News

Guest opinion: Recalling moment of panic on the train tracks

 

By Gordon Lewin

A car is stuck on the train tracks. Inside is a mother with two young children. An express train barrels past a suburban train station. That evening, a father comes home to an empty house.

Menlo Park in 2016? I certainly hope not. Yet, that accident did happen in Highland Park, Illinois, my childhood hometown. I was in middle school at the time. A teacher lectured us on the dangers of train crossings; how express trains can't stop quickly. My mother showed me a picture in our community newspaper of the crumpled station wagon in a ditch.

Frankly, I didn't give much thought to it until three years later, when my driver's education teacher directed me to that same train crossing and then told me to stop the car. He pointed out where the crumpled station wagon had landed and warned me to never drive over train tracks unless I could see that I had room on the other side.

That made an impression. From then on, I was always a bit cautious near train tracks; I had never been stuck on tracks. Until two years ago at Ravenswood Avenue.

It's a familiar story. A line of cars is moving slowly but smoothly toward Alma. Then, a pedestrian begins crossing the street near the library. Cars come to an abrupt halt. Sometimes a car is stuck on the tracks.

This time, it was my car. I couldn't believe. Then, the crossing gates began coming down. I had an adrenaline rush. Do I jump out? I noticed a train slowly leaving the station. I was lucky. I doubted the conductor would play "chicken" with me, but the traffic began to move before I had to find out.

Afterwards, I was upset with myself. How could this happen to me? I have always been so cautious. I remembered the picture my mother showed me of the crumpled station wagon. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. And it did.

What makes the Ravenswood crossing so dangerous is not the geometrics but the surprises. No one expects cars to stop so suddenly. And it happens frequently because there is so much activity in both directions. We all know not to stop on train tracks. It is the surprises that we are not anticipating.

Perhaps electronic signs warning that "Cars stop suddenly -- don't get caught on tracks" would help. Perhaps a stop sign at Alma westbound would serve the same function as metering lights at freeway on-ramps.

Yet, Ravenswood is not the only scene of tragic train accidents. They have happened in Palo Alto and around the country. Perhaps this is a problem that Silicon Valley could help solve.

Google and others are developing "driverless" cars. "Accident avoidance" technology is being added to automobiles today. Perhaps someone could invent "motionless car" detectors that could give timely warning to an approaching train when a car is stuck on the tracks.

Grade separation may come someday to Menlo Park and better technology to the country. In the meantime, I'm slowing before a train crossing until I see room for my car on the other side -- even when traffic is moving.

Yet, as I drive down Ravenswood Avenue, that particular train crossing will always be associated with sadness for the young child who lost a mother so needlessly.

Gordon Lewin is a longtime Menlo Park resident, and a former member of the Sequoia Union High School District and Menlo Park City School District governing boards.

Comments

6 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Apr 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Reality Check is a registered user.

Gordon, getting caught on the tracks is completely avoidable -- even at Ravenswood. Just maintain situational awareness and sufficient following distance and you'll have no trouble following the law: CVC 22526(d) "A driver of a vehicle shall not enter a railroad or rail transit crossing, notwithstanding any official traffic control device or signal indication to proceed, unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the railroad or rail transit crossing to accommodate the vehicle driven and any railway vehicle ..." Web Link

And if a driver slips up and for some reason finds themselves on the tracks, know this: the gates are _designed_ to easily swing/break away and therefore cannot physically "trap" a motor vehicle. You can always either push forward or back up, driving through a gate if necessary ... and you always have the option of maneuvering and driving perpendicularly off the to sides of the crossing and out of harm's way ... and you always, as a last resort, can exit your vehicle and move upstream of the impact area and to safety.

Eyewitnesses said the Palo Alto woman in her SUV who was recently killed at Ravenswood while stopped on the southbound track going westbound appeared to be preoccupied "looking down into her lap" (maybe checking her phone or texting?) made absolutely no visible effort to do anything at all.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

The vast majority of car crashes everywhere are completely avoidable if drivers are paying attention and obeying the law and taking care of their cars. However, if certain types of crashes occur too often, then the city should look into making improvements to the roads. The city does this all the time (adding stop lights, improving sight lines, lowering speed limits, painting crosswalks, etc). Personally, I think a stop light at this intersection would improve safety, at least in the short term. Too many drivers are taking too many chances at this intersection, which endangers themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians in the crosswalk.


16 people like this
Posted by Gerturde
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 3, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Gordon, I totally agree with everything you say. I am also a very cautious driver but the Ravenswood crossing is particularly dangerous because of the unanticipated stops, which is the problem. It is a very poorly designed crossing that allows cars to stop suddenly to turn left, without fair warning of a stop sign or traffic light. It is also really crazy that a crosswalk is so close to the tracks. I don't know of any other crossing like Ravenswood. Everyone saying that accidents are totally avoidable at this crossing must not drive through it everyday during rush hour traffic. It's a nightmare. The long term solution is grade separation. An immediate fix is to prohibit all left turns.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Everyone saying that accidents are totally avoidable at this crossing must not drive through it everyday during rush hour traffic"

I drive through this intersection almost every day and stopping on the tracks is totally avoidable - you have to pay attention and you have to assume that the cars in front of you will stop.

The rule and the law is simple - do not enter a railway crossing until you are sure that you can clear the tracks without stopping.

And yes, grade separation is the best long term solution.


12 people like this
Posted by Gerturde
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 3, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Peter, can't you concede that this crossing is unusually unsafe? I believe that is the point of the original poster. Even careful, cautious drivers have trouble at this crossing. Most railroad crossings don't allow for sudden stops just after crossing the tracks or have a pedestrian crossing so close to the tracks.

Since you live in Atherton you are familiar with the crossing, but what about people who are new to the area? Who expects that the car in front of you will come to a screeching halt, often without the curtesy of a turn signal, to turn left? Or that a pedestrian crossing is just ahead where pedestrians cross just about every minute during rush hour?

Also, do you routinely drive through the Ravenswood/Alma crossing during rush hour traffic? I do every day and every day I breath a sigh of relief after making it through unscathed.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Peter, can't you concede that this crossing is unusually unsafe?"

Yes I do and I have, and that is why this crossing requires drivers to pay extra attention. The price of not doing so can be very high.

Lack of familiarity with this crossing does not change the basic rule for all railroad crossings - do NOT enter the crossing unless you are positive that you can clear the crossing without stopping. If you are unfamiliar with a particular railway crossing then you should exercise even more caution.


19 people like this
Posted by Thank you Gordon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Gordon: Your piece is timely and appreciated and I totally agree with your point of view. To Reality and Peter -- you are stunningly devoid of sensitivity as to this and related issues. Remember -- a woman died on those tracks. You don't know the circumstance and never will so please do not judge. It is easy to sit in your living room and cite codes as to why these things should never happen. By that logic, no accidents should even occur. If everything always goes by code and everyone alway does exactly the right thing at all times, nothing happens. Pedestrians don't get hit in Atherton and cyclists don't get hit on Sand Hill. Fires would not happen either, in your view of the perfect world. Well, accidents do happen, often tragically and the role of city and state governments is to help ensure that all practical steps can be taken to help citizens understand dangerous intersections, as an example. Their job is not to assume that everyone operates at your clinical, utopian standard. What if someone is in our town for the first time? Should all those moving parts be obvious to them too? Of course not but your answer would be YES. Too may people know that this intersection and its many traffic flow and visibility uncertainties is riskier than it needs to be, especially with all the local traffic flowing in both directions, with trains going 70 mph with little notice. Be part of a practical solution rather that a critic of people not here to defend themselves.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"To Reality and Peter -- you are stunningly devoid of sensitivity as to this and related issues. Remember -- a woman died on those tracks. You don't know the circumstance and never will so please do not judge."

First, my goal is to prevent further needless deaths.

Second, I do in fact know a great deal about the accident and the "circumstances".

Ignoring the facts is simply irresponsible.

" What if someone is in our town for the first time? Should all those moving parts be obvious to them too? "

No, and as I clearly stated "If you are unfamiliar with a particular railway crossing then you should exercise even more caution."

I AM focusing on preventing this from occurring again and ask that you please turn your outrage into constructive action.


17 people like this
Posted by Thank you Gordon
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Peter: You could not sound more naive that you are now. Even the audacity to suggest that you knew exactly what this poor woman was doing and should have done in your perfect world. Incredible lack of sensitivity and real life understanding. Not worthy of a single additional comment, and there will be none.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I AM focusing on preventing this from occurring again and ask that you please turn your outrage into constructive action.


4 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2015 at 12:19 am

Hey "Thank you Gordon" ... I was on the scene of the Ravenswood fatality and am about as familiar with what happened can be without having been sitting in Ms. Koo's SUV with her.

[Portion removed. Please don't use Town Square to speculate about what a named person, who is now deceased, may have been thinking or what caused her behavior at the time of the incident.]

You're free to be more or less charitable ... or make stuff up like some who have without justification inexplicably and prejudiciously used the word "trapped" in connection with her (part removed) failure to make any visible attempt to move her vehicle or person out of harm's way or even look around or up for whatever she was apparently looking down at while sitting stopped on the southbound track with crossing bells, light and gates fully activated and a 100db train horn blaring. While there was a vehicle in front of hers, she could have simply driven into the space to the left of the vehicle in front of her.

And for the record, yes, I heartily support grade-separating Ravenswood, Oak Grove and one of Glenwood or Encinal. (My guess is that one of Glenwood or Encinal could probably be closed since they are fairly low volume and the traffic from the closed crossing could be handled by the other one.)


7 people like this
Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 5, 2015 at 1:42 am

Reality Check, some speculate that she assumed the southbound train would stop at the station and she was just waiting for the gates to go up. She also could have panicked or had some kind of medical condition. Just because you were at the scene doesn't mean you know what she was thinking.

Driving west (towards ECR) through that intersection, especially during heavy traffic, is confusing because, like others have pointed out in previous discussions, it appears that there is room on the other side of the tracks and just as you start to cross, the car in the lane next to you moves into the space that was open and you are stuck. This happens because there are only two lanes on the east side of Ravenswood and four on the west side: two left turn only lanes, one strait only, and one right turn only. There's a lot of maneuvering in the short space between the tracks and El Camino.

The intersection is unsafe, even for cautious drivers.






4 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Reality Check is a registered user.

The two lanes don't turn into 4 until about 100 feet after the tracks going westbound on Ravenswood.

I agree, it is possible she mistakenly thought the train was going to stop at the station before reaching the crossing (and her vehicle).

However, waiting for the gate to up make no sense. She was already past the gate ... so there was no gate in front of her and so nothing whatsoever was preventing her from driving forward and the the left from the right lane she was in over in to the space safely out of harm's way in the left lane.

While Ravenswood on occasion may require more care than some others to negotiate safely and legally, I guarantee it is not at all difficult for me or any driver with a modicum of care and attention to avoid ever finding themselves stopped on the tracks. I am quite confident I could teach anyone who doesn't feel they can figure out how by themselves.

I'll tell you this, though, I am greatly troubled by the number of people who express doubts about their ability to negotiate Ravenswood safely. Perhaps such folks should be first in line to be required to use self-drive vehicles.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The reality is that a driver knowingly drove on to the tracks without the ability to cross over the tracks without stopping. Why the deceased driver did that can never be know BUT what we can do immediately is to educate and inform all drivers about never stopping on the train tracks.

Over 90% of train-car crashes are the result of the automobile driver error.

If you do not feel safe and in control when using the Ravenswood crossing then do not use it - there are other easy alternatives (unless saving a few minutes is more important than saving your life).


5 people like this
Posted by skeptic
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 5, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Those of us without superior intellect can easily see how someone might get caught on the tracks. Yes, there are signs that mention the crossing, but given the level of traffic and other distractions, someone might miss that sign.

Similarly, although the cacophony evokes a flight reaction on some, others just freeze.

No left turns at Alma. Any time.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Yes, there are signs that mention the crossing, but given the level of traffic and other distractions, someone might miss that sign. "

Anyone who "misses" the gates, lights, street markings and signs (and when the gates are down, the bells) at the Ravenswood crossing simply should not be driving.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what the DMV Handbook says about railway crossings:

"• Look in both directions and listen for trains. Many crossings have multiple tracks; so, be ready to stop before crossing, if necessary. Cross railroad tracks only at designated crossings and only when it is safe to do so.
• Expect a train on any track at any time traveling in either direction. If you need to stop after crossing the tracks, wait until you can completely cross the tracks before proceeding. Make sure your vehicle clears the tracks before you stop.
• Never stop on the railroad tracks. Remember that a train cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way. If you are on the tracks, you risk injury or death.
• Watch for vehicles that must stop before they cross train tracks. These vehicles include buses, school buses, and trucks transporting hazardous loads.
• Remember that flashing red lights mean STOP! Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from the nearest track when the crossing devices are active or a person warns you a train is coming. Stop if you see a train coming or you hear the whistle, horn, or bell of an approaching train.
• Do not go under lowering gates or around lowered gates. Flashing red lights indicate you must stop and wait. Do not proceed over the crossing until the red lights stop flashing, even if the gate rises. If the gates are lowered and you do not see a train approaching, call the posted railroad emergency toll-free number or 9-1-1. Be ready to give a detailed description of your location."

What exactly is not clear about these rules?


10 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

pogo is a registered user.

Skeptic: "Those of us without superior intellect can easily see how someone might get caught on the tracks. Yes, there are signs that mention the crossing, but given the level of traffic and other distractions, someone might miss that sign."

Driving doesn't require "superior intellect. It requires paying attention.

When you see a railroad crossing sign, not to mention the tracks and gates which are difficult to miss, slow down and pay attention. If there is no room for you to cross, DON'T. Fortunately, nearly every driver manages to do this every single day.

One of the first lessons I learned when driving is to never get caught on the railroad tracks. NEVER.


4 people like this
Posted by Las Lomitas District Parent
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Folks, perhaps the obvious is not being stated overtly enough. The DMV handbook text Peter cut and paste says it in the first bullet: STOP in advance of crossing the track to be sure you have room to cross to the other side. Everyone saying this intersection is particularly dangerous due to unexpected stops in front of them is ASSUMING the cars in front are proceeding in front of you. Do not assume. STOP before crossing to make sure that space is open to you on the other side. Do not be afraid to stop and perhaps by doing so you will teach others to follow suit.


2 people like this
Posted by Practical
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:50 am

Metering light technology exists now and it is designed to create safety gaps between cars in traffic. Perhaps that could be a short term solution here until grade-separation or a new technology can provide a better one.

At least a sign should be posted to remind drivers to not drive forward onto tracks until they have clear access on the other side. Yes, the DMV rules state this but, unfortunately we have to all accept that not every driver abides by those rules every single day. We have to err on the side of caution here and provide a nanny here and there, especially when the tracks and pedestrian crossing are so poorly designed.

What about out-of-town visitors who don't know the particular history of danger on these tracks? This happened a few years ago in Palo Alto when an out of town driver was killed after her car got stuck in a sandwich situation on the tracks. I still don't understand why the drivers around her did not move when they heard her car horn.

Lastly, we have to listen and respect the car horn. People forget that this is a safety feature that is supposed to alert other drivers. Despite it's misuse, it is not an anger communication device. If someone behind you is honking their horn, don't ignore it! Assume that they are in danger and that you might be in a position to help them.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"At least a sign should be posted to remind drivers to not drive forward onto tracks until they have clear access on the other side."

There ARE signs in both directions that state "Do not stop on the tracks" - what exactly is unclear about that message?


3 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

Aaron is a registered user.

Again this discussion...

Look...I think that we can all agree that drivers need to be more cautious at this crossing. We can talk until we are blue in the face about how drivers should be more careful. The fact is that they are not.

I cross this intersection every day. I try to be conscientious of auto-traffic across the tracks and almost every day as I cross Alma or Ravenswood at these crosswalks, I see that my crossing results in a car or two temporarily stopped on the tracks. This happens with frequency.

Again, almost every driver knows to be careful...yet, how many accidents happen at the Alma crossing less than a mile south? How many happen at Glenwood, Encinal, Oak Grove crossings? I'd like to see any data on that...my suspicion is that the Ravenswood crossing is more prone to accidents. If that is the case, we need to figure out why and what we can do immediately, with little expense other than inconvenience to drivers, bikers, and pedestrians, to increase safety there.

You can keep repeating the mantra that drivers should be cautious...it's always good to remind drivers. But that's not necessarily an effective solution to save more lives at this crossing.


2 people like this
Posted by Practical
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

Peter - it IS unclear because a driver died, and others have narrowly escaped. Obviously, the message on those signs is not getting across to everyone, but it needs to. I am not willing to put all the responsibility on drivers here either because the crossing (and the entire Caltrain tracks imo) is poorly designed. This crossing requires more than ordinary situational awareness, it requires heightened situational awareness because of the abrupt, unpredictable (esp. for non-locals) stops. Maybe it needs a better sign - "Do Not Stop On Tracks - Beware Cars Stop Abruptly for Pedestrians". Maybe a lit sign, a blinking sign? Metering lights plus a sign? Set up the pedestrian crossing sign so that it is timed with the railroad gates? Something to catch drivers eyes and increase their caution here.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

pogo is a registered user.

Aaron makes an excellent point. Pedestrians use that crosswalk without considering the impact their crossing has on traffic. Not many pedestrians are as "considerate" of their impact on traffic as Aaron.

Perhaps moving the crosswalk or replacing it on a "signaled walkway" timed to allow traffic to move through first would help.


2 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

I'd advocate for:

1) A physical raised barrier/curb that makes left turns onto Alma impossible (but that Emergency vehicles could overcome).

2) A real traffic light-regulated pedestrian crossing that links the crossing to traffic lights at Laurel and at ECR, so that pedestrians are crossing when traffic flow is light. This could be done rather easily by making ECR, Ravenswood/Alma and Ravenswood/Laurel all four way pedestrian crossings (all vehicle lights red at the same time, allowing pedestrians to cross all intersections with a no-turn-on-red at the same time), and have them synchronize the pedestrian crossing around the same time so that traffic doesn't enter at ECR or Laurel, allowing for light traffic in the crossing at Alma (automatically without pedestrian-triggered buttons).


2 people like this
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

lessons learned is a registered user.

Left turns in any direction at Alma should not be allowed, nor should cars on Alma be allowed to go straight across Ravenswood.

Doing away with the crosswalk will not help because people will jaywalk, just as they jaywalk right by the tracks and on Alma. People will not walk the extra 100 yards to the light. Crazy, I know, but they won't.

I am very careful not to go near the track crossing unless there's a clear space on the far side. The result: drivers behind me leaning on their horns to get me to move. Seems as though there are still a lot of drivers who don't realize how dangerous it is to get stuck on the tracks?


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2015 at 4:24 pm

pogo is a registered user.

lessons learned - "I am very careful not to go near the track crossing unless there's a clear space on the far side. The result: drivers behind me leaning on their horns to get me to move. Seems as though there are still a lot of drivers who don't realize how dangerous it is to get stuck on the tracks?"

I'd rather have the car behind me honking than the train about to crush me.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You can keep repeating the mantra that drivers should be cautious.."

Yes, because that can be implemented immediately.

AND I have also provided numerous suggestions as to how the existing grade level crossing can be made safer.

AND I have repeatedly stated my support for grade separation and authored a letter that has been sent from the Fire Board to the City Council with this recommendation,


Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Since the area has grown more urban and these crossing date back to the 1860's it is time to build. Build now and don't wait years so the costs will rise out of sight.

Tunneling makes sense but lets call it subway since some of the stations will have to be built below ground. Shafts for elevators, stairs, exhaust and fire exits. 3 stations at least would have to built, the freight train issue still needs to be addressed and then don't forget the funding.

Things change fast when you are driving, people will still think they can beat the train.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 7, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Tunneling makes sense but lets call it subway since some of the stations will have to be built below ground"

This is what I posted earlier on another thread:

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm
"One thought is the put the trains underground, use the surface rights above it for housing in the stretches between stations and use the surface above the stations for transit connections and parking. The surface area of the current right of way is very valuable land - particularly in Atherton - and could generate a lot of the needed capital.

Why not take this as an opportunity to design a multi-dimensional, multi-purpose system that uses the existing right-of-way that includes CalTrain, HSR, utility conduits for telephone and internet cables, surface housing with high density housing around each station. And add a pedestrian path and a separate bicycle path on the surface along the entire right of way. And include 3 or 4 12" conduits for the technology of the future.

We should think of this right of way as an integrated multi-modal communications spine for the peninsula."

Do it once and do it right.


4 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Yes, I acknowledge all of you "should" posters on this thread, citing Driver Handbook rules. Enough! Everyone knows what "should" happen in a perfect world, which would therefore be populated only with perfect people.

This crossing is far more dangerous than the ones @ Encinal, Glenwood, and Oak Grove. Ravenswood is wider than the other streets, widening into 4 lanes westbound between the tracks & El Camino. Cars crossing the tracks in a straight line or turning from Alma from either north or south immediately jockey for desired lane position like horses on a track. It takes a while for pedestrians (some quite slow) to use the crosswalk by the library. ECR @ Ravenswood is also notoriously bad for red-light-runners making left turns. Cars spew into Ravenswood from the BevMo/Jeffrey's parking lot too.

Until grade separation can be achieved, how about making both sides of Alma impassable in both directions to all but emergency vehicles (bollards) & putting pedestrian-activated signal at the crosswalk, with a co-ordinating governor switch to keep it at red when Menlo-Ravenswood traffic is green for crossing el Camino?

There are plenty of engineers who can figure out a faster intermediate amelioration than waiting for the distant grade separation & the sanctimonious who've never erred or miscalculated, and always know & follow the rules can stop patting themselves on the back & show some charitable thought to the less than perfect among us.


7 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 7, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

@Peter - Yes, I know you've been advocating solutions to this that are steps in the right direction. I agreed (and still agree) that re-emphasizing driver safety is always worthwhile. But there are some that like to dwell on the rule of the road, how nobody should ever get caught out on the tracks, etc. We do not live in a world where everybody around us operates with idealistic parameters, and the reality is that these things do happen from time to time; it's not enough to just blame drivers and talk about driver education. That's all. In past posts on this topic and on this thread, a number of comments have been on the driver-responsibility side, but there's also a civil engineering/public works responsibility side to the situation as well.


Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Put the issue to rest. Same old arguments over and over. Enough of both!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Hey Steve, why should it bother you if people want to offer points of view on issues? Who are you to tell people not to? If it bothers you so much feel free to not read the comments.


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

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