Atherton's City Council has approved work on a pedestrian-controlled stoplight for the El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue crosswalk, where a 32-year-old Atherton resident, Shahriar Rahimzadeh, was fatally injured in July 2014. The contract for the engineering of the project was unanimously approved by the council at its April 15 meeting.
The town's goal, the staff report on the stoplight said, is to have it operating by fall of this year. The town approved a contract with the engineering firm Stantec Consulting Services Inc. on a time and materials basis not to exceed $45,988.
Once the project is designed, the town will seek bids to install the light, called a hybrid pedestrian beacon. The stoplight remains dark unless it is turned on by a pedestrian or bicyclist. The town wants a feature that permits emergency vehicles to override the controls, and has asked the Menlo Park Fire Protection District to help pay for that.
This project is moving much faster than plans to install pedestrian-controlled stoplights at the Isabella Avenue and Alejandra Avenue intersections of El Camino Real. Those stoplights are not expected to be in place until 2017. City Manager George Rodericks said the reason for the delay is that the town is paying for and managing the installation of the Almendral stoplight while Caltrans will pay for and install the other two lights.
Money to pay for the Almendral Avenue stoplight was freed up in February when the council put a proposed study on reducing the number of traffic lanes on El Camino on hold, and decided to instead spend the money on immediate safety improvements for the state highway. The town is also considering installing a conventional stoplight on El Camino Real. The proposal from Stantec says that phase two of its work for the town is "a potential new traffic signal on El Camino Real at an undetermined location, pending further review and public outreach process."