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Northern Santa Cruz Ave Segment - Safety

About this Northern Santa Cruz Information Section

The objective of this information on the northern Santa Cruz Ave corridor segment, between the "Y" and Ave Ave, is to provide a resource of knowledge and a place to promote community discussion.    The content here changes and grows, based on comments and new information resoures -- It is a Work In Progress.

It is an area where more links, information, ideas, concerns, and discussions in general will be added to.  There is a FAQ section to start to answer questions:  If you have a question that is not listed or a concern/idea not included, please leave a "Comment" in the FAQ, or send an email to  

This is an especially important section for our community, our fellow neighbors to be engaged.  County has decided to exclude this segment of the corridor, 1/3 of the corridor, from any safety planning or improvements.  Increasing our knowledge of the safety issues and engaing in discussion for solutions is critical to making our area safer for all, especially the residents, school children, and the families that directly use or live on this segment. 

Northern Santa Cruz Ave segment

Legal and Engineering Guidelines

There are numerous areas in the  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) that guide traffic engineers to create safe roadways.  Recently, FHWA is promoting lower speed limits as one of many ways to improve safety *.  The California Vehcile Code also provides provisions that promote lower speeds for roads like Santa Cruz Ave.  

For instance, the prima facie speed limit for this particular area, according to Cal. Vehicle Code 22352 (b) is:

(b) Twenty-five miles per hour:

(1) On any highway other than a state highway, in any business or residence district unless a different speed is determined by local authority under procedures set forth in this code.

This segment of Santa Cruz Ave qualifies as a residence district under Vehicle Code 515:

A “residence district” is that portion of a highway and the property contiguous thereto, other than a business district, (a) upon one side of which highway, within a distance of a quarter of a mile, the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 13 or more separate dwelling houses or business structures, or (b) upon both sides of which highway, collectively, within a distance of a quarter of a mile, the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 16 or more separate dwelling houses or business structures.  A residence district may be longer than one-quarter of a mile if the above ratio of separate dwelling houses or business structures to the length of the highway exists.


Additionally, guidelines state that roadways speed not be altered for short segments of roadway.  The  segment of Santa Cruz that is fully in the city of Menlo Park is only about 800' or so and the segment that is fully in County is also about 800'.   There is a confusing section of the roadway where the east is in the city and the west is in county - that is only a few hundred feet.  So with Santa Cruz Ave being 25 mph every where else and all of the roads that interect Santa Cruz being 25 mph, it seems that to follow the recommended engineering guidelines, this little segment should be consistent.  

Residents in the area and cyclists that have to use sharrows (shared lane with vehicles) also know from experience that 25 mph is much safer than the higher speed limit.


* Feds Propose More mandatory Safety Tech and Lower Speeds:

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Pros & Cons -N. SCA Lane Change

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 add 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

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