Palo Alto to update its bicycle strategies

City to sponsor lecture on bicycling, kick off its revision of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan

Palo Alto will host a special presentation tonight (Thursday) to detail the city's efforts to promote bicycle riding and to kick off the city's update of its Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan.

The meeting is sponsored by the city's Department of Planning and Community Environment. It will feature a presentation from Ian Moore, a transportation expert who specializes in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design.

The lecture will cover Palo Alto's pioneering bicycle-promoting strategies and discuss ways in which the city can further advance its bike programs. Moore will also discuss some of the specific infrastructure trends adopted by other cities, including New York, Portland and Seattle.

After the forum, the city will officially kick off its update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan, an effort that is expected to include evaluations of safe routes to school, bicycle-sharing programs and other efforts to promote bike riding. The update is funded by a $55,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The city had also received a $40,000 grant for bicycle signage and $50,000 for bike racks.

The meeting will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.

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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

Good. I ride my bike most days. To coffee shops, to the mall, everywhere. My wife, Meg, rides often too. Our sons rode to school every day for eight years, until they went off to college. One got hit by a car once (minor injury, major scare for his parents). Our bikes have been stollen four times. We keep riding, though, because it's such a wonderful way to get around Palo Alto. Make it as safe as you can. Thanks.

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Posted by Occasional Biker
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 30, 2010 at 9:35 am

Glad to hear about the grant for bike racks and signage. I hope that these are situated in various locations in the city and signs on roads as to where the parking is located (just like car parking signs). I also hope the route maps will indicate where the parking is.

It is often because of poor parking that people do not take their bikes to places like Midtown and downtown. Having bike racks near libraries and community centers are great, but shopping and restaurants are just as needy.

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Posted by south PA Mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

My husband bikes to work from Palo Alto to his job in Sunnyvale. I bike or walk for most of my local trips. My kids walk and bike to school, after school activities, and play dates. Palo Alto is relatively flat with beautiful, shaded sidewalks and streets and one of the best climates anywhere on Earth.

Get out there, folks! Get exercise! Connect with your community! Enjoy! I am thrilled to see that the city is incorporating good planning for bikes and peds as well as cars.

I'll be sure to attend this meeting.

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Posted by regular bike rider
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2010 at 11:34 am

I am delighted that they are adding some bike parking. It seems like I am always locking my bike to a sign or a downtown fire hydrant or some other inappropriate parking place. It has always been amazing to me that business remodels or changes do not require the installation of bike racks. Yet a new business license does require adaquate car parking.

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Posted by PA Worker
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

It would be nice if you would inform bike riders that there are two relatively safe bike paths on either side of Alma for their use and that they should not block lanes on El Camino and Alma during the morning and evening rush hours with their selfishness. I am a polite and courteous driver, but I find it ridiculous to watch some bike riders, skateboarders and pedestrians blow through red lights and stop signs, jaywalk in front of cars, and ignore the rules of the road.

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Posted by Daily bike commuter
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I'm finally in a job at Stanford where I can commute by bike, and really appreciate the traffic light intersections that are very bike-friendly and responsive, like the one at Channing/Newell... it would be great to see more of these over time (the light at Homer/Middlefield is less responsive). City and other workers who do construction or repair work that takes over bike lanes should be required to consider the routes they are disrupting, and to provide signage and mark lanes for bicyclists, as well as for automobiles. Too often, people seem to think that parking or doing other work in bike lanes is "off the road."

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Posted by Fed Up Mom
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

My two children have biked to school and sports and between the two of them we have had 5 bikes stolen. That adds up to at least $2000. The total police response has always been "Fill in the report". Looking at the police blotter in the paper I rarely see bike theft listed but I imagine that more are reported via the web based police reporting system. I would like to see more effort by the police departments to facilitate registering bikes through the National Bike Registry instead of the usual State Registery so that if the bikes are taken across state lines they can be tracked. I would also like to see more effort being made to breaking the gangs that prowl for bikes.

People are not going to invest in bike riding unless it is safe for the rider and the bike and there is a place to park the bike at popular destinations.

At this statge I am no longer buying my kids any more bikes until things change.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

At least consider a $10 year bike fee to help pay for bike specific improvements. And give some benefit to businesses that install that beautiful vertical bike rack. Require bikes to share the sidewalk with pedestrians on 35 mph+ streets. Allow bikes to make Hollywood stops with the understanding they assume full responsibility for any accidents consequent of that action. Declare every Thursday Smug Day when bikers can openly flaunt their civic superiority over the auto- bound.

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Posted by parent of students
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I hope the new school bond construction planning will consider bike access and parking with at least as much priority as car access. Since the enrollments keep increasing, and the nearby traffic is already at full capacity, safe bike access will be more of a necessity in the future.

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Posted by Pedestrian
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Having been frightened and nearly run into several times by bicyclists coming from behind me as I walk on the narrow sidewalk along El Camino, the suggestion that more such bicycling behavior be encouraged is alarming to me. Are pedestrians going to have their safety jeopardized by this preferential treatment for bicyclists? Most residents find themselves a pedestrian at some point during the day. Pedestrian safety should be given at least equal consideration. Personally, I thing it should be given top priority.

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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I hope that in the effort to save the planet by encouraging bicycling, we also make an effort to preserve civility by reminding cyclists of this:

If you ride on the street, YOU ARE A CAR, bound by ALL the rules for autos, which you can find in the driving code book.

It is not appropriate to pull a move just because you can. I would hope that the traffic police will be looking to ticket cyclists for running red lights, ignoring the stop signs and the right-of-way minuet at stop signs, riding the wrong direction in the bike lanes, zipping across the street across oncoming traffic.

Apropos the problems between cyclists and pedestrians, I would appreciate the "brrring" of a bike bell signaling foot traffic ahead of you.

I would also hope pack behavior could be curbed. A pack of eight cyclists pushed into an intersection, ignoring the stop sign, just as I was crossing it, causing me to stop part-way through. They then flipped the bird eight times as they pulled around the front of my car and crossed the intersection. There may be a bike club that goes on rides in town, also. Their motto: "Never stop for a sign or light you can run through. They'll never catch us all."

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Posted by barbara
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

oh give it up! This is California - built for the automobile.

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Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

barbara: you're right. Time to fix it!

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Posted by Biking Mom
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Dear "Fed Up Mom",

I'd like to encourage you to invest in a good bike lock and teach your kids to use it consistently. When lower cost bikes are stolen, it is usually for a joy ride.--These bikes generally aren't stolen by the pros. A good lock will prevent most thefts.

Don't cheat your kids of a bicycling experience. Get a couple of used bikes and lock them up. Bicycling is a great way for kids to get exercise and learn independence and self-reliance...and it's FUN! Help your kids learn good bike safety skills and train them to lock up.

My kids ride everywhere, and their bikes have never been stolen because they ALWAYS lock up with a good Kryptonite lock.

I wish you the best.

Like this comment
Posted by Sallyann
a resident of Addison School
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

There are a lot of kids riding to and from Addison - so many the school is ordering another bike rack. But the most dangerous place for my kids is right outside the school where parents in cars are intent on finding a scarce parking spot and not looking out for kids on bicycles or scooters or skateboards or walking.
Next week is Bike or Roll to School week and it would be nice if the city took notice of just how many kids are cycling to school and how their safety could be improved. In my case, a stop sign or crossing guard on Channing at Webster and someone monitoring car and bike activity at Webster and Addison would save many anxious moments.
We've never had a bike stolen in 2 years but we always use locks.

Like this comment
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of University South
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

YIMBY is a registered user.

I would have liked to have seen the inclusion of bike sharrows as a strategy item (Web Link)

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Posted by new in town
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

It would be great if traffic enforcement spent more time near schools at morning drop-off times. Where we used to live, there were flashing signs indicating "School Zone" and the speed limit was 20 MPH when the lights were flashing. It was a big ticket so people would slow down.

Every day I see drivers running the stop signs at Ames and Ross and speeding on Ross, Ames, and Louis. Probably the same elsewhere near schools. But I wonder whether drivers even know they are near a school.

SLOW DOWN!! Your hurry is not at all more important than the safety of others trying to do the right thing.

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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

@YIMBY: Bike sharrows (AKA "Share the Road Arrows") are in fact a part of Palo Alto's bike strategy, in particular for roads which have substandard (too narrow) bike lanes and insufficient roadway width for lanes of the appropriate size. Sharrows have been placed on Alma northbound just north of the Homer tunnel, as well as I think on N. Cal Ave around either Newel or Louis, and expect some soon on Colorado Ave as well, again i think near Louis.

(By the way, I love your pen name, YIMBY. It's time we say "yes" to solutions instead of "No" to changes.)

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