Bike, pedestrian study focuses on El Camino Real

Palo Alto and Redwood City were selected for study to improve 'royal road'

Among cities that contain some part of the 43 miles of El Camino Real, two of them -- Palo Alto and Redwood City -- have been selected for a study on how to make the "royal road" better for all modes of transit.

Redwood City was selected by San Mateo County and Palo Alto by Santa Clara County. The concept is to try out ideas in those cities and see what might apply along the rest of El Camino.

Among the goals are to "calm" traffic, bolster pedestrian access, take bikes into consideration, and improve the streetscape, according to Will Reisman, spokesman for the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

The study will cost $394,000, paid for by a state grant. Overseeing the study is the "Grand Boulevard Initiative," a project made up of 19 cities and agencies that want El Camino to be more pedestrian-friendly and have more mixed-use development near public transit.

"The lessons learned from these case studies can be considered by Menlo Park and Atherton, as they make sense for their community needs," Reisman said.

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18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:40 pm

El Camino is not a good street for biking. There are too many driveways.

Is there any possibility of having a completely separated bike path in the center median with separate bike traffic light and a berm separating bikes from traffic? There is a bike path in Washington DC like this and I have seen the idea work well in Europe too.

21 people like this
Posted by About Time
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:44 pm

This is about 25 years overdue! How many deaths were there before they decided a study was needed??

19 people like this
Posted by Marcie Bentley
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm

You bikers don't understand how to stay to the right, inside your bike lane. If it's that difficult to stay to the right, then maybe you should find another way of transportation. Learn street safety before you criticize the city with your bogus, we don't need to hear that crap in our daily lives. Bikes follow the same laws cars do and have the same consequences. How many deaths will it take before bikers learn common safety, considering all the biking accidents already?

12 people like this
Posted by Joey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

"You bikers..." Don't act like it's us-vs-them. If I judged all motorists by the ones that almost run me over while texting, I'd be angry, too. I bike to work, I also own a car. I'm lucky enough to afford both of those luxuries. "Find another way of transportation" reeks of privilege. There are good drivers and bad drivers; good riders and bad riders.
As for staying to the right, by law, is done only as is practicable. It can be difficult when people open parked car doors without looking, or when there are obstructions in the bike lane. It is safer to "take the lane" when there isn't enough width for a car to safely pass a bicycle. Many motorists overtake at the slightest opportunity (I was guilty of this before I started riding regularly). I'd rather have someone angry at me for a few minutes rather than be injured or killed in a failed attempt to be overtaken.
Bikes do follow the same rules as cars, with a few exceptions, but they have drastically different consequences. That's why I always wear a helmet and have front and rear lights on at all times.
Also keep in mind the difference between a bike lane and an emergency lane or fog line.
Remember that roads have existed for thousands of years and have been shared by all kinds of traffic. Only since the mid-20th century, especially in the US, has road infrastructure favored the automobile.

35 people like this
Posted by Southern
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Between the overdevelopment and antagonism toward cars, Palo Alto needs to start investing in community assets that are walkable to residents in the neighborhoods that currently lack them. Ten years ago, it was easy to go across town to enjoy the many amenities in the north, now it's like the north side is in another town. It often takes me longer to get over there than it used to take to get to the airport. The result is a rapidly declining quality of life despite princely taxes. The City should have kept the Maybell site when it had the chance, and they should consider the future of the Fry's site for community space. This side of Palo Alto is getting increasingly cut off. If you want us out of our cars, bring parity to some of the inequity in amenities across town. It's just bizarre to hear all the hand wringing about the stress kids feel, and the utter lack of any commitment to creating connecting physical environments. In the north, kids can walk to the pool; in the south, kids either have to belong to a country club or visit the field that used to be the community pool but got filled in.

Walkability, adjacency, liveability, natural environment - it's time the Council started paying attention the more than just office spaces - which creates the problems that seem to demand all their of Council'sattention but doesn't pay its way.

16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 1, 2016 at 7:29 am

Palo Alto is rapidly becoming overpopulated. The problem is not CARS its PEOPLE.

However, curbing immigration from every corner of the world is unspeakable because people conflate it with racism. The Silicone Valley is drawing too many people and our neighborhoods are rapidly becoming more concentrated.

I agree with "Southern" 100 percent and its fun to be nostalgic but we'll have to accept that the peaceful & quiet Palo Alto is gone forever.

I don't go outside in Palo Alto anymore, the noise and density is kind of shocking in how rapidly it is increasing.

Soon enough we'll look like Beijing with crowded sidewalks and swarms of bicycles everywhere.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2016 at 8:29 am

I agree that we are in our cars because there isn't enough of what we want in Palo Alto. I disagree that it is a north/side divide, but it is because in Palo Alto we don't have a lot of the recreation, shopping, or services, that our residents need on a daily or weekly basis.

We have Stanford Mall and some very expensive stores at T & C and downtown. Are these affordable?

We have a small Safeway and some boutique grocery stores as well as Grocery Outlet. Are these where the bulk of us get the bulk of our groceries?

We have the Winter Lodge, some small clique movie theaters, some libraries and sports fields. Is that it for recreation particularly for young people?

We have some excellent parks, but they are often crowded at popular times when some teens want to go and play a pick up game.

We all admit to going to Big Box Stores outside of town, Costco, Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.

All these things mean that residents who may walk or ride bikes to school or work, have to get in a car and drive out of town for many of life's necessities.

Like this comment
Posted by MP/EPA resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 1, 2016 at 8:40 am

Making the community more friendly for cyclists/pedestrians is more than just studying El Camino Real. You can't have a truly bikeable/walkable community when everything is so sprawled out. If that's the goal, the city needs to think about how to develop more densely moving forward. Otherwise it doesn't matter what we do with El Camino Real. Let's focus on the real reasons ECR traffic is so bad (people need to go north/south because everything is so far apart and because our alternative transportation options are comically lacking).

6 people like this
Posted by Already done for you
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 1, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Grand Boulevard Initiative Google it.

If you people think you even have a choice in what's going on in your own neighborhood, think again. This is a master plan, already in the making, backed by public agencies and major real estate developers. It most certainly will ensure fewer cars (full lane reduction on El Camino) and incredibly dense development (from said real estate developers who are anxious for this fortuitous opportunity).

And if you don't think your local politicians, your City council members, aren't in bed with, and benefiting from, this "Initiative" then you haven't been paying enough attention to what's going on in your own community.

Likely this publication has benefit as well. Let's see how long this post stays up

17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Mixing cars and bicycles on a State highway is a recipe for injuries and deaths.

It is not a matter of "rights" but the physics of 4000 pound cars and 200 pound bicycles.

3 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 2, 2016 at 12:48 pm

"If it's that difficult to stay to the right, then maybe you should find another way of transportation."

OMG! No! We do not want bike riding habits transplanted to automobiles or [horrors] SUVs.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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