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Menlo Park: Council takes first step toward renaming bridge after Mike Harding

The family of a man known for tireless bicycle advocacy and engineering skill may see his name live on in the form of a bridge.

About a dozen community members spoke at the Feb. 11 Menlo Park City Council meeting to ask that the city consider renaming the San Mateo Drive Bike Bridge in memory of Mike Harding, adding their voices to a stream of emails sent to the council during past weeks that voiced support for the idea.

Mr. Harding, 74, died in December. He served on the city's bicycle commission, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and the San Mateo County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. He typically traveled on two wheels -- and even helping friends move offices via a bike.

"He rode his bike to work every day, rain or shine," son Andrew Harding told the council, and described his father as kind, thoughtful, stubborn, a brilliant engineer and proud long-term Menlo Park resident.

He said the bridge, while physically unassuming, makes a significant contribution to the neighborhood. "If you know the bike bridge, then you know a little something about my father."

The motion to rename the bridge passed 4-0, with councilman Rich Cline absent.

The bridge, which crosses the San Francisquito Creek, is jointly owned by Menlo Park and Palo Alto, which will also have to agree to the name change.

If Palo Alto proves unwilling, Menlo Park may choose to mount a plaque in Mr. Harding's honor on its side of the bridge, council members said.

Comments

Posted by Bike Commuter, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Hopefully, this attention to the bike bridge will result in the staff fixing the missing barrier leading up to the bridge from the Menlo Park side. The lack of a chain or other barrier poses a significant danger as a biker or pedestrian might go over the edge as they make way for others coming over the bridge from the Palo Alto side. The current situation (many years now) is quite dangerous.


Posted by parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Thank you for your contributions to our community, Mr. Harding. These bicycle bridges connecting Menlo Park and Palo Alto are very important, since bicycling on El Camino Real and Middlefield Road is really scary.


Posted by Jim Rowe, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I was fortunate to serve for several years with Mike on the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission. In addition to being a terrific person, he was a great advocate for Menlo Park cyclists, both residents and visitors, and was tireless is his work to improve safe bike access for all. I commend the Council for this vote and urge Palo Alto to vote similarly. There is no one more deserving than Mike. We all ride more often and more safely because of his efforts.


Posted by Kim Freitas, a resident of Woodside High School
on Feb 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Thank you Menlo Park City Council and Steve Schmidt for starting the effort to rename the bike bridge for Mike Harding. Mike was an extraordinary person, soft spoken, drawl and witty and absolutely committed to human powered transportation. He loved to ride a bike, both for its efficient utility and for its sheer fun and the places he could go. Mike embodied a 'green lifestyle'. He put his energy into cycling and improving the cycling environment for everyone, in particular, young riders. Mike Harding's legacy is more important than ever as our urban area increases in density and risk to cyclists. Thank you, Mike and Menlo Park City Council


Posted by Scott Lohmann, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I too was fortunate to work with Mike on the MP Bicycle Commission. Mike knew everything about biking! The safest routes, the quickest routes, the routes that needed "fixing", he must have put more mileage on his bike than anyone I have ever known. His ability to remember detail about our Commission's past projects or programs, was amazing. He was a fantastic sounding board for all of us. This is a fantastic, and well deserving honor. Thanks MP Council!


Posted by David Roise, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm

This is fabulous news. I crossed paths (literally) with Mike many times on San Mateo Drive, near the bike bridge. Naming the bridge after him will be a wonderful tribute to a tireless bike advocate and a great guy. Thanks to the MP Council for moving this forward.


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