News

Decision time: Palo Alto City Council to weigh closure of Churchill Avenue

City looks to trim down design options for rail crossing

A plan to close Churchill Avenue in Palo Alto to traffic near the Caltrain tracks includes an underpass for pedestrians and bicyclists. Courtesy city of Palo Alto.

Nearly a decade after Palo Alto embarked on a journey to redesign its four rail crossings, the city is preparing to answer a critical and divisive question: Should the city close Churchill Avenue to traffic near the train tracks?

The City Council will weigh on Monday a recommendation from its advisory panel to close the crossing to cars altogether — a proposal that would also involve a new bike underpass across the tracks and a host of road modifications at key intersections north and south of Churchill. The option is one of three still on the table for Churchill, along with a train viaduct and an option known as the "partial underpass," which would depress Churchill west of the rail corridor and allow drivers to cross the tracks and turn left or right on Alma Street.

Palo Alto is one of several cities along the Peninsula that are moving ahead with grade separation, a redesign of rail crossings so that streets and tracks no longer intersect. Mountain View is working with Caltrain to redesign the intersection at Castro Street, which would be closed to traffic at the tracks, and at Rengstorff Avenue, which would be lowered under the tracks. San Mateo just completed a grade-separation project at 25th Avenue that features a "hybrid" design of raised tracks and lowered roadway. Burlingame is planning to take a similar approach at its Broadway rail crossing.

Redwood City is narrowing down grade-separation alternatives for Whipple Avenue and the city's other rail crossings, while Sunnyvale is evaluating underpass options for its two crossings, at Mary and Sunnyvale avenues.

The main driver of these projects is Caltrain, which is moving ahead with electrifying its tracks and expanding its train fleet. The long-awaited improvement to the rail system will, however, entail more gate-down time and longer car queues at some of the existing rail crossings.

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The traffic impacts on Churchill are expected to be particularly severe. A study commissioned by the city in 2019 indicated that once Caltrain electrification is complete, gates at the crossing will be down about 15% of the time and it would take between 10 and 12 minutes for cars heading north on Alma during the morning commute to complete a left turn onto Churchill. The queue of cars lining up to make that turn would stretch for five blocks, past Seale Avenue.

Meanwhile, the queue of cars heading east on Churchill toward Alma would stretch all the way to El Camino Real.

But while the Palo Alto council agrees that this is unacceptable, members have struggled over the years to reach a consensus on an alternative. In both 2018 and 2019, the council had set a goal of selecting its preferred design for the three crossings by the end of that year, only to see the deadlines pass with no resolution.

During its last discussion, which took place on Aug. 23, members considered possible options for the East Meadow Drive and Charleston Road rail crossings and agreed to eliminate the viaduct from further consideration, leaving them with three options: a trench, an underpass and a "hybrid" design.

While the council broadly supports moving ahead with grade separation, members have acknowledged that all design alternatives are flawed and each is sure to encounter opposition. Old Palo Alto residents who live near the tracks have vociferously objected to having a viaduct just outside their yards, while their counterparts in Professorville have warned that closing Churchill would steer cars to other key east-west routes, most notably Embarcadero Road.

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The closure has also stirred opposition in Southgate, a neighborhood just south of Churchill and just west of the tracks, where many residents have criticized the option because it would cut off their primary route across the tracks.

For Churchill resident Mohamed Hadidi, who supports closure, the choice is easy. The underpass alternative, Hadidi told the council during an April discussion, remains unrefined and unacceptable in its current form. The viaduct, meanwhile, is undesirable because of its visual impact.

Traffic waits on Churchill Avenue for a southbound Caltrain train at the Churchill train crossing on March 21, 2019. Photo by Veronica Weber.

"The stark choice here is between two alternatives: number one, inflicting a concrete monstrosity on the neighborhood, which will indelibly change is character for the worse, and number two, a potential minor increase in traffic at some intersections and a slight inconvenience for some Southgate residents," Hadidi said.

Southgate resident Steve Carlson strongly disagreed and suggested at the April hearing that Churchill's closure would worsen traffic conditions in various areas of the city. Barbara Hazlett, who lives in Professorville, called the grade separation effort "one of the most transformative and potentially destructive matters of this town and the Peninsula" and suggested that the city's proposed traffic improvements would not sufficiently mitigate the impacts of the closure.

"One neighborhood's gain should not come from another's loss," Hazlett said.

One factor that everyone agrees on is that the impacts of the decision will spill out well beyond the Churchill rail crossing. To address the fact that drivers will necessarily seek other routes once Churchill is closed, the Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP), a specially appointed citizen commission that was charged with helping the city pick its grade-separation alternative, recommended a suite of mitigations, including reconfiguring Alma Street near Embarcadero and adding a host of turn lanes at El Camino's intersections with Embarcadero and with Oregon Expressway.

Capping 18 months of deliberations, the commission voted 6-3 to select Churchill's closure, coupled with a list of road improvements, as its preferred alternative. The majority noted that the closure is "by far the lowest cost option," with a price tag of between $50 million and $65 million, according to XCAP's final report, which was released in March. (The partial underpass has an estimated cost of $160 million to $200 million, while the viaduct would be between $300 million and $400 million.)

Supporters of the closure alternative also lauded its minor visual impact when compared to a viaduct or an underpass, as well its benefit for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"By fully separating bicycle and pedestrian traffic from both vehicular traffic and the train, a safer and more enhanced crossing condition can be created for cyclists and foot traffic in and near Churchill Avenue," the report states. "Proposed mitigations at Embarcadero and Alma also address shortcomings in the current bicycle and pedestrian paths there."

While the three XCAP members who voted against closure — Chair Nadia Naik, Keith Reckdahl and Phil Burton — requested more information about the underpass, the majority concluded the partial underpass is "already an expensive alternative that is unlikely to be improved with additional design iteration."

'One neighborhood's gain should not come from another's loss.'

-Barbara Hazlett, resident, Professorville neighborhood

On Monday, it will be the council's turn to weigh in. It will consider two questions: Should the city eliminate any of the remaining alternatives for Churchill Avenue? And if not, what other information does it need to finally make a decision?

A new report from the Office of Transportation suggests that gathering additional information for all three rail crossings won't be easy or cheap. One of the questions that XCAP had flagged was the need to explore the potential that Caltrain and high-speed rail would create a four-track segment in Palo Alto, an option that is included in the "high growth" scenario of Caltrain's business plan. But evaluating how a four-track alignment would mesh with the existing alternatives would require the city to spend between $90,000 and $110,000, according to the city's report.

Updating a transportation study to consider traffic volumes in the year 2040, as some residents have urged, would cost another $55,000. (The current analysis only considers traffic conditions up to 2030.) A geotechnical study that would explore the impacts of grade separation on groundwater would cost between $130,000 and $160,000, while evaluation of "box jacking" — a construction technique that could significantly expedite construction — could run as high as $600,000, according to the staff report.

These studies, as well as others pertaining to shadows, urban design and refinements to the underpass alternative, are anticipated to cost between $1.25 million and $1.73 million, according to staff. Unless the council proposes a different direction, most of these studies would be conducted by the city's consultant, Aecom.

Not everyone believes that these studies are necessary. Larry Klein, a former Palo Alto mayor who served as vice chair of the Expanded Community Advisory Panel, urged the council at the Aug. 23 discussion not to spend city funds on analyzing Caltrain's and the California High Speed Rail Authority's prospective plans for a four-track segment.

'This isn't Palo Alto's problem. This is a combination of Caltrain's problem and more specifically High-Speed Rail's. … We shouldn't be spending any money on it.'

-Larry Klein, former mayor, Palo Alto

"This isn't Palo Alto's problem," Klein said. "This is a combination of Caltrain's problem and more specifically High-Speed Rail's. … We shouldn't be spending any money on it."

He also suggested that it's too soon to spend money on an urban design study, which according to city staff would cost about $125,000 and involve evaluation of such things as public art, landscaping and pedestrian amenities.

Transportation staff also note in the new report that many of the studies that council members and residents have requested are typically conducted later in the development process. They also pointed out that these studies "must be considered preliminary, since responsible agencies such as Caltrain will provide limited guidance and feedback at the current conceptual design stage."

"Nonetheless, to the extent these studies provide community stakeholders greater confidence in decision-making, the costs involved represent a small percentage of the ultimate costs of grade separation construction," the report states.

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Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Decision time: Palo Alto City Council to weigh closure of Churchill Avenue

City looks to trim down design options for rail crossing

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 10:13 am

Nearly a decade after Palo Alto embarked on a journey to redesign its four rail crossings, the city is preparing to answer a critical and divisive question: Should the city close Churchill Avenue to traffic near the train tracks?

The City Council will weigh on Monday a recommendation from its advisory panel to close the crossing to cars altogether — a proposal that would also involve a new bike underpass across the tracks and a host of road modifications at key intersections north and south of Churchill. The option is one of three still on the table for Churchill, along with a train viaduct and an option known as the "partial underpass," which would depress Churchill west of the rail corridor and allow drivers to cross the tracks and turn left or right on Alma Street.

Palo Alto is one of several cities along the Peninsula that are moving ahead with grade separation, a redesign of rail crossings so that streets and tracks no longer intersect. Mountain View is working with Caltrain to redesign the intersection at Castro Street, which would be closed to traffic at the tracks, and at Rengstorff Avenue, which would be lowered under the tracks. San Mateo just completed a grade-separation project at 25th Avenue that features a "hybrid" design of raised tracks and lowered roadway. Burlingame is planning to take a similar approach at its Broadway rail crossing.

Redwood City is narrowing down grade-separation alternatives for Whipple Avenue and the city's other rail crossings, while Sunnyvale is evaluating underpass options for its two crossings, at Mary and Sunnyvale avenues.

The main driver of these projects is Caltrain, which is moving ahead with electrifying its tracks and expanding its train fleet. The long-awaited improvement to the rail system will, however, entail more gate-down time and longer car queues at some of the existing rail crossings.

The traffic impacts on Churchill are expected to be particularly severe. A study commissioned by the city in 2019 indicated that once Caltrain electrification is complete, gates at the crossing will be down about 15% of the time and it would take between 10 and 12 minutes for cars heading north on Alma during the morning commute to complete a left turn onto Churchill. The queue of cars lining up to make that turn would stretch for five blocks, past Seale Avenue.

Meanwhile, the queue of cars heading east on Churchill toward Alma would stretch all the way to El Camino Real.

But while the Palo Alto council agrees that this is unacceptable, members have struggled over the years to reach a consensus on an alternative. In both 2018 and 2019, the council had set a goal of selecting its preferred design for the three crossings by the end of that year, only to see the deadlines pass with no resolution.

During its last discussion, which took place on Aug. 23, members considered possible options for the East Meadow Drive and Charleston Road rail crossings and agreed to eliminate the viaduct from further consideration, leaving them with three options: a trench, an underpass and a "hybrid" design.

While the council broadly supports moving ahead with grade separation, members have acknowledged that all design alternatives are flawed and each is sure to encounter opposition. Old Palo Alto residents who live near the tracks have vociferously objected to having a viaduct just outside their yards, while their counterparts in Professorville have warned that closing Churchill would steer cars to other key east-west routes, most notably Embarcadero Road.

The closure has also stirred opposition in Southgate, a neighborhood just south of Churchill and just west of the tracks, where many residents have criticized the option because it would cut off their primary route across the tracks.

For Churchill resident Mohamed Hadidi, who supports closure, the choice is easy. The underpass alternative, Hadidi told the council during an April discussion, remains unrefined and unacceptable in its current form. The viaduct, meanwhile, is undesirable because of its visual impact.

"The stark choice here is between two alternatives: number one, inflicting a concrete monstrosity on the neighborhood, which will indelibly change is character for the worse, and number two, a potential minor increase in traffic at some intersections and a slight inconvenience for some Southgate residents," Hadidi said.

Southgate resident Steve Carlson strongly disagreed and suggested at the April hearing that Churchill's closure would worsen traffic conditions in various areas of the city. Barbara Hazlett, who lives in Professorville, called the grade separation effort "one of the most transformative and potentially destructive matters of this town and the Peninsula" and suggested that the city's proposed traffic improvements would not sufficiently mitigate the impacts of the closure.

"One neighborhood's gain should not come from another's loss," Hazlett said.

One factor that everyone agrees on is that the impacts of the decision will spill out well beyond the Churchill rail crossing. To address the fact that drivers will necessarily seek other routes once Churchill is closed, the Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP), a specially appointed citizen commission that was charged with helping the city pick its grade-separation alternative, recommended a suite of mitigations, including reconfiguring Alma Street near Embarcadero and adding a host of turn lanes at El Camino's intersections with Embarcadero and with Oregon Expressway.

Capping 18 months of deliberations, the commission voted 6-3 to select Churchill's closure, coupled with a list of road improvements, as its preferred alternative. The majority noted that the closure is "by far the lowest cost option," with a price tag of between $50 million and $65 million, according to XCAP's final report, which was released in March. (The partial underpass has an estimated cost of $160 million to $200 million, while the viaduct would be between $300 million and $400 million.)

Supporters of the closure alternative also lauded its minor visual impact when compared to a viaduct or an underpass, as well its benefit for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"By fully separating bicycle and pedestrian traffic from both vehicular traffic and the train, a safer and more enhanced crossing condition can be created for cyclists and foot traffic in and near Churchill Avenue," the report states. "Proposed mitigations at Embarcadero and Alma also address shortcomings in the current bicycle and pedestrian paths there."

While the three XCAP members who voted against closure — Chair Nadia Naik, Keith Reckdahl and Phil Burton — requested more information about the underpass, the majority concluded the partial underpass is "already an expensive alternative that is unlikely to be improved with additional design iteration."

On Monday, it will be the council's turn to weigh in. It will consider two questions: Should the city eliminate any of the remaining alternatives for Churchill Avenue? And if not, what other information does it need to finally make a decision?

A new report from the Office of Transportation suggests that gathering additional information for all three rail crossings won't be easy or cheap. One of the questions that XCAP had flagged was the need to explore the potential that Caltrain and high-speed rail would create a four-track segment in Palo Alto, an option that is included in the "high growth" scenario of Caltrain's business plan. But evaluating how a four-track alignment would mesh with the existing alternatives would require the city to spend between $90,000 and $110,000, according to the city's report.

Updating a transportation study to consider traffic volumes in the year 2040, as some residents have urged, would cost another $55,000. (The current analysis only considers traffic conditions up to 2030.) A geotechnical study that would explore the impacts of grade separation on groundwater would cost between $130,000 and $160,000, while evaluation of "box jacking" — a construction technique that could significantly expedite construction — could run as high as $600,000, according to the staff report.

These studies, as well as others pertaining to shadows, urban design and refinements to the underpass alternative, are anticipated to cost between $1.25 million and $1.73 million, according to staff. Unless the council proposes a different direction, most of these studies would be conducted by the city's consultant, Aecom.

Not everyone believes that these studies are necessary. Larry Klein, a former Palo Alto mayor who served as vice chair of the Expanded Community Advisory Panel, urged the council at the Aug. 23 discussion not to spend city funds on analyzing Caltrain's and the California High Speed Rail Authority's prospective plans for a four-track segment.

"This isn't Palo Alto's problem," Klein said. "This is a combination of Caltrain's problem and more specifically High-Speed Rail's. … We shouldn't be spending any money on it."

He also suggested that it's too soon to spend money on an urban design study, which according to city staff would cost about $125,000 and involve evaluation of such things as public art, landscaping and pedestrian amenities.

Transportation staff also note in the new report that many of the studies that council members and residents have requested are typically conducted later in the development process. They also pointed out that these studies "must be considered preliminary, since responsible agencies such as Caltrain will provide limited guidance and feedback at the current conceptual design stage."

"Nonetheless, to the extent these studies provide community stakeholders greater confidence in decision-making, the costs involved represent a small percentage of the ultimate costs of grade separation construction," the report states.

Comments

Tom
Registered user
Triple El
on Oct 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm
Tom, Triple El
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2021 at 2:05 pm

I would love a bicycle crossing under the tracks at Churchill. Currently the way a bike crosses is really awkward and it gets very crowded when the high school lets out. I'm surprised there aren't more fatal accidents at that intersection given how cramped everything is. My one concern is that it would be nice if there was a wider or separate bicycle and pedestrian tunnel so that there isn't congestion and animosity between pedestrians and cyclists like there currently is in the California Avenue tunnel to the South.


It.is.what.it.is
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2021 at 2:48 pm
It.is.what.it.is, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2021 at 2:48 pm

That intersection is a DISASTER in the mornings when Paly students are riding their bikes to school. When I grew up here and rode my bike, there were almost no cars driving on Churchill Ave. but now the cars use it as a cut-through and have to drive dangerously close (about a foot or less) from the bicycles due to narrow lanes. And the students crossing Churchill to get to the Paly parking lot are at risk of being hit too. It's amazing that no student has gotten killed but you know the city will get sued for negligence if someone is killed.

Can't they just install the automatic gates that can rise and fall (like the train gates) so that cars are blocked from Churchill during the bike commute times?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Let us vote on this. No one could possibly believe that diverting more traffic to Embarcadero makes any sense.


Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 28, 2021 at 9:20 pm
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2021 at 9:20 pm

Caltrain had 20 riders on it the other day of the unfortunate accident. There is little need for more Caltrain service as few are riding it....so no need for more gate downtime.


DTN Paul
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 29, 2021 at 7:24 am
DTN Paul, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 7:24 am

We should definitely start the traffic study for traffic levels for 2040, because at this rate, we won't make any decisions until 2035.


Palo Alto native
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 29, 2021 at 7:42 am
Palo Alto native, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 7:42 am

It is past time to close this street. It used to be a street with few cars so bikes and pens could cross safely with few impediments. Today, cars speed by and completely overwhelm this intersection. Usually when I cross Alma I see 3 corners with bikers or pedal trying to get across. Surprised nobody has been killed, but City will be sued on a second if this happens. Do your job City Council for the safety of your citizens!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 29, 2021 at 8:10 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 8:10 am

@Palo Alto native, by that logic they should close a lot of streets where cars and bicyclists are backed up. Drive by any school. Drive up and down Embarcadero where people have been killed.

How great we're forced to increase population density. Another "win" for PAF and the DIMBYs


Hinrich
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 29, 2021 at 9:20 am
Hinrich, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 9:20 am

Reduce congestion by charging a premium for non-residents to drive into overly congested downtown core. Work with existing businesses to decentralize - like it or not saturation has been reached. Focus on innovative ways to move people around the city before adding more people that can’t get around. Absolutely enforcing the speeding rules along that stretch of Alma would help. Maybe Palo Alto can’t be both high density commercial and high density population until transit improves - maybe it should move in the long term direction of majority residential. In the meantime, re-engineering Churchill doesn’t really fix anything.


20 yrinPA 6thgenABC
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 29, 2021 at 10:43 am
20 yrinPA 6thgenABC, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 10:43 am

Closing Churchill without first addressing the overbearing and dangerous traffic down Embarcadero Road is irresponsible. Embarcadero Road is too congested (like a parking lot!) with commuters from 101 and Dumbarton Bridge while Oregon Expressway is not near capacity in the mornings and afternoons.
Utilize Oregon Expressway as it should be!
We must attempt a permanent solution for this entire area by making changes before closing Churchill.
Palo Alto should expand Oregon Expressway's capacity and DECREASE Embarcadero Road to 1 lane each way with PROTECTED BIKE LANES before closing the Churchill crossing for construction. My kids have been hit by cars and almost hit as pedestrians and will be more at risk with Churchill's closure if safety and mitigation actions are not taken.
There are too many commuter CARS competing with local traffic and school kids biking USING EMBARCADERO ROAD TO GET TO STANFORD TO jobs.
This was evident with heavy traffic on Embarcadero Road remaining despite the school closures during the pandemic's worst times. Keep our neighborhoods safer by diverting commuters to Oregon Expressway with added extra lanes. Facilitate easier through traffic on Oregon with an underpass for the El Camino Real and maybe also the Middlefield road crossing.


Chris S
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:14 am
Chris S, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:14 am

Trying to get across the tracks at East Meadow or Charleston has become a nightmare even without closing Churchill, and Embarcadero is worse most of the time. There has to be another way, wither under or over the tracks.


Judith Wasserman
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:33 am
Judith Wasserman, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:33 am

Anyone want to make book that the council won't decide until the cars are backed up to 101?


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:46 am
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 11:46 am

The vast majority of train collisions and fatalities occur in south Palo Alto.

See Caltrain collision and fatality report here Web Link

This report shows that 16 collisions occurred at Meadow and Charleston causing 8 fatalities. That does not include the fatality at the Charleston crossing that occurred this week. The two other north PA rail crossings in the report had fewer collisions, and no fatalities.

Why? You might ask. Because north Palo Alto has FIVE grade separated crossings, and south Palo Alto has ZERO grade separated crossings. Could we please start work and decision-making with the part of town that has the greatest need? I don't mind sharing my tax dollars with north PA, but I don't like them being spent exclusively in north PA as seems to be happening with grade separations. City Staff and Council, you are starting this process with the part of town that is already well-served by multiple grade crossings. Why is that?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 29, 2021 at 12:04 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2021 at 12:04 pm

@Consider your options, good points. Please write to the city council, city manager, transportation officials and tell them that!

As for narrowing Embarcadero as one person suggested above, people are ALREADY forming their own lanes because they're so frustrated with the backups, poorly timed lights and new traffic calming devices and bollards.

Where do you expect the ever-increasing traffic to go?


RandomGuy
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 30, 2021 at 11:16 am
RandomGuy, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2021 at 11:16 am

[Portion removed.] Closing Churchill will only drive more traffic to Embarcadero which is already very crowded. The width of Embarcadero is not designed for the traffic. Yes, it make lives better for people living on Churchill, but what about people who live on Embarcadero?

There are so many other solutions for separating bicycle and car traffic at Churchill. By the current City Council logic, we should close all the intersections.


Kelly
Registered user
Southgate
on Oct 31, 2021 at 9:48 am
Kelly, Southgate
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2021 at 9:48 am

If the youth population decreased then that shouldn’t be a factor when considering high volumes of school traffic. Also Caltrain ridership is down, so we should be focusing on local traffic. Those making a decision for southgate should be residents of southgate. Alma was constructed for residents to move swiftly through town hence the minimum amount of traffic signals and an overpass, but now then more traffic lights were Installed (even changed length and timing of lights too) and lanes were eliminated near downtown. We want to leave Palo Alto a quaint, charming and neighborly community for the next generation, right?


SEN
Registered user
Southgate
on Oct 31, 2021 at 11:01 am
SEN, Southgate
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2021 at 11:01 am

@Online Name and Consider your options, slight correction: north Palo Alto has 4 crossings -- 2 grade-separated, at Oregon and Embarcadero, and 2 level ones, at Churchill and Palo Alto Avenue. But I take your point. Many of us near Churchill and Embarcadero, which would be horribly affected by closing Churchill, agree that the City should focus first on South Palo Alto and on building bike tunnels across Alma and the tracks. We should return to the question of what to do at Churchill when proposals for the crossing at Palo Alto Avenue are available so that we can look at Churchill in context.


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2021 at 10:21 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 10:21 am

"Embarcadero Road is too congested (like a parking lot!) with commuters from 101 and Dumbarton Bridge while Oregon Expressway is not near capacity in the mornings and afternoons.
...
Palo Alto should expand Oregon Expressway's capacity "

This makes no sense. Oregon Expressway is not near capacity, but we should expand it?

Also, complaining about Dumbarton Bridge traffic is hilarious. Chances are they'll be going through Palo Alto on University rather than Embarcadero.

But don't let facts get in the way of a rant....

"Why? You might ask. Because north Palo Alto has FIVE grade separated crossings, and south Palo Alto has ZERO grade separated crossings. "

Another complaint about how wronged South Palo Alto is again. Did it occur to you that the E. Meadow and Charleston crossings were already discussed before Churchill? Look it up.


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