Palo Alto hosts meeting on wheels | May 23, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 23, 2014

Palo Alto hosts meeting on wheels

Bikers voice hopes, concerns for new bicycle boulevards

by Lena Pressesky

More than 50 Palo Alto bikers hit the road Saturday morning on a tour of the city's south streets, stopping at points along the way to give feedback to city officials about the enjoyable, uncomfortable and hazardous features of the routes.

This story contains 925 words.

If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.

If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.

Editorial Intern Lena Pressesky can be emailed at


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 10:32 am

Whereas this seems to have been a good idea with lots of good input and comments from those on the ride, I am not in favor of encouraging bikes on Alma.

Alma is not a suitable road for anything but the most ardent bike rider. If Alma were to be used by students en route to Paly, I feel sure that we would have many accidents. They are much safer on Bryant.

Alma is the continuation of Central Expressway and is a much better way to get to Menlo Park for a lot of traffic rather than using El Camino or Middlefield. It would be even better if there was through traffic to Sand Hill, at present most of that through traffic uses Churchill which is also a school route. Keeping this through traffic to Sand Hill and Menlo Park on Alma makes a lot more sense than Churchill anyway.

Unless separate bike lines (unlikely) can be put either side of Alma, bikes using Alma will always be in peril.

Posted by randy albin, a resident of Mountain View
on May 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

it won't be long now before locals will be living on their bikes. it's all that is affordable. growing up in palo alto, what in the world? everybody is a millionaire, it seems. how ridiculous. watch fred astaire movies downtown and hope that you'll survive for another day.

Posted by Dutch rider, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 22, 2014 at 10:52 am

Most of Embarcadero is unsafe, also. My solutions for Alma and Embarcadero have been to ride on the sidewalk.

Four years ago , however, I was ticketed for this, and the citation went on my driving record! Sometimes there is simply no alternate route for a certain distance, though.

I guess I would rather pay a pricey ticket than leave my kids motherless.

Posted by jimmae, a resident of Midtown
on May 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

Alma does not suit bicycles, I agree.
Instead of trying to figure out how to improve Alma st for bicycles....
How about a parallel paved trail completely within the Caltrain right of way, w fencing that is adequate to keep riders-walkers away from the tracks except at designated ped-bike-vehicular crossings(E Meadow,San Antonio,Churchill)?
The bike-ped path from Churchill to the Palo Alto Medical Center bldngs w an under-crossing at Homer is an example to build on.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

I agree Alma is not the most desirable road to cycle on but I do it because the bike path through the adjoining neighborhood isn't convenient. I take the lane if I feel threatened. There is a large buffer zone on the other side of the Caltrain right of way that would also make a bike path feasible. I always wonder how somebody coming north would know how to negotiate around this mess unless they were familiar with the area. Definitely in need of improvement.

Posted by Mr. BBQ, a resident of Community Center
on May 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Will the bikes be required to follow the rules of the road i.e.stop at stop signs, got the finger a few times assuming the bicyclist was going to stop, as I pulled out from a stop sign.

Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Mountain View
on May 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I haven't seen the plans yet, but I'm glad to see so many bike projects serving South Palo Alto planned. I commuted daily through many of these project areas for years and still ride them on weekends to shop in Palo Alto.

This part of town was originally built with car convenience in mind only. These projects will help make it more comfortable and convenient for people riding bikes. I can't wait to see them completed.

Posted by Justin, a resident of Mountain View
on May 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I frequently bike on Central to get to southeast Palo Alto. It would be great if there was a path right next to Caltrain. The existing "bike route" through eastern Mountain View to Palo Alto is rather convoluted (and even involves briefly going on Alma if I recall).

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Nice thing about Alma for cyclists, no stop signs.

Posted by Eric, a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

The proposed route on Alma isn't on Alma. It's a 0.6 mile side path (currently a sidewalk) on the east side from San Antonio Road to Charleston. It's being done due to address the problem caused by the car centric street designs in south Palo Alto. The alternate route to is more than twice as long.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm

@Eric -- they can't possibly be thinking of putting both directions of travel on that path. Can they?

Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Anybody who rides a bike on Alma must have a death wish. There is simply no room.

No stop signs on Alma!?!?!.....LMAO like any bicyclist would obey them it they're were. Since when did Bicyclists become above the law?

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 22, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Put a stop sign on Alma and see whether any motorist obeys it.

Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on May 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

We would like to thank Mr. Rodriguez and the other city officials for working so hard to make our city streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Many parts of town are difficult (or dangerous) to access without a car right now, but I believe they have good ideas for fixing that. Car ownership should not be a requirement for living, working, or shopping in our city.

Posted by bad ticket, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Dutch rider,

Unless you were on the stretch of Alma that is downtown, riding on the sidewalk is legal.
There are safety issues to consider, of course, but if you weren't in downtown, it was a bad ticket.

Posted by Andrew Boone, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 23, 2014 at 5:30 am

Thanks very much for this coverage, Palo Alto Weekly!

So it looks like Palo Alto really IS finally moving ahead with it's long shelved (for the last 30 years?) plans to construct a network of Bicycle Boulevards. GOOD. I thought I would never live to see the day.

My input/concerns: those need to be REAL bicycle boulevards, like Bryant Street. With traffic diverters and well-designed traffic signals so that people riding bikes don't have to wait a long time to cross busy streets. So, not like the "bicycle boulevards" on Maybell or in Mountain View that are just regular streets with "Bike Boulevard" signs. Not that this is what you were going to do, Jaime. It's just a concern I have.

Also, if we are going to talk about improvements to Alma and Middlefield for bicycling, can you please just install sharrows and "Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs on those streets already? This should've been done forever ago. Taking the lane on Alma Street especially is already stressful enough as it is with all the traffic but on top of that a few (a tiny percentage, actually) car drivers still don't understand that Bikes May Use Full Lane and sometimes they honk or pass too closely. Signs."Bikes May Use Full Lane." It's a standard thing these days. It's in the MUTCD. It's all legit. I don't see what the big deal is.

Very curious in learning more about the proposed designs of the various bikeways being discussed.

Posted by Ben, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Using or considering Alma as any part of a bike route is simply stupid. Really stupid. Alma is nearly a highway, anyone who thinks that paint stripes will keep cyclist safe isn't thinking.

A good network of bike routes is a great idea, really, but please choose the route better.

Posted by As of now, yes, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 24, 2014 at 5:42 am

As Alma exists now, it is not safe for bikes. It may look different in the future, providing safe access. If nothing is done to it though, yes, Alma is a good road to get run over on.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 24, 2014 at 7:42 am

Stop talking about Alma. The plan has lots of bike routes all over the city: Park, Ross, Greer, Stanford Ave, Wilkie Way, Churchill, and more.

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


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