Traffic Calming Email (April 03, 2002 ... 15, 2002)

Dear Dan,

I have not heard finally from you regarding your discussions with Police and Fire about your efforts to convince them to make the street closures impermeable to all traffic including emergency vehicles except bikes. I know Lynne has been trying to set up a meeting with you and that has not materialized to date. In the mean time I talked to Ruben about your discussions with him. Ruben told me that street closures must be permable to fire vehicles if we finish up with dead end streets longer than 150'. In the mean time the project seems to be on hold.

In order for us to keep moving this project ahead, I would suggest reconvening the neighborhood traffic committee and start discussing the conceptual designs for this project.&n bsp; I am sending copies of this e-mail to the past members of the committee. If the committee members have changed, please let me know. As a background please keep the following points in mind as we go forward. We have discussed most of these points in the past.

1. We are only desgining and implementing the plan on a trial basis and not permanent basis.

2. Typically we install a asphalt berm across the street with a 11' gap and concrete block with striping and signing as a trial street closure. However, in this case we should do more.

3. While we have limited funds to do the trial, we should make an effort to develop conceptual designs similar to our final goal without removing and replacing concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk, and affecting drainage.

4. The existing street closures in Palo Alto are of three types with regard to access: fully closed like on Embarcadero, pan basher type such as in College Terrace and removable bolards in Evergreen Park. Fully closed do not permit any vehicular access. These were installed as part of a safety improvement project. The pan basher design includes a concrete block that is low enough to permit high-clearance vehicles such as Fire and paramedics, but too high for normal passenger and police cars. This design exists in College Terrace and there have been many complaints that too many unauthorized drivers drive over these blocks thus violating the street closure. The removable bollard is a steel post that is locked in place with a City master lock. When it is in place, no vehicle except bicyclists and motorcycles can pass thru it. A driver with a City master key (fire, ambulance, police, PASCO can unlock the bollard to pass thru it, incurring some de lay and physical effort to do so. Sometimes the poles get removed and are not replaced and, in some cases, just disappear. These two later types of street closures were done as part of neighborhood studies, such as the DT North study.

5. Preferred Option Traffic Calming Plan for Downtown North clearly stated that the street closure must be designed so that a fire truck is able to pass thru the closure with only minimal dealy when a dead-end street is created due to a street closure that is longer than 150 feet i.e the closure must be permeable to emergency vehilces. As a result and as you know , we started to develop a new design which includes a 6.5" high concrete median, appx 24' long, extending across the entire street (no pan basher or bollard) with signs and striping and a ramp in the middle on both sides to accomodate bikes. This design is considerd to be permeable, reduces the problems with the pan basher and removable bollard designs and is excepted to be very discouraging to the general driver. As soon as I hear back from you regarding the list of Neighborhood Traffic Committee members, I am going to ask Olubayo Elimisha, Transportation Division secretary to arrange our first meeting. The committee will also include Fire Chief Ruben Grijalva, Assistant Police Chief Lynne Johnson, a representative from PASCO and Carl Stoffel and me from the Transportation Division.

Regards Ashok


I am forwarding you a message which I sent earlier to Irv Brenner, Sally-Ann Rudd, Dan Lorimer, Mark Nanevicz and you. Your's and Mark's bounced back.I was able to get your new mail address, but not Mark's. If you have Mark's e-mail, please let me know. > > I am trying to continue to move forward on this project with all your help. > Currently the project is on hold.

Regards Ashok

Hi Ashok --- Thx. for the update. Mark's new email is and you now have mine. Dan fax'd me your suggested design for a flat, paved-island closure, and he and I discussed some counter proposals that he'll be showing you, Fire, PD and (?). My sense is that he will now move to gather staff feed-back on these alternative designs so that the PAC can understand our options and reach tentative consensus prior to sitting down with you, Fire, PD, PWD and (?). I told him time was of the essence as your fiscal year is running out and staff want to use the money in this year's budget, not next year's. Hope I said that correctly.

Comments? ---dmg

Re: Michael Griffin wrote:

PAC members. This is most distressing news. We did NOT want to have this go into a budget request for next year. The next budget is under heavy duty pressure and ---you heard it here first --- our project is not going to make the cut. Council is NOT happy the project was approved to begain with, and if we have to go back to their Finance Cmte. to ask for funding in the next cycle, we'll be facing a *daunting* task. Frank has demanded (at CC insistence) for all non-essential projects to be cut. DTNNA's project is just that. End of story. ---dmg

Dear All: Michael is absolutely correct. Time was of essence and will continue to remain of essence. The funding runs out end of June and we don't have enough time left to bid the job this fiscal year. Therefore, we intend to request reappropriating funds to next FY 2002-03.

I fully understand and appreciate that the neighborhood does not wish to make a rash decision, but proceed cautiously. I understand Dan has discussed some alternative proposals with Michael that he'll be sharing with me, Fire and PD. Once Dan has gathered the staff feed back on these alternative designs, PAC will have a better understanding of their options and reach tentative consensus prior to sitting down with Transportation, Fire, PD and PWD and select a preferred alternative. As always, I will continue to recommend to start meeting as a group including Transportation, Fire, PD, PW, PASCO and neighborhood representatives to move this project forward in a timely fashion.

As you know $95K out of the total budget of $190K is earmarked for DTN trial and the remainder for Lytton Study and Lytton intersection improvements. Of the $95K, $85K is budgeted in 2001-02 Transportation Division operating budget and $10K in the 2002-03 budget. Given that we don't even have a tentative design to date, it is not possible to finalize the design, have Palo Alto Bicycle Advisory Committee review, prepare final plans,specifications and bid documents and bid the job to encumber the funds before June 30, 2002. Therefore, we will be submitting a request for reappropriating funds to next FY 2002-03.

Regards Ashok

DTNNA Friends,

Have had conversations with several people today that make me more reassured that things are still on a reasonably good course. First, met with Gordon Simpkinson from the fire department. He gave his written approval (with minor edits) to all four designs that I proposed, as did Lynne Johnson from police last week. Will meet with Ashok on Thursday to develop one or more drawings for a (hopefully final) meeting with fire, police, transportation, the PAC, PABAC (bicycle) and PASCO to get everyone to pass on the design(s) to be sent out for bid.

It was almost inevitable that we would be where we are now, given the point at which Transportation staff started work, so failure to reappropriate would seem very peculiar. Ashok confirmed to me that he is not concerned that the reappropriation will happen, particularly given that traffic calming is one of the Council's top five prioritites. As you know, Lynne Johnson and Bern Beecham said the same thing, and today I spoke with Carl Yates (Administrative Services) who said the same again. He thought it was extremely unlikely that this would be derailed by budget manipulations at this point. (Carl worked with Frank Benest to get us the money in the first place, having pulled it out of a discretionary fund of the Council.)

So as things stand, I am not overly concerned. Let's take this one day at a time.

Best, Dan