News

Work underway on Marsh Road; traffic appears to be calming

 

Motorists appear to be figuring out alternative routes with the closure of Marsh Road in Atherton that began this week and will continue through mid-August, local officials say.

Atherton Mayor Elizabeth Lewis and an Almanac reporter visited the construction site and some of the nearby side streets this morning between 8 and 10 a.m., and while some motorists were cutting through on nearby neighborhood streets, traffic appeared to be flowing normally or even faster than usual on Middlefield Road.

The evening commute could be a different story, especially if motorists try to use Ringwood Avenue as an alternative to Marsh Road; that's because graduation at Menlo-Atherton High School, located on Middlefield Road at Ringwood, is at 4 p.m. today (June 2).

Laurel School, on Edgewood Road off Ringwood Avenue, is having an open house from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Mayor Lewis has asked the town to hire more flaggers to help direct motorists to the detour routes, which use Bay Road or Middlefield Road to get to Willow Road in Menlo Park, Woodside Road in Redwood City or 5th Avenue in Redwood City.

City Manager George Rodericks said that 20,000 cars normally use Marsh Road each day.

Meanwhile, on the Marsh Road construction site, crews are cutting back trees that might impede the equipment needed to replace the deteriorating drainage channel with a new cast-in-place concrete structure. Atherton's Town Arborist, Sally Bentz has been approving and overseeing all tree work.

See related stories: "A few bumps as Marsh Road closure begins" and "Traffic congestion ahead -- Marsh Road closure starts this week.

Barbara Wood

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 2, 2016 at 1:56 pm

"traffic appeared to be flowing normally or even faster than usual on Middlefield Road. Hmm . . . the portion of Middlefield near Marsh, which is closed?? ;-)

Laurel School is on Edge Road.

A sincere thanks to Ms. Wood and the Almanac for staying on top of this and continuing to update the community.


3 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 2, 2016 at 1:56 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

Did Mayor Lewis and the Almanac reporter observe traffic on Bay/Ringwood, or just Middlefield? Because with no cars flowing on to Middlefield from Marsh Road, it's not surprising that traffic there would be flowing normally. Bay & Ringwood are an entirely different story. Nice spin, though!


12 people like this
Posted by Lindenwood resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Ha! I'm trying not to be sarcastic, but with the misleading headline "Traffic appears to be calming," it's tough not come back with, "HUH?" Traffic is most definitely NOT calming on Ringwood and in and out of Lindenwood on Frederick at virtually all times, but especially at rush hours. Bay Road is a congested mess, and the traffic backed up at stop signs on either end and in the middle of Bay Road (Marsh/Ringwood/Willow) is a nightmare. What genius came up with the plan to limit work on Marsh to daylight hours only? I understand that Irving neighbors do not want nighttime noise, but, really, everyone else is now playing a huge price in terms of traffic congestion that will go on and on, all summer.

Yesterday, it took me more than 30 minutes to make a left from Frederick onto Ringwood (that was 10 minutes right there), then right turn onto Bay from Ringwood (another 5 minutes to go a very short distance), then left onto the Willow entrance of 101 North yesterday at 4:25pm.

Atherton politicians really need to gird their loins for the next election cycle. My unhappiness (and many others') will be expressed by voting (and campaigning) to defeat anyone who thought this was a good plan.


Like this comment
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Jun 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

We drove on Florence Street to Bay Road toward Redwood City and 5th Avenue, following the detour signs at 10 a.m. today (Thursday) and saw no congestion. At 3:30 p.m. today I drove from the Menlo Oaks neighborhood (Coleman Avenue, left onto Ringwood, right onto Middlefield) and while it was slow near the high school because of graduation parking, there was no other congestion. I have not driven Bay Road toward Menlo Park nor Willow Road during the Marsh closure, however.


13 people like this
Posted by Lindenwood resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:03 pm

With all due respect, Ms. Wood, I'm afraid you're driving in the wrong direction (or in the wrong neighborhoods) to make a statement about whether or not traffic is "calmed." I have always found your reporting to be steady, accurate, and thorough, however if you visit or ask any resident who lives along Bay Road (Hedge, Peggy, etc., near Flood Park), you will hear and see a very different account than the one you've written in today's story. Bay and Ringwood are a mess, and getting to and from 101 is a nightmare due to the Marsh closure.

This sentence: "traffic appeared to be flowing normally or even faster than usual on Middlefield Road" is stating the obvious because there is no traffic on Marsh Road feeding onto Middlefield Road -- so of course Middlefield traffic is lighter than usual and flowing well. Please come sit at the intersection of Bay and Ringwood tomorrow morning and see for yourself.


1 person likes this
Posted by MP parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Just now Ringwood had a line of cars backed up from Bay to somewhere past Laurel School (I didn't go down to see where/if it ended). Also a long line of cars wanting to turn left from Fredrick onto Ringwood.

Laurel School had early dismissal at 2:10 today.


3 people like this
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

If anyone wants to send me their personal observations of the traffic problems to use for an updated story, please email me at bwood@almanacnews.com. Please include a phone number if you're willing to talk more about how this has affected you.


Like this comment
Posted by Feeling Ragey
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 3, 2016 at 8:30 am

Ridiculous headline. It took me almost 30 minutes to go 1.6 miles. My kids go to Peninsula school and I gave myself 15 minutes. You need someone at the Ringwood and Bay stop waving cars through-like 20 start time. At 9am I was still inching a car at a time. I had to turnaround in the middle of Bay after almost 15 minutes and I went back to the freeway to attempt willow. I lost my mind. We have 2 more weeks of school. It did not appear to be high school traffic. We also have Summer School for 6 weeks. Please fix this!


Like this comment
Posted by Feeling Ragey
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 3, 2016 at 8:33 am

Should say "20 cars at a time."
Road rage makes for typos. ;-)


4 people like this
Posted by Feeling Less Ragey
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 3, 2016 at 9:04 am

***Update***
Today was much better. Not a lot of Bay Rd congestion shortly before 9am.
Better traffic management at the intersection. Thanks!


Like this comment
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 3, 2016 at 9:41 am

The key improvement seems to be the choice of flaggers.

The guys in high-viz vests with stop/slow signs (construction workers) are far better at keeping traffic moving safely than the cops were.


Like this comment
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Jun 3, 2016 at 10:15 am

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

Atherton's City Manager George Rodericks has posted more information about the closure, including responses to some of the problems being faced by local residents.
Web Link

Posted on: June 2, 2016
Reminder: Marsh Road Project - Road Closure - 5/31 - 8/15

Reminder: Marsh Road is closed from May 31 through August 15. Adjacent streets are closed to through traffic. These include the Atherton streets of Holbrook, Palmer, and San Benito, and County streets of Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th. Please remember to use an alternate route. Local destination users are allowed on all streets; however, through traffic/commute traffic are not. Other neighborhood streets may have signage as well. Please respect these neighborhood restrictions and be courteous as you drive these areas. Obey local stop laws and speed limits. Local law enforcement will be present at times to enforce and monitor traffic flow during the construction project. For more information about the project, visit www.ci.Atherton.ca.us/marshroad.

The Marsh Road Project involves large grading machinery, crane work, pile driving, dust, back-up horns, boring, and excavation work. This work is very loud and involves machinery that creates extended and extreme vibrations. There are residences within 30 feet of the project site and driveways immediately adjacent to the project. The project construction hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. The Town investigated the possibility of over night construction but the time frame for the project would have extended beyond an acceptable timeline (Federal deadline) and the impact on residences 30 feet away for night construction for 3-4 months was determined to be too impactful. Overnight construction on freeways and off ramps is much further away from residential homes.

The immediate adjacent neighborhood of North Fair Oaks (County and Atherton) are regularly impacted by any traffic delays on Marsh Road as traffic cuts off at Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th Avenue and travels down the narrow adjacent residential streets in an attempt to bypass any traffic on Marsh Road. More than 20,000 vehicles travel along Marsh Road per day. It was determined to be too impactful to divert 20,000 vehicles from the larger collector Marsh Road to the adjacent residential streets of Holbrook, Palmer, San Benito, Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th as those streets are not designed to accommodate the impact. Therefore, the Town worked with the cities of Menlo Park, Redwood City, and the County of San Mateo to design a regional traffic diversion plan to address the impact. Residents in the North Fair Oaks area and on Marsh Road were provided with placards to allow regular access while through traffic was diverted to the larger collector routes of Ringwood, Florence, 5th, Woodside Road, Bay and Willow. The placard enforcement in the Fair Oaks neighborhoods will be constant for the first couple weeks of the project and intermittent each week thereafter with traffic counts assisting the Town with identifying where the hotspots are and where/when enforcement needs to occur. Please help by avoiding these streets.

In addition to the North Fair Oaks neighborhood(s), local traffic only signs have been placed along the entrances to Lindenwood and other areas in Atherton, Menlo Park, and the County - particularly at streets that are cut-through streets for commuters to go from Bay to Ringwood to Middlefield to El Camino Real. While there are signs up, there are no flaggers or placards being used to manage the traffic flow. Enforcement in these areas is primarily by local law enforcement for stopping and speeding. If you enter these areas you are encouraged to obey local traffic laws, stop at all stop signs, obey the speed limit and watch carefully for pedestrians. These streets are regularly used by pedestrians, cyclists, and children. Local law enforcement will not be lenient with those using these streets as cut through streets during the construction project. These streets are open to all users who have local destinations - local residences, schools, businesses, churches, etc. in Atherton and Menlo Park.

The Town encourages your patience during this extreme time. The Drainage Channel Project must be completed. Engineers determined that the channel is in such a deteriorative state that failure could occur at any time. Failure of the channel would mean a failure of the roadway itself. If that had occurred, the roadway would be closed for far longer and the impact could have been far greater. Thank you again for your patience.

I understand that the project is in Atherton and the project is an Atherton project. However, the impact of this project is regional. The Atherton roadways, Marsh Road and Middlefield Road are used by more than 20,000 cars a day. Most of those trips are regional trips. The impact of this project is regional. Every effort is being taken to address the impacts of the project. Your cooperation is appreciated. If you can avoid the area - please do so. If you cannot - please expect delay or expect to be re-routed as the situation may dictate. The traffic impact will lessen over the summer when school traffic dissipates and commute traffic learns the diversion pattern.

Feel free to email me directly with any comments, questions, or concerns. We will attempt to address any hot spots through out the impact areas. However, we will not be closing down other roadways or adding new placard systems in other areas beyond North Fair Oaks. There will be local law enforcement and other assistance as needed. Thank you for your patience.

George Rodericks
City Manager
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us


2 people like this
Posted by HelloHanalei
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm

HelloHanalei is a registered user.

@Feeling Ragey, I live in Suburban Park and feel your pain! But yesterday was the last day of school for M-A, so hopefully Bay & Ringwood will be slightly less congested. MPCSD's school year ends on June 14. It's a nightmare, for sure!


2 people like this
Posted by hiker
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 3, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I find the information from the Atherton city manager largely incomprehensible. At least things on Bay this a.m. seemed better.


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

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