Atherton police issue 87 traffic citations Wednesday


Police issued 87 traffic-related citations in Atherton on Wednesday, March 4, during a day of extra patrols with a focus on pedestrian safety.

Forty-eight of the citations were for speeding and 35 for drivers not yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk, Cpl. Brett Murphy of the Burlingame Police Department said.

The patrols are part of a county enforcement program that receives funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through a grant to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Six officers in Atherton conducted "saturation enforcement" in places where collisions between vehicles and pedestrians have occurred.

Along with the speeding and failure-to-yield citations, one driver was ticketed for a cellphone violation, another for texting and a third for driving without a driver's license. Police made one arrest -- for evading police, Cpl. Murphy said.

The crosswalk enforcement was done at the intersection of El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue, a spot picked by Atherton police, Cpl. Murphy said. Atherton resident Shahriar Rahimzadeh, 32, died at this intersection in July 2014 after being struck by a vehicle while he was crossing El Camino.

Police did not wait for pedestrians to come along, but employed a sergeant in plain clothes and wearing a bright vest to walk out into the crosswalk as traffic approached, Cpl. Murphy said. Drivers who did not yield were cited.

The driver cited for a cellphone violation was holding a cellphone while using its speaker function. Had the phone been on the seat rather than in the driver's hand, there would not have been a citation, Cpl. Murphy said.

In making the one arrest, an officer on foot had signaled the driver of a pickup truck to pull over. The driver, upon learning that the officer was going to issue a speeding citation, said, in effect, "No, you're not," and drove off, Cpl. Murphy said. The officer got on his motorcycle, caught the truck and made the arrest.

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Posted by local driver
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I am so happy to read about the cooperative efforts of area police focusing on pedestrian safety.

When I stop for pedestrians, I am always afraid that either I will be rear ended or that a driver will drive past and run over the pedestrian(s) crossing the road. 47 speeders had a reminder about limits. and 35 drivers had reminders about yielding to those on foot. Terrific outcome!

2 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I just love stupid people, telling a police officer they are not going to issue a ticket. I bet he was real surprised when he went to jail. I can hardly wait for dumb ass to appear in court and tell his story to the judge!

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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 5, 2015 at 3:59 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Local driver makes a great point. When I stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk - especially on a major highway like El Camino in Atherton - often the cars on either side of me (often the cannot see the pedestrian) do not stop and speed by. That may, in fact, be even more dangerous for the pedestrian if they are not watching for additional cars.

I have no idea how to mitigate this problem.

1 person likes this
Posted by Tricia
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Whenever you stop for a pedestrian on El Camino especially all you have to do is hit your emergency flasher button. That makes a big difference in one's other drivers that you are stopped for a reason

Like this comment
Posted by Tricia
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm

"and WARNS" other drivers

Sorry for Siri typo

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Tricia is right. I always hit my emergency flasher as soon as I see pedestrians for whom I'll stop. I was in the middle lane northbound yesterday afternoon about 2:30 when the fluorescent-jacketed man stepped into the crosswalk from my left. All drivers slowed to a careful & proper stop & nobody was rear-ended.

Like this comment
Posted by comment?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:10 am

Tricia's suggestion about activating the flasher sounds like a great (and simple) strategy, but I wonder if there may be consequences we can't easily anticipate. I'm hoping Menlo Voter or another former or current cop will comment. Is hitting the flasher a good idea when stopping for a pedestrian?

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

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