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May 12, 2015



There shouldn't be a freeway exit/entrance on Poplar. The barrier they're installing is not a feasible or permanent solution to the traffic problems. Peninsula Avenue should be a full interchange. Burlingame passing on that was a huge mistake.

Up the Camino

I must respectfully disagree. Poplar is the perfect place for an on-ramp because of the mixed business-residential-government (DMV and high school) locations right near there.


Well I don't think having a freeway on and off ramp on a narrow, winding street with a high school, an elementary school and a school for children with learning differences located on it makes any sense at all.

And that doesn't even take into account that it is perhaps the worst on/off ramp in the entire county.

Up the Camino

But most of one side of the street is an empty field and the schools are only busy for a short period in the mornings and evenings on weekdays. It seems to work well except for the actual ramp.

It's 'historic'!

This is a fun on-off intersection! It's like a game. Can you avoid the exiting cars that have no stop sign? Who's going to crash?

I just punch the 0-60 in 4.7 sec 450 HP Twin Turbo V-8 with the hybrid electric kicker...

Classic California highway design. It should be made a historic monument!

I can imagine the SNL skit now.


Interestingly, that intersection/on-off ramp was studied by Hexagon Traffic engineers a couple of years back, and determined to have a lower than average accident rate, whereas the intersection immediately westward by that field was determined to have a higher than average collision rate, though cars are going much slower (crawling) at that point. I think the lower than average rate is because of the heightened awareness at the intersection-proper. Maybe no texting and light-hearted conversation there-- it's serious stuff. 'Sure would be nice if people paid as much attention to their driving elsewhere.....


Oh yes, it's a very safe and well designed intersection. It hasn't been published multiple times that Poplar has a higher than average accident rate. And many children only cross the street ten times a week. What was I thinking?


Humm, did I say that? Please read what I wrote. But you don't have to believe me, go ask the "officials" in S.M. to pull up the report for you at said off-on ramp and intersection-proper. I remember there was a lot of surprise at the data, but if you actually think about it, people are paying attention there, more than is typical. There is no choice there but to pay attention.


San Mateo study 2011:

Poplar Avenue and Amphlett Boulevard Intersection

"The accident rate at Poplar Avenue and Amphlett Boulevard is slightly above average when compared statewide. A breakdown shows the accident types as primarily rear end collisions, sideswipe collisions, and broadside collisions. There were two accidents involving cars turning from Amphlett Boulevard that failed to see cars proceeding north on Amphlett Boulevard. There were three accidents involving cars getting off the freeway hitting other cars, or in one case, hitting a pedestrian."

SF Examiner 2006

"High accident rates at the Poplar Avenue exit prompted officials in San Mateo and Burlingame in 2006 to explore the possibility of closing the southbound exit from U.S. Highway 101 and adding a southbound exit at Peninsula Avenue."



"The high volume of traffic at
the intersection coupled with limited sight distance for some approaches results in driving conditions that are undesirable. As a result, the intersections on Poplar Avenue have a higher number of accidents than other intersections in the area."


Yes, "undesirable". Note directly above the Patterson quote plural: "intersections".

I am talking about the rate of accidents at the actual offramp-onramp as reported per the official Hexagon document--

It is LOWER than statewide average, the intersection directly west of the offramp is HIGHER than average.


The other two quotes state directly Amphlett and Poplar. And the quote with intersections states limited sight distance at the on/off ramp. Of course, as you say it's also unsafe at the intersections close to the schools and I do not disagree.


Actually, it is the other orientation, mea culpa. The Hexagon report (pg. 6) based on SMPD records (2000-2010) shows:

Directly at Amphlett, only very slightly above average .0.39 as opposed to 0.34, moving west at Idaho is quite a bit higher (and that seems to be the most problematic one). Then at Humboldt it falls to lower than average at 0.47 as opposed to 0.58.

I cannot find any part of this study involving accident rates at intersections closer to the school than Humboldt.

The point I was trying to make was that as perilous as Amphlett at Poplar is perceived, in reality the accident rate is just slightly above average. I and others found this very surprising at first glance. However, clearly drivers need to be on higher alert than typically necessary-- that does make a measurable difference at the end of the day.

The intersection at Idaho is quite a bit higher--why? The Hexagon report further notes that those accidents are primarily broadside, and that almost all of them involved northbound cars getting hit by cars proceeding westbound. Also noted are that "northbound through and left turns have been prohibited since 2007, but that violations and accidents continue to occur."

And that is why the raised median that eliminates various movements will probably help, temporary fix, or not.

Steve K

I use that on ramp in the morning between 7 and 8 am when it's probably the most crowded. Adding that freeway merging light has added an extra factor to that already complex intersection. Not only do drivers have to gauge whether the two other direction drivers that are trying to get on to the freeway entrance are making their move AND whether the freeway exiters are going to go straight off the freeway or turn left, they now have to take into account whether the freeway entrance line after the intersection is moving fast enough because it is being gated by the freeway merge light which is backing up the line. If you are not careful you could get stuck in the intersection while an exiting car is coming off the freeway at high speed. The traffic engineers couldn't have done a better job of making that intersection more dangerous.

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