The start of new bike lanes and the end of some street parking is ahead for downtown Menlo Park.
A concept plan laying out a route to safely navigate downtown Menlo Park by bike was approved 3-0 by the Menlo Park City Council at its meeting on Dec. 6, with Mayor Rich Cline and Councilman Ray Mueller absent.
There will be a one-year trial period for the project, which is expected to cost $236,200, according to a staff report.
The plan is to add painted bike lanes, with a minimum 18-inch buffer, or "sharrows" (painted markings on the roads that remind drivers to share the road with cyclists) along a route intended to give cyclists a clear path through downtown Menlo Park.
The route will start at Menlo-Atherton High School, run along Oak Grove Avenue past El Camino Real to Crane Street, and then continue left with a mild jog across Santa Cruz Avenue, go right up Live Oak Avenue, and continue left again on University Drive to Middle Avenue. The Crane Street bike lane would extend in the other direction to connect with Valparaiso Avenue.
The proposal the council discussed will likely eliminate between 130 and 177 street parking spaces along Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive.
Bike lanes or sharrow markings will be painted on these streets:
• University Drive from Middle Avenue to Live Oak Avenue. (Sixty-four parking spaces on both sides of the street will be removed and buffered bike lanes will be installed.)
• Live Oak Avenue from University Drive to Crane Street. (Sharrow markings will be painted on the road.)
• Crane Street from Live Oak Avenue to Valparaiso Avenue, (Sharrow markings will be painted on the road.)
• Oak Grove west of El Camino Real. (Nineteen parking spaces on the north side of the street will be removed and a buffered bike lane installed.)
• Oak Grove east of El Camino Real. (Up to 94 parking spaces may be removed on both sides of the road and a buffered bike lane installed. However, the council has directed staff to look into preserving parking on one side of Oak Grove Avenue east of El Camino Real, which could halve the number of parking spaces to be cut, according to Michael Tsai, assistant engineer. Near Menlo-Atherton High School, there are also some off-street dirt parking spots. Those would remain as they are, Mr. Tsai said.)
In addition to the one-year trial, a more permanent change will be made: a new left-turn signal will be added at Laurel Street so that northbound and southbound drivers turning onto Oak Grove Avenue won't have to turn with oncoming traffic approaching, Mr. Tsai said. The traffic lights will be replaced with larger lights.
The project was initially brought forth by the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission, and was presented to the Environmental Quality Commission in October 2015.
Next steps are to finalize designs, establish what criteria will be used to determine the effectiveness of the one-year trial, award a construction contract, and install the bike lanes, which could happen by May 2017, according to city staff.
The project will require coordination with Atherton and Caltrans, according to Mr. Tsai. Atherton is working on improvements to the Middlefield Road and Oak Grove Avenue intersection, he said, and the city will coordinate with Caltrans on plans for the Oak Grove Avenue and El Camino Real intersection.