Traffic: Atherton may study entire stretch of Alameda de las Pulgas in town

Study would include a roundabout at Atherton Avenue

Atherton's City Council decided when it met on Jan. 20 that instead of solely looking into a roundabout at Alameda de las Pulgas and Atherton Avenue, it might want to study the entire stretch of Alameda within Atherton.

Members of the town's Transportation Committee asked the council to consider a roundabout instead of the four-way stop at the busy intersection of Alameda and Atherton Avenue. But recently, the Las Lomitas School District said it might want to add a stoplight on Alameda to make it easier to get in and out of Las Lomitas School, and that could change traffic patterns.

Councilman Cary Wiest said he wants to make sure that any changes on Alameda, which he said is a "route that is becoming an expressway," doesn't make things worse for Atherton residents who live on the side streets. He said he feared a roundabout would do just that. "We're going to have more residents complain that they can't get in during commute hours," Mr. Wiest said.

But Mayor Elizabeth Lewis urged more study. "We're all talking about this as if we know what we're talking about. We don't," she said.

Staff will come back to the council with more information about an expanded study, including a roundabout, and will explore having the school district pitch in some funding.

— Barbara Wood

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8 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Regarding roundabouts, my experience bicycling in Europe has been very favorable. They are very easy to use. You have to look only in one direction. There are only two rules: 1. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout. 2. Remember to use your turn signal to show that you are exiting the roundabout.

9 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 1, 2016 at 9:16 am

@Robert Cronin - you are so wrong! You still have to look two ways before entering a roundabout. What if there is a pedestrian crossing from your right??? If drivers only look to their left, this roundabout will be tremendously more dangerous than a standard traffic light that everyone has experience with.

8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Roundabouts in the UK with pedestrian crossings have those crossings clearly marked and those crossing are always before the entry into the roundabout.

In my experience roundabouts are a much more efficient, environmentally friendly and safer method of handling intersections than are traffic lights.

4 people like this
Posted by Richard Vaughan
a resident of another community
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:33 am

A roundabout makes a lot of sense. During commute hours the intersection really backs up in both directions along the Alameda and forces many (including myself) to go through residential backs streets. As more people discover traffic apps, Atherton residents are going to find their side streets more and more filled with traffic as the apps will send drivers around this blockage.
Stanford just installed roundabouts on Campus Dr. They have to deal with a lot more pedestrians and bicycles than the Alameda. For those that have safety concerns, why not look and see what the accident rate has been since these have been installed.

8 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:45 am

Moving the crosswalks to well before the roundabout makes sense for safety, but that will require drivers to yield twice, once for the crosswalk then again before entering the roundabout. Are drivers really smart enough to do this? Distracted driving is rampant in Atherton and any added complexity only adds to that.

The Stanford situation is a lot different because all the pedestrians and bicyclists encourage drivers all over campus to slow down and pay attention. Really hard to believe that will happen on Alameda de las Pulgas where speeding is currently rampant.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 1, 2016 at 11:40 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

@parent: I have not seen a report on this to back your statement. I have seen many reports on the traffic congestion. So I ask, is this just an observation of when you drive or do you have factual material to back-up that statement. Factual data is what is relevant and thus far, factual data prevails in the traffic circle....albeit, I am not sure I like it, but I have to rely on data.

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

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