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Willows Traffic Study Concerns

From: Marty Brill <marty_brill_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2010 12:42:40 -0800

Good afternoon Menlo Park staff and Council.   After attending the recent Willows traffic study meeting last week I have deep concerns as it relates to the impacts the plan will have on Gilbert Avenue.  My concerns are specifically related to increases in traffic volume, insufficient mitigation for speeding and several aesthetic impacts to the visual appeal of the street.   Here is what I like about the proposal:   1)      I like the proposed 4-way stop at Gilbert/Pope:  I think this would be a step in the right direction to reduce speeding on Gilbert.   2)      I like the proposed signal coordination along Willow/Middlefield/University:  This will keep cars from piling up on Willow Rd trying to access the neighborhood.   Here is what I dislike about the proposal:   1)      I do not like the proposed ‘no left hand turn off of Willow’ onto Chester and/or O’Keefe during peak hours:  This would result in a dramatic change in traffic patters and will put significantly more volume onto Gilbert.    2)      I do not like the ‘partial one-way’ at Chaucer/Menalto and do not like the ‘right turn restriction’ from Chaucer onto Central:  Both of these changes will result in more traffic volume on Gilbert and will negatively impact the businesses on Menalto.   3)      I do not like the proposed flashing/digital speed feedback sign that is proposed on Gilbert:  These are unattractive, expensive to maintain and detract from the charm and character of our quaint residential neighborhood.   4)      I do not like the proposed lane narrowing measures on Gilbert:  Painting lines down the middle and hash marks on both sides of the street would change the character of our neighborhood and make Gilbert feel like an unattractive artery.  Instead of unattractive yellow/white paint, what about periodically adding planters or some other solution to accomplish the same goal without damaging the charm of the street?   5)      There are not enough mitigations for speeding and new traffic volume on Gilbert:  The answer is not more signs.  The ‘dip’ sign and ‘speed feedback’ signs are not useful and detract from the character/charm of our street.  Adding ‘wide speed bumps’ (similar to what is on Willow, south of Middlefield, which limit speeds to 25mph) and adding a cross walk or two (perhaps at the new stop sign on Gilbert) would make it safer for children and pedestrians and deter cut-through traffic.   6)      I do not support changing the NTMP voting protocol:  The Council should be very careful to not change the voting rules in the middle of the game.  This would be a highly controversial decision and many people would be blindsided by such an unfair change in policy.   In summary, I think the plan needs to be more thoughtful in regards to the impacts on Gilbert and it needs to ensure that we do not: 1) turn Gilbert into an artery impacting home values, quality of life, and the safety of our children; 2) reduce the pedestrian-friendly connections to Footsteps preschool and Willow Oaks park via the alley off of Gilbert; 3) neglect the speeding on Gilbert; and 4) detract from the charm, character and residential feel that currently exists on Gilbert and the adjoining streets.  All told, I would be extremely disappointed if the final draft plan were to be approved as presented, but would be open to modifications that address 1-6 above.   Marty Brill Willows Resident Received on Tue Nov 23 2010 - 12:43:03 PST

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