Atherton OKs pedestrian-controlled stoplight on El Camino

Traffic light will be installed at Almendral Avenue, where Atherton resident was fatally injured

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."

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Like this comment
Posted by Tricia
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Absolutely thrilled to hear that finally something is being done for pedestrians. As far as the other two pedestrian lights are concerned, why can't we borrow the money from the library "million" and then Caltrans can pay us back...?Peoples lives are at stake....
I travel down Middlefield Road often and those blinking pedestrian lights really really help. They are very effective.
Kudos to Atherton for acting quickly.

4 people like this
Posted by Westside Trucker
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Is there a way to keep children from playing with the button? I once saw kids playing around with them outside the Post Office, and they had traffic backed up for blocks.

Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Tricia: Try reading the article again. It is about signal lights, not blinking lights.

4 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2015 at 11:38 am

Better street lighting at all the ECR crosswalks would make a huge difference. Current placement of the street lighting is leaves much to be desired.

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

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