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Why two traffic lights on Embarc at Town and Country

Original post made by Giraffe, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Mar 11, 2014

I suppose this has been asked and answered before but I can't find an answer.
Sitting thru a green light because the next light is red is annoying and happens a lot. Why won't a single light suffice?

Comments (13)

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Posted by Götterdämmerung
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

The original light was put there because the Paly kids were unable to cross traffic ( cars would not stop for them) and they could not get to and from school nor to T and C for lunch.

The second light was put there to allow people leaving T and C to merge onto Embarcadero ( cars would. to let them in).

Now that there is a light at T and C, there DOES NOT NEED TO BE ONE FOR PALY KIDS! They can cross at the other one. As it stands, any random Paly kid can press the button to cross and immediately bring all the cars on Embarcadero to a halt.

The city engineers apparently were too short-sighted to figure out that this would become a traffic nightmare before they added the second light, without removing the first one.


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Posted by Paly '82
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm

When I attended Paly in 1982, there were no traffic signals in that area because T&C was a boring mall with offices. There was hardly any traffic on Embarcadero except on Stanford game days so there was only a crosswalk with an island in the middle for us. The only reason to trek to T & C was for Cheese House sandwiches. It's great that it's a destination now, but traffic is a nightmare from T & C and on Embarcadero due to commuters.

In answer to the posting, cars need a traffic light to leave T & C and it seems safer for students to cross where the crosswalk is currently because cars leaving the Paly parking lot could easily hit a student crossing while turning right onto Embarcadero. Or, cars leaving Paly could hit a student if the car is turning left. It's much safer for the students to cross where they do now because there are no cars turning.

T & C is a lifesafer for parents because we don't have to pack lunches, and for students it's a welcome place to escape academics for awhile.


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Posted by Paly '82
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 11, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Likewise, cars leaving T & C making right turns could easily hit students who are crossing. Placing the crosswalk where no cars turn is safest.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Acc. to what I've heard, City Staff has been working on this Embarcadero-PALY-T&C problem for (are you ready for this??) SEVEN YEARS. Maybe staff can get Mr Arrillaga to build an overpass - we can call it Arrlilaga Bridge and put his name in a predominate place - center stage on both sides. Prpbably only cost about $2M. Pocket change. But would somebody please just DO IT!!


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 12, 2014 at 6:59 am

Different traffic density, but we have the same signal-light situation on Middlefield in Midtown, where there's a signal at Bryson plus a signalized pedestrian crosswalk 10 car-lengths north near Walgreens. Do I recall correctly that in both cases the pedestrian light went in first, and was supposed to be removed when the auto intersection light went in?


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Posted by Götterdämmerung
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 8:44 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:26 am

This topic rears it's ugly head again...it is RIDICULOUS how the traffic signals are set up on Embarcadero near El Camino Real.
My idea is that the PALY kids should cross at the corner of Embarcadero and El Camino Real, hey to get into the Town & Country that is like 3 minutes of extra walking across their school parking lot.
Remove the ridiculous PALY pedestrian crossing signal/light.
Traffic is greatly impeded on Embarcadero way too often. We have been waiting too long for the city to deal with this basic traffic problem.


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Posted by Paly '82
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Anonymous - that's pretty selfish thinking. The kids only have 40 minutes for lunch - they need all the time they can get. They would have to deal with cars constantly turning from El Camino to Embarcadero. Maybe you should just start 3 minutes earlier so a child won't be killed.


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Posted by Enjoy Children
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

How interesting that people are okay with inconveniencing others so they can make their lives better. The pedestrian signal is right where it needs to be for the safety of the students.

They could eliminate the mall exit on Embarcadero and install a traffic light at the exit of the mall to El Camino instead. The left turn lane from El Camino south-bound to Embarcadero Road is dicey due to cars blocking the lane and turning into TC. A traffic light there would help.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

The Paly ped light is best for the students so that do not have to walk through the parking lot --- which can be a safety nightmare. I say this as a former Paly parent, not a current one.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

The Paly kids need a dedicated pedestrian light to cross when no traffic will be turning into their path.

Typically, if a traffic light at ECR/Embarcadero or the Paly/T&C/Embarcadero lights were to replace the dedicated pedestrian light, then it would have to be a dedicated light in the sequence to prevent turning traffic. The only two of these type of lights we have is Middlefield/Oregon at Walter Hays, and Meadow at JLS.

For safety sake we cannot have kids crossing Embarcadero without a dedicated all way traffic stop with no turns.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Pedestrian safety must outweigh motorist convenience. Period.

How about just closing the driveway from the shopping center to Embarcadero? Improve the driveway on El Camino to allow both right and left turns.


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Posted by Count your blessings
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

1000 (50 percent) of students bike to Paly. Imagine the Embarcadero traffic if they were all driven to school.


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