It is no secret that regional growth is impacting our semi-rural, residential community. We have become a “pass-through” commute route and most of our north-south routes are jammed at rush hour. To add to the increasing congestion issues, bicyclist and pedestrian safety problems along El Camino Real are well known, as there have been a number of serious accidents. There are also problems with “pass through” on Atherton Ave., Alameda de las Pulgas, Middlefield and Marsh Road. While Atherton council members are working with county boards to address overall traffic problems in the region, much of this problem needs to be tackled on a local level. I believe there is much that Atherton can do. It is important to engage Atherton residents who are concerned about these issues to get involved both on the local and at the regional level, so that Atherton needs can be addressed and its voice will be heard. If you are interested in helping solve this problem, please let me know.
El Camino Real – El Camino Real is a state highway with very fast traffic. It is only safe to cross El Camino at street lights. In the past five years, the Council has convinced CalTrans (who manages all state highways) to install three Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon street lights on El Camino within Atherton. The Council is pursuing an additional pedestrian light at the intersection of El Camino and Selby Lane, which is particularly important because many children cross El Camino in the morning to go to Selby Lane School. Rick supports a proposal to engage a comprehensive study of the ECR corridor in Atherton in order to consider how to improve its safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
High Speed Rail – There continues to be a significant threat to the Atherton community and specifically to the Civic Center area from the California High Speed Rail Authority’s intention to add high speed rail along the Caltrain corridor. It isn’t realistic to believe that there will be funds to tunnel the train in order to reduce the project’s construction or operational unsightliness or noise. When Rick was in his first term as Mayor (2015-2016), he helped launch the effort that resulted in a Quiet Zone being established at the Fair Oaks Lane crossing of the railroad tracks. He has subsequently strongly supported extending that Quiet Zone to include Watkins Ave, which would result in a Quiet Zone being established along the train tracks throughout all of Atherton. As part of the effort of Cal Train to close the Atherton train station, Rick helped negotiate that Cal Train deploy the quad gate protection at Watkins Ave that will enable the City Council to extend the Quiet Zone from Fair Oaks through Watkins Ave to the southern edge of the train tracks in Atherton.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes & Safety — The Council launched an Atherton Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan in 2013, which needs to be updated. I believe that increasing bike lanes from those that currently exist along Middlefield, Valparaiso and Alameda de las Pulgas is important to Atherton. This is of particular urgency for those streets that kids would use to ride their bikes to school.