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Ravenswood Rail Crossing Circulation Test

From: domainremoved <Verle>
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 22:05:56 -0700

This email is in response to the upcoming modified traffic circulation test at the intersection of Ravenswood and Alma for the next 6 months. Below I quote from the staff report presented to Council concerning this circulation modification test in response to the recent, tragic, death at the railroad crossing.
"Additionally, vehicle queues have been observed to spill back to the tracks when a motorist turning right yields to a pedestrian crossing the south leg of Alma Street. Thus, the proposed modification also includes installation of a curb extension to eliminate the right- turn from Ravenswood Avenue to southbound Alma Street, eliminating this conflict and potential queuing issue. Attachment E also presents an aerial view of the proposed curb extension. Approximately 200-300 vehicles per hour make this eastbound right-turn. Much of this traffic is expected to be rerouted to Laurel Street to either continue to Willow Road or to access Burgess Park."

My concern is that this portion of the modification is ill-considered and does not take into account the substantial impact that this will have on traffic circulation in the Linfield Oaks neighborhood and more generally on access to the facilities at Burgess Park by West Menlo residents. Nowhere in the report did I see any analysis on the last time that this test was tried back in the 1990s prior to installation of the speed bumps "for traffic calming" in Linfield Oaks. The no right hand turn from Ravenswood to Alma was tested at that time to very negative results and this change in circulation was not implemented at the time. Some of the results were a very substantial increase in traffic and accompanied speeding down Laurel Street by those trying to reach 101 from El Camino. Certainly this is a hazard for the increased number of pedestrians and cyclists (many are children) that use Laurel today as compared to 20 years ago when this was last tested. I live on Laurel Street and observe the large number of cyclists and particularly families on weekends that cycle down Laurel Street to reach the park. Increasing the hazard to pedestrians and cyclists on Laurel Street to reduce hazard at the rail crossing is not an appropriate response to the recent accident.

It should also be pointed out that the prior test was conducted before installation of all of the improvements at Burgess Park that are most easily accessible from Alma (gym, skateboard park, baseball field, not the mention the library). Eliminating the right hand turn from Ravenswood to Alma will substantially impact access to these community facilities at Burgess.

My strong recommendation would be that staff review the result of the previous unsuccessful trial and not implement a repetitive test. I also request that staff present the results of the previous test of no right hand turn to Alma from Ravenswood to Council and the community for our consideration before spending city funds on this part of the trial.

Regards,
Verle Aebi
220 Laurel Street
Menlo Park, CA
Received on Tue Jun 02 2015 - 22:02:41 PDT

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