Why We Don’t Need a Trafficlight

Menlo Park does not need another traffic light in a residential neighborhood.  These are the four main reasons we don’t need a stoplight at Elder & Santa Cruz.
Note: these statements are taken from a collection of posted neighborhood feedback.

  • Traffic
    • The traffic signal would be installed to facilitate left turns from Elder onto Santa Cruz…however, left turns are far less efficient than right turns – a traffic light would actually encourage a less efficient traffic flow
    • For peak school traffic, it would be better to force two right turns, so traffic would flow constantly in a more efficient, clockwise direction
    • The stoplight would likely bring more traffic to the intersection, making Elder a “breezeway” and causing more people to cut through on this currently quiet street to use the light
    • Today, there is rarely a long wait to make the turn from Elder — and never a wait that would be longer than if a traffic light were operating. The stoplight would actually increase wait times at the intersection
    • The light would cause a delay on Santa Cruz at Elder for traffic waiting for the signal to change. This would create a backup that doesn’t exist today on a major traffic artery

  • Cost
    • $250,000 is a waste of tax payer money for a traffic light that addresses a problem that only affects minimal overall traffic
    • During tough economic times this is a wasteful use of public funds
    • Installing two no left turn signs (which would be no less enforceable than a traffic light) would be a much more cost effective solution
    • Installing a traffic light would lower the property value of all homes within the vicinity of the light – and more broadly West Menlo, as it would reduce the residential neighborhood feeling (see below)
    • It would be a better use of $250,000 (from the city or the school) for something that will actually help the neighborhood around Hillview School (e.g. improve sidewalks)
    • It would be more cost effective to have a traffic officer (or school employees, as is done at other nearby schools) direct traffic, inform parents, etc. at selected times during the school year rather than install the light

  • Neighborhood impact
    • A traffic light at Elder and Santa Cruz would be an eye sore to the neighborhood
    • Having a significant light with turn lanes and multiple signals would make the neighborhood feel significantly less residential and peaceful

  • Environmental impact
    • The traffic light does not address the problem that underlying too many parents are driving their children to school, when kids could easily walk, ride their bicycles, or take buses (all of which are far more environmentally friendly). Rather, a stoplight would only encourage more parents to drive their children to school
    • If the Transportation Committee really cares about the environment, they should be implementing solutions that encourage residents to leave their cars at home
    • The traffic light would cause idling of traffic waiting for the signal to change, contributing to increased pollution and carbon emissions
    • Building a permanent traffic light to fix a 30min problem is lazy and irresponsible – treat the root cause, not the surface problem

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