Traffic mitigation and a proposal for new police body cameras are among the items on the Atherton City Council's agenda tonight (Wednesday, July 17).
Staff will present findings from a study on how to mitigate traffic that council members say has worsened in town. Transportation consulting firm TJKM reviewed the Alameda de las Pulgas corridor and traffic overall. In a 500-page report, TJKM found which intersections have the worst traffic congestion - a list that includes Valparaiso Avenue at Emilie Avenue, Alameda de las Pulgas at Atherton Avenue and Middlefield Road at Watkins Avenue - and offered recommendations for mitigating the congestion.
Now council members will consider directing staff to explore using traffic control measures to decrease through-traffic in town.
The report’s authors recommend the town update its general plan to describe how streets serve key modes of travel: bicycle, motor vehicle, pedestrian and public transit. They also suggest turning restrictions at key intersections along Alameda de las Pulgas, Valparaiso Avenue and Middlefield Road, and signal improvements at the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas and Atherton Avenue and at Middlefield Road where it intersects with Fair Oaks Lane and Watkins Avenue.
The council will also review recommendations from the town's Transit Committee, which is advocating for left-turn restrictions from southbound Alameda de las Pulgas to Stockbridge Avenue and Polhemus Avenue during the morning commute; traffic signals at the intersections of Valparaiso and Elena avenues and Valparaiso and Emilie avenues, with left and right turn lanes on Emilie at Valparaiso and Elena at Valparaiso; and new bike lanes in one direction along Atherton Avenue, among other proposals.
There are currently many large commercial and residential projects that are either being designed or are under construction in adjacent communities that will further impact traffic flow in the town, according to the consulting firm's report.
Also on the agenda is a proposal for staff to purchase 30 new Axon body cameras for $500 each for town police officers, according to a staff report. The total cost would be $133,208.08 (which includes installation, licensing and additional costs) over five years. These would replace the town's VieVu body cameras, which are no longer available and can’t be serviced or repaired since Axon Enterprise bought VieVu in 2018.
The Atherton Police Department has used body cameras for more than 10 years, said City Manager George Rodericks in an email. All sworn police officers and the code enforcement officer use the body cameras. The department has the same number of cameras now and the purchase would cover applicable personnel plus a couple of spares, he said.
“VieVu body cameras provide valuable evidence by obtaining accurate victim and witness statements, increased transparency and accountability of police officer activities,” according to a staff report. “Body cameras also help to protect against false accusations, misconduct, or abuse against police officers.”
Axon body camera footage is stored on Evidence.com, a cloud-based system that allows Atherton police to store, streamline and share all of the body camera data with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, according to the staff report. This feature is exclusive to Axon and is also utilized by multiple San Mateo County police agencies, according to the staff report.
The council will also vote on whether to authorize the purchase of three marked 2019 BMW police motorcycles for a total cost of $112,749.24. The council will also decide whether to authorize the sale of the police department’s four marked police motorcycles (due to mileage and wear): a 2007 Honda, a 2012 BMW, a 2013 BMW and 2015 BMW, according to the staff report.
The council meeting will start around 5:30 p.m. (depending on when a 5 p.m. closed session meeting ends) at Holbrook-Palmer Park’s Pavilion at 150 Watkins Ave. in Atherton.