November 8, 2016 Update
Last night the City Council held a public hearing on the pilot project – hearing half an hour of testimony from members of the community. Council decided to continue the pilot, rather than approve the staff recommendation to make it permanent. They also told staff to work with the Complete Streets Advisory Committee to:
- address effects of the project on neighborhoods,
- tweak the design to improve operations,
- collect feedback, and
- monitor the pilot.
The Council also asked to include the pilot corridor in the Citywide Transportation Plan. This will help make sure that a permanent design is consistent with the input and analysis from the plan. Information about the Citywide Transportation Plan will be broadcast as it gets underway.
"Why is Redwood City Improving Farm Hill Boulevard?" Video - August, 2015
In August, 2015, the City of Redwood City released a video explaining the motivation behind the pilot. View the video below.
Give us feedback on the Farm Hill Improvement Pilot Project!
The City Council extended the pilot for another year, please continue to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experience with us. Thank you.
The City of Redwood City held a community meeting at Peninsula Covenant Church on November 17, 2015 to receive feedback on the pilot from the public. Video from the meeting and materials that were distributed there are included here.
The pilot project will reconfigure the traffic lanes on Farm Hill Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, from the city’s western limit to Alameda de las Pulgas. The proposed design generally converts the existing 4-lane roadway (two lanes in each direction) into a 3-lane roadway (one lane in each direction with a two-way center turn lane). As the characteristics of the road (grade, curves, adjacent land uses, etc.) and its width change, the proposed design varies somewhat too.
The pilot design maintains some existing features to minimize additional delays for drivers:
- Both travel lanes on the upper part of Farm Hill, going towards Cañada College and I-280, remain the same to keep cars from being trapped behind slower moving vehicles such as SamTrans buses.
- All travel lanes remain at the intersection with Emerald Hill to maintain the existing capacity.
Redwood City adopted a general plan in late 2010 following an extensive community-driven process. This plan establishes a clear commitment to transform city streets to meet the needs of all roadway users – people who are walking, riding transit, riding bikes, and driving.
There are many reasons why the general plan emphasizes the development of “complete streets” – complete streets support our shared goals of health, sustainability, and community building. Streets designed for people walking and bicycling, in addition to those who drive, encourage more people to walk and bicycle. People who use active forms of transportation are healthier and when people choose to walk or ride instead of driving, they reduce the negative side effects from vehicles (noise, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.), they increase the capacity of our roads, and they reinforce the human scale of city streets. When we focus on the needs of people using our streets, it becomes paramount to reduce speeds. Most importantly, as speed decreases, the likelihood of severe collisions decreases as well.
The general plan includes multiple goals, policies, and programs to facilitate the development of more complete streets. This guidance includes Policy BE-25.5: “[c]ontinue to implement Pedestrian Enhanced Designs (PEDs), especially on streets with projected excess vehicle capacity, to reduce either the number of travel lanes or the roadway width, and use the available public right-of-way to provide wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, transit amenities, or landscaping.”
Farm Hill Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue have a long history of concerns about the current conditions, including the following highlights raised by the community:
- Speeding and drag racing
- Difficulty exiting driveways and side streets
- No dedicated space for people riding bikes
- Parked cars being sideswiped
- Safety of children walking to school
- Unsafe driving around Stulsaft park
- Difficulty crossing the street
Although these concerns are felt most acutely by people who live on or right off of Farm Hill Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, everyone that uses the street is ultimately impacted by it.
A conceptual design was refined through a community process (see details below) which included one community meeting, two community open houses, and a City Council meeting. The plan was met with a mixed reaction, with particular concerns raised about the impact (on motorists) of a reduction in travel lanes. In October 2012, Council accepted staff’s analysis of the project and directed staff to pursue alternative measures that did not change the lane configuration.
As part of roadway resurfacing projects in summer 2013, the following changes were made on Farm Hill Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue to increase safety for various roadway users:
- Marked crosswalks at unsignalized intersections had yield markings added in advance of the high-visibility crosswalks, to increase driver awareness of these crossings,
- Shared roadway markings (“sharrows”) were added along the corridor (from Woodhill to El Camino Real) to indicate where bicyclists can ride outside of the “door zone” of parked vehicles,
- Outside edge lines were added, which narrowed the travel lanes and provided more space for parked vehicles, and
- A high friction surface was added around the Jefferson Avenue curve to reduce the likelihood of vehicles skidding.
In addition to these changes, Redwood City Police Department also increased its enforcement efforts along the corridor to increase safety by curbing speeding. In 2013, the department issued 300 citations on Farm Hill Boulevard. Enforcement efforts were intensified in 2014 and as a result, in 2014 the department issued over 80% more citations (554).
Speed and volume data were collected in August 2014 to compare with data from May 2012. Since 2012, traffic volumes have generally increased (by 500 to 900 vehicles per day on average) and speeding continues to be widespread (60-90% of people drive faster than the posted speed limit and 2-9% drive faster than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit). In 2014, there were eight collisions where speed was a primary collision factor, including one collision with two major injuries.
After receiving community input and testing interim measures such as increased enforcement and striping changes, a pilot program was being recommended to address ongoing community concerns with built in check in points to evaluate if the pilot is working, with an option of changing course if necessary.
A series of workshops in 2012 was used to gather input for a potential “Complete Streets” project to piggy-back on a resurfacing project. A conceptual design was refined through that process which included one community meeting, two community open houses, and a City Council meeting. At the time, the City Council directed staff to pursue efforts to address the safety concerns that did not change the number of travel lanes.
The project returned to the City Council for consideration again in early 2015 in response to ongoing speeding and safety concerns from the neighborhood. In June 2015 the City Council approved an evaluation plan for the pilot project and awarded a contract for its construction. The City Council received pilot updates on Sept. 21, 2015 and January 25, 2016.
Community Meeting November 17, 2015 Meeting Materials
City Council Meeting June 22, 2015 Staff Report item 7.1.C (consent item)
City Council Meeting January 26, 2015 Meeting Recording (item starts at minute 58)
City Council Meeting October 22, 2012 Meeting Recording (item starts at minute 37)
Community Open House October 3, 2012
Community Meeting June 12, 2012
Senior Transportation Coordinator