News


Menlo Park woman killed at El Camino crosswalk

 

Menlo Park resident Emiko Chen was struck by a vehicle and killed last night while walking at the intersection of El Camino Real and Alejandra Avenue, according to Menlo Park police and the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office.

The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m., and Ms. Chen, 86, died from her injuries at Stanford Hospital. Because she died in Santa Clara County, that county's coroner's office handled the case.

The driver remained on the scene of the accident, where he was interviewed, then released, by police, Menlo Park Police Sgt. Tim Brackett said in a news release.

The 59-year-old driver is a resident of Redwood City, and was driving a minivan, Sgt. Matthew Ortega of the Menlo Park Police department said.

Police determined that Ms. Chen was walking "in or about the crosswalk" when she was struck.

The crosswalk, just north of Menlo College in Atherton, has been the site of other vehicle-pedestrian accidents, and is in line to have pedestrian-controlled lights installed. However, they aren't scheduled to be activated until 2017.

It's a California Transportation Department project and cannot be fast-tracked, Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia said. "Oh, man, we've tried. We're all over them," he said. "It's extremely frustrating."

Caltrans will not accelerate the installation of signals in Atherton because they're part of a larger project to address traffic safety at 48 intersections along El Camino Real, Mr. DeGolia said.

At its own expense, the town of Atherton is putting in a light at Almendral Avenue, the site of a fatal accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian in 2014. The installation cost of around $250,000 will not be eligible for reimbursement from Caltrans, Mr. DeGolia said.

The problem with that stretch of El Camino is that drivers go faster because the road expands to three lanes and because there's no commerce on the sides of the road that would cause traffic to slow, he said.

Last night's accident happened on northbound El Camino Real, which at that intersection is within the jurisdiction of the Menlo Park police, Sgt. Ortega said.

First on the scene were medics who happened by the accident in a Lucile Packard Children's Hospital ambulance, Sgt. Ortega said.

Those medics called Menlo Park police and administered first aid until medics from a regular ambulance arrived and took the woman to the hospital, Sgt. Ortega said.

The town of Atherton and several other public agencies were named in a 2012 lawsuit filed by the mother of a teenager who in 2011 was struck while in the El Camino-Alejandro crosswalk. The girl suffered a broken pelvis and brain injuries.

The town did a study on safety on El Camino Real that went back 14 years, Mr. DeGolia said. The study showed 39 accidents that were either fatal or resulted in serious injuries, with 36 of them involving someone crossing the street.

The town should be looking at whatever it can do to make El Camino safer in the interim, he said. Flags that pedestrians can carry and wave at traffic while crossing an intersection have been discussed, he said. "We should be taking action on that next month," Mr. DeGolia said.

Menlo Park police are continuing the investigation, and ask that anyone who may have witnessed the accident or who have additional information contact the department at 650-330-6300, or on the anonymous tip line at 650-330-6395.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:56 am

Let's hope Atherton and CalTrans are finally fast-tracking the new signal.

Editor: a story about the history of accidents on that stretch of ECR would be of interest and also the history of endless discussions involving CalTrans, Atherton and various state and local politicians. Thanks.


15 people like this
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:31 am

Atherton is planning two traffic signals. One is at Alejandra & El Camino Real. These are not ordinary traffic signals. These traffic signals can only be activated by pedestrians and bicyclists to prevent neighborhood cut through automobile traffic and to minimize delays on El Camino. This slight slow down in ECR traffic is the right thing to do to ensure pedestrian and bicyclist safety.


29 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Note that "Bill Kirsch, chairman of the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission, on Tuesday asked the City Council to install bike lanes on a trial basis along El Camino Real," "The north/south bike route would benefit students attending Menlo-Atherton High, Hillview Middle School, and Laurel and Encinal elementary schools."

Hopefully everyone will realize that ECR is an inherently dangerous highway and that putting children in unprotected bike lanes on ECR is simply crazy.


4 people like this
Posted by WP
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm

A senseless tragedy, ECR is very dangerous all through Atherton. If they're adding lights, they should put one at the corner of Atherton Ave and Alameda, it's backed up most mornings heading south and afternoons heading north.


4 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Traffic lights will certainly help. I wonder if pedestrian education would also help. I noticed that as my grandmother aged, she became less able to assess the speed of oncoming traffic and at times would simply look quickly both ways and then just step off the curb. Encouraging pedestrians to wear luminous tags/reflectors at night and to carry a light and or a flag during the day could help motorists and could also remind pedestrians of the need for caution.

My condolences to Ms Chen's family.


18 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Other than our two freeways which run along the fringes of our population concentrations, El Camino Real is our region's principal north-south arterial road. Unless you are traveling more than 5 or 6 miles where our freeways may be faster, you probably take ECR to get from town to town. Whether you are driving or taking the bus, ECR is the fastest and most convenient way to get from downtown Redwood City to Stanford Shopping Center or from downtown Menlo Park to San Antonio.

El Camino Real is designed and intended to shoulder the majority of our vehicle traffic. To try to combine that use with pedestrians and bicycles is simply a recipe for disaster.

The only viable solution is to provide pedestrian overpasses and bicycles on less trafficked roadways.


25 people like this
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm

This is really tragic. Unfortunately, installing one or two pedestrian-activated signals isn't going to solve the problem. Such signals are helpful, but only if they happen to be located where a pedestrian wants to cross the street. At $250K per installation, I don't see them being installed at enough locations to make much of a difference to overall pedestrian safety. People will still be killed at the locations that lack the signals as long as drivers continue to speed and as long as pedestrians continue needing to navigate three lanes of speeding cars in order to cross the road. That's the deadly combination.

(By the way, I don't know if the driver here was speeding, but the wide roadway at these intersections makes it hard for any driver to be aware of pedestrians in the crosswalks. Northbound ECR at Alejandra has only two through-lanes, but there is a dedicated left-turn lane and no median refuge for pedestrians, so it is still a long way for a pedestrian to cross.)

The only real solution to the problem will be to decrease the road width to two lanes in each direction, lower the speed limit to 30 mph (and enforce it), and add bike lanes and sidewalks. Then car drivers wouldn't behave like they are on a freeway, and pedestrians wouldn't need to put on track shoes in order to make it all the way across the road.

Once again, Peter Carpenter has it exactly backwards. If ECR in Atherton is an inherently dangerous highway, it is only because it is designed to make drivers think they are on a freeway. Unless the police make it a priority 24/7 to enforce both the speed limit and the law requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians, the carnage will continue. A better solution is to redesign the road.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

ECR is a State Highway, not a freeway. Anyone who treats it like a freeway should be cited.

Trying to remake ECR into a pedestrian and bicycle right of way would be to mix 4000 lb automobiles with 100-200 lb people and the laws of physics dictate that the pedestrians and bicyclists will lose.


Like this comment
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Edward Syrett is a registered user.

The best solution for ECR would resemble what San Carlos has done. They do have commerce along the highway, but the walkable places are situated along Laurel Street (a common name--we have two of them in Menlo Park!), which parallels ECR one block away. I don't see how we could mimic that without massive disruption. Imagine Santa Cruz Ave. running parallel to ECR rather than perpendicular to it. But we're stuck with the current street layout, for better or for worse.


3 people like this
Posted by Edward Syrett
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Edward Syrett is a registered user.

I've been known to disagree with Peter Carpenter in the past, but in this discussion I think he's got it right and David Roise is mistaken. ECR in Atherton is certainly not a freeway, but what it most resembles is the kind of expressways that abound in Santa Clara County. Those are multi-lane roads, frequently with median dividers, from which bicyclists and pedestrians are excluded for safety reasons. They differ from freeways in having traffic lights at major intersections. Minor cross streets are typically blocked off. Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto is the nearest example. BTW, there are no commercial sites along true expressways. Vehicles turning into and out of their parking lots would disrupt the flow of traffic.

And when it comes to the flow of north-south traffic in southern San Mateo County, anywhere between 280 and 101, our only alternatives are ECR and Middlefield Road. We really need effective mass transit here, but the tragic vote against BART decades ago doomed that. Neither ECR nor Middlefield flows well through Redwood City or Menlo Park, two huge bottlenecks.


2 people like this
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm

El Camino is a State Highway, i.e., primary vehicle artery designed to handle high volumes of vehicle traffic.

Reducing lanes and vehicle speed and adding bike lanes will not stop some pedestrians and cyclists from crossing it where there are no signalled crosswalks of any kind. (Many people die every year trying to cross 101 -even at night!)

Beyond adding a reasonable small number of pedestrian-controlled traffic signals nothing else needs to be done.

Vehicles are not going away. If El Camino is less convenient they will be traveling thru our neighborhoods.

If you feel that is a better solution perhaps we can send them your way :)




Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm

I see more and more cyclists on ECR and it's terrifying. Many of them don't wear helmets. I truly wish ECR was cyclist friendly and easier for peds to cross in some parts, but it's just not.

I'm so sorry for her family and other loved ones. What a tragedy for Ms. Chen. I'm also sorry that her death isn't impacting any safety changes.


3 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:53 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Middlefield Road is NOT a major arterial highway and cannot handle the kind of traffic that El Camino Real shoulders.

Yes, you could remove a lane from ECR and try to frustrate traffic. I'm sure none of those cars would think about cutting through Menlo Park and Atherton.

Yeah, that'll solve everything.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Remember that ECR is a primary response route for ambulances, fire engines and police cars and the most direct route for ambulances going to Stanford.

How long do you want to wait for emergency vehicles to respond to your 911 call?

How long do you want to sit in stalled traffic while in laying in an ambulance on the way to the hospital?


2 people like this
Posted by Ronald
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

pogo said "I'm sure none of those cars would think..." Of course the cars don't think because they are not smart cars. Perhaps someday we will have cars that think, which is better than what we have today, which is dumb cars driven by people who for the most part don't think and don't care. Engineering can't solve that problem.


15 people like this
Posted by Atherton Old timer
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

No one seems to be mentioning the speed limit on El Camino. It might be a good idea to spend some patrol man power ticketing speeding drivers to let drivers know that speeding in that stretch of road will get them in trouble. Maybe that might help while the community waits for the lights to be put in.


25 people like this
Posted by maximusgolden
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm

It seems that most contributors to this discussion can't imagine a Menlo Park that is significantly different than the Menlo Park they moved into many years ago. Meanwhile, surrounding communities like Redwood City, Mountain View and Palo Alto have taken steps to meet the needs and wants of younger residents and those to come.

Can't we really reimagine Menlo Park as a less car dependent city. Slow down the cars. Let car travel become more difficult, not less. Improve the options for bicyclists and pedestrians. San Francisco has done an outstanding job with bike lanes, transit only lanes, traffic calming, timed lights, etc. For example, Valencia Street lights are set at 13 MPH, the speed of a typical urban bicyclist.

While many in Menlo Park fight bike lanes and narrowing roads and advocate building downtown parking garages, most cities in the world are moving in a different direction.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Perhaps posters wanting to reduce vehicle traffic on ECR would be willing to note how many cars they own.


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 19, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

But Peter, "everyone else" should get out of their cars. The self entitled need not.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Until the utopia happens, most of us are limited to using cars to get us from place to place. El Camino was designed and created to handle the bulk of our region's traffic.

Ronald - I apologize that I wrote "cars" when I meant "drivers." I appreciate the thought behind your correction and only hope other readers were able to figure out my intentions.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.



"San Francisco has done an outstanding job with bike lanes, transit only lanes, traffic calming, timed lights, etc."

Really?

"In 2013, 34 people died in traffic-related accidents in San Francisco. In 2014, that number was down to 29. On the surface that might look like a nice improvement, but most of those deaths were pedestrians or cyclists. To be exact, 59 percent of people killed in traffic accidents that year were pedestrians and half of those were seniors. About 10 percent of traffic deaths were cyclists, and according to the Vision Zero Coalition, “San Francisco is one of the few cities in the country where the rate of people dying while riding bicycles has increased.”


4 people like this
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

lessons learned is a registered user.

Maximus is on to something! The problem with El Camino isn't traffic -- it's old people. ie anyone over the age of 30 who has to drive to go to work, get kids to school/piano lessons/soccer practice/swim team/friends' houses, stock up on groceries for a family of six, and deal with a long list of errands. But if we eliminate cars from El Camino and require people to ride bicycles everywhere, we can force all those pesky families and old people to go live somewhere else.

P.S. Anyone who thinks that Palo Alto has solved all its problems by catering to 20-somethings can go visit their TownSquare board for a reality check.


6 people like this
Posted by Ronald
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:34 pm

The problem isn't traffic or old people - it is just people. This is not an engineering problem that can be solved by moving around piles of hard stuff or putting up flashing lights. The problem is social and behavioral, and unless we face up to that we will never make any progress. There are many places in the world that are doing a much better job of preventing traffic deaths, but for some reason we refuse to learn from them. The use of words by pogo is telling in that regard: we talk about "cars" rather than "drivers" so we think of mechanical solutions instead of human ones.


5 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 20, 2015 at 5:20 am

"Caltrans will not accelerate the installation of signals in Atherton because they're part of a larger project to address traffic safety at 48 intersections along El Camino Real"

So when pedestrians are killed or seriously injured at that intersection every 4-5 months, Caltrans is going to wait at least another 2 YEARS before installing a pedestrian crossing signal. Just how many people would have to die during the next two years before installing a signal now is considered cost effective? And no one in the Assembly or Senate can influence Caltrans? Just why do we elect them?


10 people like this
Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 20, 2015 at 8:02 am

This is a terrible tragedy, and it's worth doing whatever we can to make this road safer. That means lower speeds, not higher speeds.

There is no alternative for pedestrians crossing El Camino. If you want to segregate pedestrians from ECR, we'll need to build bridges over the road - it's infeasible.

Also, El Camino is an active commercial stretch through Menlo Park. We need foot traffic to support those merchants and restaurants. Trying to get bikes and pedestrians off our major boulevard is not a recipe for a thriving Menlo Park.

As an aside, my wife and I own two cars and two bikes. I bike to work and we frequently bike into downtown PA with our children for meals. From what I can see on my morning bike commute, many families in our neighborhood have at least one commuter who also rides to Palo Alto, Facebook, or Stanford.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 20, 2015 at 8:06 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

" Just why do we elect them?"

I frequently ask myself the same question. Since I have never voted for any of the idiots that represent us in the state house I have no answer other than they're too busy kowtowing to the special interests that pay them.


7 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 20, 2015 at 8:26 am

pogo is a registered user.

People think they can stifle traffic by reducing lanes on a major thoroughfare such as El Camino Real - which is specifically intended and designed to be the main traffic artery on the Peninsula.

The need for people to travel is not going to diminish. People still have to take kids to school, go to work, shop, visit doctors, see friends, entertain, etc. Not everyone lives within walking distance to these destinations and not everyone lives in proximity to buses and trains.

Reduce lanes on ECR and all you will do is drive traffic into the neighborhoods. See how well that works for you.


15 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

Actually enforcing speed limits would be a good start. Outside of rush hour, just about every driver on ECR flagrantly violates the law WRT allowable speeds. This is a complex road with tons of cross-streets, driveways, and crossing traffic (car / bike / ped), and no good ways to cross other than across (no real over-crossing or under-crossing options). Slowing down and allowing for a bit more reaction time helps everybody out, and smooths traffic flow.

We do need to make sure there are safe paths across; not everybody drives, and we can't just say "If you don't drive, you have to go a mile out of you way to get across town". The 86-year-old victim [portion removed; the investigation is ongoing; don't speculate on who is to blame] might or might not have still been safe to drive, but she still should have had a safe option to reach her destination.


4 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 20, 2015 at 12:21 pm

pogo is a registered user.

There was yet ANOTHER pedestrian death on El Camino Real yesterday. The accident was at the intersection of Holly and ECR in San Carlos by the Shell gas station.

Pedestrians and bicycles do not mix with high volume traffic. It is a recipe for disaster.


2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

@pgo, how do you propose this lady should have crossed the street? Teleportation?

Not everybody drives, and not everybody can drive. We haven't invented the transporter yet, and the Atherton NIMBYs would no doubt stall any sort of overcrossing until well after we've invented them.


1 person likes this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

It might be helpful to remember that there are more than 34000 average daily vehicle trips on EL Camino Real in Menlo Park north of Ravenswood. Let's assume the number is similar for Atherton and count only the weekday trips.
5 x 52 x 34000 = 8,840,000 trips. Add at least 5000/day on weekends => 2 x 52 x 5000 = 520,000 for a total of over 9,000,000 vehicle trips per year. If there are 10 serious pedestrian/cyclists injuries per year that's 1 per 900,000.
And 2 deaths = 1 per 4,500,000 vehicle trips.

What's a reasonable number? It certainly is not ZERO. Accidents happen. And some people will take unnecessary risk or show bad judgment regardless of what safety measures are in place, e.g., crossing ECR at night on a bike with no lights? How much cost and inconvenience should everyone accept to prevent ALL human error??? Think about what that would mean.

For those who wish to penalize motorists by making it more inconvenient to drive on ECR. How many fewer trips would make you happy? The point: Let's assume that 34000 trips equals 17,000 round trips. How many of these motorists do you realistically expect to replace these trips with bike rides? 1%? 3%? 5%.And what percentage would simply travel on alternative Menlo Park streets?

PS: I love bike lanes and we need them on Menlo and University Avenues to improve access to downtown and east-west connectivity across ECR. However, as I have explained many times before, adding them to El Camino is a bad idea .


2 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:25 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

I hope to make it to my eighties, and I understand that I may not be able to drive a car in a safe manner by that point. I do hope that we can make El Camino and all of our local streets safe for people to walk and bike.

Caltrans itself has acknowledged that simply because a road has a state highway designation, it also needs to be sensitive to the context where it is located and be adapted to meet the needs of local users. ECR is more than just a highway. It is a major city street in the towns through which it passes. Here's a flowchart from the Caltrans website: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is important to read the words of the Complete Streets Act and its implementation and not just look at the pictures.

The Act requires that there be NETWORKS within each city that accommodate all modes of transportation NOT that every road be a complete street.

"Implementing a layered network approach to Complete Streets by selecting specific regional streets to be enhanced for a particular prioritized mode (transit, bicycles, pedestrians, or vehicles) while still providing access for all other modes."

"Complete Streets policies should result in the creation of a complete transportation network for all modes of travel. A network approach helps to balance the needs of all users. Instead of trying to make each street perfect for every traveler, communities can create an interwoven array of streets that emphasize different modes and provide quality accessibility for everyone. This can mean creating bicycle boulevards to speed along bicycle travel on certain low-traffic routes; dedicating more travel lanes to bus travel only; or pedestrianizing segments of routes that are already overflowing with people on foot."


9 people like this
Posted by MP NIMBYs
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

From the article:
> Last night's accident happened on northbound El
> Camino Real, which at that intersection is within
> the jurisdiction of the Menlo Park police

Menlo Park NIMBYs kill another one of their citizens. This intersection should have an overcrossing, but the Menlo Park NIMBYs would no doubt stall any sort of overcrossing.

MP Resident wrote:
> the Atherton NIMBYs would no doubt stall
> any sort of overcrossing

A Menlo Park resident was killed at an intersection under Menlo Park jurisdiction, hit by a driver from Redwood City. Atherton has nothing to do with it.

Please try reading the articles you comment on before posting. Thank you.


2 people like this
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

lessons learned is a registered user.

The intersection may be under the jurisdiction of MP, but the west side of El Camino at that point is Atherton, so it's reasonable to guess that any such crossing would be opposed by Atherton residents. I'm sure Atherton would like to have nothing to do with El Camino.Too bad that it bisects your otherwise cloistered town.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 21, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you are thinking about overhead pedestrian crossings remember that they must provide 15' of vertical clearance over all traffic lanes and that for each foot of vertical height that pedestrian approach ramp must be at least 12 feet long.

That means an approach ramp on each side of the road that is at least 180 feet long.

So where exactly are those 180 ft plus ramps going to be located??


11 people like this
Posted by MP NIMBYs
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

"lessons learned" wrote:
> The intersection may be under the jurisdiction of MP

Good, you have reading comprehension. Perhaps you could tutor "MP Resident" on the fine art of reading an article on almanacnews.


> it's reasonable to guess that any such crossing would be opposed by Atherton residents

"reasonable" and "guess" in the same sentence. That's hilarious.

Do you have any examples of Atherton residents thwarting the efforts of Menlo Park and Menlo Park residents to build pedestrian overpasses in Menlo Park? I eagerly await your proof that Atherton residents have previously thwarted the efforts of Menlo Park to install pedestrian overpasses.


> I'm sure Atherton would like to have nothing to do
> with El Camino.Too bad that it bisects your
> otherwise cloistered town.

Coming from a Menlo Park resident, this is a highly hypocritical statement.

Atherton:
* When faced with pedestrian deaths on El Camino Real, tries to repeatedly convince CalTrans to put in additional stoplights in Atherton. Gets nowhere. Funds putting in a light at Almendral Avenue and El Camino (which is a state-governed intersection and should be funded and performed by the state).

Menlo Park:
* When faced with pedestrian deaths on El Camino Real in Menlo Park, does NOTHING. Residents decide to complain about Atherton.


I have some advice for you Menlo Park folks: why don't you try getting your own act together first, before complaining about what others may-or-may-not do.


6 people like this
Posted by Tragedy
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jun 21, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Heart goes out to this family. This is a terrible tragedy.


14 people like this
Posted by Patty New
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm

A Tribute

Dr. Emiko Chen was retired as an accomplished professional in her field as a forensic pathologist and coroner. Ironic, isn't it? She was sweet, kind and good-natured and had an impish smile that matched her sense of humor. She owned and still drove her own car. She was a widow with two adult children. Although I wish that I could have given her one last hug, selfishly, I am glad that I did not witness her horrific death, which I hope will not be in vain. Her life certainly was not.

Instead of a divisive mindset of blame, let's move forward to work together to solve this. Can we create a forum? Contact the mayors of Atherton, Rick Golia 650-793-2800; and Menlo Park, Catherine Carlton, 650-330-6630; and Caltrans' spokesperson for this area, Gidget Navarro, 510-286-5574, gidget.navarro@dot.ca.gov




Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Patty - thank you for your post. I'm very sory about this terrible loss of your beloved friend. She sounds delightful and very interesting.

This is the kind of "accident" that haunts the loved one's survivors and the driver. I'll use this opportunity to contact local leaders. Please take good care. What is remembered, lives.


14 people like this
Posted by Ram Duriseti
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

@Peter (and others),

Having biked extensively in the city throughout SOMA and most of the rest of the city as well as MP and PA over the last ~20 years, I can confidently tell you that SF has indeed done a tremendous job with traffic calming and bike safety. Most of the major thoroughfares in the city now have wide and carefully marked bike lanes and the bike routes off of major arteries (i.e., Market) are clearly marked and delineated.

As for the aggregate statistics you cite, more people are biking, more people in the younger generation do not even own a valid driver's license, fewer people are driving in general, more such people live in the city, and SF has always had a relatively high rate of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. I attribute hills in an old city and weather conducive to non-motorized transport as contributors to this chronically high rate. The drug culture may have something to contribute as well ... who knows.

But for what it's worth, coming from someone who has logged 100s of miles in the city over the decades, after institution of all of the measures noted, SF is a much safer place to bike and walk than it was 5, 10, 15 years ago.


16 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm

First, thanks to Pogo and Edward Syrett for reminding us that, aside from I 280 and US 101, ECR and Middlefield Road (I would add Alameda de las Pulgas) are the only continuous north/south routes in Menlo Park and Atherton. It follows, then, that bicyclists MUST use these streets if they are to get to their destinations. Those who, like Pogo, think that bicyclists should be shunted onto "less trafficked roadways" should get out their maps, wherein they will learn that a network of less trafficked roadways does not exist in this neighborhood. Mr. Syrett is mistaken when he says that bicycles are excluded from Santa Clara County expressways, although this was true many years ago. Today, some expressways, especially Foothill Expressway, are popular bicycle routes. Finally, Peter Carpenter is wrong to oppose bike lanes on ECR. Given that bicyclists must use ECR just as motorists do, not adding bike lanes to make cycling safer would be criminally negligent.


2 people like this
Posted by Knew her too
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

RIP, Emiko. I last saw her around Memorial Day. She still had a perky sense of humor. Her friends miss her. I am so sorry that she died in this way.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 2, 2015 at 8:09 am

pogo is a registered user.

Robert Cronin -

I never said that El Camino Real was "the only continuous north/south routes in Menlo Park and Atherton." I said it is "our region's principal north-south arterial road. Unless you are traveling more than 5 or 6 miles where our freeways may be faster, you probably take ECR to get from town to town."

My point is quite clear if you are willing to read it. You are certainly free to make your own arguments but I assure you that I'm perfectly capable of making my own. If you are traveling north-south within Menlo Park or Atherton, of course there are many choices.

"Those who, like Pogo, think that bicyclists should be shunted onto "less trafficked roadways" should get out their maps, wherein they will learn that a network of less trafficked roadways does not exist in this neighborhood." First, they do exist and you pointed them out.

The greater point is that pedestrians and bicyclists are dying on El Camino Real. The evidence is in. Placing walkers and bicycle riders alongside high speed, high volume cars is a recipe for disaster.


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Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

pogo says:

"The greater point is that pedestrians and bicyclists are dying on El Camino Real. The evidence is in. Placing walkers and bicycle riders alongside high speed, high volume cars is a recipe for disaster."

So, we blame the victim? That is really sad.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

pogo is a registered user.

No, I don't blame the victim at all. Unless someone is driving recklessly or impaired, I don't even blame the drivers who are also victimized and haunted by these accidents. I blame officials and people who think mixing these groups is a good idea.

So if you truly believe that there isn't a problem having high speed/high volume cars in close proximity to pedestrians and bicycles, why not put sidewalks and bike paths alongside our freeways? What could possibly go wrong?

We need to recognize that people have legitimate needs to travel and that cars remain our primary mode of transportation. Putting pedestrians and bicyclists in close proximity to them - especially on our region's only north-south arterial surface roadway - is completely insane.

Unless we make changes, we will continue to see carnage on El Camino Real.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

So many comments, not enough time to read them all.

I've always accepted ECR for what it is and didn't think too much about it. Then 2 days ago, as I waited for the signal to change at Middlefield, an empty car-moving truck - huge! - came barreling down ECR, going at least 50 mph. The name was AY Trucking, and it was hopping off the roadway.

We paid the MP Police to install license readers & intersection cameras. Could these help? Does anyone know where those are installed? That info should be transparent. How about posting in the papers those who are speeding excessively or being a potential danger?

I have not seen any police, sheriff or highway patrol tending to ECR (yes, I'm out and about often). Why is that? MP has got to be one of the softer urban locales.

Lastly, while the train issue won't be within this decade, how about buses?? I mean, those that really move people from one place to another, efficiently?


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

An automobile driver who hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk is not a victim. Drivers need to be held responsible for their actions.


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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Enough already. Now people argue just to nit pick comments. Boring!!


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Oops! - That should read Middle Avenue (at ECR), not Middlefield.


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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Pogo, please list the "many choices" that a cyclist would have traveling, say, from the Menlo Park Safeway, to Target in Redwood City without riding on ECR.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 3, 2015 at 8:24 am

pogo is a registered user.

Robert, [Portion removed] I noted your precise example in an earlier post ("ECR is the fastest and most convenient way to get from downtown Redwood City to Stanford Shopping Center or from downtown Menlo Park to San Antonio") and stated that ECR was the fastest and most convenient way to get there.

My main point is that you need to take ECR to get from town to town.

But if you are going WITHIN a town or short distances, there are more choices. In fact, you named two of those roadways yourself - Middlefield and Alameda de las Pulgas).

El Camino is the major arterial roadway in our region. It is specificially designed and intended for higher speeds and higher volumes.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 3, 2015 at 8:27 am

pogo is a registered user.

Mike Keenly -

At least two of the pedestrian deaths on ECR in Atherton were NOT in crosswalks. In one instance, a pedestrian with a history of mental health problems appeared to suddenly and intentionally run into the roadway.

I suspect those drivers will be haunted by those unavoidable accidents for years.


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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Not in a crosswalk, or not in an unmarked crosswalk? Pedestrians have the right of way even at unmarked crosswalks.

This is police cracking down on El Camino Real, elsewhere in San Mateo county: Web Link


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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

Pogo, so bicyclists should not venture outside the city limits and travel to other towns? The fact that ECR, and also Middlefield, are less than ideal for bicyclists today, is precisely why they need improvements for bicycle access, given that bicyclists must use these thoroughfares to get to their destinations.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

pogo is a registered user.

Tunbridge -

You should do a minimum of research before making such comments.

In one case - a very sad one - the pedestrian appeared to intentionally run directly into traffic. The young woman driving her car was unable to avoid hitting and killing the very troubled young man. There were many witnesses to this accident and it was not her fault. She was not charged.

Not every incident can be blamed on the driver. That's why we call them accidents.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Robert Cronin -

"Pogo, so bicyclists should not venture outside the city limits and travel to other towns?"

I have no idea what you are talking about. I never said any such thing.

Perhaps you should READ my post before commenting on it.


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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Pogo,
You have stated that, and I quote, "you need to take ECR to go from town to town." So, I ask you, do you or do you not support bike lanes on ECR that would improve bicycle access and safety? If you don't then it is clear that you do not support safe streets for those who use bicycles for everyday transportation.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm

pogo is a registered user.

I've never said that "bicyclists should not venture outside the city limits and travel to other towns?" You attributed that comment to me (I am quoting from your comment) but I never said that. Never.

I don't know how I can make my point any clearer. High speed, high volume cars do not mix well with pedestrians and bicycles. Trying to frustrate the thousands of people driving cars on our region's only surface arterial roadway is beyond absurd. As I asked, why not put pedestrian walkways and bike paths on the 280 and 101? There's a reason...

The headline of this thread and their frequency is sufficient proof.


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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 5, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Pogo,
You didn't answer my question, and it is clear from your writing that you have no idea how to facilitate safe bicycle travel between cities. If you believe that "high-speed, high-volume cars do not mix well with pedestrians and bicycles," then you should be more in favor of bike lanes, since they reduce the necessity of bicyclist having to share the travel lanes with motor vehicles, and, to use your words "frustrate the thousands of people driving cars on our region's only surface arterial roadway." If you don't want me and other bicyclists using public roads that we have all paid for, where do you think we should ride? Be specific.
By the way, bicycles are allowed on the shoulder of I 280 in two places in San Mateo county, where there are no reasonable alternative routes open to bicycles.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 5, 2015 at 7:29 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Sorry, Robert, but I don't answer questions from people who repeatedly and deliberately misstate my posts.

But why don't you answer my question - Why do you want to remove cars from El Camino Real and replace them with bicycles and pedestrians?

See? It really doesn't promote a productive conversation when you misstate someone's views.


2 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 7, 2015 at 12:27 am

Pogo,
I will answer your question: I don't want to "remove cars from El Camino Real and replace them with bicycles and pedestrians." I do want to add bike lanes to ECR in order to improve bicycle access and safety, since ECR is an essential route that connects many of the cities on the peninsula. There. I have answered your question, but I guess you are too stubborn to honestly answer my question. Even so, I will ask it again. If you don't want me and other bicyclists using public roads that we have all paid for, where do you think we should ride? Be specific.


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Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

pogo is a registered user.

Yes, I realize that you don't want to remove cars from El Camino Real. I was deliberately and explicitly misstating your position just as you were misstating mine. Previously, I sarcastically noted your inability to understand my point but the editors removed it. Clearly, the editors were wrong to delete it.

I've answered your question numerous times. And if you'd like to see my point again, please perform a search on this page for the word "mix" (use the "Find bar" in the upper right corner if you use Chrome). You will find multiple posts, nearly all authored by me (or in some cases, quoting my posts). None of the posts ever suggested that pedestrians and bicyclists should be barred from traveling from town to town or that I'm against bike or pedestrian paths.

Try reading them. Just once.


2 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Robert & Pogo,

Will you kids pipe down?! ;)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2015 at 11:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what happens when bicycles and cars are mixed together - the bicyclist loses:

Web Link

How many more examples do we need to understand that roads like ECR are not safe places for bicycles?

While bicycles may well have the "right" to be on these busy roads the price that the bicyclists may have to pay is simply too high.


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Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 14, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Mr. Carpenter, Let us stipulate that ECR, at present, is not the safest environment for bicyclists. We agree on this, I think. Let us also stipulate that ECR is one of the few thoroughfares that connect the cities of the peninsula. Don't you agree? Motorists use ECR to get where they are going, and cyclists must use it, too. Therefore, to not modify ECR with bike lanes and/or other accommodations to improve safety is wrong, if not criminally negligent.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2015 at 11:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Robert - You have stated a false premise. The Complete Streets Act call for a network of streets in each city with each contributing to some of the solution for some of the users - not a solution for everyone on every street.

Palo Alto provides superb North-South bicycle connectivity without using ECR and other cities should do the same.


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

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