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Fremont Roundabout Still the Best Solution, Engineers Say

A heavily opposed traffic circle proposal at Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane is the focus of a City Council study session Tuesday at 5:30. Engineers recommend it be built, anyway.

 

It's ba-a-a-ck. 

That proposed roundabout at Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane that you thought might be dead? It was just sleeping, so to speak, as engineers ran simulations, subjected their recommendations to peer review and set up matrices to compare all the options.

They've concluded a roundabout would still be best for the intersection. Now it is back for discussion during a City Council study session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. No action is taken at a study session.

Residents vociferously opposed the roundabout proposal last May, when a public input meeting was held at Grant Park Center. They raised concerns about further back-ups during rush hours, and emergency vehicle access and pedestrian safety.

So, as described in a memo written by Los Altos' new transportation manager Cederic Novenario, RBF Consulting and city engineers went back and looked at the concerns and the traffic problem. The intersection had been identified as among the top five streets in the city because of speeding and 24 accidents that had occurred there.

"Based upon all the data and analysis, it is recommended to move forward with the design of a roundabout at Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane  as indicated in the approved Collector Traffic Calming Plan," said Novenario's memo for Tuesday's meeting. 

Of all the possible traffic intersection solutions, the he wrote, it appeared that the roundabout, also known as rotaries or traffic circles, provided the most advantages and the fewest disadvantages.

Alternatives include:

  • Building a temporary roundabout for six months' evaluation, though it would cost about 75 to 85 percent of a permanent rotary. If the city decided to transition to a permanent rotary after that, the allocated $400,000 cost of the project would increase 20 to 40 percent.
  • Raise the speed on Fremont Avenue to 35 m.p.h. "to enable radar enforcement," on Fremont Avenue
  • Do nothing and terminate or modify the contract with consulting engineering firm RBF.

Little sandwich boards advising neighbors about a study session recently appeared at the intersection of Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane. Mailed notices were sent to neighbors within a 500-foot radius, and e-mails were sent to those who signed up at the May 9, 2012 meeting, Novenario's memo said.

Penny Lave January 08, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Sometime in the 90s or early 00s council norms were changed to allow the council to vote on items during study sessions. I am not aware that this norm has been changed back. It should be - study sessions are meant to be more informal meetings to allow more discussion of items.
carol January 10, 2013 at 04:55 AM
I have lived on Fallen Leaf for almost 30 years. The intersection problem started when the city changed the speed limit on Grant Rd to 25. This is what diverted traffic onto Fremont from Grant Rd coming from El Camino because the speed limit on Fremont is 30. If they reverse this, the traffic issue on Fremont will resolve itself by reverting back to old traffic patterns that continued up Grant Rd to Foothill Expy.

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