Activists urge Willow Road changes to keep kids safe | March 7, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 7, 2018

Activists urge Willow Road changes to keep kids safe

by Kate Bradshaw

Members of Belle Haven Action, a nonprofit focused on addressing problems in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood, are worried about kids' safety as they commute to and from school across U.S. 101 and along Willow Road.

Several members of the group sent an email to officials from Caltrans, the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, the Sequoia and Ravenswood City school districts, and San Mateo County, containing photos and a video showing kids making dangerous crossings on areas of Willow Road. Julie Shanson of Belle Haven Action wrote in the email that the group is requesting that a shuttle be implemented to run between Menlo-Atherton High School and Willow Oaks Elementary on a regular basis; that crossing guards direct pedestrians during peak times, and that the area be monitored regularly by police.

The group has three years' worth of photos and videos showing dangerous conditions for kids there, she wrote, but the safety problems have gotten worse since construction started on Caltrans' project to rebuild the U.S. 101/Willow Road overpass.

During construction, Caltrans is running a 24-hour shuttle bus to drive pedestrians and cyclists back and forth across the interchange. But, Ms. Shanson wrote, "We've heard that the shuttle service is inadequate and slow. We know kids don't wait."

"The pedestrian overpass near Ringwood Avenue and Van Buren Road over 101 is inconvenient for pedestrians and not monitored," she added. "We'd like to help explore solutions since this construction is due to last for months to come."

She said Caltrans spokesperson Jeff Weiss told the group that the agency responded by sending out a traffic and safety engineer to monitor the site on March 1.

When completed, the new overpass will have a pedestrian crossing and protected bike lanes, according to project designs.


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