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Central Ave stop signs

From: domainremoved <Brielle>
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2018 11:14:32 -0700

Hi Nikki,
Thank you for your response to Tricia, Tracy and the petitioners for the stop sign on Central Ave. I believe the suggested improvements to the intersections are appropriate and the sight line corrections have been long overdue. However, there is a fundamental theory in your argument against stop signs that need clarification. Here is the line in your email that worries me:
>> “They (stop signs) can also increase the likelihood of other types of crashes, and will also increase the City’s liability if future collisions occur, as the stop signs were installed against standard requirements which can be readily challenged in case of an incident.
>>

Perhaps Bill McClure can give us examples of legal cases where a city has been found liable when an accident occurs at an intersection that has stop signs that were“not warranted by Federal and State Criteria’, but one driver does not comply and injures another driver. This thinking does not pass the straight-face test nor does it seem a sound reason to deny a request for a sign. I researched the test for stop signs in several cities in California and found this same justification for denial used.

While I understand the City is reluctant to place stop signs without there being solid evidence that they are needed, it seems that with the opening of the Upper Laurel School, there was not a thorough analysis of the number of children on bikes or walking that would use O’Connor Street and cross Central, as an obvious route in both the morning and afternoon hours.

The argument that stop signs are too often ignored and therefore should not be thought of as a safety tool to protect school age children can be compared to the argument that once drivers over a long period of time exceed the speed limit on a street, a city cannot enforce the speed limit. Bad behavior is rewarded?

I worry that Menlo Park is bowing to standards set by an outside quasi governmental organization when evaluating the need for these Central Ave stop signs rather than looking at the evidence being presented by those who are on the ground and have the most to lose: the parents of children at both Upper Laurel and the Willow Oaks Campus. Rather than wait until more car related injuries occur as that would meet the official warrants, we could take a preemptive position now.

I look forward to the Staff, the Council and the City Attorney to continue this discussion

Brielle Johnck
Central Ave.
Meno Park




> Hi Tracy and all,
>
> As Kirsten mentioned, one of our staff members and myself went to the intersections on Monday afternoon (it was nice to run into you, Tracy!) to look for short-term solutions. We are installing:
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> · Installation of “cross traffic does not stop” signs at Elm and Walnut
> · Replacing the stop sign on southbound Walnut at Central (its faded and leaning)
> · Painting four new crosswalks at each intersection
> · Adding two new in-street pedestrian warning signs (“yield to pedestrians”) at each intersection, for the crosswalks across Central Ave
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> We’ve also been coordinating with the Police Department and they are targeting placing the speed trailer on Central and doing targeted enforcement in the area.
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> I’ve shared with several of you in the past, but to summarize - the overarching request for an all-way stop sign is governed by a set federal and state criteria called “warrants”. We look at the total traffic volume (vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians) during peak and typical daily conditions (when school is in session); the collision history; and any other issues that might affect safety like sight distance. The status of our evaluation of each of these is summarized below:
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> · Traffic Volume. Based on our last review in the fall shortly after Laurel Upper opened, the volume does not meet the requirements for an all-way stop sign. We anecdotally think the turn restrictions have further reduced the volume, making this unlikely to meet the volume warrants.
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> · Collision History. The collision history evaluation requires that the collisions be “correctable” by installing a stop sign. The two most recent crashes occurred when the bicyclists did not stop at the stop signs. While it’s very hard to see anyone hit, these are not considered “correctable” collisions. The Safe Routes to School program that the City is initiating currently will help reinforce the educational aspects biking to lead to safer behavior in the long run as well.
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> · Other Site-specific Issues. We are continuing to look at other issues that may warrant a stop sign, with an emphasis on the sight distance at both intersections. Code enforcement is scheduled to complete this week work on the corner of Elm/Central to remove landscaping that is restricting sight distance at the intersection. Following completion of that work, our staff will be working on a sight distance evaluation to see if any other changes are necessary (parking restrictions or stop sign installation). This evaluation should be done in the next few weeks.
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> Ultimately, the City Council makes the decision about all traffic control installations in Menlo Park. If stop signs are warranted, we’d look to bring an evaluation forward to the Complete Streets Commission for a recommendation followed by the City Council. This process typically takes 3 to 4 months, in order to schedule meetings and send notifications in advance.
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> If stop signs are found not to be warranted, staff would not recommend their installation to the Commission or Council. Unwarranted stop signs are demonstrated to reduce the frequency that drivers stop at all stop signs – and we already hear this complaint frequently in Menlo Park. They can also increase the likelihood of other types of crashes, and will also increase the City’s liability if future collisions occur, as the stop signs were installed against standard requirements which can be readily challenged in case of an incident.
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> I know this is a lot of information; hopefully this helps explain our current status and next steps clearly.
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> Thanks,
> Nikki
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Received on Wed Jul 04 2018 - 11:14:50 PDT

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