Woodside: New crosswalks going in


In an ongoing initiative to improve safety for children walking and biking to school in Woodside, the Town Council recently agreed to install three new crosswalks: one across Canada Road at Laning Drive, another across Mountain Home Road at Cedar Lane, and a third across Albion Avenue to connect a new trail to the Woodside Road crosswalk in front of Woodside Elementary School.

A fourth crosswalk, across Canada Road at Romero Road, will be relocated to the north side of the intersection and restriped. All the crosswalks will receive bright "ladder" stripes across the interior so as to increase their visibility to drivers, Woodside Town Engineer Sean Rose told the council.

The town expects to spend about $15,000 on the crosswalks, tapping the budget for 2018 road rehabilitation, a staff report says. As for the new section of trail at Albion, town crews will construct it. The Circulation Committee vetted the plans, the report says.

"We'd like to get all these improvements done by the time school resumes (on Aug. 20), but because of how we contract for them, that may not be possible," Rose told the council on July 24. The work may extend into September, he said.

"I really appreciate the input we got from the public when they were last here (in the council chambers)," Rose added. "That was very helpful to me. I had a lot of things in my mind about things that we're already doing, but hearing what they had to say ... has been invaluable."

Eroding rural charm

The council authorized the improvements in response to an upwelling of complaints at the June 12 council meeting by Woodside Elementary parents concerned about progress on the town's safe routes to school program. The focus of the complaints: Commuters, some of them sent to Woodside by Waze and other traffic rerouting apps, have been using Woodside surface streets as alternatives when traffic is crawling on Interstate 280.

Parents packed Independence Hall to share what they said they'd experienced: It's been one close call a month during walks to and from school, one parent said. Drivers routinely roll through the crosswalk in front of the school, said another. Commuters speed along normally quiet residential streets, said a third.

A driver turning on to Woodside Road from Albion in front of the school actually struck a student's bike as he was walking it across the road, despite the upright flashing lights that frame the crosswalk, another parent said.

"The once rural character of Woodside has been eroding for some time and in the last 5 years (that character) has eroded much more quickly due to the traffic increase during these hours (2-3 times what it was pre-Waze)," crosswalk campaign spokesman Peter Bailey said in an email to The Almanac.

"Our ultimate mission," Bailey added, "is to push back on the commuter traffic trend – making the community safer for all – and restoring our "sleepy town."

Changed votes

In 2014, the council authorized a new crosswalk at Canada and Romero and considered one at Mountain Home Road and Cedar Lane. They rejected the latter plan it on a 4-3 vote, with council members Dave Tanner and Anne Kasten and former council members Peter Mason and Tom Shanahan in the majority. Among the reasons cited during the discussion were the following:

• The crosswalk would end too near the driveway of a homeowner, who asked the town to install a camera to study traffic. That home has changed hands and the new homeowner has children in school and welcomes the crosswalk, Rose said.

• The Trails Committee wanted a diagonal crosswalk better suited for equestrians, but such crosswalks force pedestrians to put their backs to traffic and lengthen their exposure to traffic. The newly authorized crosswalk is not diagonal.

• Crosswalks and warning signs could undermine the town's rural character.

• The crosswalk should be put off until children have permission to use a path off Cedar Lane that would allow them to reach Woodside Road by going behind the fire station rather than passing by Roberts Market. That path remains off limits.


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2 people like this
Posted by Woodside Res
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Aug 10, 2018 at 1:21 pm

[This comment and subsequent post responding to it removed; original poster is a repeat violator of terms of use]

Like this comment
Posted by Woodsider
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 10, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Traffic in Woodside has been getting worse. Does anyone know why there is now consistently a backup coming into Woodside from 280 most weekday mornings? It often stretches from Cañada Road all the way to 280. Where are these people going?

It used to be that backups like this only occurred on warm weekend mornings, as people headed to the beach.

14 people like this
Posted by More people everywhere
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 10, 2018 at 4:06 pm

More cars everywhere.

12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 12, 2018 at 7:20 am

In 2014, Dave Tanner, Anne Kasten, Peter Mason and then mayor Tom Shanahan sunk an ongoing effort to provide safer routes for kids. In November Woodside will be well rid of all four of these council members and Deborah Gordon as well. This should be a huge opportunity for free, new, thoughtful, open governance. But the community is not stepping up to even run for all the open council seats. These 5 names - and former council member Dave Burow - are why: they created a culture of backroom dealing and listening only to the loudest voices in the room, they operated under no specific ethical principles, and they disdained their volunteers.

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