Viewpoint - June 1, 2011

Letter: Council urged to throw out traffic-calming plan

As a 40-year Willows resident and a former member of Menlo Park's Transportation Commission, I am appalled that the city seems determined to repeat the 1993 Willows traffic calming fiasco.

In 1993 the city spent three years and untold resources to install a maze of street obstacles demanded by a small group of activists, only to have them voted-out by the neighborhood after years of conflict.

In response to that fiasco, the city created the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) which requires activists to present a petition signed by 60 percent of households in support of their plan before city resources are employed. When applied, this program has responded to traffic concerns while minimizing neighborhood strife.

The current Willows Area Wide traffic Study was instigated in response to a small number of activists, centered on Chester, Durham, O'Keefe and Woodland, near the 101 freeway. To benefit them, the city waived the petition requirement and hired a consultant to respond to their concerns. The resulting plan upends traditional Willows patterns, diverting neighborhood traffic away from 101. Gilbert and the Pope Street bridge, already the most heavily traveled streets in the Willows, will receive an unpredictable added traffic volume as will their side streets.

In a survey mailed to residents, the highest concern was "speeding," yet this plan does virtually nothing about speeding. The second highest was "no concern." Assuming the 73 percent of the Willows who didn't even respond were also expressing "no concern," we can expect an explosion of conflict if their traditional routes are disrupted and traffic is diverted to their streets. I ask the City Council to stop this fiasco in-the-making.

Eric Doyle, Laurel Avenue, Menlo Park


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