News

City constructing new roundabout on Ross Road

New roundabout is designed to reduce traffic speeds

A new roundabout designed to slow traffic along the Ross Road bike boulevard will be installed over the Palo Alto Unified School District winter break, city officials said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The work will start this week at the intersection of Ross Road and East Meadow Drive. The construction is part of a traffic-calming and safety program for the city's 7.1-mile Neighborhood Traffic Safety & Bicycle Boulevard Project.

Studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than stop signs or traffic signals at intersections with a 75 percent reduction in injury crashes, city officials said. The roundabouts, along with other planned traffic traffic-calming measures, is thought to also discourage cut-through traffic in the neighborhood.

Most of the roundabout construction would be completed by the end of winter recess in the new year, weather permitting. Additional finishing work such as landscaping, signage and striping will be installed in the months ahead, according to the city's statement.

Many student bicycling to and from school were forced to make unsafe left turns at East Meadow Drive, often while high-speed vehicles approached, city officials said. In roundabouts, drivers and cyclists must both yield to any vehicle, including bicycles, that is already in the roundabout. Bicyclists will be able to more easily and safely navigate the turn, city officials said in the statement.

Bike boulevards are safer and more pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians, Christy Moision, of Fairmeadow Safe Routes to School, said in the statement.

"I am looking forward to the roundabout at Meadow and Ross, which is an intersection my children cross every day on their way to and from school. I know the Safe Routes team has long been aware of the difficulties at that intersection, particularly during school-commute times. The roundabout will decrease points of conflicts between cars and bikes, and help lots of elementary, middle, and high school students stay safe on their way to school," she said.

The city started construction on Phase 1 of the bicycle boulevard project in September along Ross Road. The project is designed to calm motor vehicle traffic; ease bike travel and enhance pedestrian safety by using speed humps; curb extensions; raise intersections and improve roadway markings, city officials said.

But the city's efforts hit a snag earlier this month after a number of residents said they were surprised by the changes on Ross Road, including concrete curb extensions, speed bumps and other concrete structures that make the lanes narrower. Some said they were not adequately notified about the project and construction.

City staff is now expanding its community outreach on the project with more one-on-one conversations with neighborhood residents; plans include a future town hall meeting in early 2018 and mobile bicycle coffee carts along the route to have opportunities for dialogue regarding the project, officials said.

The Palo Alto City Council adopted the 2012 Bike and Pedestrian Transportation Plan, which identified creating bike boulevards as part of a citywide strategy to increase bike usage as a alternative to driving a car. Palo Alto has the third highest rate of commuter bike ridership in the United States, with 8.5 percent of the population riding a bike to work, according to the city. Additional bike boulevards would provide better connections for bike commuters, increase bike usage and reduce traffic congestion, city officials said. More than 216,000 bikers a year ride on the Bryant Street bike boulevard, the city noted.

More information on the project can be found at cityofpaloalto.org/bikepedsafety. The page includes a street-by-street construction map, FAQ and links to videos on bike boulevards and traffic-calming devices.

For additional information, questions or concerns, residents can contact Community Relations Manager Sarah Ratliff at sarah.ratliff@gcinc.com or call 669-225-1617.

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Comments

27 people like this
Posted by driver and cyclist
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:40 am

Roundabouts work.

So why on the rest of this project have they decided to plop giant concrete islands in the middle of the streets approaching the intersections?


27 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

Can we get a traffic circle at the intersection of the Bryant Street bicycle boulevard and East Meadow too, please? Very hard to navigate that intersection by bicycle right now, especially left turns.


29 people like this
Posted by Midtown Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:15 am

Midtown Citizen is a registered user.

I watched the video with the City's traffic guy and my take-away is "we're going to slow traffic by forcing cars to accommodate bikes (particularly bikes being driven by kids)." This just seems like a terrible idea. Why not create more street breaks like Bryant has to discourage drive-throughs and speed bumps to slow traffic? Those both seem to work while inconveniencing neighbors the least. I just foresee a bunch of car/bike accidents.


2 people like this
Posted by Scott Batson
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:29 am

No sketches provided?

Many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. High speed, east coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK traffic roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout).
Go to Web Link to see pictures.


19 people like this
Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

Judith Wasserman is a registered user.

This town could seriously use more roundabouts. Stanford has installed several; they slow traffic but they also keep it moving. They are much safer for pedestrians because you only have to look one way for oncoming cars. Also, the number of possible car-car interactions goes from 32 to 8, making roundabouts safer for everyone.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Addison neighborhood
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

As long as both streets are wide enough and trees/shrubbery at the corners are kept low enough for visibility, agreed these are great. Just make sure you don't have a disaster like the Bryant/Addison intersection.


10 people like this
Posted by Cowper Street Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Addison Neighborhood has made an important point. There also needs to be enough space in the intersection to allow a "modern roundabout"! The city's traffic "experts" installed a "modern roundabout" at the Cowper/Coleridge intersection which was a disaster. It took them a year to pull it out and replace it with four stop signs--the original recommendation of residents who were asked if they liked the "roundabout." The Ross/East Meadow intersection doesn't look any larger than the Cowper/Coleridge one.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Roundabouts are much safer than 4 way stops and definitely better than the concrete traffic islands. We need roundabouts on Loma Verde and Colorado instead of those traffic islands.

The safe thing about roundabouts is that approaching traffic only has to watch from traffic in one direction instead of 3 and that at times of low traffic volume, traffic does not need to come to a complete stop. Pedestrians should cross safer too as they will have to look for two directions not four.


7 people like this
Posted by Polly Wanacracker
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Roundabouts are excellent devices for aiming autos at bicycles, pedestrians, and anything else near the curb.


8 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Polly Wanacracker, your observation is sardonic but not necessarily accurate. Please see Judith Wasserman's far more accurate comment above.

Roundabouts work very well provided the intersection itself is wide enough in all directions. (Addison neighborhood above rightly points out the problems with the cramped and confusing Bryant/Addison roundabout.)

As both a bicyclist and a motorist, I find it much less trying to keep moving rather than having to stop, especially if I'm the only vehicle present. Furthermore, wide lanes mean bike lanes can be continued within the circle, reminding bicyclists and motorists to maintain a safe separation.

I also agree with parent above who has called for a roundabout for the Bryant/East Meadow intersection. It is ridiculous and dangerous for bicyclists to try to cross East Meadow during commuting hours, and I long ago stopped trying. Waverley at least has a traffic light, but it also dead-ends at the school complex, forcing bicyclists to backtrack if they wish to continue to Mountain View.


6 people like this
Posted by Fairmeadow Dad
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

speaking of the Bryant Street bike boulevard at E. Meadow, we live there and I have to say, both Bryant and E. Meadow are sorely over-subscribed by vehicles at this intersection so the bikes are having a hard time getting across at times. The speeds at which traffic races up and down E. Meadow makes it hard for pedestrians and bikes to get across. Making it even worse is that there is literally ZERO lighting and during the winter when the sun is down before 5pm, it is incredibly dicey for everyone.

At the very least there should be a painted crossing, but there is absolutely NOTHING to give pedestrians and bikers a chance to have the right of way or even the opportunity to cross. Factor in all the cars that use the circles to cheat their way around the Alma/Charleston and Alma/Meadow intersections and parents rushing through to get their kids to all the schools and it is madness at times...dangerous madness.


4 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

Roundabouts are fine when streets are designed with the proper space for them. The roundabout Stanford added at Campus and Galvez is a massive improvement, but they reshaped the intersection, taking land from the corners to accommodate the space needed. Just dropping a concrete circle into an existing intersection (Bryant and Addison) doesn't do much excerpt squeeze cars and bicycles into the same narrow space, without leaving enough room to really use it as a roundabout.


Like this comment
Posted by Brit
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Here's a video produced in the UK to teach cyclists how to use roundabouts of different sizes. Obviously you will need to transfer the information for riding on the right, but the principle is the same. Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

While the traffic calming and bike boulevard might make sense for some users, I think that the transportation department needs to take a few things into consideration: much more communication and education and training to teach drivers, bikers and pedestrians how to re navigate using the changes. It is not intuitive if it is new and can create confusion and dangerous situations. Better communication with the residents of Ross Road. Informational flyer distributed to those who use the YMCA would also be extremely helpful, recognizing that people of all ages and abilities use Ross Road, some are already having a hard time and not know what to do when they see another car. They simple stop--right in the middle of the road. And finally invest in some education directly in front of the kids at schools, so they use the roads the right way.


6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:16 pm

"Polly Wanacracker, your observation is sardonic but not necessarily accurate. Please see Judith Wasserman's far more accurate comment above."

Polly's sardonic observation is all too dead on. I navigate with trepidation the roundabouts in my own neighborhood, which direct my car into a narrow passage skimming the curb. The roundabout at Addison/Bryant is especially bad, even when the parked cars don't block the view of cross traffic.

Judith Wasserman tells it like it could be given wide enough streets, not how it really works in Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Okay...I guess. I understand and agree in principal the benefits of roundabouts, but people need to learn how to use them. I was a novice when we rented a car and traveled in England. I got beeped at (loud horns) when I was waiting in queue to get on one and then when I was slow in getting off. So, this might solve the intersection problems, but that still leaves all the other concrete structures/barriers/impediments on Ross Rd to deal with. A grand experiment! And now we are hearing about the financial problems looming before us. Income shortfalls to match our budget, with the possibility of having to cut services, infrastructure upgrades, etc. The $8 million for the Ross Rd project could have been better spent.


7 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:11 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

The city continues to build while a rising chorus of voices point out how dangereous and wrongheaded this construction it. Stop the building, rip out the dangerous Ross/Corina structures, and start over. Palo Alto had nice wide safe streets - put them back.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:42 pm

You don't have to go to Europe to see roundabouts/traffic circles in tight residential neighborhoods. There have been some in the Mountain View for a long time- early Millenium I think (~15 years? I forget when they went in.). Seemed to work as planned, slowing down through traffic. It has been long enough that it would be interesting to see how many complaints there are now. I suspect people are used to them.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Follow-up: It appears that the traffic calming measures that I am thinking of in Mountain View probably went in between 1996 and 2002. Here is an online report:

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:42 pm

uhm. Title is incorrect. Did anyone drive down Ross road yet? It's not a round about... which would be great.

Instead what they have done is EXACTLY what you see in the photos. So you see a constriction of the width of the road near the speed bumps. Which is fine... but then you get to the intersections and they have put an island just BEFORE the stop sign. So the right lane is separated from the left lane.

Which theoretically seems ok.. only now.. what I see happening is at the intersection.. cars are going to naturally veer into the BIKE LANE to avoid hitting the island (they have taken 2 lane road and essentially made it a 3 lane road with the island taking up a portion).

It's idiotic. It may slow things down... OR make it very dangerous for bikers, especially at dawn, dusk and evening.
DID the city do any studies on safety of bikers before doing these measures?

PLEASE - everyone... go take a look on Ross Road. Think of the biker and their safety.. and realize.. these measures are idiotic .... the roads are just NARROW in width and CONSTRICTED in width every few feet... which makes it dangerous for bikers. Who are the people who came up with these plans???!!!


5 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 22, 2017 at 2:08 am

Marie is a registered user.

Speeding on East Meadow? Maybe East of Middlefield. But from Middlefield to Alma, there is almost no speeding. Given there are stop signs at more intersections than not, you could only speed if you went through stop signs. I drive that stretch of E. Meadow almost everyday and I have never seen a car go through a stop sign - only bikes.

And it is not cheating to go through the circles to get to Charleston - it is self preservation during commute hours when traffic backs up from Charleston to Loma Verde. As far as I know, public streets are still public. Since the light at Alma Village is not timed, traffic backs up frequently all the way to Loma Verde, which is why so many people, including myself, turn at Loma Verde, cut through on Ramona, and then if E. Meadow is backed up, through the circles to Charleston - and it still takes 20 minutes to drive 2.9 miles to my daughter's house south of El Camino.

If you impede (not slow - it is already slow) traffic on major and minor arterials, then neighborhood streets will get more traffic. How about less traffic slowing and more traffic smoothing, reducing idling and time spent in traffic, and reducing greenhouse gases, instead of increasing them with more crazy schemes to "slow traffic."

By the way, I support traffic circles when properly constructed which Addison/Bryant definitely isn't. And they only work if there isn't too much traffic. Loma Verde/Bryant may work. I'm open to trying, although I would prefer a temporary circle to make sure it will work. I remember so many intersections in England which had circles and traffic lights because otherwise, drivers could never get into the circle during times of high traffic.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

Resident of College Terrace

The roundabout is not built yet - it will be done over Winter Break. The roundabout will be on Meadow and Ross.

Otherwise, what you say about the traffic islands already installed is spot on.


9 people like this
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of University South
on Dec 22, 2017 at 10:14 am

The Ross Road work between East Meadow and Colorado is DANGEROUS for both bikers and drivers. The road is now too narrow and the volumes of traffic are not going to change. This work needs to stop and be removed. The cement barrier into the YMCA makes it hazardous for everyone concerned.

Please stop this. Roundabouts are fine though lighting must be improved.


Like this comment
Posted by Scott Batson
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2017 at 11:46 am

If it isn't an all-way yield then it isn't a roundabout intersection. Neighborhood traffic circles often retain the stop signs that were present before the center island is built.
The city website is not helpful in determining what will be constructed.


Like this comment
Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 22, 2017 at 11:57 am

The sleeping policemen are now installed (that's what we call them in Britain) and the arrows, sharrows or whatever, are confusing.


Like this comment
Posted by Rrian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm

I would also like to know whether it will still have stop signs. In my neighborhood they replaced the 3-way stop at Stanford and Park with a circle that is completely yield. Now both the cars and bikes speed thru it on Park. It used to be just the bikes. Now it is much more dangerous


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Rrian, if you have stop signs at roundabouts, you miss the point. They are designed to improve efficient traffic flow and stopping is not always the best thing to do for vehicles and for bikes.

Here's an interesting article from Washington State. Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 22, 2017 at 11:27 pm

the newly installed concrete 'barriers' at the end and middle of the streets are SO confusing. This installment creates very dangerous situation for both bikers and drivers as there is NO reflective devices nor lights for anyone to see after dawn. Now, with the addition speed bump and maybe roundabout at Ross/E. Meadows road, it will be more dangerous. You have to see how kids bike after school. THEY DON'T STOP AT the stop sign. I can smell more accidents in the future.

Have any of the city planner done any studies before implementing this changes?

Last, you should look at the changes at Colorado and Ross as well. Colorado is narrow already; it has a concrete at the middle. Hope the bus can pass easily and bikers not parallel biking at the same time. I strongly urge parents with kids that bike to school educating your kids well to STOP at all stop signs and NOT parallel biking with friends. We all share the road.


8 people like this
Posted by GreerResident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

What will the changes on Ross Road do to traffic on Louis and Greer?


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Roundabouts are risky for cyclists when there is even moderate automobile traffic. Multiple right-hook risks with a constant stream of cars being pressured by cars behind them.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Resident of Gunn HS

What nonsense. Roundabouts are much safer due to the fact that all traffic has to turn the same way and precedence is given to vehicles already on the roundabout. You should always give way to vehicles already on the roundabout whether they are bikes or motorized vehicles. Pedestrians should cross slightly farther away from the roundabout than at a stop sign but it is easier for them as they only have to watch for traffic approaching in two directions rather than four.

Roundabouts are used safely all over the world. Is there a reason why you think Palo Alto is different?


5 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@Alice Smith

"The road is now too narrow and the volumes of traffic are not going to change".

Yes, the road is too narrow but "no" on the second part. Traffic will change. At least I'm doing my part by staying away from Ross Rd except to get to the YMCA. There was another article in today's Daily Post describing 4 young cyclists being hit by cars in other areas and intersections in town. The score was autos fault, 2, cyclist's fault, 1. Heaven help us if we have to start keeping score on this stuff. The injuries were reported to be minor, mostly scrapes, cuts, and bruises, but accidents on Ross Rd will be much worse. And attorneys will line up, chomping on the bit, to take on those cases. Another reason I say traffic on Ross Rd will be less...maybe very light...from cars and cyclists (the ones it was supposed to benefit) as well...is because I see in so many posts that parents are worried about the safety of their kids and so they will instruct them not to use Ross Rd. Nice job the brilliant planners and CC did on this one. Spent $8+ million on a project that accomplishes nothing, even makes it worse. It drives away both cars and cyclists. Ross Rd might become just a very lonely lane. Will the proponents just walk away from it and say, "Mission accomplished, job well done"?

@resident

They just installed reflectors on the island barrier at Corina and Ross Rd but it is still a very dangerous impediment to have to negotiate, even in full daylight.

@GreerResident

I think the answer is the traffic on those streets will get heavier because of the Ross Rd fiasco.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

It bothers me a little bit that none of our CC members haven't said anything online (posted here), and responded to all the criticisms made about this project. I know it's hard to admit you made a mistake, but it is doubly troubling if they still think they didn't make a mistake. Former mayor, Pat Burt, was at least willing to post and explain his position on decisions. Current councilman, Tom Dubois, has done that as well, a few times, and also, Cory Wolbach. This should go down as a 'best' bad example of how to get approval and implement a project that is so flawed. The proposers/proponents, not the public, got swept away by the idea that we can get rid of cars and everybody will ride bikes or walk to work. That ideal European model just doesn't fit Palo Alto. Let's hope the electric autonomous cars will keep us safer and save our climate. A good segue to this is the proposed under-parked apartments. There again, it's banking on people not owning cars. Let one of those projects go through and then diligently track the results over a period of time...at least a year, before we open up the floodgates to any more of them.

I know our CC is stuck between a rock and a hard spot. There are too many problems that are unsolvable by one municipality alone. We can twiddle with our local parking issues. We can try to rezone and make ordinance changes to accommodate and encourage affordable housing, whatever that means, but developers have to be brought on board without the goal of reaping maximum profits. Good luck CC. And the transit issue? Again, good luck on that one. Caltrain is close to being maxed out. Electrification will help a little bit. Company and other bus services can only do so much. So, sad to say, cars will rule for at least another decade. The biggest challenge is to figure out how cars and bikes will get along, together, on our busy streets.

Oh well, there's also that other nasty issue about our financial situation, our budget, and the overwhelming and overhanging pension burden. Another election cycle is coming up. Who will be brave enough to throw their hat into the ring this time around? My hat goes off, and my thanks goes out to all of our current CC members who try their best to serve their constituencies. It's a tough job and the pay isn't that great either. lol!



Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm

I don't think it makes sense for the CC to respond to every thread in Town Square.


3 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Not every thread, but to simply repeat their support and optimism for this project. I suspect if they were presented with scaled 3D models and an animated video of how the forced mixing of cars and bikes would flow on Ross Rd, they would have had second thoughts.


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Given the price tag on this effort I think they should have their feet held to the fire. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Oh, for heaven's sake...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Oh, for heaven's sake... is a registered user.

Ross Road is still under construction. The construction barriers are still in place, so of course it is a little challenging to navigate. If you are finding it very challenging to navigate, perhaps you need a driving class to review the rules of the road and learn where your fenders are.

I drove it last night. It was perfectly fine. I encountered numerous other motorists and bikes and pedestrians. We all did just fine. I encountered two challenging areas where the problem was construction barriers and a little confusion at one intersection because new striping has not been installed yet.

Let them finish. I think the finished project will be a very nice improvement.


1 person likes this
Posted by davidvanhorn
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm

When speaking of E. Meadow please call it what it really is, Charleston jr. or Charleston bypass

Because that is what E. Meadow has become!


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

What strikes me as important and I have no idea if there is an answer is which direction has priority when it comes to the narrow areas and speed bumps. The arrows on the bumps indicate presumably where to aim your wheels, but since the center arrow shows head on arrows, as far as I know there is no rule of the road which shows which direction gets priority. Is it a case of who gets there first which means the possibility of races, or is it just supposed to be good manners? I honestly can't see say a garbage truck or a UPS truck waving another vehicle through.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Work being done by a construction crew (drains, perhaps or electricity cables) at the intersection of Loma Verde and Ross today, is causing problems as traffic try to navigate around the equipment and crew. How they are supposed to do whatever work they need to do with the narrowing due to the traffic islands, was never taken into consideration.


5 people like this
Posted by I like it.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I like it. is a registered user.

Great project. Thank you, City of Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm

@davidvanhorn, exactly right, and precisely why the Ross road Soviet-style Central Planning project will fail. You can’t legislate higher population density and more business and reduce the need to travel at the same time. I’m seeing Non-neighbor traffic on tertiary roads now with people fruitlessly trying to avoid San Antonio/Charleston.


2 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Please note: many roundabouts must have the ability to have emergency vehicles be able to get through them. Successful ones have an inner curb that can be driven on if needed. Also YIELD TO ROUNDABOUT TRAFFIC should posted at each entrance into the roundabout. That will make a roundabout safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.


10 people like this
Posted by Cover up?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 27, 2017 at 2:33 pm

An article in yesterday’s PAOnline, references a now settled lawsuit between a former Transportation Dept employee, Sarah Syed, and the Transportation Dept. Syed worked on the bicycle blvd debacle. Josh Mello, Transportation Dept Director and others in the Dept are named in the lawsuit. The former employee charged “corruption and fraud” in her lawsuit. She won and received a monetary payout. What is the “corruption and fraud” at the Transportation Dept that is referenced in her lawsuit and in the news article? Palo Altans deserve to know the facts in the corruption and fraud lawsuit. Something seems terribly wrong with the bicycle blvd project, Is there a cover up?


5 people like this
Posted by Tom Garvey
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2018 at 10:46 am

As I was exiting the YMCA parking lot in my car the other day, I watched a woman on her bike trying to watch me while not running into the new concrete barrier in the street where she would have biked before the so-called traffic calming. I've biked on Ross Road for 50 years and have not felt threatened by cars on the street until now--it's always had fairly wide shoulder areas affording, even with parked cars, a natural way to ride fairly quickly and away from cars. Now, they are filled with hard, concrete bicycle barriers. But perhaps there have been a lot of accidents that I'm unaware of that has led Palo Alto to make such a large investment in traffic calming.

However, the idea that forcing auto and bicycle traffic to mix is going to make it safer for the bikes seems to be nonintuitive at best, but generally strikes me as not credible. On my bike, I've already had interactions twice with cars at the new narrowed areas where neither of us were sure who should go first. Winding up close to a car with no room on the side did not make me feel safe. The idea of the cutout in the center of speed bumps in the narrow areas (which I understand is for the convenience of bicycles) means that if I as a bicyclist wish to avail myself of that, I have to line myself up directly with cars, some of which will be coming head on and probably trying to estimate my speed in order to determine whether they can make it through before I get there--I don't like my odds. I'll also add that the edges of those cutouts are hazards for the front wheel of a cyclist who feels the need to maneuver out of the cutout should an oncoming car appear closer than estimated.

A few years back, I was bicycling on Arastradero eastbound near El Camino and had to navigate around a car that started to encroach on the narrow shoulder where I was riding. While I was focused on avoiding the car, my front wheel caught on an uneven joint in the road and I crashed. I wound up in the hospital for three weeks and out of work for three months. As a cyclist, I feel threatened by having to mix with cars, especially when they (and I) have other things to be looking for (such as concrete barriers in the road).

Someone else on here commented that the most likely effect of these barriers on cyclists is that it will force them away from Ross Road altogether. I have to agree, but if not, I think the next most likely effect is an uptick in the number of car-bicycle accidents. Sadly, I had felt particularly safe on Ross Road, but with this incredibly expensive safety "investment," that feeling of security has disappeared.


5 people like this
Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm

The work on the roundabout is not complete, but it seems that the prep work involves narrowing the intersection.

In all my driving in the UK and Europe, I have never come across a roundabout design whereby the area of the roundabout is narrowed. Usually, from my experience, the area and approach is widened to enable sensible approaches to give space for pedestrians to wait on a traffic island as they cross any of the streets and need to look only one way each time they have to cross.

This particular roundabout is beginning to look confusing for experienced roundabout users.


4 people like this
Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm

It the circle that has been painted in the centre of the intersection is the size of the roundabout, then it is going to be huge! The fact that the footpaths have been increased in size means that the space for roadways is going to be very narrow. I am particularly worried that school buses, fire trucks, moving trucks, are not going to be able to navigate that narrow a lane around the roundabout.

This is not going to go well when there are a stream of bikes on a one way commute towards the schools. Since all traffic has to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout, I can see that cars attempting to enter the roundabout on the entrance before the popular exit, are going to have a long wait for a gap!

This does not bode well with me, an experienced roundabout user.


3 people like this
Posted by It'll happen once done
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:50 am

It will all come into place when the car speeds are reduced. In all my years of driving on 4 different continents and on every kind of road imaginable, I've very seldom been in a situation where reducing one's speed does not convert an otherwise dangerous situation into a comparatively safe one.
Predictions of doom are premature until the project is complete.

Right now it's a construction zone, which are always inherently more dangerous, but again, when I reduce my speed...magic.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

Roundabouts have little to do with speed when they replace a four way stop sign.

The advantages of a roundabout mean efficient traffic flow as no stop is necessary when there is no other traffic and that drivers and bikes watch just one direction for oncoming traffic instead of 3.

This roundabout will not make cars slow down more than they would if they were approaching a stop sign.


2 people like this
Posted by Cyclist
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm

I'm personally fine with the route, but obviously people's perceptions of what is safe varies significantly. I'm an experienced rider and it's pretty mush, zip, zap, zoop, and you're through it. Just another wrinkle in the urban landscape. Each time through can be different depending on many variables.
Onward and forward.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2018 at 11:44 am

As someone who has taken to drive Louis rather than Ross, I am quite confident that there are more vehicles on Louis than there used to be, but feel that there are also a lot of bikes on Louis.

Since Louis has Palo Verde school and also a lot of Ohlone bike and vehicle traffic this concerns me. Ohlone is a magnet school rather than a neighborhood school and generates a lot more traffic than regular schools. The fact that there are now more vehicles on Louis to avoid Ross is not a good idea, particularly for all the little kids on bikes biking to school. Ross may be the safe route to school for some of the middle schools, but it doesn't get the youngest kids to their schools the way Louis does.

I can't help feeling that the first accident as a result of the mess on Ross won't be on Ross itself, but on Louis and it will involve younger kids.


9 people like this
Posted by High School Student
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

As a high school student who bikes to school and knows the streets fairly well, I find these concrete shoulders a hazard. They force me into the middle of the road when I am biking. This makes me feel unsafe. I have already heard a story of a car accident that occurred in front of the YMCA on Ross Road because of these shoulders. I don’t mind the roundabouts but the shoulders are dangerous.


2 people like this
Posted by Duh
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Um, Ross Rd is still well under construction. I would hope that people are avoiding it and using Louis Rd and Middlefield Rd if possible. That would be the prudent thing to do. Gotta keep the hard working construction workers safe you know.


7 people like this
Posted by @Duh
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 9, 2018 at 9:21 am

Yah, but people need to get their gripe on early and often so they can beat this dead horse into the ground ;)


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm

This roundabout is now operating as a roundabout so it doesn't matter that the landscaping hasn't been done and it is still called unfinished.

The kids on bikes don't like it. The PTA people have been out there yelling at kids on bikes. The locals don't like using it. The police have also been there watching.

What does PAFD think? What do bus drivers think? I have yet to find anyone who is pleased with the size of the roundabout v the narrowing of the roadbed. Even those who are familiar with roundabouts in other countries, find this weird.

Making Ross Road safe for bikes is not the discussion point here. Making Meadow safe for all traffic as it goes through this intersection is an important discussion.


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Posted by Yes
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Where are the answers!!!???


6 people like this
Posted by Well
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 12, 2018 at 10:16 am

I dunno. I've negotiated it numerous times now and each time it seems a little less awkward. For whatever reason, it's easier on my bike. I credit that to better visibility and general awareness the bike provides over my car. for me, I find it exponentially more safe if I take the center lane.

In my car, I slow down, stay behind bikes for any pinch sections and simply be alert for those who may not yet be used to it. The first few times are indeed weird so people should slow until they get used to negotiating it.


9 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 15, 2018 at 8:35 am

For those who keep saying "wait and see, you'll like it" ... the more they build, the worse it gets.

Before they dig a hole in Ross at Moreno and another at Louis, the city should hit the pause button and listen to the people who feel this dangerous change should be reversed. Very few people like what has been implemented, and many fear that serious accidents are inevitable.

Almost a hundred people have signed this petition to hit the pause button in the past twenty-four hours:
Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Ross Roadian
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:52 am

I'm actually OK with it, and for me, it has become much easier as it progresses. I wholly support my fellow neighbors efforts to be involved and exercise their right to petition, but I think, as they are finding out with the judge recall sentiment, it's more about the people who don't sign the petition than do.
Best of luck all, good community involvement either way!


9 people like this
Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 19, 2018 at 10:37 pm

For all the anonymous posters, there are now 738 signatures on the petition. Or, 3/4 of the people who live near the intersection and use it.
This intersection violates every design principle for a roundabout. An intersection less than 90-feet should have completely traversable intersections and islands; the sightlines for a round-about are 100 feet, not zero.
The city caved to bike enthusiasts, and threw our children commuters under the bus. The intersection as built is not safe, and does not follow the CA Department of Transportation guidelines for a mini-roundabout defined as any roundabout less than 90-feet in diameter).
New is not always better, and stealing ideas from others is not a good idea if the context is lost. Roundabouts can help. but only in the right circumstances. Forcing 8-year-olds in front of Suburbans every day at 7:55am is a BAD IDEA, and this intersection is more dangerous because of the city's expensive changes.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 19, 2018 at 11:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Speaking of expensive changes, I couldn't believe the city could be so tone deaf as to be considering a June ballot measure on a new tax to pay for infrastructure projects including more street "improvements" with another $16,000,000 slated for the Charleston/Arastradero corridor. According to the front page story they'll be doing several polls to figure out what our tolerance level is and whether increasing the sales tax, the hotel tax or the property transfer tax will be the most palatable.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:29 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Just got back from an early morning visit to Ross Road to watch the traffic develop for an hour and then join the stream of students and cars going past JLS and then up Maybell with the Gunn group.

I practiced entering and going around the circle while there was no traffic. People who are nervous about negotiating the circle should give that a try during a slow traffic period (most of the day). They'll find there's ample space.

George Jaquette's concern about putting very young bicyclists was on my mind as I considered the intersection. I would advise my child to take advantage of the large, safe zone platforms on each corner and walk her bike across the street(s) as needed to get safely positioned for continuing on. Student bicyclists going down East Meadow should do the same during periods of heavy traffic after school. I joined that stream yesterday at dismissal time from JLS and it seemed that it would be safer to roll up onto the platform from the bicycle lane and cross from there than push into the stream of cars entering the traffic circle.

Try it yourself, or at least take a look. There may be factors I'm not aware of, but it seems to me that this project will work. Giving up and going back to the status quo ante doesn't seem reasonable to me.


3 people like this
Posted by I agree with Jerry
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:45 am

Once people understand how to use it and at the proper speed, it'll be fine. It won't be some flowing dream section, but nothing in PA is during rush hour and school commute times. I can't wait until everyone else gets unbunched about it, but there will always be some who will never let it go. Their choice, I have moved on.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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