Atherton: New bright green bike lanes on Middlefield near Marsh


Bright green paint and new pavement markings reminding motorists to share the road with cyclists can now be seen on both sides of Middlefield Road near Marsh Road in Atherton. It's part of a test designed to see if the changes will improve safety, according to town officials.

Work on the bike lanes was completed on Aug. 19. David Huynh, associate engineer for the town, said the work was done in response to concerns of commuting cyclists.

Alta Planning + Design, a firm that specializes in designing bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities planned the improvements in the intersection.

In addition to the bright green paint, the road now has markings called "sharrows," a combination of an outline of a bicycle and chevron arrows that remind bicycles and motorists they share the lane.

Mr. Huynh said the work at the intersection will be a test of the new paint and markings. "If deemed effective, more of these sharrows and more green paint" will be installed on Atherton roads, he said. Cost of the improvements was just under $12,000.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan is expected to return to the City Council in October, City Manager George Rodericks said. Council members are scheduled to pin down priorities under the plan at their study session on Oct. 1.

They are expected to vote on the adoption of the plan at their October or November meeting, depending on when the environmental studies of the plan are completed, he said.


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Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:06 am

Sorry, but that new bike lane layout is just as scary as before. With so many cars squeezing over to the right to go onto Marsh and the new law about three foot minimum between cyclist and vehicle, I'll be taking the sidewalk instead.

Would have been a lot safer for us if the town had widened the sidewalk to accommodate peds and bikes, but also more money.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I worry that the green lanes provide an officially sanctioned false sense of security. No amount of paint will block an automobile from crushing a bicycle. Smart countries physically separate pedestrians from bicycles and bicycles from automobiles.

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Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Riding my bike there almost daily I am happy that they did this. It's a very good start. And yes, a car can easily do massive damage to a bicyclist while v.v. there might be a little ding or scratch. And of course totally separate bike lanes are ideal, but is there room for them? And indeed, money is always an issue it seems. Anyway, for now, kudos to the Town of Atherton!

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Posted by The Old Sage
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

As a kid growing up in the Lindenwood area- we used the shoulder on either side of Middlefield as our bike path- it worked very well as it was between the brick wall and the Elm trees (now gone) on the east side and the property fences and culvert on the west sides of Middlefield - at the time it was a hardened dirt path - if re-graded now and maybe with a bit of gravel it could once again provide a safe haven for bikes from Oak Grove to Marsh Road- and just to rough grade it would cost a lot less than the $12K already spent.
just a thought...

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Posted by not perfect
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Green bike lanes are far from perfect, but they are a huge improvement over the old style lanes since the green is much more visible to distracted drivers. I wish these bike lanes were more consistent, however, such as following Middlefield all the way from Redwood City to Sunnyvale. Right now, the bike lanes often disappear without warning, which is very confusing to everyone. Also, bike lanes seem to be missing where they are most useful, such as the overpasses over Hwy 101.

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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

It was a pleasant surprise for me Wednesday morning to find the green paint. That intersection is still a mess but I am glad Atherton is taking action to find a solution. It's not perfect, but the old way was terrible- too many near-miss right hooks where cars turned despite pedestrians and bikes trying to cross.

There is a lot more room for improvement on Middlefield, though. Now that school is back in session, parents are parking on Middlefield and sometimes blocking the bike lane. I wish Atherton PD would do some enforcement at school drop off time.

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Posted by Menlo Atherton Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I bike home across Marsh everyday from school, and today, I had two oblivious cars cut right in front of me through the bike lane to the right turn lane, and although I was going slowly, I actually gently hit one of their bumpers, so, I too will be sticking to the sidewalk. Although that has its risks, such as cars turning right in front of me while I am going straight, it is still safer, and I fear less experienced bikers will not be forced to slow down as they are by going on the sidewalk,possibly causing accidents.

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Posted by Joan Hebert
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

As a cyclist who uses this intersection almost daily as well as a car driver who uses it as such occasionally, I am thrilled with the revision and especially with the green lane for cyclists heading "north" on Middlefield. I have always thought that having cyclists go onto the sidewalk and then try to cross in front of motorists who are turning right, often without watching, was a very dangerous option. Yes, the road is too narrow there and we all have to keep our eyes open and be careful, but this is a wonderful improvement! Thank you!

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