Sheri Furman -- Traffic Chair, Midtown Residents Association
|Oregon Expressway forms the northern border of our neighborhood association, which stretches from Alma to Highway 101, so any changes to Oregon have a direct impact on out neighborhood. Rather than analyze the study in great detail, let me express our primary concerns.
Oregon Expressway Usage
According to the survey conducted by the Evans/McDonough Company in December, 2001, of those surveyed who use Oregon Expressway:
Expressway is really a misnomer for this road. Situated in a primarily residential area and with a 35-mile per hour speed limit, it should more properly be thought of as a boulevard. Apart from the weekday morning and evening commute times, Oregon is primarily a local street used probably 80% of the time by residents living immediately north and south of it.
Traffic circulation the area south of Oregon is already a contentious issue that median closures would only exacerbate. The effect of closing Indian, Ross and Waverly would be an unfair shift of traffic from those streets the neighboring ones.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
Without closing or signalizing the intersections at Indian, Ross and Waverly, the following improvements (per the study's concept's in Pedestrian Element, page 6) could be made to all intersections along Oregon to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly for those who are elderly or using a wheelchair:
Another issue concerns parallel pedestrian access along Oregon. While Oregon Avenue provides parallel travel on the north side of Oregon Expressway, the south side is an interrupted series of sidewalks and paths. Many people in the neighborhood walk on a regular basis and a continuous path along the south side would be quite useful, both for pedestrian and bicyclists.
Although there has not yet been a specific discussion with the neighborhood on the issue of sound walls, it is also not an issue that has come up in traffic meetings. As previously stated, Oregon looks and behaves more like the residential street it is rather than a conventional expressway. Because of the low speed limit on Oregon, sound has not been a major problem. Sound walls would create a most unpleasant funnel effect whose purpose would seem to be simply to get people from Highway 101 to El Camino or 280 as quickly as possible.
Oregon has also become a dividing line between so-called north and south Palo Alto. The addition of
While recognizing that the Comprehensive County Expressway Planning Study is meant to determine what needs to be done over the next 30 years, I'd like to ensure that any proposal concerning changes to Oregon Expressway is formally presented to the Midtown neighborhood at one of the Midtown Residents Association general meetings to gather community response.