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Safety Trial at the "Y"

Your Voice is Needed !

The Safety Trial has been in place long enough to see results.  The Safety Trial is temporary. For our Community to make the next positive safety steps to keep the safety gains, your voice is needed.   Pleases voice your comments using both the County Survey AND the Community email (or use the comment form):

      -or-  

Your comments make a difference, as these will be reviewed to determine the next steps in safety.  Whether you feel the Safety Trial is positive or not, please provided constructive comments.   Please consider comments on both the current temporary safety trial AND also on the draft proposal for a more permenent solution (shown on this webpage).  

Key Change

Affects northbound Santa Cruz traffic:

  • Left traffic lane is now ONLY for Alameda de las Pulgas
  • Right lane is ONLY for Santa Cruz north
  • Cyclists should only use the right lane and may proceed to either Alameda or Santa Cruz
  • All traffic flows at the basic same rate and stops on red -- no red turn on red

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of July, County agreed to implement a test of several long request safety improvements at the intersection of Santa Cruz and Alameda.

These changes are implemented using temporary markings, bollards, and digital signs and will be testing many important safety improvements, including the following:

  • Eliminate 5,500+ lane changes per day
  • Move  traffic lane away from the  sidewalk and residential driveways
  • Eliminate primary cause of the chronic NB red light running at this intersection
  • Provide local residents a reprieve from traffic to safely access their driveways
  • Help shorten a dangerous and long crosswalk
  • Provide traffic calming to help slow excessive speeding (a 1st initial step in addressing this)
  • Eliminate the chaotic traffic flow at this NB intersection, providing cyclists and motorists a calmer flow
  • Eliminate  tendency of motorists cutting in to the shoulder/park lane in the slip lane
  • Traffic lights at this intersection will be 'normal', removing the dangerous speed differential between traffic lanes and allowing them to flow at similar rates
  • Remove that short 3rd lane  and the 'always green traffic light' that was the source of so many dangerous conditions

Goal of Configuration

The Safety Trial was implemented with temporary markings and lacked any bike safety enhancements.  The goal, should the safety trail continue to be a success, is to provide a permanent solution that will provide a safety bridge until our Santa Cruz/Alameda corridor has changes to install permanent buffered bike lanes and sidewalks.   The interactive graphic below is a proposed solution that provides safer bike lanes, clear motorists/cyclists guidance, and improves residential and pedestrian safety. 

Below, to view before image and proposed solution, please drag the center control in the image to the left or right.

What You Can Do

Provide constructive feedback.  Share your observations, ideas, or concerns.   Our goal is solve the many serious safety issues in this corridor, including calming and slowing traffic to a safer speed.  To create a more residential-neighborhood ambience instead of the current Expressway look-n-feel.   To do this, please make comments below and/or send email to Safety@UnivPark.org, and/or fill out the County SurveyMonkey.  Read thru comments by others and lets have some community discussion and friendly objective dialog.

Comments

The current safety trial is insufficient to provide safety for cyclists. Yesterday (Oct 12, 2019) I was northbound in the right lane heading onto Santa Cruz and I was passed by a van with less than 3 ft margin in the same lane. The "sharrows" are not a helpful safety feature. I find that if I am in any part of the right hand side of the lane, some less than observant drivers will still try to pass me in the same lane. The proposed two bicycle lanes, one for Alameda and the other for SC would be a vast improvement. I ride this intersection northbound 3-4 times a week and it is always a challenge!

The safety improvements that have just been tested at the Santa Cruz Avenue / Alameda de las Pulgas intersection have had a very positive effect.

As a resident of Campo Bello Lane, I have particularly noticed how the changes have sharply reduced the incidence of drivers running through the red light to turn right on northbound Santa Cruz Avenue as I am trying to cross out of Campo Bello to head that way. I feel much safer as a driver, and much safer using that crosswalk as a pedestrian, since I am no longer hidden by up to three lanes of stopped cars while a driver continues at full speed in the old right hand turn lane.

While stopped at the bottom of Campo Bello, I have noticed that cars exiting the Santa Cruz Avenue driveways into the intersection or near it, now have a much easier time getting out, since the light provides a break in the northbound traffic. This has also made it easier to turn left into or out of Oakdell Drive where it meets Santa Cruz Avenue.

The lower speed limit on Santa Cruz Avenue and on Alameda, when combined with the flashing speed signs and the intersection improvements, have made some headway in reducing the speeding on these streets. There are still drivers though who are determined to ignore the limits.

I encourage you to make the intersection safety improvements permanent. I also encourage you to add the following elements:

1. Add green painted bike lanes (with appropriate dashes through the intersection) for bikes continuing northbound on Santa Cruz Avenue and for bikes crossing to go northbound on Alameda. The temporary test setup has been too confusing for bicyclists and drivers, squeezing them too close together.

2. Reduce the stretch of Alameda between Santa Cruz Avenue and Avy Avenue to a single traffic lane in each direction. This will give you room to install real sidewalks on both sides of the Alameda and to have dedicated bike lanes in both directions, while retaining on-street parking. This will be a huge safety improvement for the school children walking and biking to La Entrada and for pedestrians and bicycle commuters through this corridor.

I am overall very pleased with the changes. We live on SC Ave. north of the Y and we can now get out of our driveway much more safely. I know that if I wait a bit, there will be a break in traffic. We walk in the area every day and it does feel safer to be a pedestrian, with (most) traffic staying farther away from the edge of the road. I sincerely hope that with a few tweaks, the changes will become permanent. I think there needs to be better signage south of the Y , including more arrows on the street so that people will know which lane to be in well before the Y. The electronic arrows are confusing to some, making those unfamiliar with the change think they need to move to the left lane going towards the Alameda, and then they switch abruptly back. I agree with others' comments that there needs to be better markings/lanes/direction for the bikers - that needs to be well thought out. Even if there are 2 bike lanes, I am afraid that bikers might go from the far right bike lane to the one going toward Alameda, and cross in front of traffic turning right. I'm not sure what the answer is for that. There definitely needs to be better monitoring of the speed, especially north bound after the Y. That turn, when the light isn't red, still invites motorists to go well above the speed limit.

Amazing improvement! I've lived on Santa Cruz Ave. since 1990 and watched it turn into a speedway. Now traffic is much calmer. I've had folks slow to let me out of my driveway, unthinkable before the change. Also, it's safer slowing to turn into my driveway. The change has been a great success.


Amazing Improvement! I've lived on Santa Cruz Ave. since l990 and watched it turn into a speedway. Traffic is so much calmer now that I've actually had folks slow to let me out of my driveway. Unthinkable before the change. Also it's much safer to slow and turn into my driveway.Trial has been great success.

As a resident on a Santa Cruz Ave the new safer configuration is better. My children can cross Santa Cruz Ave at the cross walk with less difficulty.
We are able to get out of our driveway with out fear of our lives! There is more room for improvement, however we are moving in the right direction with the current new turning lane. Do not return to the old configuration please!

As a resident of Sunrise Court (off of Campo Bello), I feel MUCH SAFER with the new configuration. When there was a dedicated turn lane going towards downtown Menlo Park, a large number of motorists ignored the "No Turn On Red" sign and blasted through the intersection as if there was no traffic light, making it dangerous for us to exit Campo Bello onto NB Santa Cruz when we have a green light. The new configuration, even though there is still a dedicated turn lane, seems to have made motorists aware of both the traffic light and the No Turn on Red signs.

I ride northbound on Santa Cruz and if my intent is to keep heading north onto Alameda de las Pulgas, I find with the current temporary two lane markings many cars still pass to my left and cross right onto Santa Cruz. This remains a dangerous stretch of road from Sand Hill north!

I'm a daily cyclist through this intersection, riding both directions on the Alameda - Santa Cruz portions of the intersection, and am frequently riding in busy traffic periods. So on a daily basis I make the left turn from SCA onto Alameda when riding northbound.

Substantial hazards remain for cyclists, particularly in northbound traffic, and could be increased by some of the proposed changes:
a) The current configuration now in place includes green bicycle patches in the center of the right hand lane northbound, with a notice to 'Share the Road' (great idea to make that clear to all). That seems to work great IF I ride in the center of that lane, but if I ride to the right side of the traffic lane, car traffic will drive by on my left, then cross in front of me to be able to turn on to SCA; and some cars do that very late, creating a huge risk of cutting me off, or worse, running me over.
Keeping the lane-center "Shared lane" emblems in the right traffic lane would be a great step.
b) The proposal in the image above appears to place solid green bike lanes to the right AND left of the right-hand traffic lane, PLUS keeping the green bicycle patches in the center of the right traffic lane (the Shared lane). This would seem to invite cyclists to be in either of three different locations relative to cars when going northbound toward this intersection, and would appear to increase the risk that cars will pass bikes on the cyclists' left (especially if the cyclists are in the right-hand green bike lane) when those cars are planning to turn right onto SCA. That would magnify risks for cyclists riding northbound on SCA to continue onto Alameda.
An additional risk to cyclists northbound related to the proposal above is that if a green bike land is placed between the two traffic lanes, and a cyclist is riding in the center of the Shared (right) traffic lane (and planning to continue north onto Alameda, as would be allowed), car drivers may be tempted to conclude that the cyclist will be turning right, onto SCA, because they are not in the left of the two solid green bike lanes on the proposal map. And the risk for cyclists is that if the car is planning to turn right onto SCA, they might drive past the left side of the cyclist, then cut back right, putting the cyclist in harm's way.
Possible solution to this: Keep the "Shared lane" emblems in the center of the righ traffic lane, and make then VERY prominent so that vehicle drivers see (and hopefully abide) them.
c) Please KEEP the green "Shared lane" emblems in the center of the right traffic lane on northbound Alameda AFTER the intersection. That will hopefully retain for cyclists some partial safety of having that lane be a specified dual-use buffer. I've been repeatedly "brushed back" (car driving by me VERY close) when still in the right lane just after the intersection when riding northbound on Alameda, and I hope that making it clear that cyclists still get some safe space in that area will reduce the risk of being hit by cars.

The current temporary Safety Trial added a buffer to the right of the right lane, I assume to provide protection from the 3' tall bollards used in the trial.   I don't think this was meant to be a bike lane and as such I agree that it is confusing to both cyclists and motorists.   It seems most cyclists agree that staying in the right traffic lane is a bit safer and use of the left traffic lane by cyclists is risky.

The goal of a permanent implentation is to have clear guidenance through the approach to and then thru the intersection for both motorists and cyclists and to greatly improve motorist awareness of cyclists.   The draft graphic acknowledges that to provide this visual guideance through the intersection, that cyclists are transitioning from a Sharrowed lane into dedicated bike lanes, and of course after the intersection, cyclists and motorists need to transition back to Sharrowed lanes.   Yes, Sharrow markers need to be clear on both NB Alameda and Santa Cruz after the "Y" intersection.

The goal for navigating this intersection is to separate cyclists and give dedicated bike lane and therefore not have cyclists in the travel lanes.  The travel lanes are each dedicated:  Left lane to Alameda (only) and right lane to Santa Cruz (only).   Same with the proposed bike lanes.

You make good points and the ultimite goal is to greatly improve cyclists safety and reduce risk. The goal also greatly improves pedestrian and residential safety by moving traffic away from sidewalks and properties and shortening crosswalks and having a calmer and saner traffic flow with greatly reduced traffic speed differential between lanes.

Our long term goal is to have buffered bike lanes and an Alameda 4-3 road diet in which motorists would gain a center turn/merge lane and have a single traffic lane each direction.  Unfortunately, that ultimate goal is sevearl years out.    Your input on that Alameda configuration is welcome and will be appreciated.  You can see a discussion page - its a work in progress - on this Alameda intro page.

I think the change of making the intersection a three-way signal (or is it four) has been working great so far. I haven’t heard screeching cars or heard any fender benders. I can get out of my driveway pretty easily. We can time getting out and do not have to worry that a car will come across the intersection or change lanes and drive through the red light.

Anyway, the only problem that I have seen so far has been people running the light because they were already into the intersection when it turns red (probably driving faster than the speed limit.) The green light coming from the other direction needs to be delayed a bit so all cars can get through the intersection before the next direction starts going.

Regarding the width of the road and lanes, I find the bike lanes way to close to our driveway. As we back out, our cars are immediately in the bike lane and we do not have visibility to see if bikes are coming. There is a street pole immediately to the left of my driveway causing a blind spot as we back out. I stop to close the gate, but the tail end of the car is already in the bike lane. I think this would be super dangerous for a bike rider or pedestrian. I think the little island should be moved further into the center of the intersection. It seems that if the island was moved, there would be less cars trying to change lanes and it would be much clearer that the left lane goes left and the right lane goes right.

Thank you for making this long overdue correction to the Y intersection. The recent change has improved traffic and the ability to get out of our driveway on Santa Cruz Ave. We also feel much more safe walking with our kids down the side walk from Santa Cruz to Sand Hill.
2 years ago a car crashed into and totaled our car in front of our house. The driver said he fell asleep at the wheel after an all night shift. This likely would not have happened if the stop light was in place to slow him down.

Thanks again for watching out for our safety! I hope this change becomes permanent.

Good afternoon
Could you share that the residence @ Y have been able to get in and out of driveway at a much safer and more timely fashion.
Plus : Today !!
Huge Bonus - Big sign @ “ Y” post: No Turn on RED

I have even been able to put out collect my Bins safely with lovely stop in CARS speeding by.
A Huge Thank you getting rid of 3rd inner lane had worked tremendously in traffic improvement.

I feel that there has definitely been an improvement. I had always been a proponent of having the former virtually always “green” light to turn red when the rest of the traffic stops to continue onto the Alameda. I agree that I think that it has slowed the traffic and is safer for both cyclists and pedestrians. I haven’t looked closely, but it doesn’t seem as though the white slat uprights have been hit which is a good thing. I think it is much safer for pedestrians crossing the street without fear of a car speeding down the right turn lane assuming its green. I also don’t think that eliminating the green lane is blocking traffic. I have not yet seen an occasion where all the cars wanting to continue on Santa Cruz and continue onto the Alameda haven’t been able to get through the light cycle.

The last minute changing of lanes is going to continue to occur as it does for any traffic corner.

I am not a fan of the white pylons. As a temporary measure for the 3 month trial, they are fine. My neighbor had to have the city come out and remove on of the white slats as it impeded her exiting her driveway. I do like having the middle of the two lanes for bicyclists. I’ve seen this in other areas as well. This would give the bicyclist a safer route of continuing onto the Alameda.

The removal of the right turn lane does make it easier for my neighbor or myself to back up without fear of having the rear end of our vehicle being hit.

We have seen a very positive difference. We are now able to get in and out of
the driveway with relative ease because of the stop at the Y. We've also noticed
a reduced speed from many drivers. Before the change, they drove as if still on
Sand Hill Road. And, cars no longer drive in the shoulder. Previously I have watched
cars drive from the intersection in the shoulder all the way to our house!

We are quite pleased with the change and appreciate your efforts. Thank you!

My immediate response is that it is a vast improvement. The placement of the crosswalk is so much better. I have taken several walks back from Sharon Heights via Sandhill Road, and last night a car actually slowed and let me finish crossing at the Y instead of acting like Santa Cruz was a highway.
As bike lanes are painted and bikes are encouraged the pace will slow some more. All of it is progress.

Yes
The red light stop going into NB SCA has slowed down the traffic after cars have made a stop light.
This has been a great help getting in and out of my driveway
However, cars still speed through this corridor past the 25mph sign — That sign is totally ignored.
I am in favor of the inside 3rd lane being Eliminated
This will help traffic from speeding too close to curb/sidewalk
The 25 mph sign is for that Senior complex; have NEVER witnessed a single senior in or out of that complex as a pedestrian
Yet in front of my house@ the “Y”, the speed is 30 mph!
There are a total of 10 Children [just in the houses next to me]

Thank you for all you do

Please restore the no turn on red sign for northbound traffic on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park at the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas.

This sign is a critical safety feature for this intersection.

Please prioritize safety over throughput and restore the no turn on red. I am directly affected by this as ~2 a week I walk to the Sharon Heights Safeway this way.

Hello!

Please reinstall the “no turn on red“ sign at the Y intersection at AlamedaSanta Cruz Ave. It is imperative to have all of the cars STOP at that red light and NOT proceed until the light turns green to keep pedestrians safe to cross the street. It also allows the few homes that are right by that intersection to get out of their driveways safely.

This is a CRITICAL safety issue!

Thank you for supporting this important, simple way to help keep people safe!

The changes at the Alameda/Santa Cruz Y have really helped to calm traffic in front of my house.

The No Turn on Red sign on westbound Sandhill provides a break in traffic for me to exit my driveway onto Santa Cruz Ave.

I think that's equally important for those living on Santa Cruz Ave beyond the Y stoplight. The breaks are helping to calm traffic.

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