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Original post made
on Oct 30, 2012
This street is a death trap right now. More than half the cars are speeding between Shoreline and San Antonio. The city knows this his a problem, why are they not doing anything about it? Residential streets like this should be 25mph. Reducing the number of lanes is a proven traffic engineering technique for improving street safety, for both car passengers and pedestrians.
If drivers want to speed, they can use Central Expressway, which is just a block away and rarely very busy between San Antonio and Shoreline.
Three lanes is crazy, the first lane is usually used/blocked by moving trucks or the crazy drivers that zoom out of the apartment complexes on California. I see traffic backup on this street.
4 car accident took place in N. Rengstorff a few days ago. We need to find ways to slow down the cars.
Stella, three lanes means there would be a center lane for drivers making left turns and for drivers pulling out of driveways. That's much safer than it is now, where someone making a left turn blocks the left lane and fast-moving traffic approaching from behind attempts to pass on the right. It also means that drivers turning left as the pull out of apartment complexes can go halfway and wait in the center lane so they don't have to zoom out.
I agree. Make it a 25MPH zone as well. What's the reluctance to do so?
"3 lanes" means 3 lanes plus parallel parking on both sides of the street. There should be plenty of space for moving trucks and delivery trucks if they use the legal parking spaces. The middle lane is a limited-use lane for turning.
Portions of the middle turn lane could also be made into planted median islands with room for trees. It would like the portion of California Street between Shoreline and Bryant Street. Palo Alto is going to do this soon to the section of Charleston Avenue between Alma and San Antonio. That street had a similar road restripe done a few years ago.
Simple solution: No parking on California Street
You still will have to prevent California being used a straight spped ways, look at how long drive for over 40 mph. 4 lanes, 3 lanes, 2 lanes, people will still speed. 3 lane is the best, but you need to break up the speedway feeling.
3 lanes do not work, look at Arastradero road, it's a nightmare to go through there. People use the side streets as an alternative, is that what we really want? I agree with the idea of getting rid of the parked cars, but to turn it into a 3 lane road is ridiculous.
kman, Unlike Arastradero, which is one of the few connections between Foothill Expressway and El Camino, California Street has two parallel high-speed roads in close proximity. One is within 500 yards (Central Expwy) and the second is within 700 yards (El Camino Real). If through traffic chooses to use Central or El Camino which are not lined with apartments, I'd say the California Street road diet would be a raging success.
Still has to go thru the city hall inertia. Unless a developer gets behind this, nothing will get done.
May as well call city traffic engineers city chair warmers.
But its good that citizens are doing something that should be taken up by the city employees, maybe something will get done after the "studies" and petitions and "studies" and more "studies" than 3 or 4 years from now we'll forget what was being "studied" and nothing is changed.
I'm one of the organizers with the Great Streets project, and I would like to invite you to come to the meeting tomorrow at the Rengstorff Park community center.
The "road diet" idea, also known as the 4 to 3 lane conversion is something that we believe could work well on California street. Unlike Arastradero Road, which caries 20-21,000 cars per day, California street caries about 11,000 cars per day. Research on road diets show that they have little impact on traffic when streets have less than 20,000 cars per day, so we're well within what generally works for a road diet. In fact, the road diet may actually make traffic move smoother overall, since the new center turning lane would allow motorists to clear the through lanes when turning left into one of the many driveways that line the street.
The road diet will have a positive impact on pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone who lives along the street. The additional space from the removed lane could accommodate wider bike lanes, with a "buffer" so you don't have to ride in the "door zone" next to parked cars, and the buffer space will provide some separation between cyclists and moving cars, making it more comfortable to ride. For people walking, the corner curbs at intersections could bulb out, shortening the crossing distance, and making pedestrians more visible. Finally, speeds will likely decrease a bit, which means for people living along the street, it will feel less like a freeway and if someone is hit, the lower speeds mean they are much less likely to die.
There's additional information and renderings of the proposal on our website and this blog post:
A agree with the road diet idea. Many, MANY times I get hung up on CA Ave waiting for another car to turn left. When that happens, I commonly see people lose patience and try and dart into the right lane, many times cutting someone off and accelerating fast. Then it turns into a "gotta stay ahead of that guy" game and we all know the rest.
Clearing out left turning traffic instead of waiting on it will improve the flow of traffic and eliminate most of the the games that impatient drivers tend to play.
"The additional space from the removed lane could accommodate wider bike lanes, with a "buffer" so you don't have to ride in the "door zone" next to parked cars, and the buffer space will provide some separation between cyclists and moving cars"
@Jarret, Don't you think removing parked cars would accomplish this without changing the number of lanes?
If speeding is the problem, then it would be a goldmine for the police department.
speeding is already the problem. No gold mine, but there have been some deaths. I say skinny that small stretch of road down. That's the most reasonable action to meet everyone's goals. Removing the "dead left lane" whenever someone wants to turn left would be HEAVEN!
@Jarrett, there is precedent to putting a road on a diet in Mountain View. If I'm not mistaken, Cuesta (between Miramonte and Springer) went from 4 to 3 lanes many moons ago.
"Removing the "dead left lane" whenever someone wants to turn left would be HEAVEN!"
I don't understand your logic here, if you have a problem with your so called "dead left lane" then why don't you drive in the right lane? Ignorance is bliss.
The last time drove this road, I did not encounter speeders, there were to many cars for one to speed. The majority of the people do not speed.
Accidents will happen, no matter what road it is.
kman, the problem with having a driver stop dead in the left lane is that everyone behind him or her will try to merge into the right lane, often unsafely. That means that drivers in the right lane are at risk too, as "No Fat Roads" so accurately described above.
It also means that people who stop to make the left are at greater risk of being rear-ended by impatient drivers. Alma in Palo Alto is perfect example. I know a lot of people (including myself) who avoid making legal left turns from Alma onto side streets because of fear of being rear-ended.
Yes, accidents will happen, sometimes causing multiple deaths on a very small segment of road. In those situations accidents will continue to happen(and deaths) if the road is not fixed.
Hiding your head in the sand is bliss.
If you drive in the right lane on CA ave, you risk being tagged from the people darting out from behind the dead left lane. There's no escape from the unsafe drivers so the roads must be made safer.
How many more people should we wait to die before it happens? 2 more? 3 more? 10 more? Its just a matter of time.
Now that the issue has been identified and discussed on a local gov't level, the wrongful death attorneys are just lying in wait to sock it to the city for any accident on CA Ave now. IMO they would e right to do so if CA ave does not get traffic calming improvements
What's even more puzzling is that there is absolutely no speed limit signs posted along California street.
I drove from Shoreline to Rengstorff and there wasn't one speed limit sign along the way (posted or painted on the street), with the exception of the digital speed sign showing how fast you are going.
City traffic engineers? Public Works can be required to work on this by a City Council "gate keeper" vote to proceed. It's great to see citizen politics kick into gear! I particularly liked the tie-in from the Rengstorff to Esquela bike/pedestrian idea. I would offer an even more radical idea for Esquela, transform it into another Castro Street type of walkable environment. This is one of the highest density residential walking areas in our city. This particular area deserves a world-class walking environment just because of its density.
Technical - glad to see some specific traffic area comparisons [Bikes2work] I have used Cuesta Drive regularly for 20 years and the "diet"' there did not hurt at all. I would also like to see the bike lanes 'curbed'. This has been done in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park near the museums area.
The MVWSD has money to transform and renew Castro School to better serve this walking/biking community. Please contact Bill Lambert when he is elected to the School Board. I'm pretty sure he will champion broad community input to the school plan, and he has campaigned on better tie-in of the schools to the city. [the MVWSD also does not talk/plan regularly with the city traffic engineers !]
Jarret M is getting a great start at a city commission/ council public career ( I hope).
Steven Nelson is a candidate for MVWSD Board, [the elementary/Castro School\board]
he (like Bill Lambert) is endorsed by "El Observador"
"kman, the problem with having a driver stop dead in the left lane is that everyone behind him or her will try to merge into the right lane, often unsafely. "
Janet, first of all, drivers are not suppose to just stop dead, a driver needs to blink. And if you are afraid of someone possibly turning lift, then use the right lane. Plus people should be aware that someone may stop immediately, therefor people should not tailgate. And people behind a car making a left, just need to wait. There is no magic here, it's all about driving safely. I think all kids need to take at least 1 year of drivers education. I know a lot of people don't know how to drive out there, but to minimizing a road, this will only make the side streets more dangerous. The side streets where most of the children play.
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