News

Facebook unveils bike plan

Social-networking giant aims to create safe routes to and from new Menlo Park campus

Making the streets of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto safer for bicyclists has hit the top of Facebook's community "to do" list as the company settles into its new headquarters on Willow Road in Menlo Park.

The social-networking giant announced plans on Monday, Jan. 30, to collaborate with local municipalities to create safe, continuous routes through the community to and from its campus at 1 Hacker Way.

John Tenanes, Facebook's real estate director, said the company is making a "significant investment" in the effort, which depends on East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Caltrans to help it figure how and where to spend the money.

Some improvements are already under way. The company got approval from Caltrans to restripe bike lanes from Newbridge Street at Willow Road to the Bayfront Expressway. University Avenue will also get a makeover within the next few weeks. Portions of Willow Road, Middlefield Road, and Hamilton Avenue may be next.

The pedestrian tunnel passing under the freeway also got a boost, with accelerated plans to reopen the path this year.

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"Cycling on the east side of Menlo Park is going to be a whole new experience," Tenanes said, and emphasized that the idea is to work hand-in-hand with local agencies to see that happen. The exact budget for the project depends on what changes partnering agencies will support.

The initiative was developed with plenty of help from Adina Levin and Andrew Boone of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition. Earlier this year they spotted several trouble spots for bicyclists while riding to Facebook, including the bike lane on Willow Road ending on Okeefe Street before it widens to two lanes, and the cloverleaf interchange at Willow Road and U.S. Highway 101.

With their input, Facebook has designed a survey that will soon go out to its workforce to help focus its efforts by identifying where clusters of cyclists are riding from, Tenanes said.

About 47 percent of Facebook employees use alternative transportation to get to work, said Jessica Herrera, Facebook's transportation coordinator. Six percent bike; she'd like to see that number reach 10 to 12 percent.

Terry Barton, who often bikes to his job at Facebook, said changes the company has made on campus have already shaved about 15 minutes off his home-to-desk travel time by grouping indoor bike racks, lockers, and showers close together in each building.

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Employees began spotting bike herds after Facebook bought 60 bikes for anyone to use around campus. "They're so popular that people are riding them to the cafeteria, then coming back out to find there aren't any left," Barton said.

Eventually the herd will expand to include a variety of bikes that workers can take out the gate on to local trails or into downtown Menlo Park, according toHerrera. An on-campus bike shop in Building 4, complete with mechanic, will let riders fix their bikes or build their own.

"The message is we're really serious about our (transportation demand management) program," Tenanes said.

The Menlo Park City Council meets on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. to study the draft environmental impact report for Facebook's planned campus expansion. The company has asked the city to let it bring 9,400 employees to work in Menlo Park in exchange for implementing caps on the number of vehicular trips.

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Facebook unveils bike plan

Social-networking giant aims to create safe routes to and from new Menlo Park campus

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 3:02 pm
Updated: Thu, Feb 2, 2012, 9:46 am

Making the streets of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto safer for bicyclists has hit the top of Facebook's community "to do" list as the company settles into its new headquarters on Willow Road in Menlo Park.

The social-networking giant announced plans on Monday, Jan. 30, to collaborate with local municipalities to create safe, continuous routes through the community to and from its campus at 1 Hacker Way.

John Tenanes, Facebook's real estate director, said the company is making a "significant investment" in the effort, which depends on East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Caltrans to help it figure how and where to spend the money.

Some improvements are already under way. The company got approval from Caltrans to restripe bike lanes from Newbridge Street at Willow Road to the Bayfront Expressway. University Avenue will also get a makeover within the next few weeks. Portions of Willow Road, Middlefield Road, and Hamilton Avenue may be next.

The pedestrian tunnel passing under the freeway also got a boost, with accelerated plans to reopen the path this year.

"Cycling on the east side of Menlo Park is going to be a whole new experience," Tenanes said, and emphasized that the idea is to work hand-in-hand with local agencies to see that happen. The exact budget for the project depends on what changes partnering agencies will support.

The initiative was developed with plenty of help from Adina Levin and Andrew Boone of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition. Earlier this year they spotted several trouble spots for bicyclists while riding to Facebook, including the bike lane on Willow Road ending on Okeefe Street before it widens to two lanes, and the cloverleaf interchange at Willow Road and U.S. Highway 101.

With their input, Facebook has designed a survey that will soon go out to its workforce to help focus its efforts by identifying where clusters of cyclists are riding from, Tenanes said.

About 47 percent of Facebook employees use alternative transportation to get to work, said Jessica Herrera, Facebook's transportation coordinator. Six percent bike; she'd like to see that number reach 10 to 12 percent.

Terry Barton, who often bikes to his job at Facebook, said changes the company has made on campus have already shaved about 15 minutes off his home-to-desk travel time by grouping indoor bike racks, lockers, and showers close together in each building.

Employees began spotting bike herds after Facebook bought 60 bikes for anyone to use around campus. "They're so popular that people are riding them to the cafeteria, then coming back out to find there aren't any left," Barton said.

Eventually the herd will expand to include a variety of bikes that workers can take out the gate on to local trails or into downtown Menlo Park, according toHerrera. An on-campus bike shop in Building 4, complete with mechanic, will let riders fix their bikes or build their own.

"The message is we're really serious about our (transportation demand management) program," Tenanes said.

The Menlo Park City Council meets on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. to study the draft environmental impact report for Facebook's planned campus expansion. The company has asked the city to let it bring 9,400 employees to work in Menlo Park in exchange for implementing caps on the number of vehicular trips.

Comments

Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Until the first heavy rain day or ultra hot day!


I bike
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm
I bike, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Heat is never a problem on the peninsula. I don't ride in the rain because, car drivers do no drive well in the rain, but there are not that many rainy days.


heat
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm
heat, Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I agree that the weather never gets real hot during commuter hours in Menlo Park. As for rain, what is that again?

Besides, the point is to reduce the total annual number of car trips (and the associated congestion and pollution). They don't have to do that every single day for the city to have a big win.


Donald
South of Midtown
on Jan 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm
Donald, South of Midtown
on Jan 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm

People in Sweden bike in heavy snow and ice. People in Spain bike in what we would consider to be oppressive heat. Dutch mothers tell their children that they can bike in the rain: "you are not made of sugar, and you will not melt". We have an incredibly mild climate in the Bay Area and it seems to have made us soft. I am looking forward to biking to work in the rain tomorrow morning, but the forecast is only for possible sprinkles.


Outside Observer
another community
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm
Outside Observer, another community
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Facebook has deep pockets.

Menlo Park should take a que from Palo Alto, and force them to build dedicated bicycle infrastructure to mitigate the impact they are having on the environment.... Or maybe that's what Facebook is trying to prevent... And maybe why they moved from Palo Alto in the first place.




I bike
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm
I bike, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm

No reason to have dedicated bike infrastructure when roads are available. Learn to share OO.


Phil
Downtown North
on Feb 1, 2012 at 9:53 am
Phil, Downtown North
on Feb 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

Every need to have a bike infrastructure. Sharing the road outside of slow speed limit or residential streets is simply a recipe for disaster. As bad as motor vehicle drivers can be, I see far more violations committed by cyclists. Darting in and out of moving traffic, riding on the wrong side of the street, not stopping or remaining stopped for red lights and stop signs, impeding traffic by failing to ride as far to the right as practical, or failing to have proper lighting equipment while riding at night. The margin for error is only slight for an exposed cyclist. They would be better off in a dedicated lane.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2012 at 10:38 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

Last night KTVU did a report on the effects of the facebook IPO to the local economy. Among other things, local luxury car dealerships are increasing their inventory awaiting the influx of new young millionaires ready to spend on luxury cars. Do you think they will want to ride a bike with a new Ferrari to show off?

Or do you think the luxury bike shops are going to get all these rich customers?


rich kids
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm
rich kids, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Lots of Googlers kept riding their bikes to work long after the company went public and made them multi-millionaires. Ferraris are so last century.


Mike
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm
Mike, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

To itch kids, yeah, right! That's why Ferrari dealership was strategically sought on the Peninsula! Check the atats, they Do very well!


Bike Commuter
Ventura
on Feb 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm
Bike Commuter, Ventura
on Feb 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I hope they do make Willow more friendly to bikes. It is harrowing crossing over 101 to get Bayfront Expressway.


I. Bike
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm
I. Bike, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I have been part of a couple IPOS. Typically the money the employees receive goes into buying houses, not cars. I bought a house with both IPOs. My bike was bought with bonus money. While I could afford a Ferrari, what's the point in owning an expensive high maintnce car when I have daughters that need colllege funds. Ferreris are for the VCs, not the employees. The employees tend to not go out and buy stupid. There are exceptions, but most aren't buying junk.


Mary B.
Palo Verde
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm
Mary B., Palo Verde
on Feb 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I like to bike to work and used to bike to work in a former employer's old location near the PA Golf Course. However, when the employer moved to larger quarters off Willow Road, the bike ride in that section of Menlo Park was so dangerous, that I had to drive. Facebook's bikeway is a boon to that area, not only for Facebook, but for the other workplaces.


Hulkamania
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I cashed in options worth over $5,000,000 and still ride my beater commute bike ten miles each way to Sunnyvale. Ferrari/Lambo/Bimmers are for posers. My weekend ride is a Trek Madone 5.5.


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