County Department of Public Works (DPW) held a public meeting to discuss the Santa Cruz/Alameda Safety project. The meeting was attended by about 60 community members on Tuesday, April 18.

Summary of Meeting with Questions & Answers

For a download of the PDF of the Summary of Meeting with Q&A, please click the button. This includes all questions provided to DPW before and the ones read during the meeting.


Update July 28 — County

During the April 18th meeting, County had promised to follow up with everyone on various items. While we are still waiting for DPW promised items, including an understanding of the type and height of curbs to be used in medians, how ER vehicles (ambulance, rescue, police, sheriff, etc) will not be impeded by the medians, a definitive understanding of where parking will be removed and where it will be restored, decisions on honoring resident egress/ingress safety, shortened crosswalks, median placement, and other items, DPW has just released some information from the meeting:


An important meeting for all, as many in the community have raised safety concerns and have unanswered questions. Our understanding from after the meeting is that DPW will conduct a process of answering questions and concerns pertaining to the Santa Cruz/Alameda Safety project.

The questions and concerns entered in the comments below were all submitted to DPW. Questions/concerns entered here after the meeting will also be sent to DPW.


Use Comment/Reply Form Below

You may use the Comment Form below to submit to County DPW. Ask one or more questions. If you have concerns, please note them below. Have other feedback or comments in general? Note them below.

All comments are public and will be given to County DPW prior to the April 18 meeting.

Resources:

https://www.univpark.org/safe/north-sca

County’s Santa Cruz/Alameda Safety Project Design plans
DPW’s April 18th Public Meeting Announcement Flyer
County Santa Cruz/Alameda Safety Project Page

Safer4Us.com – Alameda @ Liberty Park
Safer4Us.com – Alameda @ Santa Cruz Ave “Y”
Safer4Us.com – Santa Cruz Ave – North of “Y”

20 thoughts on “Results – Public Meeting — Held on April 18”
  1. Am disappointed, disgusted at Counties delay and lack of respect for the residents safety.
    My garbage can was hit and needs to be replaced. Second time in 1 year, due to speed and disregard to correct Lane.
    Have had car totaled in Parking position few years ago.
    Speeding car ,,, using bike lane as 2nd lane.
    Am fed up, give up!

    Just waiting for inevitable fatality,
    Have had zero influence , having attended in person, all my letters to county, which Ron is aware, gone to deaf ears, County employees collect their Salary, smile at our frustrations and keep delays so their jobs are solvent — while there IS AN ISSUE! Good luck.

    My biggest issue is Speed NB SCA, It’s used as a SUPER Highway.

  2. After all this time and history of so many accidents and with speeding a major problem, why is county keeping that 50+mph turn at the “Y”? It doesn’t make sense!

    The speed limit is 25, lets have a turn that is 25 mph — that would slow down traffic! Get rid of that highway style turn and put in an appropriate speed turn for a residential area.

  3. It is not clear what the posted speed limit is at the ‘Y’ intersection. There is a 25MPH regulatory speed sign on NB Santa Cruz. Additional speed control signs should be added approaching each arm of the intersection and additional traffic calming measures considered (e.g. lateral rumble strips). Four intersections in the City of Menlo Park are equipped with automated red light cameras for red light enforcement. They should be considered at the ‘Y’ intersection to address community concerns on high speed traffic – especially on NB Santa Cruz through movements.

  4. Ref: 95% Design Plans, Sheet SS-02 (Santa Cruz/Alameda ‘Y’ intersection – signing/striping plan)
    1. There appears to be an unprotected crosswalk from SB Santa Cruz to WB Alameda (i.e. left side of large pork chop island). Also, the stopping sight distance for SB Santa Cruz traffic approaching this crosswalk appears inadequate due to existing property wall blocking the line of sight for a vehicle approaching the crosswalk. A pedestrian activated signal (or Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon) should be considered for this crosswalk. Alternatively, in-roadway warning lights or “flashing crosswalks” are a currently-accepted treatment in MUTCD for use at uncontrolled crosswalks.
    2. 10′ wide travel lanes are very narrow and a safety concern where there are a lot of turning movements and vehicles could encroach into bike lanes – particularly if large trucks are present. 11′ is a preferred minimum travel lane width. Has a design exception fact sheet been prepared to document the use of the mandatory minimum lane width and protect the County from tort liability?
    3. The pavement markings on NB Santa Cruz informing vehicles which lane to choose will be hard to comprehend, wear out over time, and may be obscured by queuing traffic. Placing direction signs on the signal arm at the intersection should also be considered to improve visibility. There are similar direction signs placed on an electrolier arm some distance east of the ‘Y’ intersection.
    4. Can the median hard island be extended on the east and south legs of the ‘Y’ intersection. The other legs of the intersection have this feature to provide peds in the crosswalk some added protection.
    5. Portions of the bike lanes utilize the gutter (e.g. NB Santa Cruz approaching the ‘Y’ intersection). Bikes don’t like to ride in the gutter so the bike lane width is effectively narrower where gutter exists. Consider using curb with no gutter at these locations.
    6. It is not clear what the posted speed limit is at the ‘Y’ intersection. There is a 25MPH regulatory speed sign on NB Santa Cruz. Additional speed control signs should be added approaching each arm of the intersection and additional traffic calming measures considered (e.g. lateral rumble strips). Four intersections in the City of Menlo Park are equipped with automated red light cameras for red light enforcement. They should be considered at the ‘Y’ intersection to address community concerns on high speed traffic – especially on NB Santa Cruz through movements.

  5. I have been an owner of tax paying property on Santa Cruz Ave. for over 35 years.

    I want to make several points in response to the Proposal of San Mateo County to remove parking and other adjustments on Santa Cruz Avenue between Sand Hill Road and the Y junction.

    – I am member of a neighborhood that is active and connected one to each other. We are not just renters who have no stake in the outcome of this proposal.

    – The most important goal is community safety, with a priority on the Community that actually lives on the road and in this neighborhood!

    – This proposal will have significant negative property value impacts on our owned properties.

    – The distance to reasonable and available parking from this proposal is too far for our service providers, family and elderly who do not want to walk to visit our properties.

    – We have NOT been contacted about this project in any form at all since 2018. I am indignant about the posting of a ‘Final’ plan without the input of the impacted neighborhood stakeholders.

    – This proposal has the likely outcome of even faster and unsafe speeds for cars traveling on Santa Cruz Ave.

    – Please research the traffic violations in this stretch of road. The lanes are not the problem. Speed is.

  6. I did not see any stage construction/ traffic handling plans in the 95% plan set. How does the County propose to maintain safe and efficient operations for vehicles/peds/bikes during construction, including maintaining private driveway access?

  7. All of these concerns need to be addressed by any plans for this area:

    1. Reduction of traffic speed
    2. Pedestrian safety and accessibility
    3. Safe access to and from property
    4. Safe street parking
    5. Safe accommodations for cyclists

    It’s unclear to me why we need so many lanes in this stretch of Santa Cruz Avenue when it gets reduced as soon as you continue in either direction. Alameda and Alpine are reduced to two lanes as well as the Y Santa Cruz continuation.

    If we reduce to two lanes with a center turn lane, the rest of the street can be used for adequate road parking with bike lanes and safety buffers on both sides of the street with normal and safe sidewalks.

    Crosswalks are a major concern. If you did any observation or studies of how people use the street, you will understand how unsafe they are currently, so the ‘improvements’ will have zero impact on pedestrian safety.

    Pedestrians walking NB on the West side cross toward Alameda at the middle of the intersection, they will not walk towards Santa Cruz and then cross over. Super unsafe, but it is the most direct path.

  8. The published plans don’t seem to address the long traffic queues that County said would be an issue in one of the last public meetings, specifically that SB section of Santa Cruz Avenue south of the Alameda de las Pulgas intersection. The traffic lights at Sand Hill Road are inefficient and extremely long duration. Knowing in advance that these long queues are likely to extend to this intersection and further north, what will be done to avoid this queue problem? Will the Sand Hill Traffic lights be programmed to discharge the queue more frequently? Will there be sensors along that SB Santa Cruz traffic lane to identify the queuing issue to the Sand Hill traffic control system?

  9. These questions primarily pertain to the “Y” intersection area of Santa Cruz and Alameda: (Note for illustration see Safer4Us.com/y)

    • Why aren’t the crosswalks lengths reduced to a minimum? The County plan crosswalks are 250% longer than the road diet on Alameda requires. They are excessively long even crossing Santa Cruz on the south side of the intersection. Guidelines recommend 90° crosswalks for a variety of safety considerations. Why are these crosswalks angled, especially the southern crosswalk?

    • Why are the safety of residents not being considered in this new design? This design takes a significant step backards from a safety perspective by eliminating the buffer between traffic and the properties. Can that be restored and provide safety to/from residential properties?

    • Why isn’t a slower speed turn being implemented? The slip lane design was designed for 45-50 mph. Why can’t this be a curve rated more appropriately for our 25 mph speed? (We don’t need a turn that allows a higher speed than the speed limit.)

    • Why are residents being severely limited for access to and from their property? Currently residents have full access to exit and enter their properties from both the north or south directions. The County plan doesn’t allow them to access their property from the north. Nor does it allow them to access southbound Santa Cruz, nor northbound Alameda. This seems overly restrictive and unnecessary. There is no mention on what the county road designer suggests for these residents to mitigate the access restrictions of their property.

  10. I agree with some neighbor’s suggestions, i.e. speed bumps on the Y intersection, and speed bumps around the intersections closed to La Entrada school. More visible 25MPH signs from the Y to La Entrada school.

  11. I sent the following to County DPW in late December, after reviewing the 90% plans. My comments are from a bicycling perspective:

    I have looked at the striping for the 90% plan for the Santa Cruz Ave/Alameda de las Pulgas project. When I compare these new plans for the striping, I see very little differences between the two, even though I made suggestions which should improve bicycling through this corridor. Also, I see that the web-page announcing the 90% plans says “No public comments were received via email at the 60% plans, and the County has moved onto the 90% plans.” I submitted my comments via email June 29, 2022 with an acknowledgement of receipt by PW staff on July 1. I amended my comments on August 8. I find the statement on the webpage “odd”. I would have like to seen some justification on the part of PW for their reasoning not to incorporate my suggestions. In response to my comments below, I would like to see the Department provide commentary if they don’t agree with my recommendations.

    Below are my comments. Many of them are a carry-over from my 60% comments. However, there is one new comment, which is the first item.
    • Southbound as Alameda transitions into Santa Cruz and its intersection with Campo Bello: The 60% plan shows a pocket bike lane sandwiched between the dedicated right-turn only lane for Campo Bello and “through” lane for Santa Cruz. The 90% plans eliminated the pocket bike lane by replacing it with gore and requiring through-going bike-traffic to use the right-turn only lane. Although the vehicle code allows thru-going traffic to use a dedicated right-turn lane, (CVC 22100(a)(3) — operative word in the CVC is “may”), this is not common practice at intersections with dedicated right-turn lanes. As drawn in the 90% planes, that lane is 13-ft wide. If this seems to be the better choice (compared to the 60% version), then I suggest: A) a configuration with the sharrow symbol is offset to the left as shown in figure 5.3 in the VTA document, https://www.vta.org/sites/default/files/documents/vta_bicycle_technical_guidelines_ch5-6.pdf and B) adding a MUTCD R4-4 sign “begin right turn lane, yield to bikes”.
    • In the NB (or NW bound) direction of SCA leading into the “Y”, the weave zone for motorists and bike riders is too short. It should be a minimum of 100-ft. Again, I reference the VTA guidelines, Figure 5.1 as it recommends > 100-ft. From the 90% plans, the weave, or conflict, zone is approximately three parking stalls (or between 60 and 75-ft long, total). I also strongly recommend that the the green stripping shown in the 90% plans be expanded in width to become a large rectangle covering the entire conflict zone (100’-min x 17’). The larger area provides ample warning to motorists that bikes maybe anywhere within that zone as they need to cross-over the stream of cars that will be turning right towards downtown Menlo Park. This is similar to the treatment at the intersection of Foothill Expressway and El Monte (although, that configuration has two, right-turning lanes but none the less, is similar to the problem at the Y). Note the at the MUTCD R4-4 is not warranted here as it would be out of the sightline of motorists (ie, to the right of the parking lane)
    • There are still various intersections where the lane widths are 11’ rather than the 10’ suggested by the Task Force. What is the justification for 11’?
    • At Avy, both NB and SB, the bike lanes are dashed. For NB, it should only be dashed from 100 to 200’ before the intersection with Avy. For SB, I can’t see any reason to make that section dashed (adjacent to the gas station).
    • In many places, there is a trade-off between the width of the bike lane and the width of the buffer. I am concerned that if the bike lane is too narrow, it places the “novice” bike rider too close to the “door zone”. Experienced bike-riders will keep clear of the door zone by riding in the buffer when the bike lane is too narrow; My preference is to widen the bike lane at the expense of the buffer. I note that the parking stalls are 7.5’ wide, but the MUTCD https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part3/fig3b_21_longdesc.htm shows an 8’ width. Many trucks are indeed 8’ wide. Consequently, the 8’ width narrows the effective bike lane from 5 to 4.5’ with a 2.5’ buffer, which effectively puts the bike rider in the door zone of the truck. What is the justification for division between widths of the bike lane and its buffer used in the 90% plans?
    • At the intersection of Sandhill Rd, consider installing two bike-boxes, one in the #2 lane and the second in the #3 lane in the SB direction of SCA. (The #1 lane is taken to be closest to the center of the roadway). The bike box in the #2 lane provides a ‘head start’ for a bicyclist wishing to make the left turn from SCA on to Sandhill heading towards the Hospital/Shopping Center. The bike box in the #3 lane helps with setting-up the bicyclist wishing to make the left turn onto Junipero Serra. With the current configuration with the single, pocket bike lane between the #4 and #5 lanes, that person needs to cut across THREE lanes of traffic to be able to make the left turn onto Junipero Serra. Unfortunately, the segment between Sandhill and Junipero Serra is a “Mess”, but that’s in Menlo Park’s jurisdiction and is beyond the scope of the current project. Nonetheless, the bike-box could provide some help, here.

  12. Please improve in Menlo Park the crosswalk safety at Palo Alto Way and Santa Cruz Ave.Thank you

  13. I have looked at the County plan and the Safe4Us plan. As a car driver and as a bicyclist I like the Safe4Us plan and I don’t like County plan. I don’t like raised areas, the double left turn lane or the NB narrowing after Prospect. As a car driver this is complicated and confusing. As a bicyclist I don’t want the car drivers around me to be confused. The complexity makes it more likely that cars will come into the bike lanes by mistake. I expect that the safety aspects of the County plan for slowing traffic will be more than undone by the unsafe actions drivers who are confused. The Safe4Us plan seems simple, straightforward and I expect it is less expensive. Why make things more complicated?

  14. Moving the shark teeth is just one safety improvement for this short corridor. The speed limit and monitoring also needs to be improved. Motorist drive so fast they don’t even notice a pedestrian on the side of the road. The flashing lights should help motorist know pedestrians are about to cross, but they don’t see it in time to stop. I would think an actual stop light for motorist driving south would help tremendously and would make motorist have to stop if the lights were red.

    Motorists driving north just came off a stop, so they shouldn’t be driving so fast at that point, but seeing a pedestrian coming from four lanes over might be too difficult too. If a pedestrian is crossing and the light is red, they will see it in time to stop.

  15. I would like to petition against the plans to change the Santa Cruz/Alameda Y intersection in Menlo Park into a highway intersection.

    I am a resident that lives on this intersection and have 2 young girls age 6 and 8. This intersection is already very dangerous. There have been many car accidents at this intersection and several years ago a car totaled our car that was parked in front of our house after speeding through the Y portion of the intersection from Alameda to Santa Cruz. Thank goodness my girls were not in the car or they would have been killed.

    The county plans should focus on making residents more safe. I 100% oppose any plans to make this intersection higher speed, more unsafe, or more congested.
    Santa Cruz Ave is a community street with families and kids who want to ride bikes and take safe walks. Side walls should be extended down the Y portion of Santa Cruz Ave.

    I also request more information on the proposed plans so I can share this with my neighborhood. We are mostly unaware of these plans. The site I read stated there are no comments when plans for this intersection were at 60% and now they are at 90%. This is not true, many neighbors have been fighting for years to improve the safety of this intersection and this portion of Santa Cruz Ave.

    The site and plans are very tough to understand. Please send me a summary of the plans so I can understand and share with my neighbors. Anything less than improving safety and slowing down traffics through this intersection is unacceptable.

  16. We have lived here a long time. We have seen the County and DPW spend a good deal of money on consultants to solve the safety issues in the Y intersection area. Unfortunately for the community, and taxpayers throughout the County, the in-depth analysis from the community – the Safety4Us plan – has been ignored.
    Please, San Mateo County, pay attention. Appreciate what a great resource you have. The community, because we live here and have poured our time and energy into understanding the situation fully, has repeatedly come up with sound ideas based on inarguable facts.
    Adopting the solutions of paid consultants is easy, but County’s responsibility goes farther: consider what the consultants tell you and then consider what the locals add: the on-the-ground ability to discern defects and the vision to see
    how to avoid them — and reduce costs, too.
    Thanks.

  17. We are out of town but fully support the community’s 10.5 idea for Alameda Santa Cruz intersection.

    The survey sent to residents some years ago was so badly written- not allowing residents to reject all the county ideas. If you remember, one had to agree or choose one of their plans before continuing the survey. So the end result appeared to be support for plans that none if us wanted.

  18. After years of participating in polls and meetings and voicing our concerns that the NB section of Santa Cruz Avenue is missing completely in this discussion. It is frustrating and disheartening to see that again, there is still a 30 mph speed limit sign for the unsafest, narrowest part – single lane! – of this whole corridor, and not even a safety consideration regarding missing sidewalks and street lighting! We wrote to county and others to no avail. County residents are clearly, sadly second class. We will still participate but it is beyond frustrating to be left out.

  19. I always hold my breath when exiting Palo Alto Way and entering the Alameda de Las Pulgas Northbound or Southbound; the cars are already going very fast. Here’s some of common sense needs for our neighborhood:

    Residential Safety – Safe exit and entry for residents with buffer from traffic
    Crosswalks – Well lighted speed limit, with speed bumps if possible — for the safety of our student walkers/bikers to La Entrada Middle School
    Slower Speed – Lower speeds by road design
    Sidewalks – Buffered from traffic – for our students, strollers, elderly, walkers and runners in our neighborhood
    Thank you SMC

  20. I grouped several questions together:

     
    1. Please have DPW provide example locations in County or Peninsula where long medians similar to those planned on NB SCA (just south of the Y) are actively being used.
       
    2. It is unclear what safety analysis and action DPW considered and implemented relating to those homes along NB SCA between Sand Hill and past the Y. Please state what safety improvements will occur for those residents.

     
    3. The unusual double side by side left turn lanes planned on top of the hill at Alameda & Liberty Park seem confusing. Please provide a couple of locations in County or Peninsula where a similar configuration is being used currently.

     
    4. What guidance is DPW providing residents that have their driveways blocked by new medians? These residents can’t access their properties from the North. Nor can they enter the SB SCA traffic flow and most can’t enter the NB Alameda traffic flow. What is DPW suggesting residents do to mitigate this limited access?
     

    5. Similar to the prior question, please provide analysis on the impact on residences that are blocked by these long medians, particularly impact on service and delivery vehicles that need to access these properties: Postal, parcel, gardeners, tree pruning, house cleaning, medical care professionals, trash/recycling, etc.
     

    6. On removal of parking, please provide a projection of impact on other neighbors for that displaced parking? You mentioned a significant number of parking being removed, much more than what KH said in Jan 2020. Where will that parking now occur and what impact will that displaced parking have on the neighborhoods?
     

    7. With NB SCA traffic lanes being pushed next to sidewalk by removal of the parking buffer, there is high potential for reduced value of these properties. What will County do to compensate these property owners for such a significant drop in property value? It seems that each property could be negatively impacted by 20% to 30% in value, based on the experience of the Sand Hill Frontage road (between east of Leland Ave thru west of Stanford Ave) where property values went up $500K to $750K when the main Sand Hill traffic moved away from those properties.
     

    8. Menlo Park, KH and past County studies all report that unacceptable congestion will occur at the “Y” by removal of the SB Santa Cruz Ave lane from Y to Sand Hill Rd. These projections date back to the 1990s. In the Task Force, mitigation steps for this projected traffic queue were to be identified and implemented in the design. It was because this issue would have effective mitigation that Task Force members supported lane removal in order to establish buffered bike lanes. Please identify the mitigations to address this long traffic queue to avoid congestion at the Y.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *