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Concerns about the intersection of Middle Avenue and San Mateo Drive

From: domainremoved <Iram>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2015 20:47:04 -0800

Dear City Council of Menlo Park,

My family and I are residents of Menlo Park, and we live on San Mateo Drive
between Santa Cruz Avenue and Middle Avenue. I am writing because I am
concerned about the safety of the intersection at Middle Avenue and San
Mateo Drive.

I use this intersection multiple times a day, primarily by bicycle and on
foot. We use this crosswalk at least twice a day to go to and from Oak
Knoll elementary with our two young children who ride their own bicycles.
This intersection lays along the "School Safety Route Boulevard" and as you
know, this intersection is the last major crossing before San Mateo Drive
turns into the bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting to Palo Alto.
Consequently it is a very busy crossing, but a precarious one too.

Almost on a daily basis, I either witness or experience drivers along
Middle avenue who either do not see or choose to ignore the
pedestrian/bikers in the intersection, often exceeding the speed limit, and
not stopping to let people across. Just this past week, I have seen a car
honk at an elderly pedestrian who was crossing, and another car drove
through the crosswalk as I was halfway through it walking my trailer
bicycle (with my kindergartener sitting on the child seat). This latter
incident, unfortunately, has happened to me several times.

I frequently see school age children waiting and waiting for a chance to
cross as cars kept on driving down the street, and cars using the bike
shoulders to bypass other cars waiting to turn left or right onto San
Mateo, which is frightening as these cars do not have a good view of the
crossing ahead when they swerve around the waiting car ahead.

Between University Avenue and Olive Street, there aren't any other Stop
signs, and many drivers take the opportunity to zoom down Middle Avenue.
This is hugely problematic at San Mateo as many bikers are trying to get
over from the bike lanes to turn left or right onto San Mateo (left to head
to the Bike Bridge), which means bikers have to cross over the car lane to
do so each time.

Another problem is that there is only one crosswalk on the western side of
the intersection, but not on the eastern side, so bikers and pedestrians
have to cross three sides of the street in order to go straight on San
Mateo when they are coming from the Bike Bridge. The curve of the street
at San Mateo is such, that cars coming down San Mateo from the north into
the intersection have to make an abrupt stop when they see people walking
across it. I do this twice daily after returning from Oak Knoll, and it is
stressful.

In fact, the overall intersection is anxiety provoking to say the least - I
have talked with many neighbors and friends who bike/walk through here, and
several agree it is the least favorite part of their commute. Is it
possible to make this intersection a safer place? The idea of removing
parking from Middle Avenue during school commute hours has been suggested
by neighbors. Or perhaps adding bike lanes to Middle Avenue? Or maybe an
alert system at the crosswalk so that drivers can see pedestrians from
further away? These ideas, and others would be amazing for our
neighborhood, and would undoubtedly make the commute to both Oak Knoll and
Hillview schools much safer for the kids.

I thank you for your time and attention.

Iram Weiser
Received on Sun Nov 29 2015 - 20:49:31 PST

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