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Fw: Traffic lights synchronization issue for side streets on Willow Road east of US101 - O'Brien Drive

From: domainremoved <Romain>
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2019 19:58:06 +0000 (UTC)

Dear All,Please see down below the Caltrans responses to the concerns/suggestions on Willow Road.Thank you,Romain Taniere
   ----- Forwarded Message ----- From: Romain Tanière <rtaniere_at_(domainremoved)
 Dear Mr Tran,Thank you very much for your response. This is much appreciated.
In regards to #2 and 4, I disagree with the approach. Having a "warning" early posted signs ahead of time will help vehicles merge ahead of time instead of seeing the signs too late and blocking the lanes where local residents need to exit/enter. A signal mast arm should be reconsidered on the Willow/Newbridge traffic light.
In regards to #7 it is not simply a problem of responsible drivers but really a poor location of the bus stop. Actually relocating the bus stop before the Willow/Newbridge traffic light may be better on the side of Mi Tierra Linda. There is more space and it would be almost at the same location of the other bus stop on the opposite direction/side of the street. I will contact AC Transit.
In regards to #10 which the Signal Operations Branch is responsible, the all-red interval should be implemented at ALL the Willow intersections traffic lights between US101 and Bayfront expressway (Newbridge, O'Brien, Ivy, Hamilton) to avoid such dangerous situations: 
and previous accidents.
I will contact the city of Menlo Park for the other suggestions that are in their jurisdiction.
Thank you in advance and have a great weekend.
Romain Taniere

    On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 1:58:29 PM PST, Tran, Hung Q_at_(domainremoved)
Dear Mr. Tanière,
I’m very sorry for not getting back to you sooner.  Followings are our responses to your concerns.
   - O'Brien Drive is not a State highway; your request should be sent to the City.
   - The "Lane Ends-Through Traffic Merge Left" sign is normally installed on the right side of the roadway, not on a signal mast arm. Installing such a sign before Alberni Street would reduce the capacity of eastbound traffic and would bring the delay during peak hours even before Alberni Street.
   - Per our Signal Operations Unit, all traffic lights along this Willow Road (State Route 114) corridor are currently synchronized. Should you have further question or want to discuss more about the operations of these traffic signals (or traffic lights) on this corridor, please contact Mr. Min Lee, min.yin.lee_at_(domainremoved)
   - As mention under #2, the “Through Traffic Merge Left” sign if installed before Alberni Street would create a bottle neck even before Alberni Street.  In addition, this sign must be installed after Alberni Street for traffic coming out from Alberni.  However, we will modify the signage and striping by adding a “Right Lane Turning Right Ahead” warning sign about 80’-85’ east of Alberni Street and moving the “Right Lane Must Turn Right” sign to the beginning of the right turn lane at O’Brien Dr.  Also, the lane line preceding the right-turn lane at O’Brien Dr. will be changed into the “elephant track” for about 180’, beginning at or close to the new “Right Lane Turning Right Ahead” sign.
   - Again, this sign is normally installed on the roadside, not overhead; however, this sign is temporary during construction. With the reconstruction of Route 101/Willow Road interchange, westbound Willow will have 3 through lanes and the roadway will be widened to provide an exclusive right turn lane to north 101. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2019.
   - These signs are temporary during construction.  Their locations may be changed during construction phase and will be removed when construction is completed.
   - Providing a bus pull-out would require additional right-of-way acquisition. In addition, bus stop locations are determined by the Transit Agency.  In urban, commercial zone like this area, it’s not easy if not infeasible to provide a bus pull-out at this location.  Therefore, there is existing “Do Not Block Intersection” sign to remind drivers not following too close at the intersection.  Drivers are expected to be responsible or drive defensively following a bus, maintaining an adequate gap. Should the violation of the “Do Not Block Intersection” occurs often, please bring it up to the attention of local Police Department for enforcement.
   - Prohibit right turn on red for Newbridge approach from Menlo Park would extend the queue and delay for that approach and should be concurred by the City of Menlo Park.  Please bring your request to the City and if City agrees, they can install “No Turn On Red” sign for the restricted movement.
   - Maintenance of traffic light and signal has been delegated to the City, you may contact the City for the missing traffic light. For the missing sign, we have forwarded your request to our Sign Crew to restore.
   - The request is not very clear with “at all Willow/Bayfront intersections”.  Do you mean at the intersection of Willow and Bayfront or at all intersections along Willow?  Please confirm the location and re-send your request to Mr. Min Lee of Signal Operations Branch.
   - Lane line extension through the intersection is needed to channelize two or more concurrent turning lanes or when the through movement is off-set significantly through the intersection. Per our field review, existing lane line extensions at the intersections of New Bridge and Route 84 are still in good condition.
Thank you for your concern on the operations of the State highway system.
Hung Q. Tran
From: Romain Tanière <rtaniere_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2018 8:44 AM
To: Tran, Hung Q_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Re: Traffic lights synchronization issue for side streets on Willow Road east of US101 - O'Brien Drive
Dear Mr. Tran,
I would really appreciate if you could look into the Willow/O'Brien traffic light synchronization issue that I indicated to Mr. Caldwell, (ref. original message down below).
I also had suggested a few different improvements for the Willow corridor to the city of Menlo Park (#1 to 11 below), may be you could also look into implementing these.
Thank you very much in advance,
Romain Taniere
1. No parking request in front of 965-985 O'Brien Drive, Menlo Park to ease the flow of vehicles to Willow Road. This would allow vehicles on O'Brien to be in 2 lines, up to the traffic light (right now the 2 lines, no parking zone is not even barely from 965 O'Brien to the light but just a few feet from the corner Willow/O'Brien intersection). Vehicles that are parked on the street around 965-985 O'Brien make the congestion even worse and the 2hr parking zone is not even enforced in this area. This should be very easy and fast to implement (just relocating the existing "no parking here to curb" further down the street and extending the painting strip to divide the lane further).
2. Installation of a new sign on the far right of the large overhang Newbridge traffic light coming from US101 towards O'Brien Drive with "lane ends - through traffic merge left" would ease the traffic for locals who make a right on Willow Road to Alberni Street and O'Brien Drive. At present, through traffic on Willow Road stay on the very right lane from US101 overpass to O'Brien Drive, blocking the lane for local traffic turning right. 
3. The Willow Road and side street traffic light synchronization needs to account and take place also East of US101 right away, not just West of US101. Vehicle counts and traffic patterns on O'Brien/Ivy/Hamilton should be done/included on the on-going synchronization (also on side streets such as Kavanaugh Way (Menlo Park) and Kavanaugh Drive (East Palo Alto) in anticipation of the FaceBook Willow Campus planning).
4. As a complement to #2, going East on CA 114 towards the Dumbarton bridge, the sign next to the sidewalk indicating that Willow through traffic must merge left near the intersection of Willow Road and O'Brien Drive is too close to the intersection/traffic light. It does not give cars enough distance to move to the left if going straight. This gives the impression that there are 3 lanes instead of 2 and at peak commute hour creates a bottle neck for people who want to turn right on O’Brien Drive. The “Through traffic must merge left” sign should be moved before Alberni Street EPA to give enough time for drivers to get off the right lane and not block it. Some additional “Right arrows” should also be painted just after Alberni Street EPA on the right lane to reinforce the message.
5. Similarly to #2, a new sign can be installed on the far right of the horizontal large overhang Newbridge traffic light pole coming from O'Brien Drive towards US101 "Right lane must turn right - US101 North SF only" (this will be useful once the far right lane re-opens for US101 north entrance after the construction ends on that portion).
6. As a complement to #5, going West on CA 114 towards US 101, the new Willow configuration at/after Newbridge is a very nice improvement (except for the Dumbarton express bus stop footprint/location, see #7). However, the signs on the right side indicating that through traffic must merge left and that the right lane is for San Francisco US 101 are not really well placed and from a driver perspective cannot be seen very well (maybe OK if you see them from a pedestrian’s perspective or inspect the intersection on foot, but they are partially hidden by traffic light/trees if you see them from a driver’s perspective on the right or middle lane before the traffic light). May be the placement of the various sidewalk signs between Newbridge and US 101 can be revisited after the Willow overpass construction is completed and also some “Right arrows” can be painted just before or after the “SF North” white road marking on the right lane.
7. Going West on CA 114 towards US 101, the Dumbarton Express bus stop on Willow Road, right at the corner of Newbridge MP is badly posted and very dangerous. Unlike the bus stop on the other Willow/Newbridge EPA side going East, and despite the new large sidewalk just been redone, no footprint/easement was accommodated for the bus to pull out of the "turn right 101 North Only" lane. Therefore, drivers following the bus on Willow and who are unaware of the bus stop corner location, get stuck in the middle of the Willow/Newbridge intersection until the bus moves out. Some drivers will then try to get out by partially moving in the middle lane by sharing lanes with cars currently on the middle lane and get into near accidents. At the same time there are also vehicles making a left turn on Willow from Newbridge EPA which makes the situation worse. The bus stop sign should be relocated in a more visible location and a pull out space should be accommodated on the large sidewalk to make a real bus stop aside from trough traffic.
8. In addition to the already difficult situation described on #7, and to avoid people coming from Newbridge MP from blocking Pierce Road and also creating accident situations with drivers coming from Newbridge EPA or Willow Road, there should be a “do not turn right on red” for the light at Newbridge MP. Cars should be forced to stop before Pierce Road and wait for the green light to turn right on Willow Road West.
9. Maintenance wise, several light bulbs are burned off at the O'Brien/Ivy traffic lights and many round shape light covers are missing at several location which makes some lights hard to see depending on the sun exposure. The "Do not block the intersection" sign facing O'Brien Drive at Willow Road fell of the middle traffic light and is now missing. Also the island traffic light to make a left on O'Brien from Willow has been missing and not replaced for several months.
10. Implementation of an all-red interval for vehicle clearance and traffic safety at all Willow/Bayfront intersections.The request is not very clear with “at all Willow/Bayfront intersections”.  

11. Repainting of all missing/faded directional doted lines at all the Willow intersections to guide the vehicles turning.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 10:22:07 PM PDT, Caldwell, Dwight_at_(domainremoved)
Dear Mr. Taniere,
I no longer do investigations for San Mateo County.  I have copied Mr. Hung Tran, whom is the Engineer in charge of investigations for your county.  He will be able to help you.
Thank You,
From: Romain Tanière <rtaniere_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 7:18 PM
To: Caldwell, Dwight_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Traffic lights synchronization issue for side streets on Willow Road east of US101 - O'Brien Drive
Dear Mr. Caldwell,
Could it be possible for Caltrans to review as soon as possible the timing/coordination of the O'Brien traffic light with Newbridge, US101.
In the morning peak commute hours it is worse than ever to turn left from O'Brien Drive onto Willow Road.
As you can see in the attached picture around 7.30AM, the flow is not moving and already backed up in the O'Brien/Newbridge section when the light is green to turn left from O'Brien to Willow. To make the situation even worse, the cars from Willow Road are also blocking the intersection and it takes about 20 to 30 min to get out of O'Brien Drive.
There should be also an all-red interval to allow for intersection clearance and at non peak hours mitigate safety issues when vehicles run the red light at high speed on Willow Road.
Thank you very much in advance,
Romain Taniere
Received on Fri Feb 08 2019 - 11:55:30 PST

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