News


Residents seeing green over Charleston-Arastradero bike boulevard

City: Road improvements should include measures that alter human behavior

It's been a highly contentious roadway for more than a decade, with everyone from motorists and bicyclists to pedestrians and residents of the surrounding Charleston-Arastradero corridor in Palo Alto at times seeing red.

But at a community workshop Tuesday evening about how the road could be made safer for bicyclists, several dozen residents saw a different color: green.

Green bike lanes are rapidly becoming part of Palo Alto's urban roadscape. The rubbery-looking surface marks out a defined bike lane that is hard to miss, even when in the middle of the road, as on Park Boulevard south of California Avenue, residents at the meeting said.

Although some residents said they think the green color is ugly, bicyclists said it is a vast safety improvement over traditional single white-line-striped bike lanes at the road edge or "sharrows" (arrows directing bikers and motorists to share the lane) stenciled with a bike symbol.

Most at the meeting agreed the city should improve Arastradero Road with additions that would change human behavior -- whether to slow traffic, make motorists more mindful of pedestrians or reduce student bicyclists' urges to travel in packs instead of single file.

Parent Jessica Rothberg has seen how green bike lanes alter how people act. With her teenage daughter behind the wheel, Rothberg watched in horror as three girls precariously rode their bikes three abreast across El Camino around a pork-chop-shaped cement island in the road.

Common teen etiquette would not leave one girl behind when riding in odd numbers, she said. But when the girls approached a green bike lane near El Camino Way, they switched to safer riding behavior. Two rode side by side and the third rode behind, all staying within the lane, she said.

Elizabeth Bonnet, another parent, also feels the green lanes are safer and more visible.

"It's so much more comfortable. I feel like the green lane is a safe place, like along Park Boulevard," she said. Stenciled sharrows are confusing, though, the parents agreed.

Transportation studies have found that green lanes shift a substantial percentage of bicyclists away from the "door zone," where they are often struck by opening car doors of parked cars. The changes in behavior were more pronounced than those found in studies of sharrows without the green pavement.

Green-lane experiments in Long Beach and Minneapolis documented corresponding decreases in auto-bicycle collision rates, according to a report by the City of Oakland.

Another road feature, green "bike boxes," enable cyclists to move from the right-hand bike lane to a painted green rectangle located directly in front of a vehicle at stop lights. The vividly marked space allows drivers to see the bike; cyclists can easily make left turns without entering the roadway from the driver's blind side, said Penny Ellson, traffic safety representative for Gunn High School.

The Charleston-Arastradero corridor serves 11 schools of all grades. The busy road is an east-west connector between U.S. Highway 101 and Interstate 280. It is the largest arterial in the city's south, serving multiple modes of transportation, from buses and cars to bikes and pedestrians, Ellson said.

And it is a dangerous stretch of roadway for ever-increasing student traffic. At Gunn High School alone, 871 students rode their bikes to school during peak hours, according to an October 2013 count, she said. And more kids on bikes are expected to flock to school. Terman Middle School is adding about 200 new bike racks, she said.

"We've learned that when you build it, they come," Ellson said of the anticipated bike traffic.

The city's consultants and engineers are considering multiple roadway changes, including creating a "cycle track" that is separated from traffic by an island or curb. With streets, driveways, turning lanes, stop lights and lanes that narrow from four to two in places, however, the task is not as simple as adding green paint.

Ellson and others offered other suggestions Tuesday. For instance, a landscaped median island would slow traffic and raise awareness, Ellson said.

"Studies have shown that when you put objects close to peripheral vision, people start scanning for pedestrians, and when they do that, they release pressure from their gas pedals and slow down," she said.

Others suggested that existing "pork chop" islands at El Camino Real and Arastradero, which residents said obstruct the view for drivers and cause a squeeze for bicyclists who must compete with turning cars, be removed.

Jimmy Sims, project engineer for consultant Mark Thomas & Company, Inc., said the firm is currently working on aerial mapping and counting traffic.

Various plans will be presented to the public in August, with a review by the city boards in the fall.

A finalized plan will be developed by fall or winter 2015, followed by an environmental review.

A construction design is scheduled to be completed in winter 2016.

The plan will include left-turn refinements, bulb-out improvements, bike boxes, enhanced crosswalks, widened sidewalks and improved vehicle-traffic flow.

But the actual work could take until 2018 or beyond to complete, Holly Boyd, city senior engineer, said. The city has a $450,000 grant for work on Charleston Road between Alma Street and Middlefield Road; a $1 million grant would cover work on Arastradero between Gunn High School and Georgia Avenue. The remainder would not start until there is funding, she said.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering the confusion and traffic snarls that have been the corridor's legacy in recent years.

"It would not be feasible to construct the entire corridor at one time. That would be a nightmare," she said.

More information and updates on the project are available at cityofpaloalto.org/cacorridor.

View a map of the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

Anything must be better than the sharrows which are too confusing. The worst ones are the ones on San Antonio which appear to be outside what looks like a bike lane. What that design produces is pure confusion.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

We love the green bike lanes. It makes them so much easier to see, for both bicyclists and car drivers. Those bike lanes that are shared areas with car parking are so dangerous since bicyclists are constantly hidden from view behind parked cars. I wish the green bike lanes would come to more parts of the city.


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Posted by maditalian_1492
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

I hope whoever painted the green on East Meadow does a better job next time. There are smears all over. It looks like a bad art class project.


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Posted by share the road
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on May 25, 2014 at 10:25 am


Are we moving away from the philosophy that cars and bikes share the road? Are we now making markings such that bikes have to be somewhere on the road and cars somewhere else on the road and with that are we setting the idea that sharing the road is no longer?


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on May 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

SWE is a registered user.

...a bad leprachaun art class project :-)

In all seriousness, the green isnt paint, it's plastic beads which will wear off and wash into the bay, where they are just the right size to be mistaken for food and will last forever. I'm having trouble with the fact that the safety measure ends so abruptly right at El Camino Way which is where more drastic intervention will be needed.

There's more than one way to skin a cat. You don't see bike friendly European cities resorting to glaring visual pollution to create bike friendly areas. People do live on those streets, too, a little fact our city already likes to forget in order to ignore zoning laws in favor of developers. If Steve Jobs, Ikea, and Target can include good design and beauty in their planning, so can we. It would be about time. (I wonder if they even realize we are due such in the comp plan?)


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Posted by Stop forgetting
a resident of Barron Park
on May 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

Everyone needs to remember that Arastradero is extremely jammed up during rush hours because it is a main thoroughfare to and from Hwy 280. A large part of the problems we are seeing now on Arastradero have been caused by some thoughtless ideas about narrowing Arastradero to discourage traffic. The traffic now backs up all the way to Mtn View and Hwy 101 in one direction. It backs up for a couple of miles on 280 in the other.

This obviously did nothing to calm traffic, but made the road to narrow for sharing, thereby greatly reducing safety of both bikeriders and car drivers. It also makes it impossible for residents living along Arastradero and Charleston to get out of their driveways in the morning ( need I add that there are several childcare providers on Charleston/Arastradero.)

The green coating is repulsive in appearance, as well as toxic. Parents, just hope your kids don't get road rash when they fall on this toxic coating.

The REAL solution is to stop encouraging more and more business developments in a bedroom community!


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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

the problem with sharing a road is that it turns out only to be safe when cars go 18 mph. On some really small streets, that is fine. If cars want to go even 25 mph, there needs to be a separate place for bikes.

While there are certainly quibbles with the implementation of the bike routes, it does feel like the only thing in public policy that is moving in the right direction.


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Posted by More safety awarness needed
a resident of Barron Park
on May 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

I am really pleased to see the green lanes, as it should make it easier (not guaranteed) to predict behavior. However, I am concerned that we still aren't educating biker and drivers how to drive safely and defensively. It makes no difference if a pedestrian or biker was in the right if they are dead or seriously hurt. Read the story about the unfortunate gentleman who had a stroke while driving - expect the unexpected at all times!! This was a serious situation that could have been much worse. (My heart goes out to him and his family. I am just using this as an example of the truly unexpected.)

During the course of two weeks, I personally witnessed all of the following:

1. Dad riding down Baker cutting the corner to turn left on Georgia - two kids on bikes follow like he is the mother duck - neither the dad nor the two children slowed down OR looked to the right to see if they were cutting in front of traffic.

2. Older/larger of two sisters/friends runs the red light on her bike and younger child follows without any recognition of having entered the intersection after the light had been red for several seconds. The older child did glance towards the cars she cut in front off with an expression that seems to indicate she knew she was in the wrong. Her sister should have been taught to look out for herself, not just follow.

3. Woman riding bike across the railroad tracks at East Meadow, runs the red light with what looked like two children in the bike carrier. A car approaching as cross-traffic may not have seen the carrier in time. (BTW, the woman looked quite young and may have been a nanny - set your expectations with those transporting your precious children.)

4. Four boys stopped at the red light waiting to cross El Camino, they bolted when their light turned green - not a one of them looked towards the cars to make sure they didn't ride in front of a red light runner.

5. Boy riding bike with girl sitting on the handle bars (without helmets) crosses from the right side to the left side while going down Amaranta, without looking to see if a car was coming up from behind - I was, but was driving about 10 miles an hour, prepared for anything when I saw the handlebar ride, and was able to stop in time.

6. Woman rides her bike across El Camino at one of the unmarked crosswalks, without looking either direction - cars were coming and were barely able to stop in time - looked like she thought being in the crosswalk gave her the right of way, but the rate at which she crossed El Camino caused cars to slam hard on their breaks. If the cars in the lanes closer to her had been larger vehicles, it is quite likely one of the other lane drives wouldn't have seen her in time.

7. Multiple cases of bikers (older and young) riding through two and four way stops, holding up their hand as if to say I am here and won't be stopping despite the stop sign. And yes, this even happened when I did not have a stop sign and they did. Why would a biker with no match to the mass of a car think it is smart to cut in front of cars?

Can't we all just recognize that we live in a populated area and ALL do our part to prevent accidents. The blame game is TOO LATE, prevention by ALL parties is the civilized approach. The green lanes should help, but should not be taken as another license to ignore the potential dangers. Unless there is a cement wall between bikes and cars, we ARE sharing the road.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Another thing to remember is that students are presently advised not to use Arastradero but use side streets as that is much safer. This is particularly true for Gunn students who can access the Gunn campus through Donald.

Attracting more bikes to a heavily congested route that is a feeder for Foothill and 280 makes little sense.

East West travel though Palo Alto is horrendous. Not only does the Caltrain tracks hamper travel, we also have the turn left only signal (which is necessary) at Churchill, the Alma/Sand Hill/ECR no go and the traffic mess at Town and Country.

Somewhere along the line there must be a designated East/West route that has no hold ups. Oh yes, there's Oregon/Page Mill - a nightmare to travel.

In my opinion, this is just going to ask for more cut through traffic on side streets.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on May 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

SWE is a registered user.

@Resident,
Unfortunately the high school students disobeying traffic laws make things extremely precarious for he elementary kid trying to walk to school . I have twice witnessed little kids hit by bucyclists.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on May 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm

SWE is a registered user.

I'm sorry, the City doesn't get off that easy. I'm for safety improvements, I just want holistic planning and a consciousness of other issues, like the attractiveness of our neighborhoods. The two are not mutually exclusive. I do not want green rivers poured all along Maybell or Arastradero because the City backed us into a safety corner. Many of us found that when markings were previously put on Donald, traffic moved faster because people treated it like a bigger street because of the markings. Things slowed when they paved over them. Donald sees a lot of traffic because of the school.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I think the green bike lanes are way more attractive than concrete or asphalt stained by gallons of dripping motor oil. I hope to see green bike lanes appear in Midtown soon. How about a green bike lane running the length of Middlefield Road?


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Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2014 at 9:45 pm

SWE is absolutely right about the need for a "holistic" approach,the terrible "visual pollution" and understanding the impacts of what we
are doing. Sign clutter, extreme street markings and bright yellow
laddered crosswalks normally seen if at all in commercial areas, not only destroy neighborhood character but change corridors from residential areas
to the look and feel of cut-through commute zones with higher speeds.
We are going in the opposite direction of what we should be doing.Studies
in San Diego, referenced on the City of Irvine site, show conclusively that heavily marked crosswalks actually have a higher accident rate because pedestrians are less careful because they assume they are safer.

In San Diego La Jolla Blvd is a beautifully done project. The planning says
that "attractive medians and landscaping can add a calming effect".It also
says "greening corridors often impacts the way people behave in positive ways". "Measures should not be placed if there is no ability to provide, design and construct attractive solutions". The street has fountains in roundabouts, planter islands, with rock and flowering groundcover in
roundabouts. It states that tree plantings and other landscaping create a
village atmosphere. There was an architect and landscape architect for the project. The project was also mindful that highly intrusive measures on
one street, like speed humps, can simply move the problem to another street.

Along with this approach we need more traffic cops, so when you enter
Palo Alto you understand that you are in a community, not a commute zone,
and that if you speed, or run a light, you are likely to get a ticket.
We also need downzoning and reduced FAR's to stop the overdevelopment in a "holistic" approach.





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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I call BS that removing marked crosswalks reduce pedestrian fatalities. Check your data again. What is happening is that removing painted crosswalks scares people away from walking around town and encourages them to drive instead. Dramatically lower numbers of pedestrians will of course lead to fewer fatalities, but why not just remove all sidewalks as well as crosswalks if you don't want any pedestrians? Use all that extra space for more car parking.


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Posted by Justin
a resident of Mountain View
on May 26, 2014 at 12:01 am

Sorry, but as long as there are three schools (including Hoover) along Charleston/Arastradero, it shouldn't be a high-speed connection from 101 to 280.


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

I agree with Justin, but narrowing Arastradero is not working, but complicating matters and making bike/pedestrian safety much more difficult.

Traffic circles, detours, or something else should have been used as a traffic calming measure.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm

In the meantime, the kids get led down the greenrose path right to one of the most dangerous places to bike, where green paint won't solve the problem. And major contributors to the traffic, such as that Ginormous hotel the council allowed to put where there was once a single-story 3500 square foot business block has not even gone online yet, nor has much of the VMWare building, nor the Apartmentzillas a little ways down on El Camino that will also use this corridor.

We really need much, much more holistic planning, and a moritorium on large development approvals until we do. This green paint thing on East Meadow, which just leads right into a choice between two far more dangerous and harder to solve choices is kind of like that story where someone is seen lookng for their watch under a street lamp rather than where they dropped it because that's where the light is. We have big problems that need solving, the green rivers shouldn't be used in residential areas where attractive solutions should be used instead. It smacks of the City putting up a (green) lampost rather than trying to solve the problems that have becme pretty difficult by their own doing.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@More safety awareness needed


What a tremendous post! Thank you for providing detailed examples of the kinds of bicycle/auto/pedestrian behaviors we want to watch for and reduce while promoting and encouraging bicycle use in the city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Why doesn't this "bike boulevard" go all the way to San Antonio?


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Anonymous

Not sure, but my guess would be that San Antonio Road would be a separate project, important to address in the long run but very complex, involving Mountain View and Los Altos as well as Palo Alto. The measures they are considering applying from Fabian Way would cover all the bicycle school and commute traffic from that neighborhood up to Foothill Expressway.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE, a resident of Green Acres

"I do not want green rivers poured all along Maybell or Arastradero because the City backed us into a safety corner."

I think it's helpful for us all the have an example of what the green and white marking looks like. I'd like to see an example of what brown and white would look like. I've heard favorable comments on Boulder, CO's choice of brown over green for its bike lanes, while some posters on this thread have said they like the green. There should be an informed discussion about this within the community before all related work is done in green by default.

"I'm having trouble with the fact that the safety measure ends so abruptly right at El Camino Way..."

More measures (at the public meetings they used the term "treatments") will be put in place on El Camino way as the project moves forward.



A post was made recently by SWE, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, which was confusing to me. Is this the same person?




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Posted by daily school trek
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm



Studies from the City of Palo Alto Transportation Department in Nov 2013 shows that 84% of the bikes entering Gunn High School come in the back corridor (Georgia, Los Robles, and the Gunn High School Bike Path). The remaining 16% comes in from the front corridor (Miranda, Arastradero west, Arastradero east).

Try this experiment but only try it once. At 8:00am on a school day, turn from Ross Road unto E Meadow Avenue. Shortly after crossing Middlefield, you will start to see the tail of the snake. This is the start of the mass amounts of student cyclist carrying book bags and musical instruments talking and chattering along. A continuous stream of bikes three, four and some times five abreast. This snake of bikes seem unaware of the drivers on the left of them. Over-crowding the bike lane and sometimes pulsing into the car lane as bikes jockey for space. Now drive careful and drive slow please.

Not much traffic on this stretch of the road. You may have to stop for cars turning into Fairmeadow Elementary school but you definitely will have to stop for the 5 or 6 cars turning into JLS. One or twice a week you will be stopped again as a car severs the snake in order to turn right onto a side street. This takes awhile to get the bikes to realize they need to open a hole for the car to turn right.

Now hold your breath a little as you cross the train tracks because the snake of bikes continue over the tracks while the cars squeeze down into one lane. Occasionally, cars race to get across the tracks before the crossing arms come down only to suddenly slow down for the merge of cars and bikes.

As you approach El Camino Way, many bikes turn right but most of the snake turns left. This is a short stretch but a dangerous one. Huge door zone problem on this street. The snake winds itself up onto the sidewalk as well as into the door zone around the stretch of parked cars. Narrow road doesn't allow the cars to give room to the cyclist. Drive slow here too.

Finally, a left turn onto El Camino Real. Yeah no traffic and no bikes. A short but brief reprieve since the next obstacle is the right turn onto Charleston-Arastradero. This street has a sprinkling of bikes getting to school with a fairly wide bike lane. Bikes here are single riders or doubled up riders. No snake of bikes anymore. Cars are backed up from Gunn's entrance with stop and go traffic, usually traveling about 15mph. It is this stretch of the road that is slow going but I am not worried about the bikes.

My question is why are we trying to spend $1 million on improvements between Georgia and Foothill Expressway? Why are we talking about traffic calming on Charleston-Arastradero? During peak hours when the bikes are there, the traffic is pretty calm. Traffic speeds up after the peak hours and after the bikes are gone. Are we really talking about driver calming (frustrated drivers because of the traffic)? If we are really interested in bike safety, then should that $1 million be spent on bike safety on the streets that has most of the bikes? It doesn't make sense to me. I think the Charleston-Arastradero advocates just really want a beautiful street and are not concerned with bicycle safety in Palo Alto.





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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

Various people.

I truly beg to differ. You may not agree with the goals of the Arastradero project, but it is working for the purpose it set out to do.

I can now cross the street safely on a bike or when walking. When it was 4 lanes, outside of the 30 minutes morning commute day on the 180 school days a year, cars went REALLY fast. I also couldn't get a good visual look because of the four lanes of traffic and cars were always doing crazy things to leap frog another car stopped to try and turn left.

Cars trying to turn left now can safely do that with protected(ish) pockets - they can wait patiently and then just have to wait for the one lane to clear.

I get the frustration but the city is doing the right thing. If you want another project to work on that nightmare 30 minutes, the right target is the school district. They need to get buses or doing something similar. If you are frustrated, I'm sure they can use more volunteers to help figure out ways to get fewer cars dropping off kids to school.


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Posted by no more money on Charleston-Arastradero
a resident of Community Center
on May 27, 2014 at 8:34 am


@Elizabeth

Then it sounds like the road is working well just the way it is and we don't need to spend anymore money on improving it for bike safety and traffic calming.


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Posted by Bike Commuter and Parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2014 at 10:07 am

I am very pleased with the addition of Green lanes and especially the improvements along West Meadow to El Camino way but the City did not go far enough.

There is still too much congestion for the right hand turn for cars and bike riders at the peak commute time. The City needs to restrict parking on the right side of El Camino Way to the Fuki Sushi parking lot. This location still nuts to drive or ride.

I applaud the changes and City's willingness to engineer our streets to be safer for all modes. Green lanes are a step in the right direction. The improvements to make biking/walking/driving safer makes Palo Alto a more enjoyable and family friendly community vs. just a commuter city with tech hot-spot for jobs.


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Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

Now if you can get the students to actually ride in the green lanes and obey the traffic signs, maybe it will help. I watched a bike rider, ride outside the green lane (in the marked right turn lane) and then turn left, as I was wanting to turn right at the East Meadow, El Camino Way intersection. I wasn't going very fast as I was trying to figure out where he was going, but the green lane sure didn't work that time. Social interaction seems to be much more important to students than safety when riding a bike.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

< Now if you can get the students to actually ride in the green lanes
> and obey the traffic signs, maybe it will help.

Why the police have not been tasked to ticket these students who are riding through stop signs during the morning drive time demonstrates how corrupt the government is in this town. They will spend millions on image, but won't do anything to enforce the law.


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Posted by What Bike Friendliness?
a resident of Ventura
on May 27, 2014 at 11:06 am

PA Online LOVE to bring up the green bike lane on Park Blvd, but clearly nobody on their staff actually uses it, or uses it during "quitting" time. The green lane does not stop cars from speeding up and cutting people off to get to the Page Mill exit. As a regular cyclist on this Bike Blvd, I'm really looking forward to when the construction is completed on the building at Park & PageMill. Anyone notice the CAR RAMP that will have cars queued up to make left turns into the new building or the cars zipping out on to Park? Really going to be safe. Thank you PA for really THINKING these things through.


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Posted by AllPlayAPart
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 27, 2014 at 11:20 am

I want to thank *More safety awareness needed* for the excellent post and examples provided.
I would like to offer a contributing problem - automobile drivers who encourage poor bicycling behavior by waiting for cyclists and waving them through intersections! Although not rampant, it is common. Automobile pulls up to 4-way stop sign intersection. Cyclist approaching from the right - far enough away to stop. Driver remains in place and waves the typically child cyclist through. This is done even if other cars are at the intersection (which confuses other drivers, some of which are expecting the cyclist to stop).
I presume that the driver is thinking that they are being prudent and protecting the (generally child) cyclist. But what are they teaching the cyclist? That cars will always wait for them? That it is OK to ride through stop signs?
I have had this happen to me when I am cycling. I stop (as required), put my foot down, shake my head 'no' and wait for the car.
Notwithstanding our intent and attempts to share the roadways, it is not part of our culture as it is in many European countries. We need more driver and cyclist education, as well as many visual aids as possible to help us all remember.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 11:42 am

@allplaypat,
I plead guilty to just plain stopping and waiting when a cyclist approaches. Or doing that even when a cyclist isnt there at intersections where cyclists have blown by me on the right even though I had appropriately moved into the bike lane at the intersection and had my signal on. The problem is that for every cyclist obeying the law, there are 100 doing something completely unpredictable. It has saved many a life.

In hospitals, transmitted infections are deadly business, but just telling doctors to wash and provide endless training doesnt get the kind of compliance that making it easy or them to wash and use sanitizer does, and placing what they need where they need it. If you want people to change, you have to make it easy for them to change. Unfortunately, we have developed our roads with the bike as an afterthought. I think it also doesnt help when the response to that is just make life hard for motorists, I agree with the above comment that making them frustrated and angry makes them do impulsive things.

I thought the Arastradero changes were a lost opportunity. I thought we were losing the car lane in order to make a fully-functioning bike throughway on an equal footing with the cars, like you might find in Germany. I don't think it's any easier to walk if you want to walk with another person (heaven forbid).

@Elizabeth, the green the above comments are talking about is on East Meadow, and was used to divide the intersection from the traditional two lanes to four (including a confusing bike lane all the way to the intersection, at least, as far as I could see, it was confusing - some of the cyclists I've seen have been similarly confused). I do not think we have to choose between making our city uglier and putting in safety measures, other cities have shown we can care about both.


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Posted by john
a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Stop spending money. Cut out the islands and bring back the 4 lane road. It takes too long to get to 280 in the morning and left turn on El Camino at 2-4PM. These roads take TAXPAYERS to work, the people that are paying for this endless nonsense with bike lanes and fewer lanes, etc.
Palo Alto has too much money to be willing to come up with these [portion removed] ideas and pay for it.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

It is interesting to note that we are not doing things the way the Europeans do, but we are inventing our own system. Interesting also is that we are doing it piecemeal, city by city, and for those who try riding a bike elsewhere, there is no correlation to what may be happening here.

If we progress sensibly, all these things should be done at the national level, or at least the State level. Riding a bike in Palo Alto should have the same signs as Oakland and Illinois, for example.

Europeans have made great strides. Not only do they keep cars and bikes separate, they also manage to keep pedestrians out of the way too. The mindset of a pedestrian is very different to that of a bike, but here bikes tend to act like car traffic one minute and pedestrians the next. A bike is only a pedestrian if the rider has dismounted, but I rarely see someone dismount to walk with a cross now signal or a crossing guard.

We could color the city all colors of the rainbow with stripes, signs and symbols, but it doesn't mean that bike riders will be any safer until or unless they obey the rules. When the car was first popular, there was a rule about a man with a flag having to walk in front of it so that everyone could see it and know it was a big dangerous object. We will soon be in the situation that cars will have to move at a walking pace with big flashing signs so that bike riders and pedestrians learn to avoid them. (Sarcasm of course).


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Posted by GreenAcres NOT GreenStreets
a resident of Green Acres
on May 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Boulder Colorado has a huge number of people who ride bicycles both for commuting as well as for recreation. CU Boulder alone has 30,000 students. They have spent many years developing bicycle safety. Boulder is a beautiful city and I just spent a week driving through all parts of the town (commercial and residential) and there was very little green used for the bike lanes. There are transition areas, where green was used for a very short time to mark the transition. White markings are used on asphalt streets as you can see in the link below from the Boulder site:

Web Link

It seems unnecessary to paint bright green especially in residential neighborhoods. I ask each of you, if you would like to come out for the block party in your neighborhood only to be greeted by florescent green streets. The green that was painted on E Meadow was done so by a company from the East Coast that is looking for exposure on the West Coast for their "new" paint. The street was smeared with ribbons of green from vehicles that carried the green on their tires even after it was supposed to be safe to drive on. I would hope that more research can be done on the effects of this paint before another entire block is painted again.

When we think of Palo Alto being green, I hope that we can think of recycling and energy savings and not that our streets are actually painted green.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@GreenAcres NOT GreenStreets

Thanks for the additional info on Boulder's approach. I got it wrong about the background being natural asphalt gray/black, not brown. l recall that we were told at the community meeting that there were other color choices besides green, brown among them. l have a pretty good idea now about green and asphalt gray/black. I'd like to see if brown is less startling than green but holds the contrast with white marking longer than just using the underlying asphalt base. Maybe the city will do a test patch for everyone to weigh in on.


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Posted by OldAlum
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I think bicycles should be banned in PA. The are too dangerous.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

> I think bicycles should be banned in PA. The are too dangerous.

That is a bit extreme. While it's clear that the Palo Alto government's push to get people to ride bicycles, as well as the increase of technology companies in PA drawing in the so-called "spandex crowd" has resulted in hundreds of additional cyclists who are irresponsible, and contemptous of not only motorist, but other cyclists too.

Some sort of new enforcement techniques are necessary--such as videos at highly used intersections which would give the police a clear view of which cyclists are blowing through stop signs, and at about what time they use the Palo Alto roads.


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Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Adding to the streetscape kaleidoscope in PA with the green painted
bike lanes are the extra bright yellow-laddered crosswalks along with the
sign clutter. It's quite a sight- day and night driving in PA. From the
slides, PA looks quite different from Boulder.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 28, 2014 at 6:56 am

The federal and state governments have approved the use of green pavement markings for bike facilities. Other colors are not approved for use. Palo Alto can't try other colors without going through an elaborate process to get a "request to experiment" approved.


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Posted by Good point
a resident of Barron Park
on May 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

Good point


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

To make it truly bike friendly and improve flow of the car within Palo Alto would take huge sums of money, some ideas that might change entire streets.

Take Oregon Expressway for example, depress street before Middlefield Rd, run it underground to just past El Camino Real, becomes quick route to business park.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

Here are some videos that show Meadow/El Camino Way before and after the new arrangement.

before:
Web Link

after:
Web Link

There is bad behavior in both videos, but the new lanes seem to be safer in terms of turning conflicts.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Donald

You're correct on that. I checked with Jaime Rodriguez and he explained that for bicycle-only treatments the light green that we see at the corner of West Meadow and El Camino Way is the only Federal and State approved choice. He added that in the community outreach meetings for Maybell he did tell us that for crosswalk treatments, like at Coulombe and Maybell and for combined bike/pedestrian areas there are options.

I biked through the W. Meadow-El Camino Way intersection this morning and saw that the green material that had gotten spread outside where it should be had all been tidied up--looks good.


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Posted by wiggy
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Egads! The very thought of having to endure the indignities of street markings whilst chumming it up with the old neighborhood gang at the annual holiday block party is well nigh unbearable. Indeed, I've often mused to my manservant, Pumphrey, that it would be all well and good with me if they would rid the local thoroughfares of those hideous white and yellow lane markings as well. Not to mention the visually jarring red octagons on poles that you find scattered about willy-nilly at various intersections. I tell you, it's well-nigh impossible to enjoy one's G&T with these abominations in one's line of sight! How absurd that we civilized folk should need such crass and overt measures to keep our behavior in check, when clearly all that is required for smooth and jolly sailing on the roadway is a modicum of good breeding.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

@wiggy/ aka NIMBY,

You bring up a good point. The City should have to roll out these things first in front of Larry Klein's house/in your neighborhood, where you have "manservants" named Pumphrey and where there are residents the City will actually listen to when it comes to thinking about following the Comprehensive Plan, and where they won't think the idea of granting us things like "safe" and "attractive' neighborhoods as promised is so ludicrous it deserves mockery.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE

Should our goal be to encourage more bicycling and safer cycling in the city by implementing the bicycle network plan currently underway? Specifically with regard to Maybell and Arastradero, will cyclists and drivers be more or less likely to be involved in accidents if measures that have been suggested by residents and city staff are followed through on in coming months?

Do you agree with the poster above who called for a return to the four-lane configuration on Arastradero? Would your discontent be any less if the city did away with color differentiation as a means of clarifying for bikers and drivers where they should be on the street and did everything else in the plan but with white markings on a plain asphalt background?


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Posted by Actually
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

SWE,

The green markings got rolled out all over town, and as you can see from the video, it helps define traffic flow.
I don't see how your personal aesthetic preferences trumps that.


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Posted by Good stuff.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I really like the Charleston-Arastradero Plan, and I would be very upset if it went back to the chaotic 4-lane mess we had before. It was terrible for bicyclists before. BTW, I also drive on it a lot because my neighborhood access is from that street.

As for the green markings, I have noticed that the city only seems to put them in places where there is a lot of potential for conflict with drivers. It works like a cue to bicyclists and drivers to tell them to watch for each other and how to place their "vehicles."

Have you been in the fancy north PA neighborhoods? The green lanes are there already, folks. From what I hear, they like them.


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Posted by Good stuff.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I really like the Charleston-Arastradero Plan, and I would be very upset if it went back to the chaotic 4-lane mess we had before. It was terrible for bicyclists before. BTW, I also drive on it a lot because my neighborhood access is from that street.

As for the green markings, I have noticed that the city only seems to put them in places where there is a lot of potential for conflict with drivers. It works like a cue to bicyclists and drivers to tell them to watch for each other and how to place their "vehicles."

Have you been in the fancy north PA neighborhoods? The green lanes are there already, folks. From what I hear, they like them.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm

@Jerry Underdal, I knew I was correct, and I don't need you to tell me so.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Donald

Of course you don't. I just wanted a handle to add the additional information, add a source, and explain my error about color options. I could have posted as if I hadn't even read your informative post. Sounds like I should have. Sorry you took it the wrong way. Was there anything I said that you disagree with?


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

"Do you agree with the poster above who called for a return to the four-lane configuration on Arastradero? Would your discontent be any less if the city did away with color differentiation as a means of clarifying for bikers and drivers where they should be on the street and did everything else in the plan but with white markings on a plain asphalt background? "

It's interesting that you love fluorescent green when you seem to see the world in such stark black and white.

I don't think the choice is either horrendous ugliness or safety. I don't think that's the choice around the world. Look at the top 10 biking cities in Europe, they're not coated in green turf beads. I also think this is a short-sighted environmental choice, as these beads wear off and will end up in the bay. I don't like to think of the cost of having to replace all of them down the line. For the poster who thought they were cleaned up, think again. I thought so, too, and then it seemed like someone in a car skidded through them and it had to be cleaned up again.

I think we can take safety measures and do them in a way that is more compatible with residential neighborhoods. I remember someone asking the City not to put the double yellow lines back on Donald by Terman when they repaved it, and I wondered why - double yellow lines are a proven safety measure - but her observation as someone who had lived there a long time was that the markings made the road seem like a more major street than it was and people were driving faster and behaving in ways they do on major roads since the lines were added. Her observations proved true when the road was repaved without the lines.

I think (putting aside the environmental qualms) the green is perfectly fine over by Park, but that intersection needs more than just green plastic turf, frankly. I don't think it's fine in front of residential homes, especially since our City staff show such a disdain for the quality of life of the residents on this side of town. (You seem to, too, so I'm not sure we have much to talk about.) I drive in tony parts of Old Palo Alto frequently that could use bike markings, and don't see any at all, much less fluorescent green ones. Maybe you could point out where those are that people haven't complained, especially the closest to Klein's and Shepherd's residences.

In the 21st century, post-Apple, Ikea, Target, Ideo -- the discussion about whether or not there's a conflict between cost/doing things well and good design has long been settled. I reject the ludicrous idea that we have only a choice between ugly/environmentally poor and unsafe, clearly that's not the only choice.

My own feelings about Arastradero are that it was handled piecemeal the way this City handles everything, and no wonder it went wrong. It was billed as a way to make Arastradero more pedestrian and bike friendly so I foolishly thought losing a lane of car traffic was going to mean gaining a giant bike highway from one end of town to the other, with appropriate high-tech signaling they way they have in some European towns, and a wide enough sidewalk for two people to actually walk together rather than single-file or out in the busy street every so many feet. In this day and age, computer modeling and computer control in the context of the whole area to create better flow could have helped.

I also seriously think we should require City Council and City staff to go for a few months without using their cars - take a no car pledge for a few months, and then report back to us about what they really think needs to be done. It's well known that innovations come from users, and they're not. I'd love to hear what they have to say, especially if they had to bike around here every day. In the dark. (It's not glow-in-the-dark green.)


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

In our country we seem to focus on engineering as the solution to safety problems. Cycling is vastly safer in a number of European countries than it is here, but the difference is not all in the infrastructure. They have very different legal environments with respect to liability, and very different cultures regarding bicyclists and motorists. We cannot replicate their results by engineering alone. On the other hand, Palo Alto cannot really change the laws or culture by itself, but can change the local infrastructure. It may not be enough, but it is all that those in City Hall can do.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE

My question about your preference is a serious one. Is there a way of doing Arastradero that you would be pleased with that doesn't involve returning it to the four-lane configuration that provoked such concern several years ago because of the speed of traffic past those schools that we all know line the street?

During the Maybell debate, safety of bicycling students and pedestrians was a major concern. I believe you've said that it was the primary issue that got you involved in organizing the neighborhood against the PAHC project. It know it was the issue that first got me engaged--initially on the same side as yourself, upset at the city for slowness in addressing Maybell traffic issues.

My position has been to welcome the city's engagement, accelerated during the Maybell debate, in addressing the traffic issue in a way that will make bicycling a safer and more attractive option, in part to reduce the impulse of parents to want to drive their students to school on overcrowded Arastradero and Maybell. I'm not sure where you and PASZ stand. Should bicycling be encouraged or discouraged?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on May 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm

@ Jerry,
I don't really understand your post. I believe I answered your first question.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 12:00 am

I would, however, love an answer to where I might find the bright green plastic turf streets in front of Larry Klein and Nancy Shephard's houses.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 12:27 am

SWE is right. Aesthetics and safety is a false choice and actually the opposite dynamic from what some posters are saying. The character of a neighborhood or corridor affects driver behavior. That is the essence of the La Jolla Blvd project in San Diego. Attractive medians and roundabouts and landscaping,greening corridors often impacts the way people behave in positive ways is what drove the La Jolla Blvd project.

In Palo Alto we have overdevelopment on a grand scale superimposed on a neighborhood/school setting with an inadequate infrastructure. We need to influence driver/bicyclist/pedestrian behavior as much as possible. To start with, drivers must understand that they are entering a community/neighborhood environment, not a commute zone.



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Posted by Don't let it eat at you
a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2014 at 5:26 am

You can tell some are still fighting the fight that has been lost, refusing to accept defeat, they shall be a blockade for all forward progress, because they did not get their way on Arastradero. Everyone is safer on Arastradero, but some people in today's society simply cannot, will not, ever accept defeat, even when they are continually proven wrong with each SAFELY passing year.


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Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

Agree w/ "another resident", as well as those speaking to lack of proper bicycle-manship. I see kids from Jordan and Paly riding 2-4 abreast after school who don't look to see, and don't care, if cars are piling up behind them because they cannot drive around. A quick honk gets only glares. As mentioned, the bicyclist is going to pay the highest price for mistakes. Anyone riding a bike w/o regard to rules should get a ticket w/ a hefty fine...if folks choose to be irresponsible, they can pay for the privilege of being foolish.
Re green paint, is it toxic? If so, why is anyplace in California - the environmental watchdog of the planet - using something like that?
Finally, I agree w/ writer who said people feel safer (i.e. entitled to behave stupidly) the bigger and better the markings on streets. As if a painted line=barrier.


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Posted by Nice one
a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2014 at 10:25 am

DC, is that you honking your horn in a a non-emergency, entitled, "Get out of my way" situation? Did you know that is an offense under the CA vehicle code? Do you support heavy fines and enforcement for ALL law breakers on the road, or are you just here to complain about the other guy on the road?
The roads are now a bit safer for our kids. Try not to let it get you down.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 10:37 am

Saying our roads are now a bit safer for our kids is a fine argument, but is it a wise one?

Teaching young kids that it is safe to fly through stop signs on their bikes because cars will stop is not a good idea. Teaching young kids that it is ok to ride a bike against a crossing guard's stop sign is not a good idea. Teaching kids that all traffic stops for school buses when they get off is not a good idea (not that it happens much in Palo Alto).

Teaching young bike riders and pedestrians the safe way to cross a street while they are young means that they will know how to do it properly when they are adults. If they learn at a young age that cars will stop for them, how do you teach them any differently when they are older? Or if you teach them that Palo Alto drivers (or Californian drivers) will stop, how do you teach them that in another community, another state or even in another country that cars do not stop for pedestrians and bikes when they are disobeying stop signs or other rules of the road?


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Posted by who designed it
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 29, 2014 at 10:58 am

As I recall it was Stanford's Andy Coe who managed the redesign of this corridor when he worked in the PA Planning department.


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Posted by Fact check.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 11:31 am

To Who Designed It,

Andy Coe did not manage the redesign. He worked briefly as a consultant for the planning & transportation staff, helping to organize and publicize meetings and distribute information to the public about the project.


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Posted by To resdient
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

No one is teaching kids that it is "safe to fly through stop signs." Good grief. The rhetoric is getting a little ridiculous.

I bike the road all of the time. I see hundreds of kids wearing helmets, stopping at signals and signs, signaling, and generally behaving quite well. There are some who do not. Of course, I could say the same about the adult, licensed drivers. Today I was bicycling on Arastradero. I stopped at the Coulombe signal and watched TWO autos blow through the red light. An adult pedestrian and two kids were waiting to cross the street. Thank goodness they were paying attention and avoided being hit by the rude and errant drivers. There is plenty of good and bad behavior by people out there. The street works better now. I like it a lot.


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Posted by Too funny
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

As our 40th President profusely stated " The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." The Arastadero project is a bad joke. Arastadero residents wanted the road shut down and made into a park while commuters simply wanted to maintain a clear path of traffic. Somehow city government took over and turned it into the mess it is today. What a pity!


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE, a resident of Green Acres

You have told us what you are against. Green on Arastradero because it's in a residential area (where you live), although you're fine with it on Park (where you don't); City staff's disdain for the quality of life in the neighborhood where you (and I, by your definition during the Maybell saga) live. Bike markings that you don't see in "tony" parts of town, particularly not in front of Councilmmember Klein's and Mayor Shephard's homes.

What are you for? It looks like there's a choice between green and grey (asphalt's mature color) background for the white markings placed on the road for safe riding, walking and driving. If you don't care for green, make the case for gray. I'll take green for visibility and durability, which means greater safety for a longer period of time, unless professionals in the field show evidence that gray trumps green for this purpose.

What, beyond your unsupported toxic beads speculation, is your safety-based (not aesthetic) argument.

But the larger question is a political one. Is this just another "issue" to keep alive until the November elections. If so, what will your argument be? That we need to have a completed "safety element" study and report accounting for the cumulative impacts of all development in the area for the foreseeable future before anything can be done on the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm

These green areas are going to get dirty fairly quickly. This will add to the visual pollution that we have to deal with in this city. Given how poorly the city government maintains things, it's difficult to believe that these stripped areas won't be an eyesore in just a year or two.

> if it went back to the chaotic 4-lane mess we had before.

Charleston/Arastradero was never chaotic before this downsizing experiment. Anyone who makes such a claim should provide evidence to prove that claim.


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Posted by You don't say
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

"These green areas are going to get dirty fairly quickly."
Please quantify this and cite the towns where this has happened.
I guess those towns where it has happened really complained about the dirty paint, so any link to that dispute or issue would also be helpful

I'm just trying to weed out the real info from the over emotionals who try to invent issues, issues which we are told will always result in doom(but never really do)


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

@You don't say,
I've already noticed that the green strips on East Meadow look yucky. Because of having to clean up the excess green a few times as well as the white stuff that went on top, they've been cleaned many times and yet they still collect all kinds of crud really fast.

The bigger issue is that the plastic wears off and washes into the bay. This is a much bigger environmental issue than even oil because the plastic looks like food to much of the food chain, and will be around forever. I'm concerned that we will face a huge mess and bill to pull these things off in the future if we don't think it through now.

It's possible to make really beautiful streetscapes with other materials that don't look like a bad putt putt golf green. If these have to be used, they should be used judiciously, and not in residential areas.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

@Jerry Underdal,
The only green I have seen on Park is in a business district, in front of the train station, not a residential area. That intersection, though, is a mess that a bunch of green paint is not going to fix. As is the rest of your post which is almost unintelligible. If you didn't mangle other people's words and intent so much in your own mind, you'd have an easier time figuring out what they say.

A poster above said there were similar areas as on East Meadow in tonier parts of town with no complaints. I am still waiting for the support for that claim, especially the ones in proximity to Shephard and Klein's homes. (We already know you don't care about the quality of life on this side of town.)


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

Interesting related story came out just now, about plastic microbeads being a problem for fish in the Great Lakes:
Web Link


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

I saw a Far Side cartoon once in which the caption read something like, "Did you see that? Timmy almost fell into the snake pit that time, I just barely caught him!" And it's two parents and a child, with a snake pit in the middle of the living room.

Jerry Underdal, you are doing the equivalent of asking me which kind of barrier do I want for the snake pit in the living room, and I keep saying, the smart thing to do is take stock of the whole situation.

(At which point you get angry, read all kinds of nasty things into what I am or others are saying, and then ask me to choose between more barriers or poisonous snakes...)


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Posted by Neighborhood resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

Mr. Underdal is asking a very good question which no one has answered. If you think there is a better solution, what is it? How do you suggest the city create a safe school (and after school activity) commute environment for walking and bicycling kids AND balance the needs of motorists?






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Posted by Walt
a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2014 at 11:25 am

The green lanes are functional, but they ARE ugly and polluting.

How about having Maybelle be the bike street, and Arastradero be for cars, since people do need to be able to get where they need to go. Arastradero could go back to 4 lanes, and the Maybelle people who rejected housing for senior citizens could have all the kids on bikes. There is already a similar system whereby Alma (with no shoulders) is discouraged for bikes, and bikers are supposed to use Bryant instead, which is designated as a bike street.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 11:30 am

> Please quantify this and cite the towns where this has happened.

Quantify "dirty"? Are you kidding?

Well .. why not let's start with the green stripping on Park Blvd. (here in PA) at the Oregon underpass. It's been there for maybe a year (perhaps a little less) and it's already grubby. The sparkle of the newly laid beads is gone, and it's clear that slowly the green is being darkened by road dirt and oil.


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Posted by Oh, Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

How many people besides you have complained about the grubby green paint? Is it really an issue outside these comment forums? Does it bother you if other colors of paint on the road "look grubby"?
I know they repaint other parts of the road with scheduled maintenance, are these lanes omitted from this maintenance?
Sorry for all the questions, but I simply have not heard about this worry of dirty paint on the road affecting people.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

The painted green bicycle parking area in front of Coupa Cafe on Ramona St
downtown has been scraped off and repainted this week - don't know why


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE, a resident of ??

This thread began with SWE, a resident of Green Acres (a registered member) addressing us. Now SWE, a resident of another neighborhood, not registered, is posting. Is this a single person or has someone highjacked SWE's identity to make provocative posts?


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Walt

"Arastradero could go back to 4 lanes, and the Maybelle people who rejected housing for senior citizens could have all the kids on bikes."

The people who wanted 4 lanes on Arastradero are also the people (speaking generally) who have opposed measures to increase student bicycle traffic on Maybell, so your solution wouldn't work out to their satisfaction.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Joe

I share your concern about grubby and indistinct road markings. I did a lot of walking this morning with that in mind, trying to have an open mind about whether the familiar white on asphalt was better than white on green. I saw many places where the white had become indistinct, fading or worn into oblivion against the grey asphalt.

Let's stipulate that the green surface is not likely to stay bright and clean any longer than a freshly paved road will remain black. But when the asphalt ages, it turns grey. As the white markings get dirty and wear away they lose their edges and fade towards grey as well. Result: loss of traffic guidance information for the rider/driver from the road surface. It may actually look clean--uniform grey is not unattractive, but it's not informative.

In contrast, the white on green keeps communicating even when dirty or worn. Advantage green.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE

I looked up the New York Times source article for the NPR link you gave. I had read it with concern when it was published. I just reread it to see if there was specific reference to the material used for the green striping.

There is not. The article speaks of plastic microbeads used in hundreds of toiletries and cosmetics, but makes no mention of street marking material. Have you seen information stating that this material is as hazardous to fish as toothpaste and facial scrubs? Do you have findings to share or only the question, which you argue should disqualify green striping?

Web Link


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@SWE

"...I keep saying, the smart thing to do is take stock of the whole situation."

Which I interpret as a "yes" to my question, "If so, what will your argument be? That we need to have a completed "safety element" study and report accounting for the cumulative impacts of all development in the area for the foreseeable future before anything can be done on the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor?"

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you have argued so strongly on-line and at city hall, by your account, for the need to have a separate traffic and safety element in the comprehensive plan that it seems a reasonable inference.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm

> I know they repaint other parts of the road with scheduled
> maintenance, are these lanes omitted from this maintenance?

You know this for a fact? How? Certainly the horrid conditions of California Avenue in the business district tends to belie your claims.

There certainly is nothing on the City's web-page that provides a restriping schedule.

This City government does not know how to maintain much. The striping on the streets does get redone from time-to-time, but it's hard to believe it has been done on a schedule in the past.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

> In contrast, the white on green keeps communicating even when dirty
> or worn. Advantage green.

To the extent that the green will stay green, even when grubby .. that is probably true. To the extent that this high-maintenance genuflect to "safety" will not look grubby, and communicate a failure to maintain these "pathways" .. we'll have to see.

There is little evidence that these green pathways have provided any real safety for cyclists--since they don't prevent cyclists from blasting through stop signs, and red lights.

All-in-all, just a lot of time and money wasted for no real gain.


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Posted by Green Cajun
a resident of Barron Park
on May 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Too bad for the haters. I like it a lot. I suggest people who might not like it now, get used to it soon because there's more to come, that's for sure.
I gar-on-tee it!


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2014 at 10:30 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Joe

Went out early this morning to check out the green bike lanes.
The green material on the roadway on Park at Oregon is completely different from what's at the intersection of East Meadow and El Camino Real. It shows what green on the street looks like, but is inferior to the new material. The old material looks like it's applied in panels. The new material is uniform, like the Gunn track but harder.

I took pictures so I could show the contrast between white on asphalt on East Meadow and white on green. Then did the same on Park. To my eye there's a clear advantage to the green.

Just checked the City of Palo Alto website and was pleased to see a link to a video showing cyclists and drivers using the redone East Meadow/El Camino Way intersection. Jaime Rodriguez points out what we need to know to share the road safely. I think it's well done and commend the Transportation Department for posting it.
Web Link


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2014 at 10:36 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Didn't get the web link inserted in my previous post.

Web Link

cityofpaloalto.org


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Posted by videos
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 31, 2014 at 11:00 am


I watched the two videos but I couldn't tell the difference in behavior from the cyclist. None, whether green or no green, stopped at the stop sign. Neither also portrayed dangerous maneuvers by the cars. But the green does SHOW UP that's for sure. So what's the point again?


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Posted by wiggy
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2014 at 11:50 am

There have been a number of unsubstantiated claims in this forum made by posters who have some gripe against green bike lanes. First of all, there is no truth to the assertion that the material used is made up of "microbeads" that will wash away into the bay. It is likely a durable thermoplastic material. Second, someone said that colored lanes were not being used in bike-friendly European cities. Again, untrue. There are red lanes in Bologna, blue lanes in Copenhagen ... not to mention green lanes in that most bike-friendly of all U.S. cities, Portland. Plus, studies have shown that these lanes do positively influence bicycle/automobile interaction. Here's a link to one article:

Web Link

Furthermore, gripes about anything in the road getting grubby just seem ludicrous. Ane while I recognize that tastes differ, I find the color in no way aesthetically unappealing. It adds a touch of cheer to a dull road. Yes, it would be nice if we lived in an ideal world where everyone obeyed all the rules of the road and drove/rode in a courteous, vigilant, and respectful manner. But this is the real world of distracted, clueless, hurried, rude, arrogant people -- both in cars and on bicycles. The green lanes provide an extra visual cue that gives drivers a heads-up to be on the lookout for bicyclists. Seems like a good thing.
Btw, I don't really have a manservant named Pumphrey. Also, I live near Channing and welcome the green bike markings on that street.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

@ Wiggy,
You have mentioned two major cities of millions of people, and neither case have you mentioned bright green. You have also mentioned colors that go with the colorscapes of those cities (such as blue in the Netherlands). Blue and fluorescent green are not the same.

Mentioning plastic microbeads in costmetics and the serious pollution problem they are causing was intended to get at least a few of you to look at the underlying issue: plastics ending up in our water in small sizes like that are a serious environmental problem. There are cars going through that plastic turf, and already once a skid redistributed the green and had to be cleaned up.

Furthermore, all that crud that collects better because of the turf and shows up better because of the green will, at some point as this ages (meaning, maybe a few weeks) make bicyclists swerve around those patches.

There are studies showing why spot zoning is a seriously negative thing in urban planning, which is why it is illegal, and yet, our City Council does what it wants.

Just because I can show that one barrier is better than another to keep Timmy from riding his bike into the snake pit in our living room, doesn't mean it's the thing to do. That green at East Meadow leads kids a few more feet right into a decision to take two of the most dangerous stretches in town, that cannot be fixed with green plastic rivers.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

@Jerry Underdal,
"it seems a reasonable inference"

That's the problem, you are carrying on a strange conversation in your own head and not with me or whomever else you think you are speaking with. Learn to listen to other people - look up the term "good faith" - and try not to infer so much. I don't even know what you are talking about half the time.


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Posted by wiggy
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Ummmmm ... Copenhagen is in Denmark.


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Posted by I bike, I drive, I like it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Responding to "videos, a resident of Greenmeadow":

There's actually a HUGE safety difference between the two videos! The new green bike lane on West Meadow provides a very visible space for bicyclists to ride when they will be turning left at the stop sign. Meanwhile, the drivers who are turning right have their own right turn lane. This eliminates the frequent conflict between drivers turning right and bicyclists turning left that was the most serious safety hazard of the previous striping plan.

As bonus, the new striping also reduces driver delay at the intersection: the drivers turning right are able to get through the intersection faster, since they don't have to deal with the above conflict. This in turn reduces delays for the left-turning drivers!

There's even a video explanation on the left side of the City's home page: www.cityofpaloalto.org
Look for the header "New Green Bike Lanes Installed Giving Cyclists More Visibility".


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Joe and SWE

I haven't heard anything from either of you that indicates that more and safer bicycling is your goal. Instead, I hear that bicycling is inherently dangerous on our streets and that efforts to promote it is wasteful and risky. Has either of you expressed support for the city's safety improvements and promotion of the safe routes to schools program since the Maybell controversy began?

Hundreds of students get to school in this neighborhood by bike. That represents hundreds of car trips that aren't necessary to get them to and from school. Please don't press the city to stint on efforts, like the high visibility green bike paths, that as the network fills in will significantly reduce car traffic and increase safety for kids and adults alike.This should not be an issue in the upcoming city council campaign.


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Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

@ Old alum
"I think bicycles should be banned in PA. They are too dangerous."

It's for the Children!....LOL :)


Ponder this.....Is there such thing as a 'law abiding' bicyclist?


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Posted by Captain Obvious
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

Is there a law abiding bicyclist or motorist? The answer is a resounding NO to both.
What's your point, that bikes have just as many jerk operating them as cars?
That's a big "No duh" Kimosabe! LOL :)


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