Tuesday: Traffic signal at Hillview intersection?


Should the city of Menlo Park push to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Santa Cruz Avenue and Elder Avenue, near Hillview School?

That's what city management and the Transportation Commission are recommending to the City Council, which will weigh the issue at its meeting Tuesday, May 18. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, located in the Civic Center complex.

If the council approves the recommendation, the city would then negotiate with the Menlo Park City School District, in the hopes of working out a cost-sharing agreement.

A signal at the intersection would improve traffic flow during pickup and drop-off hours, and would prevent people from cutting through other streets in the neighborhood to avoid waiting in long lines, Transportation Engineer Rene Baile and Transportation Manager Chip Taylor wrote in a staff report.

The impetus for the project comes from the planned expansion of the Hillview campus, with the student population expected to increase by 43 percent by 2016.

The rebuild is scheduled to commence this summer, with completion slated for late 2012 or early 2013.

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Posted by Stephanie
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

When I saw the headline of this article I was excited to think they were proposing a traffic light at the intersection of Olive and Santa Cruz Ave.---That is where we desperately need a traffic light! That intersection is a major safety hazard with cars trying to make a left hand turn from Olive onto Santa Cruz Ave. while pedestrians attempt to cross at that cross walk. A traffic signal is much more desperately needed there than at the intersection of Elder.

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Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

You are correct, Stephanie. It is the intersection of Olive and Santa Cruz that needs the traffic signal. I hope that the City Transportation Dept. reads the Almanac Online!

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I heard a rumor that this would be a 24 hour signal. It would make much more sense to program it for school drop-off and school pick-up hours. The remainder of the time (the vast majority) could be yellow on Santa Cruz and flashing red on Elder. Much better traffic flow for the majority of the day and night. Also the ped signal should be eliminated and a continuous fence constructed along the school side of Santa Cruz to prevent pedestrians from crossing in the middle of the block from Elder to Olive, thus forcing parents and students to use the Elder signal.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I don't know if "neighbor" meant a flashing red on Olive, but that is the context here, I think.

A flashing red there is interesting, but does it really change anything? A flashing yellow will mean nothing to drivers on Santa Cruz, and there's no big problem with people running the stop sign on Olive, is there?

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Joe: Neighbor did say Elder, not Olive. Yes, the crosswalk should be eliminated and students should be crossing with the signal at Elder and Santa Cruz Ave.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Under the new site plan, the front of the school will be closer to Olive than Elder, so putting the light there makes more sense. Also, if a "keep clear" box was painted on Santa Cruz at Elder, then people could turn left from Elder onto Santa Cruz when the light was red at Olive and traffic was stopped on Santa Cruz.

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Posted by Jordi
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I recomend a traffic light on Santa Cruz and Elder and another one at Santa Cruz and Olive. When kids go in and out of school, both streets are extremely dangerous for 30-45 minutes. They do not need to be 24 hour lights.

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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I would like to see the speed limit on Menlo Park streets -- especially Santa Cruz Avenue -- reduced to 25mph (24/7) for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages. Also, better signage at and enforcement of crosswalks so cars actually stop safely for pedestrians.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

This would make even more difficult to commute to and from Menlo Park on the one relatively light free artery from downtown.

Now, the idea to make the traffic lights operate only during school rush hours is a good one, but probably too complicated for our Glorious Public Servants On High to figure out.

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Posted by another mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

I hope the discussions about safety focus both on vehicles and on pedestrians, both together and also separately. Yes, a light at Elder may make sense for cars, but I do not think that children coming from east of Elder will necessarily stop crossing Santa Cruz at Olive.
Having seen too many motorists barge through flashing lighted crosswalks even when pedestrians are in them (on Santa Cruz and on Ravenswood), I worry that children will think they are safe in such crosswalks and not take the extra precautions they may currently in an unlighted crosswalk.
I like the idea of lights that work during the times kids are coming and going from school. These would need to be adjusted to the school schedule by day of the week and time of year (including minimum days). Otherwise, there would be no protection during the frequent times the school day is not the same.

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Posted by KJ
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

No need for more traffic lights anywhere in the area. It gets congested, I get it, but students already have the pedestrian light to cross Santa Cruz and the cross walk at Elder is just fine.

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Posted by flush
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Did you know the traffic light was going to cost a quarter of a million dollars to install?! That is an absurd amount of money to waste for a problem that only actually exists for 30 minutes a day.

Common sense tells me there are plenty other cost-effective ways to address a temporary school traffic problem - that City Council or the students of Hillview School could pay for with their lunch money.

Have we always been so careless with public funds?

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