News

New bike routes for Menlo Park proposed by city commissions

Proposed downtown bike lanes among project ideas to make Menlo Park more green, bike friendly

The Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission during its meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28, discussed several topics near and dear to Menlo Park's "green" interests: new bike lanes, renewable energy, and the city's trees.

Bike Routes

Jonathan Weiner and Bill Kirsch of the Bicycle Commission presented a plan to create bike routes from Menlo-Atherton High School and through downtown Menlo Park. They said they will urge the Menlo Park City Council to conduct a one-year pilot study of the bike route.

The proposed route would create bike lanes on both sides of several streets, narrowing driving lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet in some areas to create space.

Heading from east to west, a bike route would start at Menlo-Atherton High School, with 7-foot buffered lanes, and continue along Oak Grove Avenue, past El Camino Real to Crane Street, where the lane would narrow to 5 feet.

Riders would take Crane Street to Santa Cruz Avenue, where they would have to deal with a 530-foot stretch where the bike lane would disappear in favor of "sharrows," lanes marked by white bicycle signs painted on the road that tell drivers that they are sharing the road with bicyclists.

From there, bicyclists would have access to the existing bike lanes to continue down Santa Cruz Avenue.

Heading from south to north, another bike route is proposed to stretch from Middle Avenue to Valparaiso Avenue, beginning on University Drive, then jogging east along Live Oak Avenue to Crane Street.

By creating these perpendicular routes, bikers would have a safe way to get through downtown Menlo Park, said Mr. Weiner.

According to Mr. Kirsch, the pilot would be fairly low-cost, as it would require some street painting and "wayfinding" signals to be placed along those streets, plus a stop sign at Crane Street and Menlo Avenue.

The commissioners said the aspect of the proposal they expect to be the hardest sell to residents and businesses is the street parking that would have to be removed to create those bike lanes.

In total, the proposal would require an estimated 112 parking spots to go: 55 unrestricted spaces, 40 soon-to-be three-hour parking spots, and 17 soon-to-be 90-minute parking spots. (The City Council recently decided to run a trial, starting in January, to extend free parking in two-hour parking plaza spots to three hours, and to extend one-hour street parking limits to 90 minutes.)

Mr. Weiner said that although 112 spots may sound like a lot of parking to eliminate, there are actually nearly 1,600 parking spots available throughout downtown Menlo Park. Environmental Quality Commissioner Andrew Barnes added that if an above-ground parking structure were to be built, it would further consolidate downtown parking and clear the street for bike lanes to be developed.

One metric for the program's success could be to see how full a new bike parking area planned at Menlo-Atherton High School would become by the end of the proposed one-year trial. To respond to the high school's increased enrollment, between 130 and 160 new permanent bike parking spots will be created to replace temporary parking facilities, using funding from school resources and parent donations, said Mr. Weiner.

The commission voted on two motions: to draft a letter of support for the Bicycle Commission's plan, which was approved by all members except Andrew Barnes; and to state support for the plan, which was unanimously approved.

Peninsula Clean Energy

The Environmental Quality Commission voted to recommend that Menlo Park participate in the formation of San Mateo County's proposed Peninsula Clean Energy program, which would combine the forces of the county and participating cities to buy renewable energy at competitive prices?

The proposed joint powers authority would purchase renewable energy on behalf of participating cities and unincorporated areas in the county and deliver it to households through the existing Pacific Gas & Electric power grid.

Households would be automatically enrolled in the program, which would distribute a baseline percentage of energy from renewable sources. However, people will be able to opt out and keep their existing PG&E electricity service. The program has been well-received in Marin and Sonoma counties.

Arborist's annual update

The Environmental Quality Commission received an update from Menlo Park arborist Christian Bonner. Between October 2014 and October 2015, Mr. Bonner reported, 156 trees were planted and 130 trees were removed on city-owned land, leaving the total number of public trees in Menlo Park at 20,086.

Also, 518 heritage trees were approved for removal, up nearly 70 percent from the previous year's 305 trees. Forty-two heritage trees were denied removal requests, compared with eight the previous year.

He said that between drought stress and an increase in proposals to remove trees for development purposes, more trees were removed this past year than city officials would have liked.

"We're still planting more trees than we're removing," Mr. Bonner said, but "we're barely keeping up."

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Tall Trees
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Applicants who are granted approval to remove a heritage tree are required to replace the lost tree(s) on a 1 to 1 basis for residents and on a 1 to 2 basis for commercial properties. These heritage trees are typically replaced with a tree in #15 container which takes many, many years to grow to an appreciable size. The EQC should consider requiring larger replacement trees. Menlo Park is a wonderful place in part because of its abundant heritage trees -- let's do more to maintain our amazing canopy.

I applaud the EQC's support of the bike lane project.


2 people like this
Posted by downtown person
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Not mentioned in this article and perhaps not considered is the impact of large and very-large vehicles/vans which currently stop/park on many of these streets mid-block to deliver packages to residents and businesses. On some streets, the vehicles are wider than the lanes they are driven in. Creating narrower traffic lanes may make the problem worse. Please factor in this traffic concern!


3 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2015 at 4:23 pm

The Palo Altofication of Menlo continues.


5 people like this
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Re: adding bike lanes and removing parking places in Menlo Park
Painting lines on streets cannot possibly make riding bikes on those streets safe. Those painted lines are only paint -- not a force field that could protect bicyclists. At best, all they do is tell bike riders and motorists which area each is allowed to move in -- nothing more. And making motor vehicle lanes narrower is a bad idea, as that makes it more dangerous to drive on those streets with narrower lanes. That will inevitably lead to more collisions between motor vehicles. All this effort is being done to help what has to be a very small percentage of people to get around.

If one is to use a bicycle as one's primary mode of transportation, one must:
1. Be in good physical shape with no physical impairments
2. Live close to every location one needs to go to: work, school, businesses, church, gym, homes of relatives and friends, medical facilities, etc.
3. Not need to transport others to various locations
4. Not need to transport large or heavy items
5. Not need to dress nicely after long bike rides
6. Not mind riding in the rain or the dark

I am sure there are very, very few people who can fit all 6 of my criteria.
This area depends entirely on the dependable, ongoing presence of many, many people who -- because their situations do not fit all 6 of my criteria -- cannot use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Many of these people need places to park that are not a long way away from their workplaces here in Menlo Park. Removing any parking places will make it harder -- if not impossible -- for some of these people we depend on to be able to continue to work here in Menlo Park.

It is not safe to allow bicyclists and motor vehicles to use the same roads at the same time, if there is not a very strong physical barrier between the bicyclists and the motor vehicles. (I am thinking of concrete "K rails".) I am continually amazed -- and very grateful -- that there are not many, many bicycle-motor vehicle collisions.

In short, I think adding bike lanes to many of the streets here in Menlo Park, and removing any parking places, are bad ideas.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 9:08 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

And just exactly how will our fire engines now get to addresses on streets that are no longer wide enough for those fire engines?


10 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Oct 31, 2015 at 3:38 pm

In response to the fire truck concern, remember that this is just moving paint around on the road. It will not prevent anything from fitting on the road that fit before.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If it is just paint then realize that paint will not protect a bicyclist from cars or trucks.

The illusion of safety is potentially fatal.


21 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2015 at 4:29 pm

@Peter Carpenter: By your logic, then, lane separation lines would be unnecessary as well -- since they, by themselves, do not provide protection for motorists on the roads.

And yet, motorists have continually respected these "bits of moving paint" -- because it provides a means of creating order out of what would be disorder.

Given time, education, AND the proper amount of enforcement mechanisms, the same situation would occur with bike lanes.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Cars do cross over the painted lines and crashes then occur however the risk to life in a car on car crash is dramatically lower than in a car to bike crash.


3 people like this
Posted by Middle
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:07 pm

I think the test from MA is fine and can help some biking to the school. However, longer term we really need to make Middle a major bike corrider, especially from University to ECR. This is a bigger issue for the town, it would seem, so perhaps the current alternatives were seen as more palatable. One the Stanford project is built and presuming the bike tunnel is also built (TBD), we will need to accommodate bikes here as well. I couple of major east west streets, like Santa Cruz and middle, plus the University to Valpariso, will be ideal. of course, there are tough issues related to parking and emergency vehicles but best to start with the longer term choices than to go with the easier ones.


9 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Okay, Mr. Carpenter. WHY the animus towards bicycle riders?

And why did you ignore the point I was making -- that the overwhelming majority follow guidelines, even if it is not *always* in their interest?


25 people like this
Posted by Jenson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Bicycle lanes are going to happen. In a time where green is good it's time to get on board with a growing trend in this direction. People will ride their bikes whether there are lines on the street or not. The dangers of bicyclists sharing a road with a car are there on every street in Menlo Park bicycle lane or not. I see fire trucks from the middlefield station go down residential streets all the time to avoid willow rd at times when it is not backed up and there is no emergency. This is an unnecessary risk for little kids playing, walkers or people riding bikes on these side streets and the trucks go too fast sometimes and are noisy. A painted line on our busy streets tells drivers to SHARE the road. If a fire truck has to use the bicycle lane to get down the road a bicyclist will get out of the way just as a car does. This is an attempt to make the roads a little more accessible for everyone. Rather then trash the idea before it even starts why not see if it can work with changes as it goes along. No solution is going to work perfectly because there are too many cars on our streets now but at least this is an idea worth exploring.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"WHY the animus towards bicycle riders?"

I have no such animus - in fact I am deeply concerned for their welfare and hence my concern about creating a false sense of security by painting lines on the street.

It has been clearly shown that properly protected bike lanes are much safer. On a street that has two car lanes, one parking lane and two bike lanes a protected lane can be easily provided by separating the car lane from a two way bike lane by a line of parked cars.

Web Link

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Peter, please point us to a bike lane project in Menlo Park that you have supported. If none of them are good enough for you, then your "deep concern" rings a little hollow. We start where we are, not where we would like to be.

What we have is a situation where bike infrastructure wasn't baked in when the roads were laid out. So there is a limited amount of physical space on our streets. The type of bike lane proposed here is, despite the hand-wringing of Peter Carpenter, a distinct improvement for people using bikes. Obviously a protected bike lane would be ideal, but we have to start somewhere.

Bikes are on the streets now. Adding bike lanes won't make it more dangerous. Let's not lose sight of the big picture here.


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 7:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Obviously a protected bike lane would be ideal, "

We agree and why should Menlo Park settle for being second best and ten years behind the current best practices in bike lane design and safety?


9 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 8:34 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

So Peter you support installing protected bike lanes on El Camino, as Council was studying a few months ago? Oh, you didn't, did you? No protected bike lanes on El Camino because reasons. No paint on Oak Grove because not protected. Your "deep concern for the welfare" of bicyclists leads me to conclude your ideal solution is for everyone to leave their bikes in the garage.

Let's not refuse to get to 80% because we can't do 100% first. 80% is a good start.


8 people like this
Posted by Safe Car Alternatives
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:18 am

Protected bike lanes would be a huge improvement! Peter, thank you for the weblinks and focus on safety.

Do you believe the fire department and other first responders would support protected bike lanes in Menlo Park?


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 10:11 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Let's not refuse to get to 80% because we can't do 100% first."

False premise - there is nothing to stop Menlo Park, like dozens of other US cities and hundreds of European cities have, from going right straight to truly protected bike lanes.

I also would not support selling cars without airbags simply because seat belts were doable.


“96 percent of people using protected bike lanes believe they increased safety on the street and they reduce bike-related intersection injuries by about 75 percent compared to comparable crossings without infrastructure. “

“New York City's protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56 percent reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57 percent reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29 percent reduction in injuries to people walking, as well as an 84 percent reduction in sidewalk riding.”

“Streets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure. “

Do it once and do it right.

Being cheap should not be the Menlo Park way.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 10:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Do you believe the fire department and other first responders would support protected bike lanes in Menlo Park?"

Yes, provided that the remaining roadway was configured in such a way as to facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles. The key issue is having space for vehicles in the car lane to make way for emergency vehicles - that is a design issue and very dependent on the total width of the right of way. Things like the insane bulb outs on Willow Road are a huge impediment to emergency vehicles.


4 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:01 am

I have to agree with Peter. Here in Portola Valley we have far less traffic, and we still see numerous accidents that could have been prevented. Cyclists are at a severe disadvantage against most motor vehicles, why do we ignore the obvious safety risks?

Even if Cyclists wore protective gear like DOT approved safety gear (helmets etc), a person on a bicycle simply isn't protected enough to make commingling of motor vehicles and bicycles safe.

Build protected lanes where ALL type of cyclists can operate safely. If cyclists want to race they can visit a dedicated facility like other athletes do.

Keep our roads safe for everyone please!


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Plenty of research shows that the presence of protected bike lanes, for instance, is one of the strongest factors that make people willing to try biking in a city. The world's cities with the highest rates of bicycling — such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam — have the highest amounts of protected bike lanes and trails, and research shows this correlation also holds for US cities. Davis, which has held the US title for the highest percentage of bike commuters for decades and has an extensive bike lane network, is the perfect example of this."

Web Link

**************
"Objectives. We compared cycling injury risks of 14 route types and other route infrastructure features.

Methods. We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip.

Results. Of 14 route types, cycle tracks had the lowest risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02, 0.54), about one ninth the risk of the reference: major streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure. Risks on major streets were lower without parked cars (adjusted OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.96) and with bike lanes (adjusted OR = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.29, 1.01). Local streets also had lower risks (adjusted OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.31, 0.84). Other infrastructure characteristics were associated with increased risks: streetcar or train tracks (adjusted OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.8, 5.1), downhill grades (adjusted OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.7, 3.1), and construction (adjusted OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.9).

Conclusions. The lower risks on quiet streets and with bike-specific infrastructure along busy streets support the route-design approach used in many northern European countries. Transportation infrastructure with lower bicycling injury risks merits public health support to reduce injuries and promote cycling."

Read More: Web Link;

*****************
"On Salt Lake City's Broadway, replacing parking with protected bike lanes increased retail sales. A general street upgrade removed 30 percent of the auto parking from nine blocks of the major commercial street but improved crosswalks, sidewalks and added protected bike lanes. In the first six months of the next year, retail sales were up 8.8 percent over the first six months of the prior year, compared to a 7 percent increase citywide. After the changes, 59% of business owners on the street said they supported them; only 18% opposed.
Salt Lake City Department of Transportation - Salt Lake City Department of Transportation"

"After New York City installed a protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue, bicycling increased 56 percent on weekdays, crashes decreased 34 percent, speeding decreased, sidewalk riding decreased, traffic flow remained similar, and commercial loading hours/space increased 475 percent.
New York City Department of Transportation, 2011 - Columbus Avenue parking-protected bicycle path preliminary assessment"

Web Link

****************
Why risk lives, particular children's lives, by creating an attractive nuisance of an unprotected bike lane?



2 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:43 am

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Peter, I am astonished and gratified to see such full-throated support of protected bike lanes. Where were you when Council was considering protected bike lanes for one of the alternatives on El Camino Real?


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Where were you when Council was considering protected bike lanes for one of the alternatives on El Camino Real?"

None of the Menlo Park ECR proposals included a PROTECTED bike lane - so I was there opposing the lunacy of adding unprotected bike lanes to this busy State highway.

"Protected bike lanes are a simple concept, really: they're like sidewalks for bikes.

Because they use planters, curbs, parked cars or posts to separate bike and auto traffic on busy streets, protected lanes are essential to building a full network of bike-friendly routes. Once that network is built, it makes riding a bike a pleasant and practical way for many more people (not just the bold or athletic) to make trips of a mile or two."

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Joe Berry
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

This will help a little, but the real problem for cycling in Menlo Park is the lack of a bike route parallel with El Camino - preferably between El Camino and the train tracks. It is very inconvenient to cycle from downtown Menlo Park to Stanford Shopping center or to downtown Palo Alto. It can be done but you have to go a long way around. Have a look at what Palo Alto has done in this corridor.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It would be relatively simple to create a protected bicycle pathway on Alma that connected to Palo Alto's Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard.


Like this comment
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter, Alternative 3 was exactly a PROTECTED bike lane: "The alternative would provide a physically separated bicycle facility on El Camino Real in both directions between Sand Hill Road and Encinal Avenue. Each of the fve to six-foot wide one-way bike lanes would be separated from vehicle traffic with three-foot wide raised curbs or planters on most sections of the corridor. "

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What Alternative 3 called for was a SEPARATED bike lane that was only protected in some places - sort of like Russian Roulette.

The operative phrase is "on most sections of the corridor. "

Look at the pictures to see how little of ECR would actually have PROTECTED bikeways.


24 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 2, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Louise68:Except for the first, you don't have to meet all six of your criteria all the time to use a bike for your primary transportation.
1. The bicycle mode share in the Bay Area is on the order of 3-5 percent. Does that mean that 95 percent of Bay Area residents are physically unable to ride a bike?
2. If you live in Menlo Park, you can pretty much take care of all your daily needs, going no farther than Redwood City to the north or Palo Alto to the south. I ride my bike to the grocery store, drug store, bank, post office, hardware store, public library, medical clinic... There is also SamTrans, VTA and Caltrain, and If all else fails, I have a car.
3. I have extra bikes for my guests, also a tandem. If that doesn't work, rarely, I have a car.
4. About once a year I might have to carry something too big or too heavy for my bike. I admit to using my car recently to carry a high-efficiency toilet from the store.
5. I think I dress pretty nicely.
6. If you hadn't noticed,rain is pretty rare here, and for darkness, I have lights on my bikes.
Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of hearing on these forums from people who don't bike and know nothing about what it is like to ride a bike in this part of the world, telling me when and where I should or should not ride. I have lived in Menlo Park for 39 years. I'm a healthy 72-year old man, and I'm not going to stop using my bike for transportation because Peter Carpenter thinks that cyclists should only use roads with protected bike lanes.


15 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Agreed, Robert Cronin. There are many, many trips made daily by Menlo Park residents that could easily be done by foot or by bike instead of by car. Picking up a prescription refill, getting a haircut, meeting someone for coffee at Cafe Borrone. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition as Louise68 would have us believe- one can choose to ride when it is feasible and still keep the car in the garage for the times it's not.

The bicycle lobby isn't insisting that everyone ride a bike instead of drive. Making those local trips safe and convenient to do on a bicycle redounds to everyone's benefit- both the person on the bike, and the folks who have to drive, who have one less car clogging the road or competing for parking. Improving bike infrastructure makes things better for everyone.


Like this comment
Posted by common sense 99
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

bike riders need to ride with common sense and not pretend they are inferior while cars need to be courteous to them as well!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2015 at 10:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what happens when bicyclists do not have physical separation from and protection from automobiles:

"A bicyclist was struck and killed by a car just outside of Palo Alto this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported at 6:53 a.m. when a black Volkswagen Golf hit a bicyclist near the intersection of Page Mill Road and Christopher Lane, CHP officials said."


2 people like this
Posted by Michael Meyer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 3, 2015 at 10:16 am

We have not even begun to scratch the surface as to the impact e-bikes/e-scooters can add to the modeshift discussion. The issues brought up by Louise68 can largely be laid to rest for a significant percentage of people with this mode choice. I encourage those who are unfamiliar with this mode to try it out, it is life changing.


Like this comment
Posted by JC
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 3, 2015 at 12:58 pm

I assume what Joe Berry has in mind is a northward extension of the bike/pedestrian path that runs behind Paly to the PA train station? I like that idea, though it would take some thinking through. I would think it should be doable past the station at least as far as Palo Alto Ave. I assume in principle the city ought to be able to find the space in that park that seems to be closed for ever. I'm not sure what you would do after that, because you'd have to cross PA Ave somehow, and I think there would be land issues beyond the creek, not least with the hotel there. What about a bridge or underpass that crossed both the road and the train tracks and connected with the existing ped/bike bridge over the creek to Alma?


2 people like this
Posted by Dead man biking
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Motor vehicles and bicycles do not mix - well. Keep them separated. If one in a thousand motorists or bicyclists makes a mistake, many a bicyclist ill die or take up wheelchairing and many a driver will be sued.


11 people like this
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Here's an outside-the-box thought: bicycle and pedestrian safety in Menlo Park could be increased significantly--without making ANY changes in the roadways or adding ANY bike lanes--simply by decreasing average vehicle speeds in our downtown area. In this regard, it is worth noting the movement to implement 20 mph/30 kph speed limits in various urban centers around the world.

See Web Link and links therein.

Decreasing the default speed limit on Menlo Park streets to 20 mph (and enforcing that speed limit) would increase safety both objectively (minor increases in impact speed have an objectively higher effect on crash severity) and subjectively (cars and bikes co-exist much more easily when they are traveling at similar speeds).

Peter Carpenter is correct that paint on the roadway doesn't necessarily protect bicyclists (or pedestrians) from danger, but he is incorrect to think that building fully-separated bikeways is a practical or even desirable alternative in a place like Menlo Park. Rather than spending huge amounts of money to install road furniture of questionable value, why don't we just slow everyone (cars and bikes) down to the same speed? This option would also have zero impact on emergency vehicles (except that they would have fewer reasons to assist victims of vehicle crashes). The only down-side is that the state requires an engineering and traffic survey pursuant to CVC 22352 and 22358.4 when speed limits are decreased below 25 mph in business and residential districts. Such surveys can, however, include pedestrian and bicycle safety as a factor in justifying the lowered speed limit.

By the way, driving the 1-mile width of Menlo Park at 35 mph takes a little less than 2 minutes, whereas at 20 mph it takes 3 minutes. In normal traffic, the fractional difference is even less. Is that level of delay really a problem for a car driver if it means greatly increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" to install road furniture of questionable value"

What is "questionable" about these facts?:

"96 percent of people using protected bike lanes believe they increased safety on the street and they reduce bike-related intersection injuries by about 75 percent compared to comparable crossings without infrastructure."

"New York City's protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56 percent reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57 percent reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29 percent reduction in injuries to people walking, as well as an 84 percent reduction in sidewalk riding."

"Streets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure."

"After New York City installed a protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue, bicycling increased 56 percent on weekdays, crashes decreased 34 percent, speeding decreased, sidewalk riding decreased, traffic flow remained similar, and commercial loading hours/space increased 475 percent.
New York City Department of Transportation, 2011 - Columbus Avenue parking-protected bicycle path preliminary assessment"


Like this comment
Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Protected bike lanes are GENERALLY safer than buffered bike lanes and BOTH are less safe than physically separate bike paths. However, the ACTUAL safety provided by protected bike lanes depends mostly on the number and kind of places where vehicles CROSS THE PATHS of bikes at intersections and public driveways NOT on the sections in between. That is why I oppose them on El Camino Real. There are way too many dangerous spots. Bike network designers view busy public driveways, unsignalled intersections, and any intersection where cars can turn at speeds above 15 mph are generally considered dangerous. So are shared right turn lanes on busy streets. These are not simply opinions; they are sound assumptions based on bike transportation studies. You can find many on the Internet.
So, in some places protected bike lanes are great; in others, less so.

On November 4 I will propose an east-west bike corridor solution that is safer, more convenient, less stressful and actually beautiful. Now the city and its residents will have two alternatives to consider. That's good news. Peace.


2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 3, 2015 at 5:05 pm

really? is a registered user.

Peter mentions 9th Ave in NYC. I was just there and was struck by how at night, there are very few bike lights used but everyone's wearing a reflective vest, as if that's protecting them. I was also struck by one of these cyclists while i was crossing the separated bike lane...

And in northern Europe, you'll note that nobody is wearing a helmet yet there are three times as many cyclists and their head-injury rate is about the same as ours. Go figure.

Every population swears by their own cycling culture, but no one group has the answer, and some much of the studies quoted should be seen an anecdotal. We need to find a compromise that works best on the ground for the way we use the roads now, not some overly idealistic gospel. Let's also remember that we're all simultaneously pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, so forget the us vs. them rhetoric.

But certainly not e-skateboard users! (Blech!)


2 people like this
Posted by Adam
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

What about a safer north/south route from the Willows to Laurel school or MA?

Coleman NEEDS real sidewalks and bike lanes.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Take all the street parking off of Coleman and then add a sidewalk on one side and a physically protected two way bike lane on the other.


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Posted by Kricket
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

Thank you Louise68 for your thoughtful insights. Could we add more bike capability on the fronts of buses to get through Menlo Park on our bike journeys? Many feel that the north-south routes by bike are not safe, and options are limited. I am afraid to ride my bike on El Camino, but have tried several less busy streets, which doubles my commute time. I think I'll uber it all winter.


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Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Kricket ---
Thank you for the compliment. Much appreciated. Just trying to inject some facts that others have not mentioned into this discussion.

Robert Cronin ---
You are --- by your own admission -- a HUGE exception to the rule here in the SF Bay Area. I noticed that you did not comment on my statement that almost none of the people we (here in Menlo Park, for instance) depend on for services we absolutely must have can ride bicycles as their primary mode of transportation -- and this is for the 6 reasons I gave -- because riding bicycles is simply not practical for 95-97% of the people in the Bay Area.

To all bicyclists ---
Why should we -- the 95-97% who do not ride bicycles -- be forced to pay for and deal with the huge problems caused by a mode of transportation that only a tiny percentage of people will ever be able to use?

I long ago realized that no one could ever stand to ride a bicycle on the same
roads that motor vehicles use when those roads have no strong barriers between the bike lanes and motor vehicles lanes unless they -- the bicyclists -- are in denial of the very real dangers they are putting themselves in.


10 people like this
Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 6, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Louis 68, You can't ride a bike, or you won't? Why isn't it practical to ride a bike? It's easy, fun, and whenever someone chooses to bike instead of drive, everybody in the world benefits (except maybe the oil companies). I would also submit that the huge problems in transportation are caused by too many people driving cars, not a small but growing number of people riding bikes.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Robert - Louise answered your question long ago -"It is not safe to allow bicyclists and motor vehicles to use the same roads at the same time, if there is not a very strong physical barrier between the bicyclists and the motor vehicles. "


Clearly Louise and I do not share your higher tolerance of the risks involved - that is a personal choice but the overwhelming reason why most people will not ride on roads that they have to share with cars.

This is from a pro bike web site;"Drivers and cyclists: If there's even been an oil-and-water combination, this is it. We both use roads; we'd both prefer to do so without the other in the way. But the juxtaposition puts cyclists in far greater peril than drivers."

And here is some survey data on the issue:"Compared to 46 percent of the general population, an overwhelming 64 percent of people who would like to bike more say that protected bike lanes would make a difference to their transportation choices."

Web Link


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Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Louise68

"Why should we -- the 95-97% who do not ride bicycles -- be forced to pay for and deal with the huge problems caused by a mode of transportation that only a tiny percentage of people will ever be able to use?"

A huge number of middle and high school students ride to local public and private schools every day (you can find the factual data on the City website along with census data on the large # of adults who commute by bike every day)
Simply look it up!

If you are going to present data as factual, please provide the source; otherwise, it is not credible.

I never use the library, swimming pool, Alma, the Burgess playing fields, and the softball diamond at Nealon Park, and the cul-de-sac streets around the corridor

Hmmm... perhaps I should not have to pay for such things....


9 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2015 at 9:34 am

A wise man once taught me:

Great is the enemy of good
Perfect is the enemy of better

There is an awful lot of low hanging fruit out there that can improve cycling, pedestrian, and even driver safety. It won't make things perfect, but it will make things better.

Wider and buffered bike lanes aren't perfect, but they're better than narrow bike lanes.

Signal improvements (like the protected left turns from Laurel to Ravenswood) aren't perfect, but they improve bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety.

Removing street parking in favor of wide, buffered, or separated bike lanes improves safety. It's not perfect, but they're all better than the current situation.

Putting sturdy, heavy planters between diagonal downtown parking spaces and the sidewalk won't keep every elderly driver who can't tell the gas from the brake from mowing down pedestrians, but it will help.

For all modes of transportation, we can improve the odds. Let's apply the principles of kaizen (continuous improvement) to our transportation infrastructure, and while we won't ever hit perfection, we may asymptotically approach it.


6 people like this
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm

MP Resident has it exactly right. There are a lot of things we can do to improve safety for bicyclists that are far easier, less expensive, and more effective than building physical barriers to separate bikes and cars.

Beyond improving infrastructure, a major piece of low hanging fruit is improving bicyclist and car driver behavior. Educating bicyclists to obey the normal rules of the road, to be visible, and to ride predictably and confidently is critically important. This alone would go a long way to improving the objective safety of bicyclists. Education of car drivers to obey speed limits and to respect bicyclists' right to use the roads--including taking full use of the lane when necessary--is equally important. Aggressive and equitable enforcement of traffic laws against all road users is also part of the mix.

Fear-mongering about the dangers of bicycling on low-speed, urban roadways is not helpful. Just because many people "think" it is unsafe to bicycle on such roads and "think" that separating cars and bikes would improve safety doesn't make it objectively so. For a reasonably balanced analysis of bikeway safety, see Wikipedia: Web Link

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." Attributed to H.G. Wells


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

David - Please explain how the things that you propose are "more effective than building physical barriers to separate bikes and cars." And please provide a single study that shows how to effectively change
' bicyclist and car driver behavior."

The link you provides clearly states:
"Bikeway safety
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dedicated or segregated cycle facilities are controversial, in particular concerning safety. Proponents say that segregation of cyclists from fast or frequent motorized traffic is necessary to provide a safe and welcoming cycling environment. A 2010 Montreal study found that cycle tracks resulted in fewer injuries when compared to comparable parallel roads with no cycling facilities.[1][2]
Studies into the risks and benefits of dedicated cycling facilities have drawn differing conclusions. Recent research, such as the 2010 Montreal study,[2] suggests a lower risk for cyclists using cycling-specific infrastructure in certain traffic dynamics, though there has also been research[citation needed] suggesting that cycling-specific infrastructure raises the risk for cyclists.

A 2006 report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program in the US concludes that "bicycle safety data are difficult to analyze, mostly because bicycle trip data (and thus accident probability per trip) are hard to uncover".[3] One major reason for the inability to draw definite conclusion may be that facilities with different risks are often categorized together so that off-road paths – paved or unpaved, bicycle-only or multi-use – were lumped together, as found by research at the Cycling in Cities program at the University of British Columbia.[4]"


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Menlo Voter - thank you. The Publisher has prohibited me from responding to personal attacks and has also deemed me to be a "public figure" and thus will not restrict attacks on me by other posters.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Post removed. You are responding to a post that was removed.



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

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