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Paly students riding bikes on wrong side of Churchill

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2012

Paly students do ride their bikes the wrong way down Churchill but not excusing them, it is quite apparent why they do it. They are riding along the left side of the driveway on campus, turn left onto a wide bike/pedestrian path designed to meet up with the path beside Caltrain tracks. Then they continue onwards to cross Alma and stay on the left because it is almost impossible at that stage to cross to the right.

Crossing at the exit to Paly and then staying in a bike lane that is in the middle of two lanes of traffic seems pretty dangerous, particularly for the large number of bikes that are there after school. There just isn't enough space for the bikes to wait for the light to change, particularly if there is a train coming and the gates come down.

I am not sure of a solution, but something needs to be done to address this

Comments (7)

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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

This has been going on since I graduated back in the late 70s. There is no solution because there is not enough room for the bikes to wait. Drivers on Churchill can see the group of bikes and will be cautious.

The only difference since I graduated is that in the morning, cars driving on Churchill towards El Camino must not cross the tracks and drive straight to El Camino. There is a sign which states cars are supposed to turn left only during the time right before school begins. I suppose this is safer for the students bicycling.

It is wonderful that the majority of students bike to Jordan and Paly. How many other cities have so many students bicycling?

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

> The only difference since I graduated is that in the morning, cars driving on Churchill towards El Camino must not cross the tracks and drive straight to El Camino.

This is the most idiotic traffic situation in the city. The first time I ever saw this sign it took me so long to read it and understand what the hell it was trying to say that I just ignored it.

This sign is not a solution, it is not fair to bike riders or drivers and there is no way it is fair or effective to confront drivers with this kind of sign you never see anywhere else - its crazy. I'm just glad I don't drive in that area at that time very much.

Better to put some kind of electronic sign that turns off and on at preset hours that says do not enter or something like that.

The idiot who thought up this solution should be charged with incompetence and stupidity.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

There is a green arrow that comes on in the am commute time now indicating that left is the only way to turn. If you look at the light you will realise that there is no longer a green arrow to turn right or go straight. Unfortunately, a great many cars do not notice the green left arrow or else ignore it.

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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Ha ha, "Anon", I agree about the sign. It's not easy to read or see. I don't know how I finally figured it out but I drove across the tracks several times before realizing the sign exists. Your idea of a flashing sign that reads "DO NOT ENTER" is excellent!

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Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

They ride on the wrong side of Churchill and Embarcadero on their way TO school in the morning, too. Many of them simply do not know that this is illegal, and no one has ever stepped up to teach them otherwise, not even their parents. For some of the neighbor kids here, their first inkling is when they get an actual traffic ticket for this!

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Posted by teach the kids to stop @stop signs
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

There was another thread relating to traffic safety some time ago. My suggestion to have police fine kids who do not stop @stop signs, or do not obey simple traffic laws got some few responses from parents who commented that the kids are smart. Since - three accidents (as far as I know) involving Paly students bikers who did not stop @sign. I see every day reckless Gunn bikers. No police around. Some other cities fine lower achieving high schools students who do not obey the law. I'm assuming that those students are not as smart.
Another accident is bound to happen, unfortunately.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I agree that this is scary as a driver in the neighborhood, and the police need to step up their enforcement of bike traffic laws near our schools. I have repeatedly encountered the same issue with Jordan students biking in groups of three and four down both sides of Newell.

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