News

Menlo Park: Monte Rosa stop sign approval temporarily stopped

Council tables issue until Sept. 9

At Vice Mayor Catherine Carlton's request, the Menlo Park council last night tabled the question of whether to install stop signs in all directions at the intersection of Monte Rosa Drive and Eastridge Avenue in Sharon Heights.

The city began considering the installation after a resident raised concerns about low visibility at the intersection, which children navigate on their way to La Entrada Middle School. While Eastridge Avenue has stop signs, Monte Rosa doesn't at that location, making it confusing for drivers as well, according to the resident.

The Transportation Commission and the city's transportation staff support the installation. But a homeowners' association wanted to discuss the issue first, with some members saying they weren't aware that installing the stop signs on Monte Rosa Drive had been proposed during the summer, according to Ms. Carlton.

"Some people think a four-way stop is overkill," she said, and they thought trimming bushes at the intersection would be an adequate solution.

Mayor Ray Mueller commented that since the Transportation Commission had unanimously recommended the installation and the city's transportation staff agreed, the council should not wait to vote on the item. Children who walk along the area are returning to school now and there are no crosswalks, he said.

"We've been advised," Mr. Mueller said. Although no one has been hurt at the intersection to date, should a child be injured now, he suggested the council would regret not taking action sooner.

Council members Kirsten Keith, Rich Cline and Peter Ohtaki favored delaying the vote to give the residents time to hold one discussion.

"I don't want to cast a shadow of 'we don't want to hear your point,'" Mr. Cline said.

The transportation staff disagreed that the problem lay with the bushes. Interim Transportation Manager Nikki Nagaya said a couple large heritage trees would also have to be removed, and then the curve of the road would still interfere with having a clear view of the intersection.

No members of the public commented on the item during the Aug. 19 council meeting, but some residents had contacted the city to voice their dissatisfaction with the proposal.

The council voted 4-1, with Mr. Mueller dissenting, to delay the vote until Sept. 9.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe Ross, Trustee, San Mateo County Board of Education
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for covering this important safety issue.

Today marks the start of a new school year. We are fortunate to live in a community where it's still the case here that a parent can hug a child before her morning walk to school and be reasonably confident that she will return that evening, safe and sound.

Last year, though, a child in Redwood City didn't return.

On her way to school she was hit by a vehicle and killed while entering an intersection on Alameda de la Pulgas.

We cannot take safety for granted. Not even here.

So I am disappointed - and deeply surprised - to learn that the our city council, after receiving the recommendation of its professional transportation staff, and after learning of the unanimous vote the transportation committee, has elected to postpone the safety of neighborhood kids.

The four-way intersection here is on the block of La Entrada School. Students cross this intersection every day, and the rise in the road creates a blind spot, which for a small child, makes it impossible to see cars approaching on Monte Rosa.

I urge the council to act speedily to protect the safety of kids, and to not let politics postpone not just common sense, but the neighborhood security we rely on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thank you Ray
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Thank you Mayor Ray for standing up for the kids and public safety.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Public transit
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Besides the middle school nearby, Isn't there also a public bus stop located near that intersection?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Matt H.
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:47 pm

My wife and I and our two small children live very close to this intersection. We are members of the Sharon Ridge Homeowners Association. This area is one of the few places young families can afford to live in Menlo Park. I would like me child to be able to cross the street safely. I have seen numerous potential accidents at this intersection. It is completely unsafe. I don't feel safe with my children cross the street there and there is a school right around the corner from this intersection. I am very disappointed that four members of the City Council voted to delay installing the stop sign because not having a stop sign there is a safety hazard and the intersection represents a danger to the children in our community. We also have a bus stop just across the street from us now that many people walk to past this dangerous intersection.

Thank you Ray for trying to do the right thing here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adriana Díaz-Ross
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

It is disappointing to read this news. This morning at this intersection a car was stopped by the police for speeding. Cars drive really fast through this intersection. Sometimes they could go as fast as 40 mi/hr. There are not only children crossing the street but also elderly people and people with disabilities. The problem is not the trees, the problem is the lack of visibility because of the road's incline. Do we really need to wait for a tragedy to happen in order to take action? Thank you mayor Muller for supporting the stop sign.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 8:36 am

It feels as though the city council is out of touch with a community that isn't well represented. I would urge council members to drive this area from 7 am to 7 pm, as it's not just children, but anyone walking/biking in the area is affected.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Let's Be Realistic
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

I have an idea. Let's put four way stops at every intersection within a mile of every school.

There are a *few* students who live west of Monte Rosa and cross at Eastridge (vs. the Warner Range crossing.)

If not already there, a cross walk should suffice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

Until a child gets run over, worrying about it is "overkill." Nice choice of words.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen M.
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

We have lived near this corner for almost 15 years. We've seen & heard many near misses & more than a few collisions at this intersection including one involving a boy on a skate board coming down the Eastridge Hill in which a car clipped him. Traffic on Monte Rosa don't have a stop sign & many fly by way to fast. Trimming the shrubbery has helped visibility a bit, but we believe this should be a 4-way stop. We're very disappointed that nothing happened on the Aug. 19 mtg. We will try to be present on Sept. 9 to voice our concerns in person.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

If our City Council can't get the no-brainer issues right, it's no wonder they can't solve the complicated ones.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Justin Tyme
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I just got done watching the tape of the City Council meeting. Council member Carlton and the other three should be ashamed of themselves for obviously pandering to an affluent neighborhood Association at the expense of our children's safety. For those of you who haven't watched it, YOU SHOULD! Thanks for fighting the good fight, Mr. Mueller.

(If anyone wants to watch it, click on the "City Council Meeting" for Aug 19, 2014 - Web Link)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by compelling
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Until everyone is driving electric cars, stop signs will generate some air polution for the neighbors.

This was a case of the council waiting on a consent issue because some residents had written in. The mayor could havemade a more compelling argument if he said, "hey, i spoke the all the people that wrote in, and explained the situation. They all agree with putting in the stop sign". That did not happen. The argument, " this has already been decided", is just not that compelling.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Justin Tyme
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm

"compelling", you obviously have not watched the video or read the article above. The Mayor shamed the rest of the council. He talked about the way the road was built, the heritage trees impeding the view of the intersection, and the fact that kids have to walk to school past the intersection. He also talked about the fact warrants were met (whatever that means?). You really should watch the video.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Justin Tyme
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

"Compelling", fyi, it's all in the 1:59 minute portion of the recording (in case you want to skip right to it)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe Ross, Trustee, San Mateo County Board of Education
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Members of the council, including Ms. Carlton, have reached out to me and others in the neighborhood to emphasize that the delay is intended to solicit community input, and to make sure people's voices are heard.

That's a good thing.

This thread has surfaced helpful perspectives, and I'm pleased that council members are listening.

I encourage members of the community to attend the next council meeting to share perspectives on this, and I'm optimistic, having spoken to Ms. Carlton, that the council will do the right thing without undue delay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Public Transit
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:07 am

This is what Carlton is quoted as saying in the San Jose Mercury news today:"

"There have been zero children being run over, there have been zero accidents, there have been zero issues in the past five years in this intersection. It's not like we're dealing with Ravenswood and El Camino or an intersection that's dangerous."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Matt H.
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

Despite what she says this intersection is totally unsafe. It is REALLY dangerous, especially for kids. I can't believe she said that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Juliana
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm

In the last hour, there have been 3 near accidents at intersection between Monterosa and Eastridge. Three close calls that included screeching wheels and honks. One of the three involved two cars and a mother with two young children walking on the sidewalk. What more needs to be considered? This is not a matter of "overkill;" it's a matter of safety. The lives of residents, pedestrians, and drivers are being put in danger.

Not only does a stop sign need to be added, but also a crosswalk. It's ridiculous that there is only one that gets you across Monterosa.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crosswalk
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Install a crosswalk with the flashing lights...more effective and solves everyone's concerns.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Matt H
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm

A crosswalk with flashing lights doesn't help with the number of near car accidents that happen at the intersection all the time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Sorry, but a crosswalk with flashing lights is a weak half-measure suggested by those who don't want to accept the only proper solution: stop signs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 23, 2014 at 8:25 am

I really don't understand what is going on with all of the disagreement about downtown. But putting in stop signs near a school is something I understand.

From what I am reading this is clearly an unsafe intersection.

It sounds like the only one who argued that it was safe that at the City Council meeting was Ms. Carlton. Joe Ross says now she has changed her mind and just wants public comment. Her words at the meeting don't match up her with her excuses. It's easy to change your mind when people get angry. That's what caused this problem. No leadership.

Like everyone else I appreciate Mayor Mueller voting for the stop sign, but I am more worried about how the other four councilmembers make their decisions when it's not about an issue that is so easy to understand.

How do we know they aren't pandering all the time?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by I've got a fast car
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Well a stop sign is a total inconvenience when you're in a hurry to get to Safeway or Sand Hill Road, isn't it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really Keenly?
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

Are you seriously saying that a stop sign is a better visual indicator to slow/stop traffic for pedestrians than a crosswalk with in-ground lights? Seems to work okay in front of Hillview School on Santa Cruz which is 1000x busier than any Monte Rosa intersection.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Are you seriously saying that a stop sign is a better visual indicator to slow/stop traffic for pedestrians than a crosswalk with in-ground lights?"

Keenly is absolutely correct on this - IF you want people to stop then the only solution is either STOP signs or traffic lights. Flashing YELLOW means exercise caution and only applies when the driver can see pedestrians in the crosswalk.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Disagree Peter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Drivers are required to give the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk. The problem is that cars don't always stop, flashing lights or not. The easiest way to resolve this is with a stop sign, especially at critical pedestrian crossing points.


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