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SAFE Issue #6 - Palo Alto Way Crosswalk


Feb 23,2021  -- Safety Improvements to begin March 2021.  See notice.  

The Detail Plan for the improvement is available:  click link here.

Provides full Safety Issue details as PDFThe intersection at Palo Alto Way and Santa Cruz is a major crosswalk that connects to the Palo Alto Way bus stop and connects the various communities (Menlo Commons, Oak Hollow, University Park) with each other.  It has been a continual site of traffic accidents including a pedestrian fatality.    

Multithreat Pedestrian Crosswalk 

Watch the video:  

Palo Alto Way requires safety mitigation.  There are several severe safety issues that have remained unaddressed, inclulding the serious multithreat crossing: "Multiple-lane threat is a problem that arises when pedestrians have to cross more than one lane in each direction. A multiple-threat pedestrian crash is a crash type that occurs when a motor vehicle in one lane stops and provides a visual screen to the motorist in the adjacent lane. The motorist in the adjacent lane continues to move and hits the pedestrian."*   (see above video link)  We have had many near misses and a death from this very issue. An issue that has several easy to implement safety measures to correct.**

Below, we have documented several severe safety issues. All of these issues can be solved at very low cost.  Even the pedestrian activated crosswalk safety lights cost in the $16k range, all other safety featuers are only in the hundreds of dollars -- considering life or injury, or even sense of safety, these costs are virtually nothing.



A Summary of Improvements needed to make motorists better aware of crosswalk usage:

Immediately doable safety tasks:

  • Advance Stop Lines before Crosswalk
  • Pedestrian activated traffic crosswalk lights
  • Pedestrian Warning Bollard on crosswalk
  • Define the right most lane with a shoulder stripe

Actions that are needed but could wait until the road reconfiguration:

  • Correct Night Street Lighting for Crosswalk
  • Improve Bus Stop 
  • Provide ADA curb cuts and bulb out
  • Add KEEP CLEAR to intersection

Click on the File link below to see the full Safety Issue and proposed solution options.  Have a suggestion or concern? Enter your Comment below.

* Safe Routes to School, Tools to Reduce Crossing Distances for Pedestrians

** Slate, How Did the Pedestrian Cross the Road?

Our West Menlo Community's Actions to implement safer Crosswalk

WSJ, Pedestrian Deaths at highest in 100 years


This would seem an excellent place for an overhead sign warning drivers for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Pavement lights can be added for a little bit of safety at not much cost or controversy. A good example is the pavement lights at Ravenswood & Alma by the RR tracks.

In turning out of Palo Alto Way onto Santa Cruz, it is difficult to see approaching traffic, especially when large cars are in the first parking space to the south. The right lane of traffic on Santa Cruz often is next to the parked cars so one can not 'inch' out for the needed visibility (the right lane is excessively wide).

Parabolic mirror for intersection


In turning right in to Palo Alto Way, cars exiting Palo Alto Way are not very visible. Could there be a parabolic mirror or some visual aid to create more visibility for this intersection?

Please prioritize action on adding safety features, in particular a pedestrian-activated traffic light, to the crosswalk at Palo Alto Way across Santa Cruz Avenue in unincorporated Menlo Park. The City of Menlo Park has done this at other crossings on Santa Cruz Avenue, which has greatly improved safety to pedestrians without greatly impeding the flow of traffic.

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