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Cars driving through red lights!

Original post made by Jonathan, Barron Park, on Jun 28, 2019

My son was biking home from camp yesterday. He was at the intersection of El Camino Way and El Camino Real, at KEYS school. The light turned green for him and the cars waiting at El Camino Way. As he ventured into the intersection, a car traveling at high speed on El Camino Real North ran the red light.
Cars at El Camino Way began to enter the intersection and honked loudly at the car breaking the law

My son on his bike was almost.... almost...almost.... hit by the reckless driver.

Comments (50)

Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Running red lights happens frequently on El Camino. Drivers easily get distracted with the long distances between traffic lights and some of the traffic lights are easy to miss when driving distracted, especially if the driver is also speeding when distracted.


Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Red light running is quite common in urban areas like San Francisco.

As the Party and real-estate developers work in concert to transform Palo Alto from a suburb into an urban area, you should expect this to happen more and more often. You should not let your son ride his bike on city streets. it is no longer safe. The transformation from suburb to urban area has already progressed too far.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2019 at 2:36 pm

>> My son on his bike was almost.... almost...almost.... hit by the reckless driver.

Unfortunately, your son's experience is all too common along that particular section of El Camino, which is particularly bad for some reason. I wish the police would arrest the perpetrators for reckless driving. Five (to ninety) days in county jail might induce a little behavior modification. See, e.g. Web Link

ARTICLE 1. Driving Offenses [23100 - 23135] ( Heading of Article 1 added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 940, Sec. 9. )

23103. (a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(c) [...] shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.

23104. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

I see chronic bad, dangerous or joyriding driving all over the place that I would rarely see 20 years ago.
What is just about as bad if maybe not as dangerous is rude and aggressive driving.

Running a red light is a seriously dangerous behavior.
A limit should be set for
- people who allow this to happen carelessly; 2 times in 1 year maybe
- people who deliberately speed up or play around with their cars like a toy; 1 time and no more driving

We seriously need to instill excellent and polite driving skills in people or not let them drive.

Leniency and doing nothing against rude and aggressive driving is not just nothing.
People encounter this and are irritated by it, and pass it on to other drivers and other people.
I have a suspicion a lot of tension and anxiety could be reduced if people were not ratcheted
up from interacting with people who should not be driving. Driving was far less fatiguing when
you did not have to fight for your life for a lane or parking space and other people and you are
looking out for each other.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm

I wouldn't be so quick to blame the driver.
Maybe they were on the phone, thinking about their grocery shopping list, or simply in a hurry to get home.
Try to look at it from the drivers perspective.


Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2019 at 6:38 pm

@Anon - Maybe they were distracted by their phone? [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Leadfoot
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 29, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere & the current traffic gridlock only adds to the frustration.

The ones who accelerate through yellow lights are pushing it as well as those who simply drive through red lights. Always best to pause before proceeding when your light turns green.

What bothers me are more are those drivers [portion removed] who do U-turns over the double yellow lines.


Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2019 at 12:04 am

Jim H is a registered user.

@Leadfoot - Do you really think it's only the "overseas" drivers that make U-turns over double yellows?

And how can you tell where they are from??

Can you tell if a person is from Europe or Russia just by looking at them? Can you determine how long an Asian or African-American has lived in the US without asking them?

Try looking up "racist" in the dictionary.

I'm sure you are a perfect driver. Or do you just believe that you are better than those from "overseas".

Always fun to hear from those accepting Palo Altans to remind us how far we still need to go.


Posted by DriversAreGettingWorse
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2019 at 1:54 pm

I have witnessed a few near misses in Mountain View too as well as Palo Alto - El Camino and Grant Rd / 237 is a well known trouble spot and a car went straight through the light next to the middle school on Middlefield Rd ( and it wasn’t a ‘just turned ‘ red one with someone tagging behind another car to make it through - it was a very red one with cars like mine who had got the green slowly starting to move when car plowed through- missed my car by a fraction!). I worry for the cyclists who have less protection than a car. They need more cameras to catch those who run red lights but that is no solace for someone who has gotten hit. So lucky the boy on the bike in this instance was not hurt. I have seen school safety people with hand held stop signs at that particular intersection to help cyclists and pedestrians on school year mornings but of course they wouldn’t have been working now during summer vacation.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2019 at 3:42 pm

I guess that some of these advances in cars like automatic braking are
not coming any too soon.

A lot of new cars are coming out with systems that may not be self-driving,
but they are helpful in that they keep drivers from running into each other.

Sounds like this needs to be standard equipment very soon!


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2019 at 5:21 pm

It is obvious to start my comment by stating that running red lights is never, ever a good idea, particularly if the light is actually red rather than still yellow.

Saying that, I don't actually think it is indicative of driving being any worse, drivers not paying attention by being distracted, etc. as many of the comments have already stated.

Instead, I think it is much more likely to be the fact that driving even short distances is taking so long to get from point A to point B. Drivers are getting stuck in heavy traffic and getting more and more frustrated. Having to wait for red lights that have a long sequence every block can add a few minutes to a commute at every red light. Driving at the limit should mean that the lights if set correctly means that they turn green as the stream of traffic approaches. The only time a red light stopping traffic going straight should be the first light on that street. Expressways and arterials should have the lights timed in such a way as to efficiently move straight flowing traffic through each light.

Unfortunately that system is not working. A car on El Camino, or Oregon, for 2 examples, often has to stop at every intersection with lights and wait for a sequence that gives all turning traffic a dedicated signal which can mean that if you miss a green light it could be 3 minutes before the green appears again. Having that happen at every intersection is indeed frustrating.

So perhaps the real problem is traffic volume and poorly sequenced lights, rather than drivers being any worse or being distracted.

We really need to have some pedestrian overpasses and underpasses on our busy roads to make them easier for bikes and pedestrians to cross. Since it is taking about 10 years to get one over 101, I doubt very much it is high on anybody's list of improvements. But perhaps it is time to at least get the one tunnel under El Camino at Oregon/Page Mill back open.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> So perhaps [another] problem is traffic volume and poorly sequenced lights,

The two go together. Timing needs to be dynamic. When traffic is light, lights should be sequenced at near the speed limit. That doesn't work when traffic is very heavy. With fully congested streets, it works better if all the lights in a row turn green at the same time. Somewhat older lights are programmed switch light timing based on time of day. Far better is fully dynamic sequencing which adjusts based on current traffic. AKA "smart" signals/traffic management. e.g. Siemens.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2019 at 5:57 pm

"Far better is fully dynamic sequencing which adjusts based on current traffic."

Maybe we ought to see what they've cooked up over there in Silicon Valley. With all that tech talent working on this, it ought to be a traffic paradise.


Posted by Winner
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 1, 2019 at 11:47 am

This is a busy bustling town full of active and critical members of the high tech leadership elite. It is only natural for light running to increase. People are busy and we should be mindful of increasing obstacles to progress. As long as we are a magnet for the best and brightest thought the world, we should recognize our role in providing a nurturing and supportive environment and excuse a missed light from time to time.YCo6D


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 1, 2019 at 6:18 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Surely the above post is not serious.

It's fortunate your son was not hurt. I hope our traffic and planning gurus will respond to this situation as though he had been, act proactively and not wait for a full tragedy to occur. Please, City of PA: let this close call serve as a big fat warning about what is happening.

Smart growth includes having a smart, safe circulation plan. It's ludicrous to force a metamorphosis from suburban to urban without providing for safe ways for vehicles and bikes and people to share the road.


Posted by Typical
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 10:30 am

Redlight running by car drivers is now common at most left turn lanes around ECR.


Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 2, 2019 at 11:04 am

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

Thank the stars your son made it safely!
Let's do everything we can to educate our young riders to be as safe as possible. Forbidding them from learning how to be independent and to think for themselves is not an option.
Drivers: slow down and watch out for those cyclists!
City of Palo Alto: stop trying to turn every thoroughfare into a car-bike gauntlet while pretending that everything's fine and safe for all. Let's reserve some roads for cars and beef up the safety and efficiency of the bikeways on others. Clear RVs and other large vehicles that obscure sightlines and narrow lanes at critical junctures. And heaven forbid we mandate wider sidewalks in places where bikes need to transition from a bike lane to another destination. Pumping up cycling without adequate infrastructure risks incurring liability far beyond anything Molly Stump every claimed to be worried about.


Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 2, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Cars going south on El Camino turning left on Embarcadero often end up blocking northbound El Camino. Sometimes they are running a red light and sometimes they are not paying attention as to whether the traffic is stopped on Embarcadero leaving no room to make it through the intersection


Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 2:15 pm

The Palo Alto City Council, the City Manager, and especially the Pedestrian and Bicycle coalition are responsible here. Perhaps not on El Camino - yet, but the relentless drive to channelize automobile traffic by introduction unnecessary friction into the system -AND- force bicycles into traffic lanes just adds to road-rage and reckless driving. Despite thousands of people protesting the Ross Road bikeway the City has done nothing to go back and rip out the obstacles already installed. Expect to see more of this as the City continues to disrespect the citizens they are supposed to represent.


Posted by Those psycho drivers though
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 2:33 pm

They sure are running those red lights lately, as so many people have noticed and commented on.

The danger they pose when they choose to break the law is so much greater than any other road user. They are by far the greatest group life takers / property breakers compared to any other users of the road. That is without quesion.

The question is: What can we do do reign in these drivers hell bent on putting us all in harms way? Cameras?


Posted by sophie
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Too many cars are on this section of El Camino Real. If you watch a certain time at this crossroad, you will find most cars are either speeding, cutting through each others, or skipping the red lights.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

I don't think it is racist to ascribe some of the frightening driving behavior we are observing to recent arrivals from other countries. It is a fact that local demographics have changed dramatically in recent years; long term Californians are leaving and foreign nationals are moving in. I've visited a lot of these countries, and the driving style in some places consists of taking whatever advantage you can get. The Washington Post had an article reporting auto insurance company findings regarding the highest rates of insurance claims, and guess what, insurance companies correlate higher rates of U.S. vehicle accidents with highly international populations, where Washington DC had the highest rates and the Bay Area was 2nd nationwide. Personally in the last year or so, my husband was hit by young tech worker from Austria, and I was rear ended by a Lyft driver from Egypt. I do agree that increased density and urbanization are factors, but a large foreign population is a big factor too.

One disturbing behavior I've been noticing a lot is drivers not staying within the lines of their lane, in particular allowing the right side of the vehicle to straddle the right lane line. This is dangerous to me as a cyclist and as a driver. And, I'll probably be accused of racism here, but the fact is that all of these drivers are East Asian. No way to know whether they are U.S. citizens or from what country, but they are all East Asian in appearance. I say this not to point fingers but plead with those who may be reading to stay within their lanes and keep all of us safer.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2019 at 6:22 pm

Posted by Anne, a resident of Midtown

>> One disturbing behavior I've been noticing a lot is drivers not staying within the lines of their lane, in particular allowing the right side of the vehicle to straddle the right lane line.

Beginning drivers of all backgrounds tend to do this, being shy of the center line. This is one of many reasons why everyone should be required to take an actual drivers ed class from a real drivers ed instructor, like we all did back in the day. I see so much behavior today that wouldn't pass muster with the previous generation of public-school-teacher drivers ed teachers. Teaching people how to be good drivers is something that "the private sector" apparently is doing a really bad job of.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 2, 2019 at 8:22 pm

>> One disturbing behavior I've been noticing a lot is drivers not staying within the lines of their lane, in particular allowing the right side of the vehicle to straddle the right lane line.

Those are not beginning drivers, those are oblivious or distracted drivers with cars that are way too big for them to handle. I see this every day all the time msotly on Channing for some reason. Oddly not so much on Homer ( the other one-way street. ). For some reason cars are all over the street and lanes on Channing, but in general all over as well. It seems like it is always a big SUV.


Posted by Another Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2019 at 2:14 am

Cars run the light at Arastradero in front of Terman school all the time, too, ever since the road diet silliness began. I say silliness but it’s so unsafe and the jams are a bad nightmare ala Santa Rosa andParadise waiting to happen especially on Stanford.

We fix it by finding a better balance — tax the largest companies enough to get them to move or restrict their activities in Palo Alto. A citizens initiative to force a study of infrastructure use and what is reasonable unfettered unhealthy growth. Punishing drivers doesn’t fix light running. Dealing realistically with conditions does.


Posted by Really?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 8:54 am

Do think punishing criminals is not needed then? Interesting take.
I wonder how I somehow manage to not run red lights ever when it seems to be out of my control and the fault of others.


Posted by old enough to remember]r
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Um.....that just reminds me of the 6 different bikers (at different intersections from PA to Redwood city)I saw this morning who apparently oblivious that cars on their right of way can hit and be hit by them and that pedestrians were doing their best to jump out of their rightful way. They all seem to be American and 4 seem to be adults and 2 late teens- 2 women and 4 man....nice bike clothes and helmets do not make them invincible

Cars and pedestrians,
DON'T RUN RED LIGHTs


Posted by Root them out
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Bring in some redlight cameras and it all stops.

With so many lawless and distracted drivers putting the rest of us in danger, something like that will get their attention. I've seen how the light running stops over in the east bay with these cameras.

Of the 4 red lights I stopped at today on my way home, all 4 had drivers running well into the red, and at good speed too. They are the most dangerous ones on the road by leaps and bounds, and their red light running ways are now common place.


Posted by slowpoke
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2019 at 6:30 pm

No red light cameras unless we agree to also install at least an equal number of 25 mph cameras, eg Embarcadero and Middlefield. If the law is the law, then let's bring the entire city (and the traffic courts) to gridlock.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2019 at 7:24 pm

Posted by slowpoke, a resident of Midtown

>> install at least an equal number of 25 mph cameras, eg Embarcadero and Middlefield. If the law is the law, then let's bring the entire city (and the traffic courts) to gridlock.

Works for me. I'm that driver you see ahead of you going 25 mph.

BTW, although speeding may make some people feel better, it is the congestion delays, e.g. at intersections, that actually add significantly to your end-to-end travel time.

Reminds me of this historic moment:

"SR 85 was the first freeway in California to open with metering lights at every onramp, including interchanges with SR 17 and US 101. When the freeway opened on October 19, 1994, the lights caused tremendous backups at the onramps during commute hours, raising an outcry from commuters furious at having to wait as much as 20 to 30 minutes in the worst cases before entering the freeway. The county required Caltrans to turn off the metering lights, which they did on November 17, 1994. This almost immediately slowed the commute over the full 24 mile (39 km) stretch by 33 minutes; Caltrans eventually turned the lights back on in 1995, which sped up the overall commute considerably"

Web Link

Feeling congested?



Posted by No Brickyard Privileges For Some
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 3, 2019 at 8:04 pm

> What bothers me are more are those drivers from overseas who do U-turns over the double yellow lines.

Add to that the ones who use their hazard lights as turn signals because they are not sure if they are going to make a right or left turn!

Or the ones who tap their brakes every 200 feet when there is no car in front of them.

That is why you will never see them driving in an Indy car race as it would probably take two days to complete 500 miles + the race would have to be run under a constant yellow caution flag to ensure the safety of the other drivers...not to mention the added possibility of one of them driving in the opposite direction of the other cars.


Posted by Paly Alum 80
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2019 at 11:02 am

Driver’s education is failing these days because it’s online. We were taught at Paly after school for one month (we had free time back then) with an instructor and movies, a much more effective way to learn than online. Driver’s these days don’t even remember that the far left lane is for passing, it’s for the fastest drivers, not for simply driving 65 mph.

Paly alums of the 80s who completed the class also learned that when turning right, they need to pull into the bike lane when the lines break, not drive up to the corner, then turn right. The whole purpose of the lines breaking is to warn bicyclists that you are turning right so you don’t cut them off and they can wait behind the car.

Driver’s frequently run red lights on Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway. We really should have red light cameras because the fine is stiff.

I rode my bike to school all my years except kindergarten because it was safe (no weirdos and few cars on the road). I’m raising my children here and there is way too much reckless commuter traffic now that it’s unsafe for our children; I drive them!


Posted by Paly Alum 80
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

Actually, an 18+ person does not need to take driver’s ed, they only need to pass the written exam and driver’s test, of which there are unlimited chances. So a lot of drivers these days likely do not know the rules. It’s anarchy out there, folks, and it not just the immigrant drivers, as I’ve been proven wrong many times. It’s also the good ole, home grown Americans who are bad drivers too.


Posted by Mike Alexander
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 6, 2019 at 7:17 pm

In no particular order:
1. Always drive, bike, and walk as if your life is in the hands of those around you, and their lives are in your hands. Pay attention and cooperate, especially if you think the other guy is wrong.
2. Traffic enforcement does change behavior. Palo Alto Police's investment in this is much too small, and I'm being generous.
3. Lights in that patch of ECR are synchronized northbound during the afternoon commute. That guy probably ran the light at Maybell, too.
4. In my experience, drivers new to the area are MORE cautious than natives, sometimes in ways that cause problems for others. See #1.
5. Young people speed because they aren't afraid. Older people speed because they're late getting somewhere and think, wrongly, that going faster will somehow make that better. See #1.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2019 at 7:49 pm

> Traffic enforcement does change behavior. Palo Alto Police's investment in this is much too small, and I'm being generous.

Yeah, it makes people dislike police and get nervous every time they see one. Some people will go crazy about it too.

The problem with telling police to give more tickets is that the people driving the worst don't get any more tickets than anyone else. The police look around for infractions, and most of us at some point or another, even if we are great drivers, will make a mistake. We will not come to an absolute complete stop, or we will drift through a light just as it is turning red, or about to, or go a little over the speed limit ... and these petty pointless infractions will be the ones that are the most perceived and more tickets will go out but the bad drivers will not really get any more tickets than they get now.

I always consider how many tickets would be generated if an omniscient traffic cop AI could follow every driver, every day, and then compare it to how many people really get tickets and how often. Traffic enforcement is inherently unfair. Not to mention if the police officer takes a dislike to you and looks for extra things to cite you for. I'd love to see our traffice stats run by some data scientists for what they could find out about drivers.

Plus police preferentially pull over younger drivers, or sometimes they pull over drivers they think are attractive, or drivers with certain kinds of cars.

We ought to have a channel whereby people who have cameras on their cars and catch other people engaged in breaking the law and who can be identified can be charged with infractions. Maybe there could be no dollar penalty, maybe just reporting to insurance - that would be motivating enough for people.

Then every day when I see people who chronically drive through stop signs, or pull over into my lane of traffic they could be noticed, or notified in some way and kept track of. I would not want to ruin someone's life because they didn't stop completely at a stop sign, because it doesn't do anyone any good, but there are some people who need to either improve or get off the road. The object is to make people safer more considerate drivers, it should not be to balance the police budget from the tickets.

Of course the other stops to see if people are under the influence, or have outstanding warrants, or need to know their turn lights are out would still be necessary.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park

>> The problem with telling police to give more tickets is that the people driving the worst don't get any more tickets than anyone else. The police look around for infractions, and most of us at some point or another, even if we are great drivers, will make a mistake.

I'll agree with you 50% on this. It comes down to law enforcement management. If police are instructed to cite as many infractions per hour as they can (or, the "quota" system or whatever), then, sure, they will cite someone going 26 in a 25 zone. If they are instructed to, and managed to, looking for and citing the worst drivers, then, dangerous driving will be reduced.


Posted by slowpoke
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Anyone notice all the weird new pedestrian-crossing traffic signals going up on El Camino?
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) or High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon (HAWK).
Self-driving cars will need a software patch, as will most licensed drivers.
Flashing yellow, steady yellow, steady red, flashing red, lights out, stop, go, who knows?


Posted by Lauren
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2019 at 6:17 am

Its not just in that location. Its all over town. Louis Rd and Greer always has cars that just drive right threw the red lights. If you can drive and survive in PA. You can drive anywhere in the world no problem.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2019 at 9:28 am

Posted by slowpoke, a resident of Midtown

>> Anyone notice all the weird new pedestrian-crossing traffic signals going up on El Camino?

Yes, we are obviously spending millions on so many of these. Someone, please tell me that they will be synchronized with the normal traffic lights in either direction. We don't need them going off randomly at rush hour-- the lights should wait until the correct synchronized window.

>> Self-driving cars will need a software patch, as will most licensed drivers.

If the lights are done correctly, they will make things better, because, as it is now, anyone stopping for someone trying to cross has to brace themselves for getting rear-ended at high-speed. Add to that the behavior of many Uber/Lyft passengers who like to stand at crosswalks.


Posted by Walters
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2019 at 5:52 pm

@Anon:
High speed ?


Posted by whocares
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2019 at 8:51 pm

"Flashing yellow, steady yellow, steady red, flashing red, lights out, stop, go, who knows? "

Are you kidding me? Green, yellow, red, flashing yellow, flashing red.
If you can't remember 5 things, please don't drive.

Web Link


Posted by slowpoke
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2019 at 1:29 am

Odd signal configuration, looks like bi-directional lane control, expect oncoming traffic.
It's confusing to see a flashing yellow become a solid yellow, looks like malfunction.
Link does not cover two alternating flashing reds, wait for train?
"Traffic Signal Light Not Working (Blackout)" -- zero drivers treat these as a STOP sign.
"Observe the right-of-way rules" -- open to interpretation.


Posted by The elephant in the room
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 9, 2019 at 6:19 am

It's the traffic signals!
It road diets
It's the cyclists(??)

Does anyone suspect that the issue of traffic might be caused by too many cars in a finite space, all trying to maximize their own speed?
If anyone thinks that has ANYTHING to do with congestion I'd love to her the solutions of too many cars. It's a problem that has been known and growing since the early 90's.


Posted by Safety is accidental
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2019 at 10:04 am


“ Anyone notice all the weird new pedestrian-crossing traffic signals going up on El Camino?”

CalTrans is installing the pedestrian hybrid beacon, aka HAWK traffic control devices at every uncontrolled marked crosswalk along El Camino Real in Satan Clara and San Mateo county, as part of the two multi-million dollar judgements against them where pedestrians in marked but uncontrolled crosswalks on El Camino Real we’re struck by vehicles. One pedestrian, tragically, did not survive, and the other young lady suffered severe brain injuries leaving her needing full time care for the rest of her life.

Cal Trans was aware that those uncontrolled crosswalks posed serious hazards to pedestrians - for years - and chose to do nothing to enhance pedestrian safety. It took those two judgements against CalTrans - the first ever related to the uncontrolled crosswalks - for CalTrans to FINALLY enhance the safety of those marked but uncontrolled crosswalks along El Camino Real.

Links to articles about the two major verdicts against CalTrans that FINALLY prompted them to install the pedestrian hybrid beacon traffic control devices along El Camino Real in San Mateo & Santa Clara County...in 2019!



Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jul 9, 2019 at 11:27 am

Drivers rolling right on though stop signs is commonplace in Palo Alto. They do this evening when other motorists or cyclists are at the intersection and have the right of way. Cyclists of all ages do the same. The solution is to start handing out tickets to those who are disregard the rules of the road. The alternative is bad for motorists and far worse for cyclists.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Posted by Walters, a resident of College Terrace

>> High speed ?

Let's say I'm going 35 MPH in the right lane NorthWest up El Camino and I someone lingering on the concrete pad by the crosswalk that is in front of the Animal Hospital. I slow down to 25-ish to see if they want to cross. They take a step into the crosswalk. I slow down and stop. A vehicle driving about 45 comes barreling towards the back of my car. The vehicle A) slams on the brakes, barely stops in time 1 inch from my bumper, B) swerves around me into the middle lane and blows past me and the pedestrian who is now in the crosswalk.


Posted by Distracted Drivers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Anon,

Your described scenario happened to me (at a different on controlled crosswalk) except evidently the driver of the car behind me never saw the pedestrian on the median, and never noticed the cars in front of me all stopped and waiting for the pedestrian to cross. The vehicle hit me going 35+ mph and I never saw or heard anything until the car was inside my trunk.

Trust me, you do NOT want to be hit from behind, while at a dead stop, by a vehicle traveling in excess of 35mph.

Thankfully the pedestrian was not injured...just me.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 9, 2019 at 10:33 pm

Pretty much my feeling is that cyclists, whatever they do, are not a problem.

The vast majority are well aware of their risks, so to try to say otherwise is not credible,
and they are not suicidal.

Most will make eye contact to see if a driver will give them the right or way, or not, and
I have never run into a bicyclist that shows any aggravation and anger at having to
obey the rules of the road. They seek to save energy when they are riding and I think
it's polite and friendly to yield the right of way to most of them in most circumstances.

There is another difference as well. You see the whole being of a bicyclist. You can see
if they are paying attention or are distracted and they know they are completely visible,
Drivers feel like they are completely invisible. They will be doing all kinds of things from
looking at their phone, to eating, to adjusting the car, or playing or whatever. The possible
damage from a car makes a bicycle insignificant.


Posted by slowpoke
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2019 at 12:14 am

> it's polite and friendly to yield the right of way to most of them in most circumstances

Honest question: Does that mean yield bicyclists' right of way to them, or yield your own automobile right of way to them?

For example not taking your right of way when you are first to a 4-way stop and you see cyclists coming. Yes it's polite and friendly to wave them through even when they technically don't have the right of way, but that may be setting them up to expect all motorists to be polite and friendly.

In fact I worry about coming to a legal full stop at a 4-way, because cyclists may interpret that as waving them through even though they are reaching the intersection a few seconds later. The polite thing to do when taking your right of way is a "rolling stop" to avoid confusion and clear the intersection for them more quickly. Or give up and cede your right of way, to the consternation of any drivers behind you.



Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2019 at 5:02 am

> The polite thing to do when taking your right of way is a "rolling stop" to avoid confusion and clear the intersection for them more quickly.

Not unless you want to be subject to getting a ticket. That's just a bad idea. You are overthinking it. Everyone knows the rules of the road, or they are supposed to. Bicyclists will not grow to expect anything. These slippery slope arguments are ridiculous.


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