Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 9:18 am
Not very surprising. Highway 101 is dangerous at present due to the construction, it seems every time I use it something has changed and I see so much confusion from drivers entering or exiting. The through traffic is not very aware how short the merges are and how much they need to give way to merging cars entering at the on ramps.
Posted by boondoggle , a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:17 am
This construction boondoggle was poorly planned, poorly executed, and a complete waste of $100 million. Why didn't they spend the money on local road projects that could have a real impact on safety, for a fraction of the cost.
Posted by jerryl, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:07 am
I was commenting to my wife just this weekend about the horrible lack of progress on this project. At San Antonio there appears to be zero
progress month after month. They quickly tear everything up and then seem to just sit there. I don't know what can be done or who is managing the boondoggle but something ought to be done like withhold progress payments or a day by day fine for slippage or something.
Posted by Driver Dan, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:40 am
I have no problems whatsoever negotiating any of these area roads people are complaining about. I slow down to a prudent speed for conditions and don't try to force my way in. When in doubt, I let the other guy go first. I really wonder what others are doing that make it so difficult.
Posted by driver, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:53 am
The problem is that some of the construction work makes it really hard to see where the other cars are. For example, the northbound entrance ramp from Embarcadero to Hwy 101 has a concrete wall between the merging lane and the highway. That wall effectively blocks the vision of merging drivers so they cannot see if there are any cars in the lane they are trying to merge into, until the last second when slowing down is not an option. Car drivers on the highway are generally courteous about letting the mergers in, but that can be difficult when a line of cars are trying to merge one after the other. There are no merging lights to spread out the cars.
Posted by Lily, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 11:59 am
This comment bear"The merge onto northbound 101 from Oregon Expressway is currently a death trap. Zero visibility for either sides of the merging traffic!
Amen. I heartily agree and hope drivers proceed with extreme caution. At one point the driver must beware of cars merging not only from the left, as usual, and now from the right as well. It is a very tricky situation and requires both extreme alertness and a sense of humor.
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm
A few weeks ago, construction was in full swing on San Antonio Road. However, some brilliant planner decided to rebuild the sidewalk and edge of the road (for drainage) on the corner of Middlefield and San Antonio Road (along the Valero gas station).
This made for a terrible amount of traffic and several "near misses" that I observed while I pumped gasoline in my car.
Posted by Michele, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm
Don't forget southbound entry from Embarcadero - no way to see if any cars are coming so you just have to pray and go forward. This whole thing is a mess even if you are driving slow. I cringe every time I hear the ambulances racing by. I know they are going to this awful construction zone.
Posted by Shaking head in disbelief, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Its shockingly true: You cannot expect things to stay the same day to day in a fluid project like the freeway construction. Yes, it will cause strange merges with limited visibility. No, you will not be able to safely drive it a "normal" speeds. YES you must slow down. The only solution to all these construction merge and visibility issues is the simple one. Slow down. If you can't see, slow down until you can. Hell, slow until you stop if you have to. If you slow and pay attention you'll have no problems, unless you lack the abilities to negotiate such easy obstacles. If you drive like a me first entitled goof, you'll continue to run into issues. Quite literally I would imagine
Posted by driver, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm
My driving instructor said never stop in a merge situation, except when traffic is stopped in front of you. Stopping on a freeway onramp is going to get you rear-ended regularly. Even if you don't get clobbered from behind, trying to merge into 55mph traffic from a standing start is really dangerous, even in a sports car.
Yes, people on both sides of the concrete wall need to spread out and allow space for merging. Advising people to come to a complete stop when traffic is moving at freeway speeds is reckless.
Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm
From the California Drivers' Handbook:
California has a "Basic Speed Law." This law means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited for driving "too fast for conditions."
Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on:
The number and speed of other vehicles on the road.
Whether the road surface is smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow.
Bicyclists or pedestrians walking on the road’s edge or crossing the street.
Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty.
Posted by Uh-Huh, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm
driver, you teacher gave you great advise for normal driving conditions where the flow of traffic is at normal speeds what did the instructor say about construction zones and heavy traffic merging at 10-25 mph?
"When you cannot see, keep going until you hit something" ?
Maybe that's the problem. We need new area driver's ed teachers! (JK)
Posted by Yona, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm
I agree that the exit on to 101 north from Oregon Expwy. is very very dangerous. And yes, I am afraid that if I slow down too much, my little car (Honda Insight) is going to be rear ended. Didn't the construction people how dangerous this exit has become now? I really wonder about that.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:09 pm
Imagine the complaints if in the name of safety they simply closed the impacted 101 on-ramps during construction. There are surface street alternatives. In any case, drivers should be awake, sober, and off the phone. To which of these will the accident story above be attributed? Pardon my speculation, but I doubt it was due to heavy traffic or construction at 2:40 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm
I'm sure everybody agrees that the construction zone on 101 is poorly planned and very dangerous.
However, the story posted by Palo Alto Online, sourced from Bay City News, is completely wrong. The car was traveling SOUTH on 101. The accident happened on the northbound San Antonio Road ramp. It's likely the construction zone had little to do with this incident. No one was taken to the hospital, either by a county ambulance or PAFD.
Why didn't the editor simply call PAFD and check the facts of this story? PAFD had an engine, the rescue unit and an ambulance at the scene assisting Mountain View Fire.
How can Palo Alto Online ask us to "support local journalism" when they forgo checking the basic facts of the stories they post?
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 25, 2012 at 8:50 am
Perhaps this was just due to driver fatigue at this time of night.
Perhaps the road configuration or a merging driver took an unsuspecting through driver by surprise.
I would really like to know what happened and hear the results of the investigation into this accident. I would be very surprised if the construction did not play even a small role in this accident.
I can't understand why people think that slowing down on the merge would help. If the through traffic does not give way to the merging traffic then it will not help the situation. The merging traffic is very much at the mercy of the through traffic all the way through this construction mess. Yes, the configurations are changing all the time and the signage is not helpful. The flashing yellow signs are no help because it takes too long to read them when drivers should be paying attention to the traffic, not reading signs!
Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community, on Sep 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Once again...Palo Altans have their precious knickers in a knot by simple matters of daily life.
Get used to it. Periodically freeways and roads need to be fixed for all kinds of reasons. Be patient and aware of the changes.
Or get some perspective by taking a trip down to West LA and drive a bit on the 405, where the multiyear freeway construction completely CLOSED the major artery for a population of 10 million people (and will close it again in a few days). Everyone predicted chaos but Angelenos showed considerable patience and tolerance and just dealt with the reality of the situation.
Pretty sad when LA demonstrates more community cohesiveness than Palo Alto.