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Traffic Calming Disaster on Linfield Drive

Original post made by Here We Go Again, Menlo Park: other, on Apr 24, 2008

In case you haven't gone down the "new" stretch of Linfield Drive, two words of warning: WATCH OUT.

Seems that the same lunkheads who gave us the infamous Santa Cruz Ave "traffic calming" fiasco have outdone themselves this time with Linfield, having installed a ridiculously supersized roundabout island right where the two new housing complexes are.

Reaching that point in the road, you are suddenly squeezed over fully to the right side of the road with barely enough room to squeeze past.

But the real icing on the cake is that that roundabout is build low to the ground and covered with pale rocks. That combination makes it hard to see the roundabout until you're right upon it.

As a result, it's going to be an accident magnet - cars are going to either hit the roundabout curb and go up and over its rocks or hit the opposite curb when drivers swerve at the last minute to try and avoid the island.

You couldn't design it any more poorly if you tried.

If I were the Mayor, I'd get someone out there to remove it before the concrete dries - and then fire whoever at city hall thought that it was a good design!

Comments (20)

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Posted by 25 mph
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 25, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Darn, that new street furniture may force some of you to slow down a bit when you're cutting through our neighborhood. Or motivate you to stay on Middlefield, where the speed limit is 35 mph and you're less likely to run over kids or people walking their dogs.

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Posted by Oscar
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 25, 2008 at 7:45 pm

If you can't see the roundabout, perhaps you shouldn't be driving because you probably also can't see kids, dogs and bicyclists. Traffic circles are used around the world and are an efficient solution to keeping traffic moving, slowly, through an intersection without forcing drivers to stop if there is nobody else there.

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Posted by i like it
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 26, 2008 at 7:54 am

Obviously someone needs glasses when they are driving. The new street scape is very nice; I can't say the same for the ugly, packed together homes that have just sprung up. That development belongs in Redwood City, not Menlo Park.

i like it

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Posted by Casey
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

I believe that the enhancements on Linfield Drive are not only attractive, but provide safety as well. If you are driving the speed limit there should be no excuses, this is the "idea" behind it. Additionally, I think the Morgan Lane housing development adjacent to the traffic circles is very well thought out and extremely beneficial to an otherwise undeveloped part of Menlo Park. The houses are all “Craftsman” style and are quite appealing to the eye. Menlo Park needs to do this to other undeveloped “eye sores” especially on the El Camino. Menlo Park deserves modern development like this! Tasteful and functional.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm

"Casey" - surely you must be a staff member of Taylor Woodrow or Morrison Homes. Your comment was a poorly disguised bit of Marketing Fluff in favor of high density housing. Oh, gag!

The original poster, "Here We Go Again" is actually spot-on in their observation of the traffic circle. That circle is WAY TOO BIG! Since the oversized circle was installed, has the Menlo Park Fire Department attempted to drive their largest ladder truck down Linfield Drive turning north on Homewood into the USGS? Has the FD tried turning the ladder truck into the Taylor Woodrow development on the south side of Linfield? What about when all of the new families move into those houses and the delivery vans and moving trucks start showing up in droves? I'd like to see them navigate that silly traffic circle.

It is my prediction that once those houses are "dense" with human occupants, the newly installed traffic "calming" devices will have calmed traffic right down to a standstill during the morning, noon, and evening commute times.

As for the first 3 comments on this thread - It's okay for you to hold a favorable opinion of the "new" 100 block of Linfield Drive, but don't assume the original poster has a penchant for speeding or poor vision - that's just rude.

I'm all in favor of keeping the speeds in Linfield Oaks down to 25 miles per hour. And, yes, I wish people would not use our neighborhood as a cut-through to avoid traffic on Middlefield and Ravenswood - but that is the sad result of overcrowding. But that traffic circle is an appalling error. Past and current City Council members should be thrown in the public stockade. A possible location for such a public stockade might be the middle of that appalling traffic circle - it's certainly large enough to hold them!

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Posted by Mr. Parker
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 28, 2008 at 4:25 pm

I'm not opposed to traffic circles per se, but I have to agree that the design, size and placement of the Linfield circle is awkward at best, and probably will prove hazardous.

The medians down the middle of that oddly wide block aren't bad, however.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 28, 2008 at 7:55 pm

The traffic circle in theory is a good idea, however it is too big. I have a source that works in the MP fire department, and while discussing this with him he told me that they too agree that it is too big for their trucks to properly service the community. They have already tested the area and it failed to provide adequate clearance for their large ladder truck. Therefore, this reliable source said that the traffic circle will be jack hammered out and either completely eliminated or replaced with a properly sized alternative. Pretty expensive mistake! Hopefully, this action by the fire department will remedy the problem.

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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 28, 2008 at 9:08 pm

The fire department approved the plan originally. It was designed so that the trucks could go over the circle.

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Posted by we're not sacramenlo
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 28, 2008 at 9:54 pm

If the firetrucks can't go around that circle, no way will they be able to squeeze down the narrow streets of that densely packed and extremely unattractive housing development. The architects of that development must have been the same people who design those inviting tract home communities that abut interstate 80 on the way to Sacramento.

I wouldn't pillory the council members for the traffic circle, as I doubt they even knew about it before it was installed. However, you can blame the prior council for allowing the developer to flout the general plan and zoning ordinances so as to stick that abomination in the center of Menlo Park. Anyone notice how all the bedroom windows are only a couple of yards away from the neighbors' bedroom windows? No driveways? Hardly any parking? Yuck.

By the way, the reason the street is so wide is that the occupant of the property for decades was Consolidated Freightways, and they needed the width to turn around their trucks. Unfortunately, too many drivers seem to think that "wide street" = "freeway" and hit the gas accordingly. If that traffic circle gets them to slow down, it's a keeper. I just wish it had a big tree in the middle of it because it's not the prettiest pile of rocks on the planet.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 28, 2008 at 10:04 pm

The fire department did approve it originally. It would have never been done without their approval to begin with, however after a trial test, it ended up being too high for the ladder truck to maneuver over in case of a fire in the new community. This is why the test failed and a complete elimination or redesign has been ordered.

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Posted by AThreeHourTour
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Looks like this posting struck a nerve:
There are now two emergency "cones" (well not really cones, but I don't know exactly what you call them) placed on either side of "Gilligan's Island" to alert drivers as to its presence.

Thanks Steve - it now makes sense why the island is so relatively low (although not low enough for the Fire Dept!).

Next time we need to get "The Professor" to design it, not Gilligan. And hopefully "The Millionaire" will pay for its removal and replacement instead of us taxpayers (maybe the fellow who wants to pay for the new gym has some pocket change to spare for this as well?)

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Posted by Bicycle Man
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 30, 2008 at 7:25 am

My great fear is the traffic circle squeezes an automoble diver so much towards the sidewalk, that this narrow small opening for a car could potentially hit someone traveling by bicycle at the same time. In my opinion, it is an "accident waiting to happen."

This is a perfect example of solving one problem while possibly creating two new ones. My hunch is, the traffic plan was never on the agenda of the Menlo Park Bicyle Commission. If it had, I suspect some modifications may have been included in the final design.

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Posted by Ginger
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2008 at 11:21 am

I don't want to sound like a "Maryanne," but I think the Linfield houses are better looking than those big blocky things going up on Willow by Sunset Magazine.

I agree, that traffic circle design is really weird.

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Posted by SchlockMeister
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

The new houses on Linfield belong on the other side of a soundwall along highway, not in Menlo Park. The willow houses will sell faster, even though they're about 400-600k more than the Taylor Woodrow schlock.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 13, 2008 at 10:51 am

The Linfield Drive traffic circle is being drilled out at this very moment .....

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Posted by Apocalypse This
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Ah, I love the smell of jackhammered concrete in the afternoon!

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Posted by wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I asked a worker who was doing the demolition on the circle. It seems the MP fire department insisted that it be reduced in height. It seems the fire trucks could not deal with the existing height, which was 3 inches to high. I wonder who is paying for the re-do.


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Posted by Ginger
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

It the developer isn't paying for re-doing the traffic circle, I'd be very surprised. Is anyone checking into this?

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm

The developer is paying for the redo. They didn't read the plans correctly.

Makes you wonder whether they read the plans correctly regarding the height of the houses.

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Posted by another neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Not to mention that the houses are lopsided.

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