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Woodside: 75 drivers cited for speeding in one day

Original post made on Aug 26, 2014

Seventy-five speeding tickets, 15 tickets for "distracted driving" and eight for seat belt violations were issued to drivers at various locations in Woodside on Aug. 20, according to the San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 11:41 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by safe driver
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I agree that abruptly changing the speed limit from 45 to 35 is confusing. We should change the speed limit to 35mph for the entire lengths of Woodside Road and Portola Road and Sand Hill Road. Faster speeds really are unsafe, especially since so many people driver 10mph over the speed limit, no matter what is the speed limit.

Posted by agreed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I agree. 35 or 45, just make it consistent. Yes, everyone will drive faster, so 35 is probably good.

Posted by johngslater
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Sahil Cooner was killed Aug 3 2012 when a person coming out of the Menlo Country Club drove in front of him. Sahil was driving the speed limit. The other driver has never been identified, and there has been no further information about this fatal accident. Disappointing.

I bike Woodside Rd all the time. I am less worried about drivers, it is the bumpy road going downhill after passing the Pioneer Hotel that seems to be the biggest danger.

Posted by Megan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I'd like clarification on what is considered "distracted driving." It seems as if it would be open to wide interpretation. Cell phones, I understand, but how about a car full of screaming kids.

Posted by cc
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Yes lower speed limits then write more tickets for all the irritating tailgaters - just a thought....

Posted by Ed Holland
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I am very pleased to see this concerted effort by Law Enforcement staff.

The recent speed citation figures for neighboring Portola Valley make for some frightening reading. It is clear that this is a general issue and in combination with distracted drivers, potentially a lethal one.

To those complaining about confusing speed limit changes - the signage is there in plain sight, I don't think there are any reasonable excuses.

Ed Holland, Portola Valley Bicycle, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee

Posted by rgs
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Traffic safety is important for sure, but I there is the underlying Revenue generation that quantifies and promotes these citation traps. Having our local police and sheriff personnel working as revenue agents in the guise of safety is unfortunate.

In the past, many of the citations issued were done so illegally by virtue of the issuing officer having broken the law his/her self. When the officer parks on the sidewalk and in no parking areas of the roadway, they are doing so against the law, as they are only exempt from such practices if responding to an active emergency. Traffic duty is not considered an emergency.

Persons that received a citation from an officer that was breaking the law can check with a lawyer for exact details, but they can file a complaint, have the citation dismissed (its usually not valid when the officer broke the law).

Also, on woodside road the 45 and 35 speed limits are not binding from a citation perspective (surprising!). The Penal Code they would have been sited for is un-safe driving, but often it is easy to prove that you were driving safely: Road conditions (dry), amount of traffic (light), road lighting (daylight/clear), etc.

One last note: When a roadway and its speed limits are such that scores of citations can be issued in a manner of just a few hours, it is an indication that the roadway and signage are inconsistent with 'normal' traffic flow. Unless a traffic study is current, the citation may not hold in court.

Good luck and drive safe!

Posted by Collision coming
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Deploying that many police in one area for the expressed purpose of handing out traffic citations is a waste of resources. They can't write tickets fast enough to pay for their combined salaries and benefits. While they play games and issue tickets , Rome burns. The stupid solution to the problem of a poorly routed bicycle lane that intertwines with a major access to a major freeway is to drop the speed limit to 35. I can guarantee you that a bicyclist hit by a car doing 35 isn't much different than a bicyclist hit by a car doing 45. The problem is the blind crossing and approach. The only way to prevent future injury and death is to truly physically separate the paths of travel. This could be done, but at significantly more expense than dumping green paint on the roadway. Until then it's just another example of government rearranging the deck chairs.

Posted by Mlk
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I've noticed that there are a number of changes in the speed limit on westbound Woodside Rd between Alameda and 280. Just after the intersection it drops to 25, for no apparent reason, then increases to 35 in front of the high school, then up to 45 and again back down to 35 just before the 280 intersection. I agree, eliminate confusion and just make it 35 for the entire stretch.

Posted by Offramp
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

rgs, think about it. If it was to generate revenue, why would they publicize it? Keep it quiet so you can rake in more bucks, right? And as it being a revenue generator, the police normally get little and often nothing from the tickets they write. Cities get a little, counties get some, the courts get a pretty good share for building, operating and security, emergency medical services get some for cleaning up after crashes, the State gets some, there is some for getting DNA samples from those in jail, and the list goes on.

If you really want to protest the cost of a ticket, there is a foolproof way to do it, to thwart their evil, money grubbing intentions. Just don’t break the laws! No violation, no ticket, no revenue generated to the government! What could be simpler? Done deal. Starve them with compliance.

Good thing you didn't give your name. I'm sure your neighbors would be happy to know who is against reasonable speed limits.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

rgs - If the highway has been "surveyed" and it is found that 85% of vehicles are within the posted speed limit, the court will not permit your suggest defense. If there is a qualified survey in existence, the judge will usually announce it is advance of the mass hearing.

Woodside does not have a police department and tickets written with our town limits are written by San Mateo County Sheriff deputies. There is no revenue sharing of traffic tickets for Woodside - all of the fines go to San Mateo County.

By the way, I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to the position of the police vehicle on the roadway when a driver is issued a traffic citation. Let me know how that works out for you... especially when the officer tells the judge that he located his vehicle for the safety of the driver and himself.

agreed - Woodside Road is a STATE highway and the speed limit is posted by CalTrans. While the local cities can recommend changes, the final decision is made by CalTrans.

Posted by offramp
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Too bad you didn't do any research before making your "guarantee." There is plenty of literature out there about speed variables and crash survivability. But let me save you the time - a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a car traveling at 35 mph has an average 65% chance of severe injury and 35% chance of death, while at 45 mph, that rises to 90% chance of severe injury and 60% chance of death.

There are no one stop solutions. Speed control, roadway engineering, signage, public education and more is the long term solution.

Posted by parent
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

In addition to much better pedestrian survival rates with lower speed collisions, a car driver has much better road visibility at lower speeds, thus reducing the chances of the collision happening in the first place. That includes more time to see people in front of him and also more peripheral vision towards the sides of the roads, where pedestrians are often found. Studies have shown that drivers develop tunnel vision at higher speeds, greatly reducing their ability to see and react to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:18 pm

In addition to speeders (most of whom usually pass me at 50+, so the lower 35 limit isn't the issue), it would nice if the Sherriff or CHP would ticket the MANY drivers who blow through the light st Churchill Ave (Woodside High School entrance). I drive through that intersection multiple times per day, and about 1 out of 5 times a car or two decide they are too important to stop when it turns red.

Posted by TDM
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I think the better use or this would be on weekends focused on bicyclists who are all over the road

Posted by Mark Toshland
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I've had a few expensive tickets and have sat through a boring day of Traffic School (before they'd let you do it on-line). The class I attended was taught by an overweight, loudmouthed braggart of a cop. He thought he was a stand-up comedian. He told us all about life as a cop, and how he caught speeders, etc. He tried to be entertaining, but all I could do was think about all the things I could have been doing that day. This was nothing like jail, but we were all a captive audience, just the same. The memory of that day reminds me to drive a little slower. Wasting a day of your freedom or paying exorbitant fines.......just not worth it!

Posted by hmmm
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I didn't see a single cop at the Roberts intersection ticketing cyclists that (still) don't fully stop. Is that because it doesn't qualify as speeding or distracted driving and/or because those fines are for lower amounts?

Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

pogo is a registered user.

hmmm - if you didn't see a single cop there, how could they issue tickets?

Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 27, 2014 at 9:40 pm

TDM and hmmm, I'm both a driver and cyclist, and I believe that everyone should obey the traffic laws.

I suggest that you start your own thread on the cyclist issue instead of unnecessarily distracting from the main topic being discussed on this thread.

Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Yes, what do bicycles have to do with the subject?

Mark. Actually the joke was on you. You got the ticket. Try taking the online traffic school and you will still pay the cost of the ticket. But, the ticket will not appear on your driving record.

Posted by Cycling Pete
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Cyclists have a lot to do with that stretch of the road. Maybe not at 8am weekdays, but certainly at other times.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Aug 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Since the article outlines how our tax dollars are being deployed to keep our community safe, I do think that I am fully on topic:

If the purpose of the citations on that stretch of 84!is to make the road safer for all involved, including cyclists, then ensuring that everyone, including cyclists, mark a complete stop at that very busy intersection should also be an area of focus. Plain and simple.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I'm the original Hmmm (does that make me the O.H.?), and perhaps a similar concerted effort to ticket law breaking cyclists will happen. But that's not the subject of this article, which is about specific target areas for specific reasons.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:40 am

Just FYI to all you Hmmm pretenders out there. I, for one, can sense when the post is by the Original Hmmm.

Posted by Cycling Pete
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 29, 2014 at 11:57 am

Truly an Original!


Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Ummm, thanks, Cycling Pete? :-) Thanks, Joe :-)

And to be back on subject, I'm glad that the cops did this. I've gotten tired of people riding my back bumper on Sand Hill and Woodside Roads. They may be bigwigs at work, or in their own impatient little minds, but when they're riding my bumper, they're a dangerous p.i.t.a.!

Posted by matt from the block
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 1, 2014 at 9:06 pm

matt from the block is a registered user.

This is just like those episodes of "Dukes of Hazard" where Sheriff Coltrane and Boss Hogg would put down fake fire hydrants and road signs to entrap the Dukes. Glad our law enforcement agencies are getting their tactics from the experts...

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