The streets that will have the new 20 mph limits are Alta Mesa Road, Glenwood Avenue, Highland Terrace, Hillside Drive, Otis Avenue, Ridge Court and Toyon Court. The streets have no sidewalks, vehicle speeds that are too fast for conditions, and blind curves, according to a staff report.
The state vehicle code authorizes town councils to lower a 25 mph limit if the street is no wider than 25 feet, the report said. By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Woodside Town Council introduced the ordinance at its Nov. 13 meeting, with Mayor Dave Tanner and Councilwoman Deborah Gordon absent. The council must vote once more to approve the ordinance — presumably at its Nov. 27 meeting — and it will take effect 30 days after that.
This change has been a long time in coming. Glens residents have been discussing a lower limit since at least 1992, Councilman and Glens resident Ron Romines said.
Lower speed limits are the first step toward improving pedestrian safety and driver awareness, Town Engineer Paul Nagengast told the council. His report also refers to a 2011 traffic study of the Glens neighborhood that recommends adding signs — "Yield," "Stop," "Share the Road" and the yellow-and-black pedestrian icon — at appropriate places, as well as a solar-powered, speed-detection device on Glenwood Avenue near the intersection with Canada Road.
A few Glens residents said they wanted speed bumps. "At times, it's like a race track. As far as lowering the speed limits, you might as well put up a sign with nothing on it," said Rich Germano.
Why not use speed bumps and speed limit signs, resident Peter Leigh asked. "Unless we do both, we're not going to achieve anything," he added. "It's a little more entertainment sometimes than we really want on rural streets. I like to exercise at my own time and in my own way and not at the whim of some Federal Express driver."
Residents don't want speed bumps, Mr. Romines said, citing well-attended community meetings from the past.
"Why would anyone at 20 mph complain about a speed bump," Mr. Leigh countered. "You have them right here in your own parking lot, presumably not as an aesthetic (amenity). Are we serious about trying to lower traffic speeds in the Glens or aren't we?"
"Glens traffic safety is near and dear to my heart," said resident Monique Vandermarck, who noted that she has nightmares about her child on Woodside Glens streets. She asked the council for speed tables, which are extended flat-topped speed bumps. On a walk in the Glens with a child in a stroller, an encounter with a moving vehicle leaves you with "nowhere to go," she said. "Speed limits are a good place to start but it is not a good place to stop."
Councilman Dave Burow attributed 25 percent of the problem to youths driving too fast and the rest to contractors. "I find myself stopping contractors and telling them they're driving too fast in the community," he said. Mr. Burow wondered aloud whether staff in Town Hall could prepare a handout that reminds contractors of the speed limits.