Making Driving Interesting in San Carlos

This is a public comment I made at the June 24, 2024 City Council meeting, lightly edited for clarity.

Good evening Mayor Dugan, Vice Mayor McDowell and the rest of the Council. I appreciate you giving me the time to address you tonight.

I want to thank the city for keeping our community at the forefront of traffic management. The recent adoption of giving priority to left turns at traffic lights has reduced travel times and added a new level of excitement to the driving experience. Particularly for those drivers, not familiar with the new rules, who mistakenly think going straight through a green light has the right of way.

Recently, I found myself particularly impressed by a driver turning left in front of traffic who slip-streamed behind the driver in front of him who had just done the same thing. I think I spotted the second driver doing a victory fist pump as he went by. Regardless, a very impressive performance, worthy of a racetrack.

No doubt this recent enhancement grew out of our multi-year effort to make most stop signs in the city optional. As with the “left turns have priority” improvement, though, there are still some drivers and pedestrians who get confused by this behavior. To help them learn the new rules, perhaps you could get new stop signs made up which explicitly declare stopping to be optional.

Again, thanx for reducing travel times, and thanx for making driving our streets more exciting.

9 thoughts on “Making Driving Interesting in San Carlos”

    1. As far as I can tell no one in San Carls stops at stop signs! The city could just change all the Stop signs to Yield signs, and all the Walk to Dodge!

  1. Sorry, Jim. One of the challenges in trying to use irony to make a point is that it doesn’t always translate well to the written word…like here. In that sense my post is a spoof…but I hope it motivates the Council to allocate more resources to traffic control.

    You are correct San Carlos doesn’t have the authority to modify the vehicular code. But it is responsible for policing traffic within its boundaries, except on state highways or federal highways. And even then, enforcement is often delegated to San Carlos’ law enforcement authority.

  2. Nice (snarky) comment, Mark. But in all seriousness, I am hoping City Council will consider a ban on right turn on red at San Carlos intersections. Now that leading walk signs have been implemented at many San Carlos intersections, the legacy right turn on red allowance endangers pedestrians, especially children and the elderly.

  3. James Kleinrath

    I have not seen any problem with “right turn on red”. Don’t cause more traffic congestion without any evidence of a safety benefit.

    1. Hi James,

      The core issue I mentioned isn’t about right turns on red. It’s about people turning left in the face of oncoming traffic as soon as the light turns green…which is potentially very dangerous.

      – Mark

  4. Mark, thanks for this! I have been wanting more traffic enforcement for years. I live on San Carlos Ave between Chestnut and Cedar, I observe motorists speed and run yellow and red lights consistently. I live half a block from the adult community center, where seniors are present and crossing San Carlos, Chestnut or both, some using walkers, wheelchairs or canes and the speed limit is 25 mph. Our city could create a safer environment for those wanting to access the activities and resources at the ACC, while increasing revenue by monitoring traffic and citing those violating the laws. It’s dangerous and reckless behavior and I can watch vehicles running the lights time after time from my kitchen window. Please, San Carlos, we need to do better by our older populace!

    1. Hi Sara,

      I encourage you (and others!) to petition the Council to focus on traffic enforcement. Better yet, look to organize people who share your concerns and petition as a group — the larger the better.

      If you (or someone else) does that, please let me know, as it’s a subject I’m interested in. I just don’t have the time to play a central role in such a group.

      – Mark

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