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Letters to the editor for July 21: Menlo Park speed limits, gun control and sea level rise

Original post made on Jul 23, 2023

This week, our readers write about lowering speed limits in Menlo Park, the right way to enact gun control legislation and using renewable energy to combat sea level rise.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, July 23, 2023, 9:05 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 23, 2023 at 10:46 am

Brian is a registered user.


I would argue that we really don't need any more gun control laws. If you look at the laws already in California they are quite extensive, the problem is enforcement, prosecution and consequences. My favorite example happened a couple years ago where a convicted felon robbed a couple at gunpoint in Redwood City. He pistol whipped one person and tore off a gold chain. He was caught shortly after and still had the handgun and the chain as well as other personal property taken from the victims. I think the expression is "Caught Red Handed". Now you would think that he would be tried and convicted of several serious crimes including a felon in possession of a loaded firearm, Using a firearm in the commission of a felony causing injury, armed robbery, etc. That should amount to serious jail time, right? Nope, the San Mateo DA, who claims to be tough on crime and wants more gun laws, decided to plea bargain it down to time served in county jail (about a year if I remember correctly) and that was that.

I think instead of more legislation we demand out District Attorneys not plea bargain any felony gun crimes or if they do they have a hard limit of 1/2 the maximum sentence for those crimes. Maybe they can do something real instead of just looking for the spotlight to enact more laws that will be on the books but won't affect the criminals...

Posted by susannahID
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 24, 2023 at 12:10 pm

susannahID is a registered user.

In response to Sue Kayton's letter to the editor - I looked up California state law and it sets speed limits on residential streets at 25 miles per hour. MP might be agreeing with state law in posting the speed limits proposed. I wonder if that is a speed trap after all.

Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 24, 2023 at 3:36 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

I find it interesting that FB ,Meta has built and is building millions of square feet of new office space, hotels, parks, housing and retail in an area literally a few feet above Sea Level. My guess is they are hiring the best Engineers in the business with much forethought and calculations for the same. What they are building now will be with the intent of lasting many decades to come. With no walls being planned. So let's look at it, if the Sea Level will rise 13-19 feet by 2100, It will rise gradually not 13 feet in one day. So someone do the calculations, will it rise 3 feet by 2035 or 5 feet by 2060, pick a number but realize even 3 feet will inundate their campus. My money is on their engineers not random speculation. We have been hearing for the last 50 years we will all be underwater by now, 2023
And here we are 50 years later and no one is underwater. No, the sky is not falling.
However if you really want to do something about greenhouse emissions, Force China into the discussion. They are building new coal-powered plants at the rate of one a week. While we are closing down coal and nuclear plants without the infrastructure to replace that energy.

Posted by Bike Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 24, 2023 at 3:50 pm

Bike Menlo Park is a registered user.

RE: lowering speed limits. Sue is indeed correct that changing the speed limit has been difficult because of the 85th percentile rule. However, the state passed AB 43 in 2021, which allows roads that are "designated as a safety corridor, or adjacent to land uses that generate a high concentration of pedestrians or bicyclists" to have their speed reduced an additional 5 mph, and business districts can have speed limits of 25 or 20 mph.

This means those roads that are currently at 30 mph (as a result of the 85th percentile) can go down to 25 mph AND that speed limit can be enforced.

This info is in the staff report, which also notes that "in recent years, a growing body of research has demonstrated that reducing speed limits can have a measurable safety benefit," and cites these examples:

• In Boston, Massachusetts, the City reduced speed limits citywide to 25 mph. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed, relative to comparison cities that did not adjust their speed limits, vehicles traveling over 35 mph fell by almost 30%, speeds between 30 and 35 mph fell by over 8%, and speeds between 25 and 30 mph fell by almost 3%.

• In Toronto, Canada, a quasi-experimental study of reducing speed limits by 10 kilometers per hour (approximately 6 mph) showed a reduction in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions of 28%, including a 67% reduction in fatal and serious injury collisions.

• In Seattle, Washington, speed limits were reduced from 30 to 25 mph on a set of streets, yielding over 20% reduction in collisions and 18% reduction in injury collisions. Overall speeds dropped between 7 and 10%, including over 50% reduction in excessive speeds (over 40 mph).

I'm glad that city staff are responding to changes in the laws so that everyone can get around town more safely.

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