Median installed at busy Menlo Park intersection to reduce accidents

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Changes are coming to a busy intersection in Menlo Park. This comes after a woman was hit and killed by a bullet train after getting her SUV stuck on a nearby train track in February.

Crews have begun the installation of a temporary median barrier at the intersection of Alma Street and Ravenswood Avenue. City engineers hope to finish the project by the end of the week and that these changes will result in fewer accidents.

It's one of the city's busiest intersections for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

"It's a bit scary, cause the cars, they're going pretty fast, and no one really wants to stop. They're all trying to get off the tracks, said San Mateo resident Mickey Vand Voord

The tracks adjacent to the intersection are where a woman lost her life last February after getting her vehicle stuck and struck by a bullet train.

"I've had a couple circumstances in the past where a car sees me last minute and stops, so it's always felt quite precarious," said Katherine Seward, a Menlo Park resident.

Crews spent the afternoon installing a temporary median barrier as part of a six month test. For now, drivers will no longer be able to turn right or left off Ravenswood Avenue on to Alma Street.

"With any infrastructure project, it's important that we have data to back our decisions and this is the first step to improving the corridor," said Jesse Quirion, a spokesperson for the city of Menlo Park.

City officials say they'll compare collision rates and near accidents at the intersection and the rail crossing before and after the test. A 24-7 camera will also be installed at the crossing to monitor how often vehicles get stuck on the tracks. The results will then determine whether the barrier stays.

Residents say, if it saves at least one person's life then it'll be worth it.

"It could be you, or someone you love. It's really tragic and I'm glad that they're finally taking precautions to deal with it," said Menlo Park resident Jessica Taylor.

City officials will be taking public feedback through the end of the year.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.