Tonight: Menlo Park commission may reopen El Camino redesign discussion


At the request of commission member John Kadvany, the Menlo Park Planning Commission may decide tonight (April 20) to reopen a discussion of the options for redesigning El Camino Real.

During a study session on April 6, the commission unanimously recommended a design that would create buffered bike lanes along the city's main corridor, with the caveat that the trees at the intersection of El Camino Real and Ravenswood Avenue would be left standing.

Mr. Kadvany, in an April 13 email to the city, asked to reopen the discussion, but that doesn't mean he thinks it was a bad recommendation.

"I don't necessarily expect or want us to revote or amend, but in thinking about the options since our last meeting I've seen some nuances which I think are worth stating for the record," he wrote.

He told the Almanac that those nuances include possibly combining features of two designs rather than choosing between them, and making intersection improvements a separate issue from changing the lane layout.

The complete agenda, with staff reports, is available on the city's website.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. It will be streamed live online.

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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Both the bike lane AND the widening of ECR to 3 lanes alternatives warrant further study and comprehensive environmental reports so the city AND residents understand whether either is desirable and IF BOTH are, then which they would prefer. The information gained halfway thru the current study is not sufficient to rule either one out. The additional investment of time and money is worthwhile, and both studies could be conducted in parallel. We desrve to get these decisions right.

Like this comment
Posted by Town Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 20, 2015 at 12:31 pm

I agree with Hendrickson that we need to get this right and further study is appropriate.

Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

The issue of safety also warrants further study. It is concerning that Fire
Chief Schapelhouman came to the commission to raise the issue of safety when bicycles and cars are mixed and his concerns seem to have been largely ignored. Cars will be constantly turning into driveways along El Camino-- not just turning at intersections. Cars will need to slow down/ stop to ensure there is not an approaching bicyclist. This may alter the flow of traffic as well. How can the safety of bicyclists be ensured at driveways? (One of the designs has protective barriers at the intersections, but driveways would be open.)

Our fire district provides first responder EMT services for traffic accidents. Chief Schapelhouman is as close to a "public safety officer" as we can get. If he is voicing concerns about safety, then those concerns should be taken seriously.

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Posted by buffer is better
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

You can watch the recording of the fire board discussion on this matter. The chief is passing along some elements of the official position of the board (with a 3-1 vote).

Part of that discussion highlighted the worst option; a physical buffer that fire trucks would not be able to drive over. One could argue that a painted bike lane is far better for MPFPD than six lanes of cars. During rush hour, the extra car lanes will just be filled up like a parking lot, but the bike lanes will be somewaht empty and provide a clear shot for file trucks.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"the bike lanes will be somewaht empty and provide a clear shot for file trucks."

Is is astounding that someone is actually recommending that six ft bike lanes be use by 12 ft wide fire apparatus. Scary.

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Posted by buffer is better
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Some emergency vehicles do use bike lanes.

Web Link

One of the changes the commissioner is considering is to allow cars to park in front of certain fire hydrants, and force fire trucks to use the bike path

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Buffer - Please read what you yourself have posted:

"On Monday however, FDNY Press Secretary Steve Ritea responded tersely with the following statement:
“Fifteen feet on all sides is necessary to provide quick access to a hydrant and blocking hydrants can’t be permitted under any circumstances,” the statement read."

And again, you cannot put a 12 ft wide fire engine into a 6 ft wide bike path - simple physics.

Like this comment
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 21, 2015 at 9:41 am

lessons learned is a registered user.

Traffic circulation planning has been neglected so far in the general plan update. Any changes to El Camino merit more attention, but it seems as though "further study" is just a code phrase for adding as much development as possible to El Camino.

Somehow, everyone seems to have forgotten east-west connectivity. The issue for most residents is not gridlock on El Camino but getting across the tracks/El Camino to go to school, shop, take kids to sports practices and games. Somehow, the discussions seem to overlook this fact.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 21, 2015 at 10:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Last night's Planning Commission discussion on this item was a sad example of trying to deal with the specific before having dealt with the general principles.

Calif law requires that the City have a current General Plan - it does not - and a current Circulation Element of that General Plan which incorporates the requirements of AB 1358 "

""AB 1358 places the planning, designing, and building of complete streets into the
larger planning framework of the general plan by requiring jurisdictions to amend
their circulation elements to plan for multimodal transportation networks. These
networks should allow for all users to effectively travel by motor vehicle, foot, bicycle,
and transit to reach key destinations within their community and the larger region.
OPR recommends that local jurisdictions view all transportation projects, new
or retrofit, as opportunities to improve safety, access, and mobility for all travelers
and recognize pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes as integral elements of their
transportation system. The standard practice should be to construct complete streets
while prioritizing project selection and project funding so that jurisdictions accelerate
development of a balanced, multimodal transportation network.”

Trying to make roadway specific decisions without a city wide plan is foolish, illogical and unprofessional.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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