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S E C T I O N 2 Community S TO R I E S A B O U T P E O P L E A N D E V E N T S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y Redesigning Willow-101 interchange Menlo Park City Council OKs design option; the project is expected to be finished by 2018 Existing 101/Willow Road interchange By Barbara Wood Park, but is under the jurisdiction of Caltrans, which worked with the city as well as East Palo t has been 25 years since Alto and C-CAG — the Cityvoters approved funding to County Association of Governreplace the outdated inter- ments in San Mateo County change where Willow Road — on the project. C-CAG will meets U.S. 101 in Menlo Park, provide much of the funding but on May 7, Menlo Park City along with the Measure A transCouncil members tried to finally portation funds. nudge the project closer to realEast Palo Alto’s City Council ity by giving a nod to one of the will consider the project designs design options suggested by the later this month, according multi-agency group currently to Menlo Park Public Works working on the interchange. Director Chip Taylor. The plan favored by the City Even if all goes well, the Council includes project won’t be bike lanes and completed until pedestrian walk2018, according The Menlo Park ways on the overto projections. pass, separated council favors the That includes a from vehicle traftwo-year conoption with fic by a concrete struction probarrier, as well as cess following bike lanes and two-lane on- and environmental off-ramps designed analysis and pedestrian to cut back on freedesign work. walkways. way and Willow The design Road backups. chosen by the Additional bike council was lanes would be developed after next to vehicle lanes on the 162- talking to the agencies involved foot-wide overpass structure. as well as local neighbors and Instead of the cloverleaf users of the roads. Considerdesign of the current inter- ations included how much nearchange, traffic would stop at by property would be affected, signal lights before entering safety and ease of use, as well as Willow Road. traffic congestion. Council member Ray Mueller Menlo Park’s engineering sersaid Menlo Park might even be vices manager Fernando G. Braable to use the prospect of the vo said a team of engineers not new interchange, which should otherwise involved in the projease traffic problems for motor- ect also looked at alternatives ists heading to Palo Alto and in terms of cost, performance, East Palo Alto, as a bargaining construction time and risk, and chip in trying to get Palo Alto favored the version supported by to resolve a long-standing traf- the City Council. fic issue. “I think it’s time that The current interchange is we actually start having serious “not pleasant, safe or convenient discussions with Palo Alto about for anybody right now,” said opening up Alma to Sand Hill,” Willows neighborhood resident he said. and bicyclist Andrew Boone, Funding to replace the inter- who said he is “actually very change, built in 1955, was pleased with” the proposed approved by county voters in design, which does have bicy1988 as part of the Measure A clists and pedestrians crossing transportation fund sales tax vehicle traffic at traffic signals. spending plan, and a study on “I think it’s a good comprothe project was completed the mise,” he said. next year, but it was never given “The current cloverleaf is a final approval. The interchange transportation dinosaur from was again included in the spend- another era,” said Jim Bigelow, ing plan when Measure A was longtime chair of the Menlo Park renewed in 2004. Chamber of Commerce’s transThe interchange is in Menlo portation committee. “I think Special to the Almanac I Photo courtesy city of Menlo Park. This aerial photo shows the existing cloverleaf interchange at Willow Road and U.S. 101 in Menlo Park. Proposed 101/Willow Road interchange Drawing courtesy city of Menlo Park. This drawing shows the council-supported plan for a new interchange at Willow Road and U.S. 101 in Menlo Park. The plan includes bike lanes and pedestrian walkways on a 162-foot-wide overpass, separated from traffic lanes by a concrete barrier. There would be additional bike lanes alongside vehicle lanes in the overpass roadway, with two-lane on- and off-ramps and traffic lights where the ramps intersect with Willow Road. you have a solution before you.” Council member Kirsten Keith urged the city to move quickly to assure it can be first in line for available C-CAG funding. “I think you really came up with a really great plan for Menlo Park,” she said. Council members unanimously approved accepting the recommended design and continuing work on the project. A May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN21

The Almanac 05.15.2013 - Section 2

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