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Slow down: Menlo Park plans to lower speed limits on key streets

Original post made on Jul 17, 2023

Menlo Park officials are looking into ways to improve safety by reducing speed limits on several local roads, including Middle Avenue, Bay Road and Santa Cruz Avenue.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, July 15, 2023, 9:53 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Menlo Cyclist
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 17, 2023 at 5:49 pm

Menlo Cyclist is a registered user.

20 MPH on Santa Cruz? I'll have to ride the brake constantly as my car at IDLE goes faster than that. This is overkill. How about teaching people to be safety cautious when they are out walking and crossing streets without looking first! Plus, hardly anyone drives Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park anymore. Don't know where "city limit" is on Santa Cruz... (downtown north of Peets?) Not much down there... Also, 25 MPH is also too slow for Bay Road, Willow Road (especially)and is still painfully too slow in my opinion. Guess I'll just ride my bike more to avoid the slowness on these streets. Why does every driver have to suffer driving on these thoroughfares for the few people that are not careful?

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2023 at 8:26 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo Cyclist:

They can lower the limits if they want, but they can't enforce them. The only way to effectively enforce these speed limits is with radar (ladar). The use of which requires the street to be surveyed for the average speed of traffic. I can just about guarantee the average speeds are nowhere near as low as what they want to set them at. And the speed limit can't be enforced with radar if the average speed from the survey is higher. 20 mph on Santa Cruz? Maybe downtown. Once west of downtown the average speed goes way up. This is just more of the council trying to look like they're "doing something" while doing nothing at all.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 18, 2023 at 9:35 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I believe that the majority of the City Council hates cars and the people who drive them. They seem to have a strong anti-car agenda from eliminating parking on Middle Avenue (including being able to park in front of your own house), to reducing lanes on Middlefield, closing part of Santa Cruz and now this. Can we ask what issues these roads had prior to this decision and how they compared to other roads in Menlo park and surrounding cities? Maybe they should focus on real problems like reducing expenses and not raising taxes instead of ways to make getting around the city more difficult?

Posted by local resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 19, 2023 at 12:44 pm

local resident is a registered user.

Great idea to lower speed limits since most cars drive 5 to 10 mph faster, sometimes more, but needs to be coupled with enforcement of speed limits. This is not about being anti-automobile, but is about public safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other car drivers. The roads are for everyone. I've been passed on Bay Rds more than a couple times when I was driving somewhat faster than the speed limit. This happened when children are biking to school.
To Menlo Cyclist who thinks 25 mph is too slow: perhaps you and the rest of us should cycle more often, and oby the current speed limit. What's the hurry?

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 20, 2023 at 11:57 am

Joseph E. Davis is a registered user.

This is of course exactly backwards, but because it comes from the Menlo Park City Council, that's no surprise. Speed limits should be set higher on major streets to encourage traffic to efficiently flow there, and lower on neighborhood streets.

Posted by Dave Boyce
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2023 at 12:32 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

The drivers commenting here, and many Menlo Park drivers in general, seem unaware of the fact they they're driving killing machines. In accidents, cyclists and pedestrians have everything to lose while drivers, by comparison, have nothing to lose.

Drivers are ensconced, insulated, protected, empowered and, too often, distracted. The psychological implications for driver behavior are immutable, predictable and reprehensible.

Responsible driving is a conscious and continual act. As a cyclist who does not drive, it's disgusting to witness the parade of irresponsibility on display on the streets of Menlo Park. If the council has overreacted and are dialed back by speed surveys, good on them anyway for at least recognizing the seriousness of the problem.

Posted by Dave Boyce
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 20, 2023 at 1:26 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

I want to amend my comments in recognizing the many responsible drivers in Menlo Park. They offer cyclists the right of way and respect them.

It's the irresponsible ones that stick in one's memory because they represent such danger, and heretofore unmitigated danger. That needs to be addressed.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 20, 2023 at 4:09 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

@Menlo Voter.

“The only way to effectively enforce these speed limits is with radar” You assume the police are actually on those streets monitoring the traffic. People speed because they’re non-existent.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 20, 2023 at 7:25 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo Lifestyle:

You're right. And that's even more reason the reduction of speed limits is pointless.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 21, 2023 at 10:20 am

Brian is a registered user.

Dave Boyce,

With that attitude maybe you should run for City Council.

Bicyclists need to take responsibility as well. They are required to stop at stop signs and red traffic lights, something I rarely see most cyclists do. I also rarely see cyclists give the right of way to pedestrians and often times see adult cyclists riding on the sidewalks where they should not be. In California cyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as a vehicle driver, I rarely see cyclists obeying the same rules and that puts them, pedestrians who do have the right of way and vehicle drivers in danger.

Posted by Dave Boyce
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 21, 2023 at 12:13 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

Good points, and while I obey the rules of the road, I don't know what to do about the overwhelming majority who consider them optional. They're in another world.

But the hard reality of air-bagged and luxurious impunity versus complete and utter vulnerability puts the onus on drivers to be the magnanimous actors here.

Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Jul 21, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Private citizen is a registered user.

@loval resident,
You are aware that there are many seniors on and around bay rd. Biking is just not an option for some residents. However, I’d feel safer as an older pedestrian and a driver if more bikers obeyed the rules of the rd. and used basic biking etiquette on our streets.

Posted by Janet
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2023 at 12:44 pm

Janet is a registered user.

What a waste of time....the speed limit is currently 25 MPH on Santa Cruz and NO ONE drives 25 MPH. As mentioned numerous times above, enforce the current limit as well as enforcing complete stops at stop signs.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 21, 2023 at 3:18 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I forgot to mention that there are requirements that cities need to go through to change the speed limit on streets, there are studies that need to be done and rules about the amount of change that they can make. Since Menlo Park has not done this on these streets the new speed limits will not be enforceable and are a waste of time. I guess some people want to be seen as "doing something" even is what that really amounts to is wasting time and tax payer money... Didn't I read we have a budget deficit? Glad this is something that people feel the need to waste money on..

Relevant code:
If a local authority, after completing an engineering and traffic survey, finds that the speed limit is still more than is reasonable or safe, the local authority may, by ordinance, determine and declare a prima facie speed limit that has been reduced an additional five miles per hour for either of the following reasons:
(1)The portion of highway has been designated as a safety corridor. A local authority shall not deem more than one-fifth of their streets as safety corridors.
(2)The portion of highway is adjacent to any land or facility that generates high concentrations of bicyclists or pedestrians, especially those from vulnerable groups such as children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and the unhoused.

Posted by Ronen
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 22, 2023 at 8:32 am

Ronen is a registered user.

Reducing speeds in the downtown area of Santa Cruz makes sense. In fact, it makes sense to make that part of the street pedestrian only.
I also support installation of fully separated bike lanes to protect cyclists.
However, reducing speed limits on main arteries like Middle, Bay and Santa Cruz (outside of the downtown area) makes no sense whatsoever. What is the justification for this?

Posted by Not-Jeff
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Jul 22, 2023 at 11:41 am

Not-Jeff is a registered user.

1: while I'm opposed to the 'road diets' that are plaguing our area (ugh, do they really think the cars just disappear??? No, they go to residential streets! Like I do) I do think there's some room for changing SOME of the speed limits in the area. But some of these proposals seem overkill and/or unwarranted.

2: while I do think changes need to be made to Santa Cruz Ave, lowering the speed limit is woefully inadequate. DT Menlo Park is LOSING to Redwood City, San Carlos, Palo Alto and Mountain View. MP is pitiful in comparison.

DT MP should a minimum...a 1-lane+1-way-only from Doyle to at least Crane (and possibly University), with the business fronts extending out, and the sidewalks moved further out. Yes, that means the 'island' separating traffic would need to be removed and trees replanted or replaced.

It would be well worth it.

Posted by Private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Jul 30, 2023 at 9:07 am

Private citizen is a registered user.

I’m in favor of making Santa Cruz pedestrian only— no bikes, cars or other rolling things. And agree regarding speed limits and enforcement, but would like to see all of this enforced for bikers as well. I don’t personally mind the speed reductions on Bay and Van Buren. It’s the very least the council should do to mitigate their plans to allow massive commercial and market rate housing development in this area in the name of affordable housing. They have much more to do to make our streets safe for seniors, children and people with disabilities. So, literally, this is the very least they can do. They have about guaranteed that we will experience far more traffic than is manageable. The area will be more impassable and Bay rd needs far more than stop signs and reduced speeds. Literally the least they could do, for the least money. Bay needs cross walks between blocks, a safety redesign at the Ringwood- Bay intersection, protected bike lanes, full-width sidewalks with proper curbs and ramps, sidewalk repairs, street repairs. While we spend millions on a cushy pedestrian/bike underpass and other pet projects, we relegate overdevelopment without mitigation for residents on and around Bay and Van Buren. Thank you city council and city manager.

Posted by private citizen
a resident of Laurel School
on Aug 15, 2023 at 10:07 am

private citizen is a registered user.

From NYT, 8/15, a relevant update to this discussion, regarding enforcement:

Web Link

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