Bike lanes don’t belong on El Camino! | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

E-mail Diana Diamond

About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

View all posts from Diana Diamond

Bike lanes don’t belong on El Camino!

Uploaded: May 23, 2023

City officials from Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Mountain View have for years been considering bike lanes on a north-south bicycle route through these cities. Now they are seriously discussing it, including talks with Caltrans, and actually decided that a bike lane should be installed through these four cities on both sides of El Camino Real.

I think this is a lousy idea.

Why? Because while the King’s Highway offers the most direct route, it is also one of the most perilous routes between Redwood City and Mountain View. However, El Camino was selected because it offers a "cohesive route" and “has ample right-of-way to facilitate the improvements,” according to a recent study.

Environmentalists say if bikers as well as motorists can ride on El Camino, then we will lessen auto pollution and bikers will be able to go through these communities much faster and in one straight line, rather than zig-zagging through existing, but in some areas, sparse bike paths. Most bikers say it’s the way to go!

I know they will disagree with me, but I wonder how well this idea has been vetted, and how much the safety, rather than the convenience, of bikers of all ages has been considered.

So, hear me out. El Camino is really congested now. Fewer people are using public transportation. One issue that has to be worked out is should parking be allowed or removed on this stretch. If parking will continue along the sides, then bicyclists will have to worry about people getting in and out of their cars, because drivers and passengers may not look out for cyclists when opening their doors. Or they may pull out of their parking spot quickly so they can get into the gap between oncoming cars.

If parking is eliminated along both sides of ECR, then the cyclists will be safer, but retail stores will suffer, because customers will have to park in back of a store if there are spaces to park, or on side roads. Walking a longer distance to get into a store will be harder for those with baby strollers or wheelchairs, or people who don’t enjoy a block-long trek to go into a store.

If parking remains, then the lanes for motorists would be smaller or reduced in each direction. I also worry about younger bicyclists and rambunctious teenagers using the bike lanes on such a busy street because El Camino is snot as safe as a residential street. Parents may tell their kids not to ride on ECR. Bit kids don’t always obey, particularly if their buddies are telling them, “C’mon. It’s okay. Are you afraid or something?”

As an example, let’s look at what happened several years ago when the city the eliminated two of the four lanes of the Charleston-Arastradero corridor in order to allow room for bike lanes.

Subsequently, that area from Middlefield and Charleston to Foothill Expressway -- in both directions during rush hour-- traffic was worse after the lane reductions, and continues to be. Cars are now routinely backed up at Gunn High School.

The whole purpose was to make it more bike friendly, but there was no significant increase in bike usage on these routes.

That makes me wonder if there are any studies to see if these ECR lanes will attract bike users. Maybe not at all, which means that would be a waste of money to install them.

Or are these four cities, each with a cadre of bike enthusiasts, just assuming the lanes will be used safely. More data. Please.

When I asked some bicyclists about bike lanes on 101, many quickly agreed that would be great, but a minority said the traffic speed was much too high for bikes. I totally agree.

So, what to do – if anything? Well, Middlefield Road is an option, but that too is getting more crowded. Palo Alto’s bike-lane corridor. Bryant Street, “Bike Boulevard,” with limited stop signs, gets a lot of kudos from bikers in town.

Can other cities emulate such bike boulevards and have them somehow interconnect and parallel ECR? Unfortunately, that may cost more than having bike lanes installed on El Camino. But cost isn’t the only factor. Safety is more important.

And while I am talking about the safety of bike riders, I wish that some of them would try to keep themselves safer. Bikers: Don’t race through a stop sign without looking at all. At the very least check for oncoming cars in both directions. Don’t ride bikes in evening hours without a reflector and headlight. Don’t wear black clothing -- you simply cannot be seen at night, especially on a black bike.

Perhaps my concern for bikes on El Camino is not needed – the Palo Alto pedestrian-bike bridge over 101 took two decades to be built. Nevertheless, my post is a warning system. We should worry now about the safety of bikes on El Camino –now, and in the near future.
Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by Erica Lange, a resident of Woodside,
on May 24, 2023 at 8:04 am

Erica Lange is a registered user.

Too many people riding bikes in either direction (or on every available roadway) will create more bicycle-related accidents and collisions.

Perhaps the solution is to limit bicycle commuting to less than five miles (ten miles roundtrip) and only on specific bike designated streets and/or boulevards depending upon automobile usage and congestion.

To cover any commute mileage beyond five miles, simply take the bus or train and store the bike in an approved passenger car or bus bike rack.

This is not rocket science.

As for ECR, simply take the bus and then ride the bike to wherever one is headed.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 24, 2023 at 8:06 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Caltrans has been mending potholes/resurfacing, at what cost I'm not sure! Surely this should be done with a future lifespan of the surface in mind!

Or, is this another government agency resurfacing a major roadway only to have it dug up and ruined in the not too distant future as they did with the resurfacing of 101?


Posted by Bryce Leake, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 24, 2023 at 9:31 am

Bryce Leake is a registered user.

Bystander...the potholes are caused by too heavy a vehicle using the same road as lighter cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles.

Traditional concrete surfaces have been replaced by the softer asphalt material because asphalt provides better tire adhesion in wet weather.

By limiting heavy vehicle traffic (busses, dump trucks, semis etc.) the potholes can be reduced.

As far as commuter bikes are concerned, Erica Lange's concept makes the most sense. By combining the use of public transit with shorter distance bike travel routes on designated streets and boulevards, there will be fewer bicycle-related accidents.

Besides, only a cycling fanatic would take the time to ride their bike 20+ miles to work or school everyday while dodging heavy commuter car traffic...rain or shine. And if cardio-vascular exercise is the key objective, just get a stationary bike while watching TV at the same time.


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 24, 2023 at 10:16 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Thank you for being a voice of sanity about the ECR bike lanes.

My question is why are our "leaders' working so tirelessly to destroy all of the businesses on ECR whose customers have to park somewhere and who are already struggling with the overflow from the new underparked developments. Yet again our "leaders" are working FOR the developers and pushing their fairy tales that no one drives anymore, no one needs cars and people are going to bike 50 miles to PA for their minimum wage jobs.

(Ironically, the person heading up that brilliant plan, Ms Burt, makes more than the money she's supposed to distribute to all the merchants -- and PA city hall 00 who convince their workers to take public transit. Who knew PA workers were so underpaid. Our tax $$$$ at work.)


Posted by paulbc, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 24, 2023 at 10:27 am

paulbc is a registered user.

While I'm divided on the feasibility of adding bike lanes to an already congested right of way, I am curious how many in the anti-bike-lane faction actually ride bikes along this route or a parallel one such as Middlefield. El Camino Real in its concurrent configuration is a huge historical mistake, and I don't think I have to remind anyone of the tragedy that occurred at the intersection with Grant Road in Mountain View last year.

I have commuted by bike off and on since moving the Bay Area in 1998. At one time, I was even riding from Mountain View to Redwood City, mostly along Middlefield. I well understand the hazard of attempting this along ECR. That does not mean as a bicycle commuter I should take second priority to cars. I consider it a sad situation that we have built an infrastructure that is so hostile to an efficient and healthy form of transportation. (But note that South Bay is actually pretty good by US standards!)

While, again, I am skeptical of where you could fit a bike lane on ECR, I have a visceral reaction to being told I should drive or take public transit if I want to use this route.


Posted by paulbc, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 24, 2023 at 10:30 am

paulbc is a registered user.

To Erica Lange I would reply that "perhaps" the solution is to limit car traffic, the actual cause of fatalities in such accidents.


Posted by BruceS, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on May 24, 2023 at 10:40 am

BruceS is a registered user.

Agreed! Instead of that (and also to discourage bikers on Central Expressway (/Alma) - a really bad idea, why not do the following:

Bryant Bikeway in Palo Alto is magnificent, and does a wonderful job from Downtown to Charleston. The problem is that it pretty much dissolves at the ends. I suggest:

In the South, run it east on Charleston over Alma to Wilkie Way, and thence on the bike bridge to Mountain View. A short jog on Del Medio can connect it to California Street that goes all the way thru downtown Mtn. View. This isn't perfect, but is much better than El Camino.

You can even make a jog after downtown from California to Dana in order to run the path all the way to Sunnyvale.

On the north, just connect the Bryant bikeway to the pedestrian bridge over San Francisquito Creek, and then connect it in Menlo Park with either Alma or Laurel which go to Atherton, are pretty, and carry little car traffic.

Admittedly, from Atherton north becomes murky, and is honestly not an area I know well. Someone else will have to comment on that.

The path I laid out is not perfect. It does have a few 'jogs', but those are not that difficult, and with reasonable signage can be navigated easily. The section on Charleston over Alma is not optimal, but is short, and I don't see a good alternative.

This strikes me as a MUCH better alternative than an El Camino bike lane for both cars and bikes. It's perhaps even faster than El Camino for bikes (fewer lights), safer by far, and prettier by far. When do we get started?


Posted by Consider Your Options. , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 24, 2023 at 11:14 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Diana Diamond has never seen a bike facility she didn't hate.

Fact Check: I use Charleston-Arastradero DAILY by bike and car and on foot. It operates as well today as it ever did when it was four lanes. Back then it took me 17 minutes to get from my home near Middlefield to Gunn HS by car and it takes me the same amount of time today. Ms. Diamond's statement, "Middlefield and Charleston to Foothill Expressway -- in both directions during rush hour-- traffic was worse after the lane reductions, and continues to be. Cars are now routinely backed up at Gunn High School."is just WRONG. Please take misinformation out of your article. Thank you.

As a member of the community stakeholder group that worked on the project, I have tracked travel times for years--because I am personally affected by them. I live here. I have photos from 2000 (when the road was still four lanes) that show cars backed up on Arastradero in the peak time almost to El Camino. The project reduced injury collisions by more than 50%. I'm sorry you don't care, but those are excellent results.

This piece is greatly in need of the Weekly's excellent editors. The article is also littered with typos. I would appreciate better informed and balanced reporting on transportation issues. Diana Diamond is the wrong person for fact-based writing on transportation subjects. She once said, "I can't bike to work, I have to wear a dress and stockings." I wear a dress and stockings while biking sometimes. She just doesn't want to ride a bike, and I'm okay with that. It is NOT okay to be careless with facts to assert your OPINION and your personal transportation choices.


Posted by Consider Your Options. , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 24, 2023 at 11:40 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Bryant is a good alternative bike route to Alma, UNLESS your destination is ON Alma (like your residence, doctor office or shop).

Park Blvd.is a good alternative to El Camino, but if your destination is on El Camino, you have to bike on El Camino.

Another fact check: Mountain View an other cities are not "considering" bike lanes on ECR. They have been working with Caltrans on planning for them for years and have approved them.

Palo Alto has not done the necessary planning ground work to eliminate parking on El Camino. According to our City Manager, we don't have staff resources for that. So...that is something that should be considered. THAT would be a more balanced, factual report.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on May 24, 2023 at 12:44 pm

staying home is a registered user.

Build the infrastructure today for what you want the future to look like. If you focus on the near term issues (but what about my car!) or on edge cases (teenagers on bikes!), nothing will ever happen in this town.

I would rather bike ECR in a bike lane than zig zag through neighborhoods with corner hedges blocking sightlines and drivers rolling through stop signs. Separating bike traffic and providing safe passage up/down ECR can enable a new customer base for the existing business, but also all the future ones.

@donna diamond: you need to remember that bicyclists are painfully aware they are exposed and risk death or serious injury with any collision involving a car. Bicyclists are always looking to avoid cars. Drivers in cars are protected by 3000lbs of machine and have the entire city infrastructure built to suit them. It is the cyclist that needs protecting, not the cars.

Can you envision a time where the shopping/pedestrian areas on Santa Cruz Ave, University Ave, California Ave, San Antonio, and Castro are all linked and available without having to get in a car?


Posted by Logically Speaking, a resident of Midtown,
on May 24, 2023 at 12:59 pm

Logically Speaking is a registered user.

Perhaps it is time to realize that bicycles are not a realistic mode of everyday transportation given the massive number of cars headed in similar directions.

Save the bike riding for recreational purposes and exercise. We do not live in smaller European towns or some 3rd world country where bikes are more prevalent and practical.

Common sense dictates not to argue right of way with a car. In most cases, a bicyclist will lose.


Posted by Dean Samos, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 24, 2023 at 1:03 pm

Dean Samos is a registered user.

I think if we limited car trips to 5 miles or longer, the reduced traffic would make the roads safer. If you are traveling less than 5 miles, simply walk or bike wherever you need to go.


Posted by Consider Your Options. , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 24, 2023 at 1:59 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Speaking as a woman who has biked for recreation and transportation for 58 years...and counting (often wearing heels and a skirt), it's just not that hard, especially in a community like Palo Alto. In all those many decades, I have never been hit by a car. I do ride defensively, and I have taken some classes to learn how to do that. Most people, like Ms. Diamond, who say it is hard, haven't given it a real try. In the 30+ years I have been reading her articles, I have never once seen her write anything remotely positive about bicycling. She thinks streets are for cars. I think streets are for people, however they choose to get around. It might behoove Ms. Diamond to remember that, many people can't have a driver's license: young people, people with certain disabilities and conditions, including many aging people. Streets that only work for drivers make all of these other people very DEPENDENT on those who can drive to get around. I think about that as I age, Ms. Diamond. You might, too. I am grateful to live in a community where I can walk and bike places. It keeps me healthy and fit. I find my balance is better when I am bicycling more often. As we age, bicycling is a great activity. I have friends in their late eighties who still ride regularly. It's not just for kids any more.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on May 24, 2023 at 5:11 pm

Joseph E. Davis is a registered user.

Cars are much more practical and useful than bikes for most purposes, which is why 99.9+% of trips use them and not bicycles.

ECR as a major thoroughfare should prioritize the efficient movement of car traffic over the relatively insignificant concerns of bicyclists.


Posted by Robert Cronin, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 24, 2023 at 5:58 pm

Robert Cronin is a registered user.

Unless Ms. Diamond rides a bike for transportation, she is not qualified to write on this topic.


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 25, 2023 at 12:16 am

Online Name is a registered user.

" Ms. Diamond's statement, "Middlefield and Charleston to Foothill Expressway -- in both directions during rush hour-- traffic was worse after the lane reductions, and continues to be. Cars are now routinely backed up at Gunn High School."is just WRONG. Please take misinformation out of your article. Thank you."

As someone who lives on Middlefield, I can say that Ms Diamond is absolutely correct. By reducing the number of lanes and sticking bollards/barriers at EVERY intersection, it's impossible for cars to bypass turning traffic. When waiting out cross traffic to turn into my driveway, I there were at least 6 cars stuck behind me because the bollards prevented them from going around me.

I've seen cars backed up INTO the Middlefield? Embarcadero intersection and cars stuck in the middle of Oregon Expressway because cars get stick behind turning traffic at the N California Ave light.

Thank you.


Posted by Penelope Walters, a resident of another community,
on May 25, 2023 at 8:37 am

Penelope Walters is a registered user.

"ECR as a major thoroughfare should prioritize the efficient movement of car traffic over the relatively insignificant concerns of bicyclists."

More cars + more bicycles sharing the same thoroughfare is a recipe for disaster and more accidents.

Bicyclists should not have the same rights as automobile drivers because they are not required to be licensed or insured to access the roadways.

E-bikes are capable of traveling 25+mph and its riders often ignore the basic rules of the road. The same applies to the recreational bike riders dressed like faux Tour de France competitors weaving in and out on their expensive 10 speed pedal-powered bicycles.

Bicyclists should seek alternative routes to get to where they are going because only a fool would argue with a car over right of way


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 25, 2023 at 10:07 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I was recently walking along a neighborhood through street and along came a young teen on an EBike. This teen was too young to drive, but could travel at speeds equal to cars on this busy residential street. What experience the teen had on how to use our streets is anybody's guess. There was no slowing down for stop signs or awareness of traffic both motorized or pedestrian that I could see.

These EBikes, EScooters, E single wheeled skate boards or whatever next invention comes along, must be registered, insured and regulated before I am enthusiastic about any bike infrastructure on busy streets such as ECR or my own neighborhood through streets.


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on May 25, 2023 at 11:51 am

staying home is a registered user.

@bystander how fast do you think the eBike was going? I can walk the same speed as a car if the car is going slow enough.

Nearly all eBikes sold in the US and California are level 2, meaning they are pedal assist and limited to 28 MPH max speed. 28 MPH may sound like a lot, but realize it requires a rider to be pedaling that fast, and with the weight of the motor/battery, it requires real effort from a fit individual to get that speed. Its possible, and I've done it, but its not sustainable. And guess what... a fit individual on a non-electric bike can go faster.

Why not have safe bike riding be made available rather then legislate the bikes away.

The fear of speeding eBikes is unwarranted. Speeds traveled are typically the same as non-electric bikes.


Posted by Bruce Haren, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on May 25, 2023 at 12:07 pm

Bruce Haren is a registered user.

Concurring with Penelope Walters and Bystander.

Adolescent e-bike riders are a menace to society because the majority of these youthful riders seem to believe that they are exempt from responsible bike riding.

@staying home...if you are actually capable of walking at 25 mph, kudos to your physical fitness regimen. Average human walking speed is roughly 3 mph.


Posted by Judy Blach, a resident of Los Altos,
on May 25, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Judy Blach is a registered user.

• The fear of speeding eBikes is unwarranted. Speeds traveled are typically the same as non-electric bikes.

^ Wrong. The speeds of a typical pre-teen riding an e-bike usually exceed the speed of a bike rider on a pedal-powered bicycle because conventional bike riders are not consistantly traveling at 25+ mph.

E-bikes should be licensed, require insurance and be subject to all applicable DMV rules.

• A fit individual on a non-electric bike can go faster.

^ Yes...if one is a bicycle racer or travelling downhill at full speed. About 40-45 mph is max.




Posted by Habib Aswan, a resident of another community,
on May 25, 2023 at 2:15 pm

Habib Aswan is a registered user.

I recently immigrated to America and it was interesting to learn that at one time, early automobiles (horseless carriages) and traditional horse-driven vehicles occupied the streets at the same time.

Apparently there were many accidents between the two modes of transportation until horse-driven wagons and carriages were fully replaced by automobiles. It is my understanding that only the Amish and Mennonites still travel by horse on public roadways.

In my forner country, cars, donkeys, camels, bicyclists, and motorcyclists all share the road with minimal problems other than minor collisions and arguments over one's right of way.

In America I think it is called road rage.

In closing, an enlightened and highly educated city such as as Palo Alto should be able to resolve this bicycle issue easily.


Posted by PaloAltoVoter, a resident of Crescent Park,
on May 25, 2023 at 3:50 pm

PaloAltoVoter is a registered user.

For all most the entire length of Palo Alto, we have bike routes that parallel El Camino and are much safer. The City should do everything it can to highlight those routes and keep bikes off of El Camino (and Alma). Bryant St is a great bike blvd, as is Park Blvd. Stanford has a separated sidewalk / bike path along its entire section of El Camino. Even now, parts of El Camino are near gridlock and businesses need the parking. I agree with the sentiment here - keep bikes off El Camino


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest,
on May 25, 2023 at 7:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As someone who traded in my Tesla for an electric tricycle I will NEVER use ECR unless there is a substantial physical barrier protected bikeway - which would be very difficult to provide given all of the entrances onto ECR from adjacent residential and commercial facilities..


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 25, 2023 at 7:27 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

@Staying Home. Thebike I saw a teen riding was not a pedal assist bike, his legs were not moving. He was coming towards me fast and I could hear the whine of the engine before I noticed how fast he was moving. I would not like to say a speed but he was easily going the speed of other traffic, no cars overtook him as he approached me and there were other cars also approaching.

I can say that this was a speed I could not have walked at and probably faster than any pedal bike would go on this street by a child his age.

These bikes, along with Escooters and some of the other power assisted skateboards and other high tech gadgets are expensive toys that Palo Alto parents are buying their kids with the idea that it will mean kids can get around on their own without parents giving them rides.

I hope it doesn't take a tragedy to get these things regulated properly.


Posted by Patricia Morrow, a resident of Professorville,
on May 26, 2023 at 10:01 am

Patricia Morrow is a registered user.

ECR is far too congested and way too dangerous a boulevard for both cars and bicyclists to co-exist.

As for the kids on e-bikes, very few of them practice the basic rules of the road. Many do not stop at stop signs, signal their upcoming turns, or utilize crosswalks for making turns, preferring instead to use the far left road lanes with other cars at intersections.

Why doesn't the PAPD cite or ticket them for traffic violations as they do with motorists?

I have come to despise these e-bikes and the kids riding them.


Posted by Ferdinand , a resident of Barron Park,
on May 28, 2023 at 4:29 pm

Ferdinand is a registered user.

Our household primarily cycles for most of our needs (with about 1 car trip/week) and a bike/train combo for work. A thoughtful, comprehensive traffic plan would be very appreciated which considers climate change, population growth, broad age-based needs, and urban planning. An electric light-rail running down ECR in SC County between cities (with bike storage) would be fabulous.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on May 29, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Resident is a registered user.

It's not about bike safety, it's about forcibly changing transportation culture. It's yet another step to make the sin of "single-occupant commuting" a thing of the past. Since they can't make SOV'ing, what 99 percent of working people have to do to get to work, outright illegal, then they will do their best to remove lanes, narrow lanes, make driving as unbearable as possible so that it takes you 4 hours to travel 15 miles and maybe, just maybe then, you'd think about riding your bike 15 miles instead, or ruin your daily schedule to take public transportation every day. You are wrong for wanting independence. Get with the times!

City planners are disdainful of normal working people and want to superimpose their fantasy of a "walkable" European-style onto an infrastructure that could never, ever support it. The result is more congestion and more pollution. Such is the fate of a region under 1-party rule.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on May 29, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Resident is a registered user.

@Habib Aswan
"In my forner country, cars, donkeys, camels, bicyclists, and motorcyclists all share the road with minimal problems other than minor collisions and arguments over one's right of way."

That's because other countries aren't steeped in the safety-fetish, sterilized fake bubble reality they try to create in Palo Alto


Posted by Bob Jackson, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 29, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Bob Jackson is a registered user.

Let's get real. Like who's going to be riding their bikes along ECR when the weather is really bad, like in 40mph winds and pouring? How many have you seen out there? Plus it's dangerous as hell given the poor visibility.

The 15 minute (to get anywhere within reason) Euro style city model is not feasible for many CA cities including LA, San Jose, Sunnyvale/Cupertino, and Palo Alto.

This eco for the sake of being eco is getting old.


Posted by Talltree, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on May 30, 2023 at 8:41 am

Talltree is a registered user.

I feel that Alma/Central Expressway is significantly underutilized and has become a speedway for cars. It would be great if Alma/central expressway would have bike lanes since it runs across many cities and parallel to the train tracks thus making it more efficient to access public transport. Alma could also be where the VTA could run buses/ connections/, light rail from each city to public transport.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on May 30, 2023 at 10:49 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I disagree about putting bike lanes on Alma. I think buses might be a good idea though.

Alma is the continuation of Central Expressway and it is a great shame that it was nevr continued as an Expressway through Palo Alto. As it stands, it is by far the quickest way to go north/south through town. It has far less traffic lights and far less interruptions to efficient traffic flow. It is a shame it can't continue on Sand Hill without doing the ridiculous U turn on ECR.


Posted by Marcus Marron, a resident of Professorville,
on May 30, 2023 at 10:54 am

Marcus Marron is a registered user.

Until VTA enhances the bus and light rail riding experience, public transportation will be relegated to mostly poor people who cannot afford a car.

As for bicycles, they are not a practical means of commuter transportation given the number of cars and trucks on the roadways. At best, a bike is best served as a recreational mobile for casual sight-seeing and moderate exercise. Bicycles are not practical for transporting groceries or usage on stormy days let alone serious commuter runs of 5 miles or more.

Speaking as an avid motorist, from a public safety standpoint e-bikes and regular bicycles do not belong on the same pathways as cars and should have restricted access to busy boulevards frequented by motor vehicles.


Posted by Li Zheng, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 30, 2023 at 4:40 pm

Li Zheng is a registered user.

My parents live in Palo Alto and to them, Palo Alto has many of the nicest neighborhoods in which to reside in (compared to my brother's home in Bailey Park and our overpriced tract home near Cuesta Park).

Why so many complaints among Palo Alto residents? Your city council is visionary and preparing the younger generations for future life in Palo Alto.


Posted by Glenallen Wong, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 31, 2023 at 8:48 am

Glenallen Wong is a registered user.

Another option would be to establish overhead transportation above ECR via an elevated system. This could be used for public transportation and bicycle use leaving ECR's roadway for cars.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on May 31, 2023 at 11:55 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

I would go further: Bicycles should not be permitted on busy roads either. After all, certain roads restrict large trucks due to safety primarily because of their size. A bicyclist peddling on Alma St. during rush hour -- when bicycle lanes exist a couple blocks away -- only causes traffic congestion and safety issues.


Posted by Gayle Pierce, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 31, 2023 at 3:59 pm

Gayle Pierce is a registered user.

Why even consider riding one's bike along El Camino Real or Alma/Central Expressway when it is so dangerous due to traffic congestion and speeding motorists?

Use the bike lane on Foothill Expressway instead. It will take a bicyclist all the way from Cupertino to Alameda de Las Pulgas in Menlo Park + the scenery is a whole lot better. Access to Willow Road, Page Mill Road, San Antonio Road, El Monte Road, Grant Road etc. is a breeze and they eventually connect with both El Camino Real and Alma.

A little extra peddling shouldn't hurt if someone is that intent on using pedal power to get around.

People tend to create their own problems and anxieties because they don't THINK about alternative solutions to a common problem.


Posted by kbehroozi, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle,
on Jun 2, 2023 at 2:21 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

El Camino may well at one point have been an efficient inter-city highway but today it is anything but. The frequent intersections make it incredibly inefficient for all but local traffic, and for that to change, we'd need to grade separate it at the majority of intersections ($$$ and unlikely to happen). At present it is a weird hybrid universe " slow for drivers, dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, scary to park along, and lacking ambiance for successful sidewalk-facing retail and housing. What you see instead: drive-through restaurants, strip malls, car dealers, motels...a lot of them in fairly run-down condition. In the parlance of Strong Towns writer Charles Marohn, it is a "stroad". (Web Link So...what should become of it?

Well, parts of El Camino are changing. In Menlo Park the vacant lots and auto dealerships are slowly converting to housing, sidewalk-facing eateries and shops, and live music venues, all of which will improve our tax base and downtown vibrancy. Some people will want or need to access these homes and other destinations without always having to drive, especially for shorter trips. Bike lanes here would be an appropriate addition.

I find it odd, incidentally, that most people accept as a given that busy residential and mixed-use neighborhoods need sidewalks (as opposed to just designating one street as the "pedestrian route") but we don't apply the same logic to bike lanes. No, not everyone can walk, nor does everyone want to, and our sidewalks are rarely as full as our streets. Still we acknowledge that they are a desirable, life-enhancing feature and we create space for them and invest in their upkeep. We would do well to approach bike lanes with a similar mindset.

I leave you with some inspiring examples of how streets similar to El Camino have been converted to vibrant, bustling centers of activity. Web Link


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

New artisanal croissant shop debuts in Santa Clara
By The Peninsula Foodist | 1 comment | 2,672 views

Everything Falls – Lessons in Life and Souffle
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,804 views

Marriage Interview #17: They Renew Their Vows Every 5 Years
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 558 views