Tuesday: Menlo Park looks at 'E-bikes', bike lanes at special joint session


Menlo Park's transportation issues will get a closer look Tuesday, when the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission, Transportation Commission, and City Council meet for a joint session prior to the council's regular meeting. They will discuss several ideas to promote alternative (non-car) transportation and safety:

● The Oak Grove and University Drive bike boulevard, initially proposed as a pilot by the Bicycle Commission.

● A proposed E-Bike Ordinance, which would allow electric bikes and motorized scooters on existing bike lanes, paths and bridges.

● bike safety on Middle Avenue.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Gymnastics Center at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.

Then, at 7 p.m., the City Council will migrate to its chambers at 701 Laurel St. in Menlo Park for its regular meeting. The council may:

● Adopt an ordinance to join Peninsula Clean Energy. The community choice energy program would give Menlo Park residents the option to get clean electricity at prices comparable to PG&E.

● Adopt an ordinance establishing new regulations about water conservation for new or renovated landscapes, following a template laid out by BAWSCA, the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency.

● Prohibit street parking on Constitution, Independence and Chrysler drives. This would be in advance of plans for the Menlo Gateway project to install a bicycle route on portions of those roads.

● Approve a tentative agreement for a new labor contract for officers in the Menlo Park Police Department

● Discuss renovations to the City Hall using $565,000 from the city's surplus fund and $25,000 from the city's water fund. Those renovations would include things like creating smaller conference rooms, adding bigger desks for engineers and planners, and some technology upgrades. In all, those renovations are expected to cost nearly $2 million.

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Posted by Tillie
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Help an old lady out here, why is an e-bike different regarding bike rules? Can I ride my regular old bike where the e-bikes are supposed to go?

3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Mountain View recently started allowing e-bikes (as well as "hoverboards") on existing bike paths in city parks. Previously, e-bikes were banned on all city bike paths. I'm sure that is what Menlo Park is considering as well, though there are far fewer bike paths in Menlo Park than in Mountain View, so this will probably be a very short discussion. I do not know if Palo Alto has any laws banning or allowing e-bikes on bike paths. It would be nice if neighboring cities got together and standardized their rules.

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Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

Currently the bike bridges over San Francisquito Creek and Highway 101 are signed in such a way that would prevent people using an electric-assisted bicycle from using those bridges. It is to clarify that e-bikes would be treated the same as other bikes, rather than being lumped in with motorcycles. This would not affect regular bikes at all.

Like this comment
Posted by jmir
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm

$2 million for renovations to City Hall? It looks to be in pretty good shape to me.

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2016 at 8:54 pm

@parent, it would be even better if the state came out with mandatory rules that would be uniform throughout the state. In our area it is sometimes hard to tell which city you are in, so if each city can choose its own rules the result is confusion and people will get undeserved citations. What if you want to go from Redwood City to Mountain View and pass through Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and possibly Los Altos on the way? How many people know exactly where the city limits are and which rules apply where? What do you do with streets that have one city on one side and another on the other side (e.g. El Camino just south of San Antonio)? Do you have different rules on different sides of the street?

Like this comment
Posted by Michael Meyer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 27, 2016 at 9:22 am

The state has been working to update the Vehicle Code to address classifying newer modes of transport and their regulations on state roads. They have for the most part left the regulation of local paths up to the respective jurisdictions. In the case of E-bikes, Class I and II, they are allowed by state law unless local ordinance bans them, in the case of E scooters, E skateboards, etc. it bans them unless local ordinance allows. The Ebike/Escooter ordinance is meant to address these concerns.

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

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