On Dec. 9, A car drives through the new roundabout at Pulgas St. and Beech St. (Photo by Betsabeth Cacho-Lopez)
On Dec. 9, A car drives through the new roundabout at Pulgas St. and Beech St.

Photo by Betsabeth Cacho-Lopez

Runners, Cyclists Praise Safety Projects

December 14, 2022

East Palo Alto installed two temporary traffic circles at the intersections of Pulgas Ave. with Runnymede St. and Beech St. on Oct. 10.

The first students to recognize an improvement in local road conditions were the Cross Country runners when they noticed cars actually stopped for them to cross at Beech St. where they enter the Baylands to practice.

East Palo Alto installed the traffic circles as part of a broader effort to make local streets safer for students and families near schools.

“[Cars] can go through a stop sign easily but it’s really hard to get around a traffic circle,” said History and Cross Country coach Jasmine Kelly-Pierce. “And it actually forces [cars] to slow down.”

East Palo Alto was selected to participate in the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) School Travel Fellowship Program this year after applying last year.

“The goal of the program was to help improve safety for students walking and biking to school,” posted the Department of Public Works of East Palo Alto on their website.

After the program conducted a walk audit for Cesar Chavez Middle School, Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy, Costaño Elementary School, and Belle Haven Elementary School, they selected a demonstration project.

Sophomore Rayhaan (Ray) Mohammed who bikes to school and around the city every day, appreciates the traffic circles because Pulgas Ave. is always a busy street that feels dangerous to all bikers.

“It eases my family knowing that there’s a way to keep the streets safe,” he said.

Other traffic improvements in the neighborhood include new bike lanes, which have given Ray a flat surface to bike on other than sidewalks, where he has to be cautious around pedestrians and bushes.

Jasmine says she has had a positive experience biking in East Palo Alto but highly encourages flashing traffic lights at intersections for safety.

“If the community is supportive of the traffic circles and they are effective as a traffic calming feature, they can be converted from temporary traffic circles to permanent traffic circles or roundabouts,” wrote East Palo Alto Public Works.

When asked for updates or any upcoming projects for the city, a spokesperson from the department referred readers to the department website at cityofepa.org/publicworks/page/temporary-traffic-circles

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