This connecting section of Santa Cruz Ave, between the Alameda “Y” and Avy Ave does not have marked bike lanes. It is lacking pavement guidance for how pedestrians, vehicles, and parked cars are to co-exist on the roadway.  There are dozens of residences along this section, making it important that this section of road have effective safety provisions and be treated as a residential area.

County is doing a Pavement Preservation Project that will do minor repairs on this section of Santa Cruz Ave. This means that the entire roadway will get a new top level coating. This provides an excellent opportunity for County to re-stripe the roadway to provide a safer roadway with calmer-slower traffic flow AND provide a dedicated SB bike lane AND improve the shoulder.

One of the reasons for the high speed traffic in the area is that the current road uses freeway wide lanes. Santa Cruz downtown and the new lanes that will be on Santa Cruz towards Sand hill will all be 10′ or less widths. So narrowing these wide lanes on this short section of Santa Cruz Ave is in line with the rest of Santa Cruz.

In the Action items below, please not only ask for a slower speed limit, but also ask that county re-stripe traffic lanes to be 10′ or less wide . Ask for the SB (up hill direction) dedicated bike lane. All this can be accomplished by re-striping, without any shoulder space impact or sacrifice. Cyclists have identified that the up hill direction — towards the Y intersection (SB) — would make the most safety sense for the dedicated bike lane.

This is described in the Community’s Safety Report: Safety Option 9 – Safer Santa Cruz Ave & Bike Lane

This section of Santa Cruz has serious problems:

  • High traffic spped
  • Confusing – risky offset intersection at Sharon Rd & Oakdell
  • Pedestrian crossing not at expected locations
  • Downhill and uphill speed differential for cyclists and motorists is unaddressed
  • Dozens of residences impacted by high speed and line of sight issues
  • No pedestrian walkways
  • No bike lanes
  • School route and high level of use by families and seniors

First and foremost, speed! It is a serious issue as all that walk, bike, and live on this section can attest. It makes no sense to raise the speed limit, as is currently done, on this short section of road: Why would we want motorists to accelerate and drive at a faster speed when we are trying to lower speed as a step towards achieving a safer roadway and reducing injuries? All of Santa Cruz is 25 mph, so why should this section of road, with all its safety challenges, be a higher speed limit?

Second, the intersection of Sharon Rd and Oakdell Dr: This section of Santa Cruz Ave is a constant problem with rear end collisions, most that go unreported, and an unexceptable number of near misses. It is a sad state of existence that families don’t feel safe crossing this road at that location, nor do they feel there kids are safe crossing on their way to school. While lowering the speed limit to 25 here won’t solve the problem of the offset intersection, it will help slow the traffic and improve driver awareness and reaction times.

Impact of a lower speed limit? The driving time difference between 25 and 30 mph for each of the City and County sections is about 3 seconds each. With a stop light on one end and a four way stop on the other, this hardly makes a difference in commute time; however, a lower speed will make a big difference in safety. Well worth a few seconds.

Lowering the speed limit to be consistent with all of Santa Cruz Ave will have a positive impact on safety. Rather than directing drivers to speed up on this section of road, the 25 mph limit will instead keep motorists at consistent and safer speed.

Adding a southbound up hill bike lane, safer crosswalk, address offset intersection, reducing the extra wide traffic lanes to a narrower traffic calming width, are just a few of the changes that can make a big difference in improving Santa Cruz Ave safety.

Reducing the current freeway width lanes on this segment of Santa Cruz by restriping and adjusting the shoulder line by a few inches provides both traffic calming, lower speeds, and gains a bike lane for the up hill direction (south).  

Are there Pros vs Cons?  Explore the conversation on at Northern SCA Lane Change – Pros vs Cons

Action – Ways to Help

Two ways to help support safety action for the north Santa Cruz Ave segment: 1) Send an email to City Council and to County Public Works and to our County Supervisor and executive management. You can use this email link to address an email that you can then write your note and send.

The other way to help get action is to leave a comment below. Your comment will be available for public view and be sent to both Menlo Park City and County management.

Thank you. Our community voice can make a difference for quick action from County.


Updated Apr 2023,

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