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Menlo Park: Fire district offers $175K for special stoplights

Original post made on Jun 22, 2017

While the governing board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District on June 20 agreed to pay half the cost of two pedestrian-activated stoplights near its Menlo Park fire station on Middlefield Road, major hurdles remain before the new lights will stop any traffic.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 22, 2017, 11:09 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I recall that the developers of the 100 houses on Linfield and Willow already provides funds for traffic mitigations in that stretch as part of their development agreements.

Posted by Jen Wolosin
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm

A huge thank you to the Fire District for unanimously voting for this safety measure in front of Station 1 on Middlefield! The urgency (they say they deal in seconds and minutes...not years and years) and concern they demonstrated in this situation are remarkable. This proposal was developed by a dedicated and talented community member, Jonathan Weiner, and Parents for Safe Routes was happy to endorse the suggested plan because of the public safety benefits it offered not just to kids but to the community at large. In 8 days, the Fire District went from meeting with us about the idea to putting it on their agenda, to voting for its approval. Incredible.

You can watch our presentation to the Fire District, the comments made by other concerned residents, and the Fire District's thoughtful conversation on the topic here: Web Link It was the first topic covered. It's also important to note that we had about 70 petition signatures and about 10 concerned citizens who wrote personal letters of support to Chief Schapelhouman.

As mentioned in the article, the Fire District does not own the roadway, so it will be up to the City of Menlo Park to make this happen - from study, to design to implementation. We also want to point out that the Fire District wants this HAWK beacon so badly that they considered paying for the whole thing. While we also desperately want this project to move forward as quickly as possible, Parents for Safe Routes agrees with the Fire District's ultimate decision that the cost of the project needs to be shared with the City of Menlo Park. Menlo Park must work in partnership with the Fire District, and other agencies and jurisdictions around town, to make this and other safety improvements happen. That is what a community partnership is all about.

While we realize that the City of Menlo Park has its processes and many transportation initiatives to consider (and we appreciate all of the Safe Routes resources recently dedicated), we would like to challenge the City to move forward with looking into this plan as quickly as possible. Menlo Park is facing a transportation crisis. We are all suffering from collective road rage given our traffic congestion and with new developments approved by the City, it's not likely to get any better. We must make quick, smart and impactful infrastructure improvements that make it possible for many to leave their cars at home. While we have some walking and biking infrastructure in place, many routes have key stress points that make them unsafe, and therefore unusable to many (especially children). Fixing the intersection on Middlefield at Santa Monica/Linfield is a perfect example of how to make smart investments that will have huge impacts.

Parents for Safe Routes looks forward to working with the City to see how we can make this intersection improvement, and many more like it, happen in the near future. There is so much work to be done, but together, we can really make a difference!

And thanks to The Almanac for covering this important issue!

Jen Wolosin
Parents for Safe Routes
Join our mailing list: Web Link

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This will be a good experiment to test the responsiveness of two units of local governments.

The Fire Board took 8 days to give its approval to this project. Hopefully the Menlo Park City Council can approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on this project at its July 2017 meeting. Given that the Fire Board is prepared to finance all of the upfront costs this should be an easy decision for the Council.

Once an MOU is in place the whole project, including design, can be put in an RFP and a contract for the design and construction should be ready for approval by the September meetings of the Fire Board and City Council. Then it should not take longer than 3 months to design and construct the Double Hawk system - what a great Christmas present for the community!

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 22, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Town of Atherton's Hawk RFP provides a simple template for the City of Menlo Park - no need to reinvent the wheel.

Web Link

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another very useful Town of Atherton Hawk project document - most of which could be used as is by Menlo Park:

Web Link

Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Slow but great example of common sense and sense of community. Would it not be great if city councils of Menlo Park and Palo Alto could sit down together proactively and find a way to solve a traffic problem or two.

Posted by School Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 22, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Bravo to the Fire District for sharing it's wealth! The whole community will be helped here. Our kids and adult bikers and runners and walkers will get safer access to moving around town.

Posted by MPCSD Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 23, 2017 at 9:42 am

I applaud the Fire District's leadership and efforts to make this intersection more safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. The stretch of Middlefield between Willow and Ringwood lacks infrastructure to keep traffic speeds down and, as a result, cars routinely reach 40 to 50 miles an hour. This is one of the most dangerous sections of road in Menlo Park. The current crosswalk at Middlefield and Linfield is inadequate and does not improve bike or pedestrian visibility or safety. I hope that the Menlo Park City Council will move quickly to fund and design this project, and also look at more comprehensive ways to slow cars on Middlefield Road.

Posted by Linda barman
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 23, 2017 at 9:53 am

Thank you to the fire district! I'm impressed that they moved so quickly and are willing to put forward $. Here's hoping that the city can take advantage of this opportunity! We all know traffic is bad and getting worse, this is a chance to make our city safer for its residents.

Posted by Katie Behroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 23, 2017 at 10:04 am

I was blown away by the speed with which the fire board was able to rally around a solution to this dangerous stretch of road. I also recognize that moving this forward with the city will be more cumbersome, for all kinds of reasons. Still, the lengthy process outlined in this article by the assistant city manager made my heart sink.

Please, let's fast track this project. We've done it in other situations that felt urgent (e.g. Alma/Ravenswood intersection). The fire district is willing to front the cash. That stretch of road is scary even for me to traverse and I bike pretty fast. It must be terrifying for kids, slower cyclists, pedestrians, etc. And our firefighters could use the help to get where they're going in a safer manner. Win-Win! Right?

Posted by Pot meet Kettle
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 23, 2017 at 10:50 am

The Fire District is willing to pay for traffic lights that it needs anyway. Lowercase yay for them. Funding the project is literally the simplest aspect of the process, especially considering the District's cash position.

The real work--traffic analysis, design, bidding, and construction will be performed by consultants, engineers, and contractors. I would be shocked if this project is delivered before the 2018-2019 school year. As to why this issue wasn't already a priority for the City staff, well, do we even need to ask that question?

Posted by Jessica
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 23, 2017 at 11:45 am

I often bike with my children across Middlefield Road to get to Burgess Park and downtown Menlo Park. That intersection is quite dangerous - cars speed by and I've found you cannot trust them to stop. I've often seen other bicyclists with the same issue. As a bike-friendly city we should ensure we have the right infrastructure in place to ensure the safety of our residents.

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 23, 2017 at 11:57 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Bravo to the Fire District.

This s a great solution to a dangerous situation. Their forward thinking and effort will improve middlefield road.

Roy Thiele-Sardina

Posted by Angela E.
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Hooray for a win-win! I love that this new infrastructure will lower response times while keeping cyclists and pedestrians safer. Everyone benefits, especially the most vulnerable members of our community (children and those in need of emergency fire services). We must celebrate this partnership and agree to move it forward as quickly as possible to optimize its benefit. Thank you to all involved.

Posted by Tricia Barr
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Here is a note I sent to the City seven years ago! Thanks, all - let's make this happen!

From: tricia barr
Date: Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 9:20 PM
Subject: Crosswalk on Middlefield at Linfield Ave

Dear Randolph:

I will be leaving the country early on Tuesday morning and might not be able to attend the Bicycle Committee Meeting on Monday night, but feel this is a very important topic.

It's critical to put a safer crosswalk where Middlefield meets Linfield Ave. I cross there en route to my son's preschool. I am constantly concerned as I'm crossing with my young children that the cars aren't going to stop for pedestrian traffic. I literally need to wave my arms at cars when we enter the crosswalk because some wouldn't slow down or stop otherwise.

I have dreams of someday allowing my boys the freedom they should have to safely ride bikes to Burgess Pool or the Menlo Park Library on their own. However, I cannot imagine allowing that independence with the current crosswalk situation.

I'm glad to see there's a bike lane on Linfield Ave, so let's go the rest of the way and make sure bikes can safely cross Middlefield to make it there!

Best regards,
Tricia Barr

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