Yesterday, we learned that a bicyclist was struck by a driver and killed on Page Mill Road, in Palo Alto near the Highway 280 overpass. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of the victim of this tragic collision.
Unfortunately, this is an intersection that Silicon Valley bicyclists know all too well. For over a decade, advocates, including SVBC and the Roadway Safety Solutions Team, have been working to get the area improved for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
As it crosses under Highway 280, Page Mill becomes a confusing and intimidating space where the bike lanes mingle with and get tucked between multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic in the westbound direction, and actually cross over two lanes of uncontrolled, freeway-speed traffic in the eastbound direction. Though technically a 35 mile per hour zone, this stretch of road frequently sees speeds closer to 50 MPH.
The County has prepared several improved designs over the years, and presented its most recent study and plans for a two-stage safety improvement project to the Los Altos Hills Town Council and Palo Alto City Council this past summer. The first stage or “interim” plan requires approval by Caltrans and includes more visible delineation and green paint, similar to nearby Alpine Road. The County has a meeting scheduled with Caltrans to discuss next steps for this phase.
The second phase of the project will be far more extensive, including a dedicated path to provide an option to bicyclists who may wish an alternative to using the shoulder. Unfortunately, that phase will cost $20 million and must be implemented during or after a larger reconfiguration of Page Mill.
We hope that yesterday’s tragedy helps expedite these long-overdue safety improvements. Nothing can undo the damage done, but we hope that the County of Santa Clara, the City of Palo Alto, the Town of Los Altos Hills, and Caltrans can work together to quickly fix this infamous stretch of road.