Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 12, 2011

Palo Alto plans new bike bridge over 101

City forwards plans for an overcrossing at Adobe Creek, but funding is uncertain

To Palo Alto's drivers, U.S. Highway 101 is a crucial — if often patience-testing — artery connecting the city to San Francisco and San Jose. But to local bicyclists, hikers and nature lovers the eight-lane highway is an impenetrable barrier separating them from the vistas and wildlife of the Palo Alto Baylands.

Now, Palo Alto officials are working to change that. City planners and consultants last month unveiled a plan to build a wide overpass that would span 101 at Adobe Creek in south Palo Alto — an ambitious project that has been on the city's agenda for the past eight years and is just now starting to gain traction.

In recent months, the city and its consultants have gathered data, held public hearings and narrowed down options for a new 101 crossing from 12 designs to five to three and, finally, to one. On July 26, city officials presented to the community its preferred alternative — an "enhanced overcrossing" at Adobe Creek.

The project is a major piece of the city's effort to boost biking and pedestrian connections between the residential neighborhoods southwest of 101 and the recreational opportunities across the highway to the northeast. Officials also view the proposed pedestrian bridge as a major improvement over the dilapidated underpass currently in place at Adobe Creek. The underpass is typically open between mid-April and mid-October but is currently closed because the creek has spilled over onto the path.

City officials and consultants weighed a wide variety of options for helping people crossing, including improving the existing underpasses and creating new overpasses at other locations. Options included building a 48-inch "stem wall" to stave off flooding or creating a waterproof concrete "tube" at the Adobe Creek undercrossing. Consultants also considered making improvements to the undercrossing at Matadero Creek. But none of these extensive projects would guarantee year-round access.

Elizabeth Ames, a senior engineer at the Public Works Department, said giving residents the ability to cross the highway at any time of the year was a main goal of the design team and a major reason why the overpass alternative was ultimately chosen.

"That was really the charge — to try to develop a crossing that wouldn't have to close down and that we'd then have to keep opening and closing and cleaning up," Ames told the Weekly.

"A crossing that allows you to go during night time or day time without any worry of flooding — that was a big consideration."

Officials see the new crossing as more than just a pathway over the highway. The city released a feasibility study last month calling the proposed overpass "a signature piece of community infrastructure that connects the general community, the Baylands Nature Preserve, and technology/business campuses with a safe and convenient pedestrian/bicycle pathway."

Though the design has yet to be refined, preliminary plans call for a 14-foot-wide travelway, mesh fencing, motion-activated LED lighting and a gathering area with a "signature viewpoint" overlooking the Baylands on the east side of the structure.

"The overall design would be respectful of and incorporate design methods and techniques that strike a balance of beauty, durability, performance and cost efficiency," the study states.

Casey Hildreth, a consultant at the firm Alta Planning + Design, said Palo Alto has been eyeing a new 101 crossing in south Palo Alto since at least 2003, when the city released its last bicycle master plan (the document is in the process of being updated; the draft of the new plan was released last month). The new study, Hildreth said at a July 26 community meeting, takes this project to a "new level of feasibility."

Money, however, remains a major wildcard. The overpass, particularly an "enhanced" one with wide bicycle lanes, has an estimated price tag of $3.9 million to $5.5 million for construction alone. When the costs of design, project development, right-of-way acquisitions are thrown into the mix, the project could cost more than $9 million, according to the feasibility study.

The city hopes to eventually land federal and state grants to help pay for the project. In the meantime, officials are pressing ahead with the environmental analysis and design work that would raise their chances of landing such grants. The hope is to have all the environmental and design work completed within the next three years and to have the new overcrossing in place about five years from now, Ames said.

The new crossing is also part of the city's vision for transforming the neighborhood around East Meadow Circle and Fabian Way. The feasibility study notes that the concept plan for the East Meadow neighborhood identifies the "over/undercrossing as a key transportation project to connect residential areas to Baylands Nature Preserve."

The city's Planning and Transportation Commission is scheduled to review the feasibility study for the Adobe Creek overcrossing on Aug. 31, and the city is requesting that comments on the plan, which is located at www.cityofpaloalto.org/101, be submitted to the commission by Aug. 19. The City Council would then consider the project in the fall.

Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by sooner the better, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

This is a really important project since this is a major bicycle commuting route. If the city picks a cheaper option, can it get done sooner? 5 years is a long time to wait. If a major street was damaged, I'm sure the city would have it fixed in days or weeks, not years.


Posted by T Tierney, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

Did the article mention where we can read the study? - The City of PA web site has a feasibility study that starts with the idea that a bridge is needed, but it includes no justification for the need. I could not find the "Seamless Bike and Pedestrian Model" cited there.

Because this crossing is in the middle of an industrial park, it is really intended for bikes, not pedestrians. Getting to this site is a long walk from all but a small handful of houses.

Mountain View's pedestrian/bike bridge at Permanent Creek is already well underway, about a mile south of this proposed site. True, it is not in the City of Palo Alto, (the feasibility study mentions only PA), but I imagine residents of any city will be permitted to use it.

The bridge near Embarcadero Road is about a mile from this site, too. Either of these two bridges will allow access to the baylands.

A $9,000,000 bridge for this use at this location is expensive.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:14 am

The Adobe tunnel is well used by commuters as well as those using it for recreational use. For commuters, when the tunnel is closed it means a very long and often dangerous alternative detour.

Getting an alternative to the tunnel is very important and the upkeep of a bridge will cost less than the upkeep of the tunnel which needs to be worked on at least annually - not just inspected.

At a meeting I attended about East Meadow Circle, we were assured that there was grant money available for a bridge and that if it was not used by Palo Alto for this bridge, then the money would have to be spent elsewhere outside Palo Alto for bicycle bridges. If this is the case, then I welcome that we get it.

The length of time all this is taking is just typical. The tunnel has been closed this summer for the first time I remember. Getting the bridge asap makes sense.


Posted by sooner the better, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

The location of this bridge is a short walk from the residential neighborhoods along Loma Verde and East Meadow. The Embarcadero Road bridge is a pretty long detour, and involves walking across Oregon Expressway where speeding and red light running are rampant.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

The city "hopes to land state or grant money." And if not, Palo Alto tax payers will undoubtedly end paying most if not all of this proposed multi-million dollar project. I can't believe that just a few short weeks ago our elected and appointed city officials were crying from the rooftops over the unprecedented budget crisis. Now they're discussing a non-essential bike bridge that will cost millions, already on top of the millions they're allocating for new playground construction and upgrades to parks. More terribly mixed messages and poor planning. We should not even consider projects such as these, while at the same time cutting the public safety budget and reducing the number of police we have working. Sidewalk, street, and other basic infrastructure repairs should be far ahead of any luxury projects on the priority list.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

Oh and one other thing. How about just using the bridge at the end of Oregon Expressway that crosses over 101. It's centrally located and can get anyone walking or biking to the Baylands quite easily. Best part, it's already built and won't cost a dime.


Posted by San Antonio Road?, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:48 am

Instead of building a new overpass for pedestrians and bicyclists, how about closing the existing San Antonio Road overpass to cars and let pedestrians and bicyclists use that? Cars can use the nearby Rengstorff Road overpass instead. San Antonio is an awful design for cars anyway.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

Yeah San Antonio Road, I'm sure the City of Mountain View and all the businesses located along East Bayshore Road would just love having all of that extra vehicular traffic cutting through and jamming Rengstorff.


Posted by Not flooded, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:31 am

The underpass may have been flooded in March or April because of the rain but it was high and dry on July 4th when we tried to get to Shoreline to watch fireworks. Its still locked up and there still hasn't been any rain. Its not flooded and the sign saying it is just highlights the stupidity of Palo Alto!


Posted by $9 Million Dollars!, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

Does anyone know how much bicycle traffic actually uses the existing overpass? In my experience, not much at all. It is almost impossible to believe that this could be justified by any cost-benefit analysis based on the value of other improvements. Our city council is insane.


Posted by safe cyclist, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hey @$9 Million Dollars!

The reason not much bike traffic uses the San Antonio overpass is because it is incredibly dangerous!!! I often go to the baylands and usually opt to drive my car instead of take the bike because I don't like crossing that bridge.


Posted by San Antonio Road?, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

If the city was serious about encouraging bicycle transportation, they would close the San Antonio Road bridge to cars and let bicyclists and pedestrians use it until a new safer bridge can be built.

Or at least paint bike lanes on San Antonio Road, like Mountain View has done to Rengstorff Rd.


Posted by mark, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

The Bay Land's Park is closed to me and many others who live in South Palo Alto and wish to ride a bike there from October 15 through April 15 for reasons below; and this year even that window is closed because other than the Under Pass route which is now closed because of flooding, the other options are to ride our bikes from So. P.A. to the Pedestrian Over Crossing at Embarcadero/Oregon Exp. Wy. which is in point of fact extraordinarily dangerous i.e. has literially almost cost me my life 1 time at which time I stopped using it; the only other reasonable option is to load up the bike (or Bikes), drive over 101 with them, unload the bike(s), gear up, go for a ride, the re-load up the bike(s), gear down (change some clothing), drive home--and unload the bike(s) and put eveything away. That tacks on a minimum of 40 minutes (20 minutes each way) net of 10 minutes (5 minute ride each way to ride from So P.A. across the proposed Over Pass.

Thus, for me and many others I presume, since I may only have time an hour or so to get away for a ride, for all practical purposes puts the Bay Lands simply out of reach. What I believe we need more of is our community spending time alone with nature so we can bring some of that serenity back to our town. It's nice. It's real, and the Bay Lands is an underutilized assets as it stands now, for me and many other in my position. That overpass would be a wonderful way for us to get across the 101 and into the Bay Lands.


Posted by Lets See, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

So 9 Million dollars for a bike bridge while we are cutting city services, cutting police and fire coverage and can't afford an earthquake sounds public safety facility.

As we have always said. Palo Alto has plenty of money it's just what they chose to spend it on. This may be fine, but lets stop the BS complaining about not having money. It's so hysterical.


Posted by Donald, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm

When the 2003 plan was being written, one of the most requested items was year-round access to the Baylands. The old bridge at Oregon/Embarcadero does not meet current design standards for ADA accessibility, and the mazes are too tight to get through with a kiddie trailer. For those in Midtown it is a major detour to get to it compared to Adobe Creek. We need a new crossing.

Caltrans will eventually replace the San Antonio overpass and the Charleson on-ramp with a dangerously short acceleration lane, and when they do they will be required to include ped and bike access. That could be 10-15 years away, though, and will still require bicyclists to ride on San Antonio to get there. That is not an acceptable option for most families with children.


Posted by Great idea!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

VTA has money earmarked for this project. Aside from the obvious need, based on the number of people who currently use the Lefkowitz Tunnel (when it is open) despite the fact that it is closed most of the year and lately has been flooded much of the summer when it is supposedly open.

The tunnel is terribly unreliable because of flooding all year round. As a bike commuter, it has been incredibly frustrating this summer to go to the tunnel when it is supposed to be open and find it flooded again and again.

I'm thrilled the city is working on this. City of Palo Alto will NOT pay $9 million for this project. That was made clear by staff.

This will provide wonderful additional access for bikes and pedestrians to the baylands. It will feel as though we have added more bikeable/walkable parkland to the city in an area where HUNDREDS of new housing units were recently built. It will also provide bike access to the fabulous new bike trails around the bay. For bike commuters going to points south (like Google and Moffett Park, etc.) or coming to Palo Alto from points south it will provide one of the best off-road commutes one could wish for.

Let's do it! This is a GREAT idea.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I too think this is a good idea, provided grant money can be obtained to pay for most of it. I think people in South Palo Alto should have access to a reliable and safe crossing of 101. I disagree somewhat with those who state emphatically that San Antonio Road and the Oregon/Embarcadero pedestrian bridge are unusable for bikes. I definitely agree that those who value their life should not try to cross 101 on San Antonio Road - unless they use the sidewalk - especially if they are travelling from the east side to the west. I have been using San Antonio for many years, either when the underpass is unavailable, or when I decide to not use the Oregon/Embarcadero overpass. My compute fortunately allows me to use any of the three options. The sidewalk on San Antonio, while not a pleasant alternative, is reasonably safe, and it is an adequate crossing.

I understand the complaints about the Oregon/Embarcadero Pedestrian bridge. It has some blind curves that are made dangerous by some of us speeding bikers, and the baffles are too narrow for easy passage of child-carrying trailers. Other than that, it's a very usable crossing for those who have access to it.


Posted by Dark Clouds, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This is a hot buttun issue. Perfect for the negative perspectives of non-bicycling pundits.

pat, Diana, where are you? Time to weigh in with some of those patented statements of outrage! Where are the dark clouds on the horizon?


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

> "City of Palo Alto will NOT pay $9 million for this project."

> "I too think this is a good idea, provided grant money can be obtained to pay for most of it."

So where do you think the money will come from? The Tooth Fairy? Whether it comes from VTA, the state or the feds (highly unlikely given budget shortfalls at every level), it's ALL OUR TAX DOLLARS! WE will pay for it, just like we pay for everything else!

BTW, what's really dangerous about the Oregon/Embarcadero overpass is bicyclists who ride (speeding on the downslope) in spite of signs saying they should walk their bikes.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I ride a bike and yes, a new bridge would be really neat. But let's be grownups here: Palo Alto has a $500M infrastructure backlog. Oh yeah, we'll just get grants from the Federal and State governments. THEIR BOTH BROKE. Just because our State and Federal representative might be be able to get these grants slipped into a larger bill in exchange for their support on some unrelated issue DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT. It's called "pork barrel spending", at least when the money is going to some other neighborhood.


Posted by Dark Clouds, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

That's the spirit, pat! Diana, please join in.

What are all the negatives about bicycling. Or walking? Why spend any money at all on healthy transportation choices? I know that each of you can do it!


Posted by Let-The-Cyclists-Pay, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Why not turn the funding over the cycling "community" .. when they raise the money, then the City will build the structure. $9M so that a handful of people can go over to the Baylands once in a while is a lot of money. So .. let the people who will benefit raise the cash. Since we all know how much these folks like to contribute their money to government projects--then they should have the money raised with personal donations in a few months!

Problem of the funding .. solved!


Posted by Bike commuter, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Aug 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Yeah to building a bike bridge. This is such a fantastic idea. The only problem is the long wait....
Any way of speeding up the time line?


Posted by WilliamR, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Caltrans is finishing a similar type of bridge over 101 near Ralston Avenue in Belmont. I don't know what the lead time was on the design and environmental work, but construction seems to have been going on for at least a year, with a few overnight freeway closures.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

I would be willing to put in some money to pay for this bridge if I could also get a refund for not damaging local streets because I don't drive my car on them and for not using freeways because my bike is banned on them. I would definitely come out ahead on that, but our transportation funding doesn't work that way. We all pay for public facilities and we all have the right to use them (except bicyclists can't use freeways), whether we exercise that right or not.


Posted by not for bicyclists only, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

This bridge is not for bicyclists only. More than half the people I see on the Embarcadero Road bridge or the California Ave tunnel are pedestrians. Anyone who walks should welcome improved pedestrian facilities around town.


Posted by Great idea!, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

The vast majority of transportation infrastructure is built for cars and I help pay for that without whining, though I bike most of the time. Bicyclists are asking for a tiny fraction of the money that is spent to improve transportation facilities to make it a little easier and safer to bike.

Drivers, bicyclists pay for auto infrastructure and subsidize your carbon habit to a far greater extent than you will ever be asked to support bicycling by paying for bicycle infrastructure. (Bike facilities just cost far less. Bikes take up less space and they weigh less. They create less wear and tear, so our facilities don't cost anywhere near as much) We need this bike overpass facility because there is a barrier (a river of cars--called the 101) that we are not legally permitted to use although we pay handsomely for it without tax dollars. Bicyclists need a safe and efficient way to get across the 101 to the trails. I think that is a reasonable request. In the context of transportation bridge projects, $9 million is a drop in the bucket. Auto overpasses cost much more (by an order of magnitude) and we have many more of them.

I would some of my tax dollars spent on transportation facilities that I am likely to use. I'm glad this project is being studied. I hope it will be built. I, for one, will use it a lot.


Posted by Great idea!, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

Sorry. Just noticed a typo in my last entry.

Meant to type, there is a barrier (a river of cars--called the 101) that we are not legally permitted to use although we pay handsomely for it WITH OUR tax dollars. (rather than WITHOUT)

thanks.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

To all those who say that they do not use the freeway but would use a bike bridge, think it through. Although you may not use the freeway (I rarely use it), I expect groceries in my supermarket, teachers in my children's classrooms and my doctor in his office. I also use San Antonio exit and I can see how dangerous it is for me as a driver when I see bikes crossing there.

A bridge will benefit, not only those pedestrians and bikes that use it, but all of us as a community. The funds, supposedly, are earmarked for improving biking facilities and if we do not get the benefit of them, they will be used by another community for biking upgrades. They are earmarked funds which cannot be used for police, or schools, or anything else. That is the way with government money. It is earmarked for specific purposes and they can't be used elsewhere. If this is not the case, the most urgent uses would get all the funds and nothing else would get any.

As a taxpayer, I appreciate the fact that my taxes cover a multitude of things, not just the highest priority.

Speaking of which, if we could just get our sales tax dollars to benefit Palo Alto rather than Mountain View or Menlo Park, I would be all for that.


Posted by not for bicyclists only, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

To put the costs in perspective, the current project to add auxiliary lanes to Hwy 101 through Palo Alto is costing $150 million. That money comes from county sales taxes, not auto registration fees or gas taxes. California spends 1000 times more money on the car culture than on projects to improve pedestrian or bicyclist safety, and most of this money comes from sales taxes or property taxes, not any auto-specific taxes.


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

@"Great idea!" - very well said.
I'm heartened to see the balance here of people supporting the need for such a project. Thanks all for many great comments.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

The city, state and country are OUT OF MONEY. Stop spending.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm


> The vast majority of transportation infrastructure is
> built for cars

As of the 2010 Census, CA has a population of about 37.2M people.

The GDP for 2010 was in the $1.7B-$1.8B. California's GDP was larger than all of the countries in the world, other than the ten largest (which includes the US):

Web Link)

In order to support California's growing population, and its staggeringly large economy, the following data, from the CA DMV, provides facts about the size of CA's vehicle fleet--

Web Link

Top 10 DMV Facts (As of 1/1/2011)
1. Licensed Drivers: 23,799,513
2. Licensed Teen Drivers: 875,268 (16-19 year olds)
3. Registered Vehicles: 31,987,821
4. Registered Motorcycles: 825,744
5. Special Interest Plates: 888,951
6. Registered Off Highway Vehicles: 904,138
7. Disabled placards: 2,731,699
8. Registered hybrid vehicles: 395,483
9. Registered electric vehicles: 99,917
10. Licensed Auto Dealers in California:
Used vehicle dealers: 6,748
New vehicle dealers: 1.453

Moreover--

Web Link

In 2000, California had 168,076 mi (270,492 km) of public roads. Included in this total were 83,428 mi (134,264 km) of roads classified as rural and 84,648 mi (136,227 km) classified as urban. Also in 2000, the state registered 28,146,424 motor vehicles, first in the nation—including 17,321,413 automobiles, 10,329,198 trucks, and 47,312 buses. California also leads the nation in private and commercial motorcycle registrations, at 448,501. There were 21,243,939 California drivers' licenses in force in 2000.

The Pasadena Freeway, the first modern expressway in California, opened in 1941. During the 1960s and 1970s, the state built a complex toll-free highway network linking most cities of more than 5,000 population, tying in with the federal highway system, and costing more than $10 billion. Local, state, and federal authorities combined spent over $9.3 billion on California highways in 1997, nearly $2 billion of that amount for maintenance. Also in 1997, federal aid to California from the Federal Highway Administration fund totaled about $2 billion.

And the CA Department of Transportation reports that for 2009, Californians drove about 150B miles on its roads, highways, and byways.

For the most part, no similar data can be provided about the number of bicycles owned, or used, by Californians. And virtually no dollars can be attributed to the cost of maintaining the current highway system, based on gasoline taxes/fees, use taxes/fees, license/registration taxes/fees.

It is inconceivable that California could continue to be a nation-state, if anything changed that took its population out of its cars/vehicles.

So, yes .. it is categorically true that California spends a hellava lot more money on its vehicular infrastructure—as it is the basis for our economy, our livelihoods, and our future. Any money spent on bicycle "infrastructure" is not likely to contribute very much to any of the fundamentals that make California the economic powerhouse that it has been in the past, and hopefully, will continue to be in the future.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm

GDP number should have been T (Trillion), not B (Billion). Sorry ..


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Bike and ped projects help in ways different than car projects. If they encourage people to walk and bike more and the result is a healthier population then we save a bunch on health care costs. If they encourage people to replace car trips with walking and biking then we save through less wear and tear on our roads and less air pollution, oil consumption, etc.

It also turns out that bike and ped projects not only cost less, but they produce more jobs per dollar than auto projects.

Web Link

If we are short on money and want to create jobs, it makes more sense to build things like the bike bridge.


Posted by More Roads Please, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

So glad that Wayne Martin weighed in with all of his links and data.

Now for some more facts to support Wayne'scasefor more roads and cars. California's investment in freeways over the past five decades has eliminated traffic congestion, made our air cleaner, and created a fitter, less obese population. There also is no noise pollution due to all the cars and trucks on our roads. All Those paved road and parking lot surfaces help storm water and all the oil and grease in it get to the Bay faster too. Our casrs and trucks emit no carbon whatsoever and actually reduce greehouse gas emissions. These facts are all obvious.

Why invest in so-called healthy transportation like bicycling and walking when cars and trucks get us there faster and with no congestion or pollution?

Let's keep doing what we've done and we'll get even better resuluts that in the past fifty years, right Wayne?


Posted by DoItYourselfer, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

I believe in the idea of "Don't complain about something unless you're willing to do something about it."

I would be willing to help build a bridge over 101 at that location if it means getting it done sooner and/or cheaper.

$9mln is a lot. But unless something can be done to improve the underpass situation, I think building an overpass there makes a lot of sense. If it saves just one life, it can be argued that it is worth the investment. But the fact is that it would improve the lives of many people; not just those using the bridge as part of their commute to work or to see the wildlife on the other side of the highway...but also to those who have less pollution to deal with and less traffic on the road.

I think those people who say the bridge shouldn't be built are being a bit extreme. But perhaps it can be done for less than the projected amount of our tax money? And hopefully a LOT faster than 5 years...?


Posted by not for bicyclists only, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

$9 million for a pedestrian overpass is a much better value than $150 million to add merging lanes to Hwy 101 through Palo Alto. The merging lanes are going to be done in a few months, but the pedestrian bridge is taking 5 years. That shows you where our government puts its priorities.


Posted by Bike Commuter, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

Please build it as soon as possible. We need it now!


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

> If [bike and ped projects] encourage people to walk and bike more and the result is a healthier population then we save a bunch on health care costs. If they encourage people to replace car trips with walking and biking then we save "

Those are big IFs. Where's some data to show that if we build it they will bike?

The 1998 plan said, "It is hoped that individuals will reduce their automobile trips by 10 percent by 2010, as alternative transportation methods are implemented."

I can't get anyone to tell me if that's happened. I suspect it's because no one knows


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

That's right, nobody knows because nobody is willing to pay for the data collection (which is expensive). For school trips the data is collected by volunteers and the increase in bike trips to school has been about 100% - 300%, depending on the school.


Posted by The Cyclist, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Build. More. Dedicated. Cycle. Paths. I can't believe how behind we are compared to many places in Europe.


Posted by Bike Rider, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

>Those are big IFs. Where's some data to show that if we build it they will bike?

For the cost of one mile of freeway, Portland has been able to increase cycling 150%, which has improved traffic congestion, and prevented parking garages that cost ~$10,000 per parking spot.

If the Under-crossing was not closed right now I would use it every day. I always thought that they could raise the elevation of the Under-crossing with <$1000 of concrete to limit flooding.

If they are going to build a over-crossing they should make it a "signature span" and make it beautiful.


Posted by open again, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm

The Adobe Creek bike path just reopened again today. The city web site says be careful because it may still get muddy and slippery during high tide. It is scheduled to close again from October 15 through April 15. Hopefully will at least remain open until October 15.

What route do you folks take when it is closed? San Antonio Road? Or do you bike down Middlefield to Rengstorff?

If this new bridge takes 5 years to build, there is going to be a lot of closed time between now and then.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields