 2004)

** Results to be discussed at this week's council meeting.

By David Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer

The results are in for a traffic monitoring survey done last May in the Willows neighborhood. The figures show that a significant percentage of motorist who use these Menlo Park streets east of Middlefield Road during commute time don't live there.

In a traffic study report scheduled for discussion at the Tuesday, April 20, City Council meeting, the city's public works department concludes that an average of about 33 percent of the vehicles were cutting through the neighborhood.

The raw data show some streets bearing a significantly greater load. During the morning commute, for example, 43 percent of Gilbert Avenue's two-way traffic is cut-through, while on Chester Street, it's 45 percent. On Woodland Avenue, the figure rises to 68 percent, according to the city's figures.

Residents collaborated with the city in collecting the survey data. Between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. on May 7, about 60 residents equipped with pens and paper spread out to 12 key intersections in the Willows neighborhood, the report said. They noted license plate numbers and the time of day for each vehicle traveling in or out of the neighborhood.

The town considered as cut-through traffic any vehicle that entered and exited the neighborhood in less than six minutes.

The morning survey found 1,800 vehicles entering the neighborhood, 2,355 leaving, and 634 passing through in less than six minutes. The afternoon survey produced complementary results, with 2,307 vehicles entering, 1,867 leaving and 687 passing through.

Trips that took longer than six minutes were called local trips, a term with several definitions, including vehicles that enter the neighborhood, stay a while and go out the way they came in.

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