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What's with the green road?

Original post made by Wondering on May 19, 2014

Meadow near El Camino Way was painted green last week. What's up with that? I saw some confused drivers today.

Comments (16)

Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2014 at 10:46 pm

That is a bike lane. It should be well marked as such. Don't drive in it except to make a legal turn.


Posted by confused as well, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm



What's with the bright color. Are these markings in the DMV handbook? Some of the green is solid and some is striped meaning what?? It will be interesting to see how these markings work this week with school bicyclist. When a bike wants to make a right turn on El Camino Way, to they do it from the bike lane or from the right hand lane? And why such a bright green?


Posted by Biker, a resident of Midtown
on May 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

The markings are to help students biking to Gun. Drivers can cross the bike lane when the markings are dashed but need to stay out when the green is solid. That is in the law, as far as I know. Bikes making a right turn should use the right turn lane, I think. The ones turning left can use the bike lane, and now they don't need to worry about cars on their left turning right. I think these new markings will make it much safer once people get used to them.


Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on May 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Treat it like any other bike lane. The green paint is to make it more visible, since apparently car drivers were having problems with visibility in the past and there is a high volume of bicyclists at this location. State law says cars are required to signal and merge into the bike lane at most 200 feet before turning right. Do not turn directly across the bike lane; merge into the bike lane first. Same merging law applies for any color bike lane. The dashed markings are to help drivers figure out how much is 200 feet, since apparently car drivers were having problems with that in the past as well.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 11:32 pm

@ Wondering,
Posted already, let's see if they delete this again:

Hey East Meadow, the Chicago River called, it wants St. Patrick's Day back!

I really do not get this, because East Meadow tee's right there into two much more dangerous streets, that curve to El Camino at Keys Middle School, and worse, El Camino Way which is not only so narrow and always clogged with cars parked solid on either side, it is also curved and has lots of patches of light and dark that blind drivers at certain times of the day, with kids darting in and out between the cars all the time. That section of road just frankly really scares me. Coming in the other direction, there's a place where there just isn't room for the bikes between the parked cars, and it's just luck that no bikes have been pinned between an oncoming car and the parked cars. You have to really drive into the other lane when you hit the curve to give a bike the requisite 3 feet, I'm not sure it's even really possible to do that because it's such a heavily used intersection, you can't really drive in the other lane like people do on Maybell on the other side of El Camino.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Maybe now that Avant is there, they can rent some under-building parking to the other senior center and get some of the cars off El Camino way. I'm generally not in favor of the city coating the whole town in alien green, but it would be worth it if they change El Camino Way and got the cars off of at least one side of it? Or perhaps during school commute times forbid traffic, and extended the neon green river onto ECW too.


Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

In addition to the green bike lanes, the parking at the corner of Meadow and El Camino Way has been eliminated on Meadow.

@resident - The Avant and Commons next door are owned by the same family. The employees are not allowed to use either garage, only the residents.


Posted by Wishing don't make it so, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I live on Bryant St, which is supposed to be a bicycle-priority street.

However, during rush hours, drivers use it to bypass the traffic mess on Alma. Since they are in a rush, these drivers sometimes hit, injure hospitalize, and occasionally kill bikeriders. They also frequently run the stopsigns on the side streets in their rush to get to Bryant, causing all kinds of collisions.

I wish the city would paint the whole length of Bryant St green!


Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

"However, during rush hours, drivers use it to bypass the traffic mess on Alma. Since they are in a rush, these drivers sometimes hit, injure hospitalize, and occasionally kill bikeriders. They also frequently run the stopsigns on the side streets in their rush to get to Bryant, causing all kinds of collisions."
Wow, what an over exaggeration [portion removed.] When have these incidents of dead, injured and hospitalized bike riders occurred? You sound like it happens on a daily basis. When have these collisions on side streets occurred.
[Portion removed.]


Posted by Back to the why, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

The reason why they are doing this across the United States is they found making the lanes more visible resulted in fewer bike vs car accidents. So much so that it saved on health care dollars. Car drivers tend to violate bike lanes a lot, use them for passing or perform the right hook maneuver. Bikes can be harder to see for a car, but this green lane reminds drivers to be mindful of the possibility of a bike on their right.


Posted by You're Confused?, a resident of Barron Park
on May 22, 2014 at 5:41 am

Its VERY telling that some of these Palo Alto drivers are completely flabbergasted and confused by the painted bike lane.
It's becoming very clear why there are so many unbelievably and inexplicably bad drivers in this area. They are completely clueless!
Be careful out there; there are people operating 2 ton vehicles without even understanding simple road markings. It's a bike lane. If you do not understand the rules surrounding bike lanes, go back and lean them before you get in your car and kill someone.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 9:07 am

@jerk,

I'm confused as to why the City would engage in such pathologically poor planning that they must now resort to this extreme visual pollution for safety, and then end it abruptly at a much more problematic atretch of the same road.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Jerk, a resident of Barron Park
on May 22, 2014 at 10:26 am

"I'm confused as to why the City would engage in such pathologically poor planning that they must now resort to this extreme visual pollution for safety, "

Oh, it's because its shown to be VERY beneficial in increasing safety of those bike lane users.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Wishing don't make it so, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

Herr Von Henzau....check the newspapers for the past twelve years, about every 2-6 months someone is injured, sometimes slightly, sometimes severely, occasionally fatally. It is also a main thoroughfare for students bikeriding to and from Paly and Jordan.

Two years ago there was a hit and run which put the bicyclist, an older man, in a coma. I do not know if he survived.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Reminding Weekly censors that "rhetorical flourishes" have been deemed appropriate speech on this forum:

@ jerk,
"Oh, it's because its shown to be VERY beneficial in increasing safety of those bike lane users."

Oh, okay. Now I understand your angry outbursts. You don't have the patience to read to the end of sentences! I wrote:

"I'm confused as to why the City would engage in such pathologically poor planning that they must now resort to this extreme visual pollution for safety, AND THEN END IT ABRUPTLY AT A MUCH MORE PROBLEMATIC STRETCH OF THE SAME ROAD. (Please go back to read what I wrote the first time all the way to the end for further clarification.)"

and before that:
"I really do not get this, because East Meadow tee's right there into two much more dangerous streets, that curve to El Camino at Keys Middle School, and worse, El Camino Way ..."

If turning Easy Meadow into a giant sparkly green reflector that can be seen from space is so important for safety WHY DOES IT END RIGHT AS IT BRANCHES INTO A FAR, FAR MORE UNSAFE STRETCH OF ROAD?!!!

If someone's boat needs to get around the rocky coastline, do you put up one lighthouse to get them safely into the middle of the rocks and figure you've done your job by reasoning lighthouses are proven to help you avoid the rocks?

And just because something has been proven to improve safety, doesn't mean it's the best thing to do or that the compromise is worth it. Approving far less development so there's fewer cars around and dropping the speed limit to 5 mph would be safer. So would banning cars from the road completely. Or giving the bikers their own car-sized lane and giving them equal treatment. But we don't do those either.

And frankly, just splaying Kermit the Frog's back across a road doesn't mean you have the kids' backs. Being really, really (really, really, really) obvious about taking at least some safety measure somewhere doesn't mean safety has been properly evaluated and dealt with. The neighbors just across El Camino on the same Safe Route to School at Maybell complained to City Hall for months in the middle of a major civic debate that the Safe Route to School wasn't safe, and hired a well-respected traffic engineer who noted a complete lack of safety analysis to the thousands of kids taking those routes. Did they do those studies before deciding to do this? Or did they do this first so they have something really, really (really, really, really) obvious and easy they can't point to that they did when we complain about the City's lack of any prioritization of safety the next time?

Before making more work for Chinese neon-plastic bead factories, gee, maybe we could consider some of the measures of other much more bike-friendly cities in the US and Europe that don't look like giant shiny disco leprechaun landing strips. Does that thing come with sunglasses?

The Comp Plan (among much similar) states, "The City is committed to building
upon the strengths of its neighborhoods, keeping them safe and ATTRACTIVE, maintaining a
distinct identity for each, ..."

Oh, sorry, I forgot, (forehead smack), this is South Palo Alto and we don't deserve the protections of the Comp Plan. And where we might, the City Council and Planning Department are busy doing away with them.


I'd also like to remind that these alien fairways are not done with green paint, they're done with plastic beads that will wash off into the bay at some point, where they will be mistaken for fish eggs/food by wildlife for the next 1,000 years of their lifespan. That's not accounting for the yearly touch ups after the Halloween (and St. Patty's Day) pranks.


Posted by Rupert of henzau, a resident of Midtown
on May 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

[Post removed.]


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