Town Square

City identifies spot for proposed bike tunnel

Original post made on Sep 25, 2008

There's still a host of unknowns about the cost, timeline and engineering of the project, but Menlo Park is moving forward with plans to build a bicycle tunnel under the Caltrain tracks. The tunnel, which supporters say is key to making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians — especially children getting to and from school — to cross the train tracks, is proposed to cut under the tracks at Burgess Park on one side and near Middle Avenue on the other.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 4:42 PM


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Posted by skeptic
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 25, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Is this the same Steve Schmidt who didn't want the city to waste any more money studying tunnel options? Web Link

Too bad Steve can't let that Cambridge location go. His spin is that the tunnel died because of scared neighbors, when in actuality the problem was that we all realized it was a colossal waste of money, that the hotel did not want bikers emerging in its parking lot (speaking of eminent domain) and that it was a true tunnel-to-nowhere -- except for bikers needing a shortcut to the O.

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Posted by Harry Nelson Pillsbury
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Mush as I love bicycles and cycling, I'm not the least bit interested in the "Schmidt Tunnel" connecting Willow and Cambridge, especially given the proximity of the Alma Street pedestrian/cycling bridge. Please keep this misguided effort focused on Burgess/Middle if we must waste further resources on it.


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Posted by Another way of Thinking
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 30, 2008 at 10:07 am

Harry: Get on a bike and see if you like using the alma street bridge to cross the train tracks. See if you are comfortable getting into the left lane so you can go west on Sand Hill while the traffic is making fast right hand turns on to el camino real. Do this before discounting a tunnel at willow and alma. These 2 ideas have nothing to do with one another. The existing Alma bridge takes people to palo Alto nicely but, should not be considered a safe crossing of the train tracks.
Your "love" for bicycles and cycling is questionable. In addition, Harry, maybe this isn't about you. Stretch a little. Think of students wanting to get to Hillview Middle school from the Willows or think of students wanting to get to Menlo Atherton High School from west Menlo.
Think big. Grow. Become a citizen of the 21st century. Let go of your fear and your righteousness while you're at it.

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Posted by yet another way
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 30, 2008 at 11:40 am

It makes no sense to me to pay for a new tunnel at Cambridge because the crossing at Sand Hill is poorly designed. That's like killing a fly with a cannon when a flyswat is enough.
Wouldn't it be tons less expensive to work out something with Palo Alto and Stanford to fix the Sand Hill/El Camino intersection? And yes, it does need to be done. I can't believe PA/Stanford were designated as Bicycle friendly cities for the poor crossing and lack of bike lane from Sand Hill to the San Mateo bike bridge.
If money were not a constraint, sure let's have tunnels everywhere, but we do have to set priorities. Most of us want to connect parts of Menlo Park with other parts of Menlo Park. Cambridge is not a great location to start with for that goal.

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Posted by mom
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 30, 2008 at 3:03 pm

There is no way I would let my child ride a bike over to Hillview via a Willow Road tunnel. I don't like the idea of a tunnel that cuts through a hotel parking lot, not real safe, and assuming he made it through the parking lot without incident, what then? El Camino is out, for obvious reasons. Cambridge has a ton of parked cars, plus speed bumps. And it's a narrow street. Middle makes much more sense to me as an east-west bike route, but I personally feel safest crossing El Camino at Ravenswood/Menlo. There are so many pedestrians and cyclists there that cars watch out for them. Because of the restricted left turns, El Camino at Santa Cruz is also a pretty safe crossing spot, arguably even better than Menlo/Ravenswood.

If we truly care about kids biking to school (don't think that is on Steve's radar at all) then why not add bike lanes either to Menlo or to Santa Cruz?

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Posted by another mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 1, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I totally agree that the decision about a bike tunnel has to be made in the context of the rest of the bike path. That includes how to cross El Camino and how safe the streets will be. We do not have bike paths near El Camino on any of the streets mentioned so far.
The safest place to cross El Camino on bike, at an existing light, actually is Roble, but then we have to zig zag over to get downtown.

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Posted by One Who Knows
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Mom, Please! Bike lanes on Santa Cruz Ave where there's diagonal parking? Shoppers entering and backing out of parking slots?
The hotel will set aside a strip of land for a path. The lease holder of the former Anderson Chevrolet site could also give up a strip of land. The path will have a fence on either side. There will be no dodging cars in a parking lot.
Speed bumps on Cambridge will make no difference to bicyclists. Cambridge restricts parking from El Camino Real to within 50 feet of University from 7 AM to 7 PM. This makes this residential street the safest and quietest for kids on bikes.
Middle Ave is wide but has a gas station entry and exit as well as Safeway. The speed limit on this street is 30 MPH.
The Ravenswood/Menlo Ave intersection takes bicyclists up Menlo Ave., a narrow and busy street with a very busy store, Trader Joe's. The line for cars to enter Trader Joe's parking lot would be a challenge for middle school children.
Where ever the site finally is decided, the council has to take under consideration the safety of kids. A residential street would probably work best. Good for you for considering bicycling for your children.

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Posted by Michael who is very confused that this is up for consideration, again!
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 10, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Speaking as an avid cyclist, I must say that this proposal to build another outlet to El Camino ANYWHERE between Ravenswood and the bike bridge at Alma (less than 3/4 mile as measured by bike) seems like a huge waste of money. If you truly feel that Alma to Sandhill is THAT unsafe, make it safer - as suggested by another poster, work with Stanford/PA.I don't know what Mike Schmidt's obsession with this is, but dude! let it go!!! We can use that money for far better issues that face Menlo Park; especially in light of what's going with the economy. We are not insulated from this financial cancer that is spreading across the globe. Talk about thinking small and being self-serving!

As a parent... please, how many kids ride or walk to Hillview from the east side of El Camino?! half a percent?, maybe... on a good day! And no, another outlet will not change the numbers. Parents around here just won't let their kids ride or walk to school. Anyway, there's a bus that goes to Hillview from the Willows, Menlo Oaks, Linfield Oaks, etc. In fact, it's so popular now that they had to add another bus. This is a much safer and less costly alternative to a bike/ped tunnel.

One final thought, I was told by the company that was contracted to pave the streets of Menlo Park that the city didn't have enough money (or chose not to spend a little more) to finish paving Alma from Sherwood Way to the bike bridge - less than 1/4 mile. If you've ever driven, much less ridden a bike on that stretch you know how bad it is. Yet, we're ready to spend how much? on a tunnel that will get very limited use, and mainly by folks who have a special interest "need" for it. Come on city counsel, be responsible to your constituents and your home.

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Posted by Naomi de Plume
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 13, 2008 at 11:28 am

It's Steve. Steve Schmidt, not Mike Schmidt.