New stoplight on Ralston Avenue works to ease traffic


Ailee Lim

The new traffic light at the intersection of Ralston and South creates mixed feelings. Some think it will help traffic but others feel differently.

Ailee Lim, Staff Writer

The traffic that faces people going on Ralston Avenue is difficult to manage. A commute that would normally take a few minutes can end up becoming a much longer one.

In hopes of reducing traffic, the City of Belmont collaborated with Crystal Springs Upland School to put up a traffic light at the intersection of South Road and Ralston Avenue. The new traffic light installation was completed in October.

“I think the traffic light was a good idea because for years the stop sign has caused so much traffic. A lot of people were late to school or work if they were going straight up Ralston,” said Paige Parker, a junior.

Before the installation of the light, the intersection had a stop sign, requiring all drivers to stop each time before going. The new traffic light also has a pedestrian crossing signal to help regulate people crossing the road.

“The stop sign was really time-consuming since it made each car stop one by one. Now that the light is there, it makes traffic flow much faster since people don’t have to stop every time,” said Sammie Lee, a junior.

The light also helps the flow traffic on El Camino Real, another road in Belmont that’s constantly being backed up by the abundance of commuters.

“[The presence of the traffic light] causes less of a back up on the intersection of Ralston and El Camino. It clears up traffic much faster on El Camino if you’re turning onto Ralston,” Lee said.

However, this solution does not fix everything, and residents still have to deal with heavy traffic every day. Even though the traffic light was put up to help make the roads less congested, some still feel that it was not effective.

“It’s going to cause a lot of traffic because they’re making one of the two lanes [on Ralston] a left turn only lane which will force all the cars that want to go straight file up into one super long lane,” Kat Sharonin, a sophomore, said.

Residents of South Road and any surrounding streets also do not find the traffic light effective because they now have to wait longer than they previously had to with the stop sign.

“People who have to turn on that light have to wait [longer] before it turns green and there’s still lots of traffic,” said Joseph Cumiskey, a junior.

Since there are so many people who go on Ralston Avenue, there is not a single easy solution to fix the traffic problems.

“I think there should be more lanes on Ralston because it is one of the busiest roads in the area but it only has two lanes,” Iain Weissburg, a sophomore, said.

Another possible solution to reduce traffic would be for more people to switch their way of getting to school to reduce the number of cars on the road.

“I’d suggest people to carpool or take the bus. Even walking to school would help traffic, which is something I do with my friends. However, I recognize not everyone can do that,” Sharonin said.