Q I have been driving the Mathilda Monster for the better part of 29 years.
A Anyone dealing with the Highway 237-Maude-Mathilda interchange in Sunnyvale for nearly three decades deserves our deepest sympathy. It's not called the Mathilda Monster for nothing.
Q The only time it was tolerable was when Lockheed downsized and much of the area was vacant. It was pure idiocy for the city to allow a high-rise office complex to be built and leased before traffic issues were addressed. The breakaway poles between the left-turn lane onto Moffett Park and northbound Mathilda have been snapped off so many times, they don't get replaced anymore. Now cars just drive over the rubber mounts to make illegal lane changes. This is just a sampling of incidents.
View Mathilda Monster in a larger map
A Let's meet the man behind the Monster.
Q Remember me? I designed, built and named "The Monster." Back then there was only Lockheed and a lot of tomatoes being grown north of 237, and Mathilda had fewer lanes. Since then, the city has approved construction of the industrial park and, lately, a plethora of high-rise buildings. Mathilda cannot be widened enough to accommodate the traffic. The Mary Avenue extension must be built. It was in the general plan when I worked there, before 1971!
Retired traffic engineer
A Extending nearby Mary Avenue over the freeway is still in the city's long-range transportation plan, along with a number of other improvements for access to the Moffett Industrial Park area. The city is about to enter the design phase for the 237-Maude-Mathilda interchange, with work possibly beginning in three to five years. But another longtime sufferer has an interesting idea on taming the Monster.
Q I was certainly glad to see something on this horrible situation in one of your columns. I am one of the poor saps who has to deal with this every day. It is a nightmare.
We've got more engineers, Ph.D. folks and geeks per square mile here than likely anywhere in the U.S. What motivates these people?
Winning a technological competition of wits. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to modify the lights to do some fairly logical things like not turning one light green, when there is NO space for any of those people to cross an intersection as the light in front of it is still red.
So I suggest a contest with a reward.
A A contest! Roadshow loves contests. Tell us more.
Q I'm pretty sure something as low as $100 would motivate these guys because it's more about the bragging rights. So offer $100 to the person who can come up with the best signal model (and I'm telling you the software models that will be produced from this will be ASTONISHING) and voilà. This is for the good of all!
This could reap HUGE benefits. And for all those who don't win the contest for bragging rights -- it's still a win since we would all have a better traffic situation. And it wouldn't cost thousands of dollars the city likely doesn't have to spend. That's the beauty of a contest.
I've spent 27 years with geeks and I know this would work!
A Geeks of the world, rescue Lisa and other beaten-down commuters.
Q I have a proposal: Remove the westbound exit from 237 to Mathilda. This eliminates one of the four lights, and an intersection. Move the exit back to where it will dump onto Bordeaux Drive at Moffett Park Drive. Think about it.
A I am and I like it. There are four closely spaced signals on Mathilda between Ross Drive and Moffett Park Drive. One idea under consideration is to merge the west 237 offramp at Mathilda with Moffett Park Drive, and yank out one signal.
Here's the contest: Roadshow will donate $100 to the Second Harvest Food Bank in the name of the person who comes up a workable idea to ease Mathilda Monster woes. Roadshow will choose the winner after consulting with traffic engineers from Sunnyvale and the Valley Transportation Authority.
But I have one big question for Rick:
Are you a geek?