Laurel Street Gets a New Stop Sign.

December 8, 2010


So What?

Slow day on the blog when I have to write about a new stop sign being installed in San Carlos?   Actually, no.  There are a couple of reasons why the new stop sign on Laurel Street at Belmont Avenue newsworthy. First of all, it's a darn good idea. This intersection is right behind Walgreen's and Trader Joe's, and it's  tough to cross Laurel at this intersection in a car, let alone on foot.   With all of the pedestrian traffic that these stores draw from the White Oaks neighborhood,  a safe place to cross Laurel Street was desperately overdue.

Now, the hard part will be to not blow through the new stop sign as you drive down Laurel.  Hey, old habits die hard…

A Tough Order.

There's another reason why it's worth mentioning —   from my own personal experience, it must be easier to get a bill through Congress than it is to get a stop sign installed in San Carlos.  Years ago, we got a petition signed by all of the neighbors on Howard Avenue to get a stop sign installed on Howard at Dayton Avenue.    Howard is a popular drag strip street, where most drivers blatantly disregard the speed limit.   That intersection at Dayton is the only way for many Brittan Acres kids to get across Howard, and it's a nasty blind curve.

We even hosted a neighborhood meeting that was attended by then-mayor Sally Mitchell, Police Chief Jim Granucci, and City Engineer Parviz Whats-his-name.   The neighborhood was unanimous in their demand for a four-way stop sign with cross walks.

What we got was this.

They call this nifty little creation a “roundabout” but it would have been more aptly named a “runaround” because that's essentially what it was.   It looks pretty, but is completely useless at slowing down traffic…er, unless it's the fire engine — the one vehicle you don't want to slow down.  And rather than make things safer for pedestrians, cars are now forced to drive directly at the corner that your standing on to maneuver the curve.   That's always fun.

While You're At It..

So while maintenance crew has the paint, poles and stop signs in the truck, there's another intersection that could really use one:  Laurel Street at Cherry Street.  Have I seen a number of near-misses at the intersection.   Half the drivers seem to think it's a 4-way stop, and the other doesn't —  not a good mix.    Probably wouldn't hurt to drop one at Olive Street too.   Too many signs?  Just look at the Broadway shopping district in Burlingame – they have stop signs at just about every intersection.    Slowing down traffic would do nothing but help the businesses on Laurel.

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  1. Parviz Mokhtari on December 9, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Chuck whats-his-name,

    It’s Parviz Mokhtari for your information. For someone in the business, have a little respect.

  2. Chuck Gillooley on December 9, 2010 at 1:25 am


    Correction made. Regarding respect, there’s not a single neighbor that I have talked to on Howard or Dayton that thinks the roundabout solution that you pushed on us years ago has a shred of effectiveness. Cars still speed up and down Howard, and it’s even more treacherous to cross at the corner of Howard and Dayton than it was before. Cars literally miss the curb by inches as the maneuver around that space. How is that safer for a kid standing on the corner waiting to cross? And what about the drivers who choose to illegally cut left, instead of going “around” the roundabout? You have no idea how many near-misses there have been at this intersection.

    Sorry if we’re not thrilled with your solution. The fact is the neighborhood unanimously asked for a four-way stop and a crosswalk. What we got was a much more expensive and ineffective solution.

  3. Pat B ` on December 9, 2010 at 5:42 am

    I don’t know a single resident of SC who has a shred of respect for Mr. Mokhtari. We’ll be paying for his reign for years to come, including retrofitting the traffic lights. Now he’s working for C/CAG, so we’re still in danger.

    This stop sign almost didn’t make it past the T&C Commission. I pointed out that coming out of the drivethrough line at Walgreens onto Laurel would be a lot safer if the cars were slowing for a stop sign instead of racing through as I nose slowly forward. I also pointed out that there are a lot of moms pushing strollers across Laurel at that intersection. They approved it. In Parviz’s day, T&C met quarterly instead of monthly, and I’m not sure how much input they had.

    Sometimes it’s worth going to these meetings, though I’m getting more and more pessimistic about making a difference in this town. Public Works has improved dramatically, but we still have another year with this council, which is really scary.

  4. Michael on December 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    As a frequent pedestrian downtown, I agree they should put a stop at Olive and Laurel when MORE than 50% of the people stop there anyway.

    It probably sounds strange coming from a pedestrian, but it irks me how many people stop when I am on the corner waiting for traffic to clear when there is no stop sign and I am not in the crosswalk. Why should drivers stop? I don’t. Pedestrians should wait before stepping off the curb; they are not the only ones who need to get somewhere.

    Pedestrians should always wait for traffic to clear before ambling across the street when cars have the right of way. Way too many pedestrians treat Laurel as a public plaza and barely if ever look before crossing the street, God forbid in a crosswalk, but most jaywalk.

    I think it would also be a good idea to put some sort of prevention from those clowns who manuever u turns in the middle of the street just to get a parking space.

    OK, off my soap box for now…

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