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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):


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, and/or fill out the County SurveyMonkey.  Read thru comments by others and lets have some community discussion and friendly objective dialog.


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.

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.


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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