A safer, less daunting design is in the works for the Page Mill/Highway 280 intersection near Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto. Since the April 20 public workshop was held to solicit feedback on two proposed redesigns, the County Roads and Airports Department, along with its consultant team, the adjacent cities, and SVBC, have been further refining the plans.

This group of stakeholders has met three times since April, once in the field to investigate sight lines and determine the ideal placement for a bicycle cut-through that will help riders time a safe crossing of Page Mill from Old Page Mill, into a left-hand bike lane headed west. In each meeting, we’ve worked through engineering and real-world challenges. Everything from the width of buffers, to infra-red versus microwave detection, to landscaping permits has been discussed.

Sound complicated? It’s no secret that this is a very challenging intersection; and the County has a relatively small budget for this phase of improvements. But despite the challenges, the Roads and Airports Department has led an impressively thorough and thoughtful process that we believe has yielded a vastly improved design concept.

The interim design for Page Mill/280. Note the bicycle cut-through for westbound riders leaving Old Page Mill and merging onto Page Mill Road.

The interim design for Page Mill/280. Note the bicycle cut-through for westbound riders leaving Old Page Mill and merging onto Page Mill Road.

Combined with speed reduction strategies uphill of the junction, the extension, repositioning, and green highlighting of the bike lanes will create certainty for people on bikes and in cars. By keeping westbound Page Mill traffic headed to 280 South in just one lane until the onramp, there are fewer opportunities for car-bike conflicts. In the eastbound direction, the bike lane has been shifted to the median throughout the intersection, eliminating multiple conflicts with freeway-bound drivers.

There were necessary compromises. Bicyclists heading east who wish to stay on Page Mill Road (rather than turn left onto Old Page Mill) will still have to cross over multiple lanes of traffic exiting the freeway. But field visits and community input suggest that the vast majority of riders are going to avoid that route. There are also questions remaining about the best way to use beacons to alert drivers that bicyclists are entering the roadway. Those details will be decided in the next phase of design work. And there is the ever-present constraint of the budget: Is there enough money to pay for all these elements? As the team moves forward with design, some sacrifices may be required.

And the County is still soliciting your thoughts! Click the image above to see the design concept and email your input to PageMill280@countyroads.org. If USPS is your thing, send your feedback to:

Transportation Planning
County of Santa Clara Roads and Airports Department
101 Skyport Drive
San Jose, CA 95110

It has been a pleasure working with a group of very smart people, trying to solve some very tough problems, on a stretch of roadway that has caused fear and heartache for too long. At SVBC we’re looking forward too seeing this project get implemented soon.