News

Palo Alto set to approve new bike bridge

Overpass at Adobe Creek would give residents new path to the Baylands

They were looking for "Wow!" but, having failed, Palo Alto residents and city leaders are settling for "now."

Such is the change in community sentiment when it comes to the bike bridge that the city is looking to build over U.S. Highway 101, a structure that the City Council has been dreaming about for at least six years. And while construction is still at least a year away, the bike bridge is expected to clear a huge milestone on Monday night, when the council approves the environmental assessment for the project and gives it the final green light.

The council's vote will conclude what has been a long, complex and, at times, contentious design process for a $16-million structure that would give south Palo Alto bikers and pedestrians year-round access to the Baylands. The bridge would replace the existing Benjamin Lefkowitz Underpass, which is prone to flooding and is only open on a seasonal basis.

In 2014, the city facilitated a design competition for what was supposed to be an "iconic" bridge, with panel of architecture experts ultimately selecting as a winner a prominent, arched structure designed by a team led by the engineering firm HNTB.

The council, for its part, tossed out the recommendation and threw its unanimous support behind the runner-up: a slimmer and subtler ribbon-shaped bridge from a team led by Moffatt & Nichol.

But in December 2015, with cost estimates for the Moffatt & Nichol bridge rising to $17 million, the council agreed to terminate its contract with the firm and start from scratch on a simpler and cheaper bridge designed by Biggs Cardosa. The main component of the bridge is the 165-foot-long prefabricated steel-bowed truss spanning Highway 101 (with two smaller sections spanning East and West Bayshore roads).

The design also includes an overlook area decked with a wood finish and amenities such as benches and informational signage. Lights will be installed to illuminate the bike's path at night.

Not everyone is thrilled about the design's evolution. Asher Waldfogel, vice chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission, characterized the proposed bridge design as a sign of the city's falling expectations when it comes to major capital projects. The type of trestle bridge proposed for Adobe Creek is what the "village builds over a stream," not what a city builds over a major highway, Waldfogel said during the commission's Sept. 19 review.

By failing to bring its "A-game" to this project, Palo Alto is sending a poor signal to developers and to the community about its priorities on major future projects, such as the downtown parking garage and grade separations at the Caltrain tracks. The message, he said, is that "the only thing that matters is cost."

"I think we should collectively breathe a sigh of relief that something is moving forward, but (at) the same time I think we should just pause for a second and ask ourselves why after all of this time, all this effort, this is the design that we're ending up with."

Nevertheless, the commission voted 6-0 (with Waldfogel abstaining) to approve the environmental analysis for the project. Several commissioners lauded the prospect of both enhancing Palo Alto's recreational offerings and providing commuters with a new option for getting to Google, LinkedIn or other companies in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View. The Architectural Review Board followed suit on Oct. 19, when it unanimously approved the design of the bridge, setting the stage for the council's final approval next week.

Planning Commissioner Eric Rosenblum, a former Google employee, said the purpose of building the bridge is "to encourage cycling and to get people out of their cars if possible." He proposed including signs on the bridge directing two-wheel commuters to their places of employment.

"If you drive to Shoreline or any of those exits, it's pretty obvious that a lot of the traffic is driven by the corporate campuses in that area and what we've built here is a really nice alternative," Rosenblum said.

Chair Michael Alcheck agreed, noting that the proposed structure is both "a recreational bridge" and "a commuter tool." The project, he said, is not perfect but is "good enough." Alcheck said he had found the design competition for the bridge "thrilling" and "fun," despite the fact that none of the designs from the contest ultimately won the council's support.

"I think this result is very emblematic of the challenge of satisfying everyone," Alcheck said. "When we went through that design process we had many members of our community who suggested that there are far better things to spend our money on."

The lower ambitious have not, however, dramatically reduced the costs. Thanks to a hot construction market, the new bridge has an estimated price tag of about $16.2 million, well above the $10 million that the city had originally envisioned. Of that sum, about $6.9 million will come from city spending. The rest will come from Santa Clara County funds ($4 million), the One Bay Area Grant program administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission ($4.35 million) and a contribution from Google ($1 million).

The high cost notwithstanding, residents have been emailing the council and commissioners urging them to get the project built as soon as possible. Penny Ellson, a south Palo Alto resident and longtime leader of the city's successful Safe Routes to School program, urged officials in a May email to "move this much-needed project forward expediently."

The bridge would create a "significant addition to daily bike commutes," she wrote. And for people who like to hike and bird-watch in the Baylands, it would "provide a new car-free connection to this amazing open, natural space."

"The Highway 101/Adobe pedestrian/bike bridge is an important regional connector that is long overdue," Ellson wrote. "Please move it forward quickly."

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Comments

17 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2017 at 7:10 am

The City Council should study this for a few more years so we can add it to the list with the underground wiring project and residential fiber. What's another decade? We should have a major recession by then and costs will go down.


27 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2017 at 7:28 am

We are a village building a bridge over a stream of traffic. It needs to be something those driving underneath don't need to be distracted by and those going over the top just want to get there.

Simple really.


39 people like this
Posted by It was karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2017 at 9:09 am

More revisionist history by the weekly, written to protect the reputation of their buddy on the council. It was karen holman that wanted the wow. It was karen holman that pushed for the design contest. It was karen holman and the council that rejected the contest winner and pushed for an expensive bridge. Stop blaming the public for the incompetence and cluelesness of certain council members.


20 people like this
Posted by Necessary?
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 24, 2017 at 9:46 am

Isn't there already a pedestrian and bicycle undercrossing at Adobe creek? My son and I just biked past here from Menlo via the Embarcadero pedestrian bridge and the Adobe undercrossing was wide open. Seems kind of wasteful for something that's only necessary when it's pouring rain.


8 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 24, 2017 at 10:12 am

It was karen --

It seems whenever this bridge is discussed on the Town Square, some posters take the opportunity to blame Karen Holman for the fiasco, but never include web links to articles that support this opinion.

In my memory, Karen Holman was enthusiastic about the design competition, etc., but she was not alone. Nancy Shepherd was Mayor at the time, and at least five council members voted "yes" to advance the process for creating an "iconic" and "landmark" bridge, rather than focus on a more cost-effective project.

Just trying to be accurate about the facts.


42 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 24, 2017 at 10:12 am

DTN Paul is a registered user.

@necessary? ...

That undercrossing is usually closed from November to April, so it definitely important!

I for one am happy we're making progress...


39 people like this
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

Bike Commuter is a registered user.

I agree with DTN Paul. I used the underpass to bicycle to work near the baylands and the turns are tight with poor visibility to avoid colliding with pedestrians and other cyclists.

Also the City can close it without notice after it rains which does not support bicycling to work!

Looking forward to a safer way to get across 101 and into our beautiful baylands! Let the construction begin!!


7 people like this
Posted by It was karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

Arbitarian
Here is a link to an old article. You can read all of karens comments
Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 24, 2017 at 12:27 pm

You've got to be kidding! Now it's 16 mil. for a bike bridge!! Is that the best way to spend our tax money (or money found)? This is nothing more than an ego trip. Surely there will be a name attached for posterity - that is until the name becomes non-PC.


33 people like this
Posted by Penny Ellson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Penny Ellson is a registered user.

The underpass is closed by the water district for about half of the year because it is prone to flooding (and it has some other practical disadvantages some of which are noted above). The tunnel is not controlled by the city. Foot-powered commuters and users of the Bay Trails recreation facilities need this connection all year long.

I spoke as an individual who enjoys walking, bicycling and bird watching with my family in the baylands, not as a PTA representative. My husband bike commutes to his job in San Jose via the bay trails. The bridge is not a school route; therefore, the PTA has neither discussed it nor taken a position on it.

The proposed bridge will provide a wonderful connection for people of all ages who walk and bike to enjoy the baylands for recreation and to use off-road bike commute trails. Currently, in the winter when the Lefkowitz Tunnel is closed, bicyclists are forced to wet, dark surface streets or the San Antonio overpass--very uncomfortable. This is an exciting improvement for people who prefer to choose active, sustainable alternatives to driving and those who enjoy walking and biking to the incredible bird habitat in the baylands.


22 people like this
Posted by Barron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm

$16 million, eh? This issue was covered a year ago, when they were estimating a mere $13 million:

Web Link

My comments then remain appropriate, if unheeded. Here they are again:

I suggest that everyone who has an interest in this project visit the Permanente Creek Bridge over 101, if they haven't already. This beautiful bicycle/pedestrian overpass was built in 2011-2012. The cost of the bridge was -- are you sitting down? -- about $3M. Yes, that bridge was built for $3M. The entire path, including a very expensive Middlefield underpass, was $9M, and most of the extra $6M was for land acquisition and a huge amount of concrete for the Middlefield Road underpass.

So, look. If Mountain View can build an overpass for $3M (2011 dollars), why is Palo Alto even considering spending $13M (or more) on something comparable?

Palo Alto: get smart and talk to Mountain View and the contractor who built the Permanente Trail extension 6 years ago.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 24, 2017 at 1:11 pm

"The project, he said, is not perfect but is "good enough." "

Good enough. The anthem of the Culture of Mediocrity.


"The Architectural Review Board followed suit on Oct. 19, when it unanimously approved the design of the bridge..."

OMG, it only gets worse.


18 people like this
Posted by PhotoOp
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Glad this is moving forward * we have talked enough, lets build and enjoy the bridge and access !! the underpass isn't predictable and dangerous...


25 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Last summer my son and I tried to find the Benjamin Lefkowitz Underpass and we couldn't. I later found out it was closed even though it was technically supposed to be open.
We were trying to get to Baylands, but somehow ended up on San Antonio near Charleston and it was NOT fun... and it was harrowing to say the least.

We never tried to go to Baylands again via bike after that incident... not with a 6 yr old child on a bike.

So as a Palo Alto resident one can only say... it's about time!

We can find many excuses to delay this project. Another 10 years or 20 years. As time passes.. costs will always escalate.

Meanwhile the full usage potential of the Baylands by residents will not be fully realized and kids and families grow up.


4 people like this
Posted by Abitarian.
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

It was karen --

Thanks for posting the link. As you can read, the article supports my point.

1. The article said the council voted 9-0 to proceed with the analysis and "supported Councilwoman Karen Holman's suggestion to explore holding a design contest for the new structure."

2. The article said "If the city doesn't get sufficient funding for a 'really stellar design,' Holman said, it should consider a 'good utilitarian design' rather than settle for an 'underfunded artistic endeavor."

Again, the point I am trying to make is that while Karen Holman suggested the idea to have a design competition, the council voted unanimously to proceed. So, all nine of the council members were responsible for the fiasco, not just Karen Holman.

By the way, I did not support the plan. See Web Link where I wrote:

Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

It feels rather pretentious to require an "iconic" design for a bicycle / pedestrian crossing at this location. Sure, I love a good suspension bridge like the George Washington or the Golden Gate, but we are talking the 101 freeway here. In my opinion, "understated elegance" would be a more fitting approach to the Baylands.

It's a lot of money and it would seem responsible to choose a less costly option and divert some of the budget to more pressing needs. Given the way that government funding is allocated, however, it is unlikely that the City could just transfer some of the dollars to another project.


7 people like this
Posted by Robert Neff
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Robert Neff is a registered user.

Arbitarian --

That is the way I remember it, too. The bridge design competition was presented as a way to get a better design for same size of budget, at the main cost being that a few months would be added (like 3-6 months) for the design competition. With 20/20 hindsight I think the acceptance of that premise was wishful thinking by everyone involved, including all of council, plus staff, plus a lot of the community (including me). Someone had to suggest it, but everyone else agreed and went along.

Anyway, I'm glad to see the new bridge plus the pathway connector to Meadow moving ahead. It will be terrific to have that as a year round connection.


10 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm

My recollection is that it was Liz Kniss that sponsored the bridge and insisted it be "Iconic". Her's are the fingerprints on this one for better or worse.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 24, 2017 at 7:35 pm

"So, all nine of the council members were responsible for the fiasco, not just Karen Holman."

The real fiasco occurred just after the design competition was completed and the results were evaluated. The council rejected the Architectural Review Board's choice (normally a good thing to do) and voted for a runner-up, purportedly cheaper, concept. OK.

But council and staff neglected to read the fine print about costs, and got a nasty avoidable surprise when the chosen design firm presented the big picture at a follow-up meeting. Much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments later, the city canceled the contract and the project sat in limbo for these years.

Q: How many people does it take to select a bike bridge?

A: One, if they what they're doing. Otherwise, forget it.


7 people like this
Posted by It was karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm

Nice try, steve. But Liz was not only the council info 2011 when the bridge was proposed. Liz, then on the board of supervisors had gotten money from Stanford for the bridge. Plus if you read my link above, you will see allison the quotes from karen about the bridge. Holman stated then that it was a long time coming. And now 6 years later we still have no bridge. This serves as a microcosm of holmans tenure one the council.


14 people like this
Posted by Polly Wanacracker
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 24, 2017 at 10:15 pm

"It was karen"

She turned you down for that date, huh? Get over it.


3 people like this
Posted by Wanna bike
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 24, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I think it would be more useful and cheaper to somehow make a safer way to bicycle across San Antonio, somewhere on the north side of Central Expressway.

On the south side, there is California Avenue, but even that isn’t safe; the bike lanes don’t continue and cars are aplenty, at speeds from 5 - 50 miles an hour.

This dangerous route is the reason I don’t bike to work.


4 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 24, 2017 at 11:08 pm

$16 M to "Feel Comfortable" Penny Ellson? $16 M? San Antonio is THERE! Sidewalk, access both ends. It is a Bike Bridge! Biking a couple hundred feet is, so, so plebeian for Stanford riders after miles across Palo Alto. We shall wear our magnificent Liz Kniss Commemorative White Elephant with ever so much pride! I, for one, shall never use it! San Antonio lives forever! 46 years crossing it, another 20 to go!


7 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 25, 2017 at 6:27 am

It is reassuring to read Asher Waldfogel's concerns about the design and the message it sends about us, but that sort of sensitivity may be coming along too late for Palo Alto. Yesterday while biking through campus I was again struck by how successfully Stanford has added to its built environment. The new and the old stand well together and the overall look and feel of the campus is cohesive and attractive, even with its mix of old and new, high density and low density. Palo Alto, sad to say, seems to have a penchant for ugly.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 8:35 am

I am of the opinion that this bridge should be built and should be done with as little fanfare as possible. The fact that the price has gone up while all the quibbling has been going on is power for the course in Palo Alto.

When I see the amount of money that is being wasted on the Ross bike improvements with very little justification as to the safety aspect for children in particular, I can see that as usual cost is no problem to our CC.

The one thing I want to say about a bike bridge is that there has to be a division between pedestrians and those on bikes. I will not walk the Stevens Creek trail because it is not designed for both bikes and pedestrians to enjoy. A pedestrian has to take so many precautions to stay out of the way of speeding bikes that it is not the place for a family with toddlers to enjoy or for two people to walk side by side and have a conversation. If you have to watch for speeding bikes, you might as well be walking alongside an expressway. Stevens Creek is an expressway for bikes, not a pleasant place to walk. I would hope that our bike bridge will be place for pedestrians and in particular for families with young children to be as safe as if they were on a trail near the Duck Pond.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

Stupid spell checker, par for the course, of course.


2 people like this
Posted by Cheech
a resident of Triple El
on Nov 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

It would be nice to have a way, to get there!


30 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Good grief, this story should have been 'Palo Alto Opens New Bike Bridge', and published a few years ago. Instead, we, residents, have been caught in a completely stupid endless loop of ego stroking design contests and escalating costs driven by some exceptionally poor 'leadership' in city hall. There is no excuse for this idiotic behavior as it has cost years of unnecessary delays and ballooned the cost beyond what was necessary.

Everything I have read about this project over the years, the public was screaming for 'now', the city insisted on 'wow'


36 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:38 pm

What is the schedule for building this bike path? Will it be open before the underpass floods again next year? Or is this another multi-year wait and wait project?


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 26, 2017 at 1:12 am

@parent, regarding schedule, get out the crystal ball. Maybe we could crowd-source an answer by starting a betting pool as to the exact date of the ribbon cutting. The closest prediction would be the winner, earning bragging rights and credibility on any future predictions. Of course it's a moving target, so we'd need to set a firm entry cut-off date like Christmas, giving people a month to research the topic and maybe adjust their guess based on other entries. At the moment I'd be looking at Wednesday October 20, 2021 for no particular reason other than the usual delays. Though this Monday's hour and a half scheduled by Council on the project action item may be sufficiently illuminating to prompt a revised guess. Or not.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 26, 2017 at 4:23 am

God, not this again.

What is more important, fixing possible flooding, or a new bridge?

If the bridge needs to be built, build the budget version of it. Mountain View
has bike bridges all over the place ... maybe they can help.

Or, Palo Alto is now so predatory capitalist, maybe build a nice expensive
and ostentatious toll bridge and see how long it takes to pay it off when
no one uses it and it gets vandalized and covered with graffiti.

What might be nice is a bridge over 101 connected that sliver of EPA where
the 7-11 is and the Newell Bridge, tear down the Newell bridge and connect
across 101 to near the shopping center to solve the access problem to
that area.

I'd like to see a bike bridge to the Baylands, but there are more urgent
things needed in Palo Alto other than to show off to 101 commuters.


2 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

Sorry folks, it's an ugly bridge. Even the color is awful.

The design pretty much locks out any chance of safe pedestrian access.

Don't build this bridge. Fix the design.


9 people like this
Posted by pickpocket
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 26, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Argue all you want about the aesthetics of the bridge...there is a much bigger question: How do you GET TO the bridge from the Palo Alto side?

Bike lanes along fast moving Bayshore Rd/Fabian are scary, especially for kids. There's no protected crossing from northbound bike lane. Sidewalks are equally dangerous -- narrow with streetlight poles rising right in the middle of the sidewalk.

The solution in obvious: the project must include about one block of bike lanes along one or both sides of Adobe Creek to the intersection of E. Meadow Dr. Ample unused rights-of-way are there. Negotiate with the water district. With this access route, the bridge will be well-used by both commuters and families.


28 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

@richard, do you actually bike on the San Antonio overpass of 101? If so, you might not have 20 years left after all. It's not that safe for cyclists.


17 people like this
Posted by Matt Austern
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Nov 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Yep. I biked on the San Antonio overpass once. I'm not doing it again, even if that means going several miles out of my way. (I'd change my mind if they eliminated one lane of automotive traffic, lowered the speed limit to 25mph and enforced it, and put in proper bike lines.)

I'm disappointed too that the Adobe bike bridge is so many years behind schedule, and I agree that the management of this project reflects poorly on the city's competence. But even though this is very frustrating, reacting to that frustration by calling for yet another design change and yet another attempt to restart the project is exactly the wrong thing to do. That sort of indecision is one of the main reasons for the mess, and it can only cause the project to take even longer and cost even more.

Let's just build the thing. At least there's still hope that it will be completed this decade, and a completed bridge in 2019 is an awful lot better than a beautiful design for 2028.


2 people like this
Posted by Betty Jo
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

@parent: Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019 and end in Spring 2020.


5 people like this
Posted by bettyjo
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm

@penny ellison
Ms. Ellison:

I thank you for your dedicated advocacy efforts over lo these many years for this needed bike and pedestrian bridge across 101 to our treasured Baylands. We, our children, our children’s children, and all who live or work here and appreciate healthy outdoor activity and environmentally sensitive transportation options will benefit from this project.

I’m excited that we are now achieving this important milestone on the long slog toward building this bridge.

I’m grateful for the countless hours invested by you, by citizen volunteers on Planning / Transportation, Parks and Recreation, CAC, (several) City Councils and by committed city staff who have worked on this effort.

Betty Jo


8 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Anyone who bikes over the San Antonio overpass has a death wish.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 27, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interesting that allegedly environmentally sensitive Palo Alto has chosen to build a non-renewable resource steel bridge at more than twice the cost of a renewable resource wood bridge that would have been much more attractive.


Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2017 at 4:55 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

The city council should bike over to East Palo Alto, and ask how they were able to manage their ped/bike bridge project, which is having a ground breaking this Thursday at Clarke and Bayshore. I didn't hear anything about a design competition, or any "Wow!".

@Peter - People who think they have really really good ideas about how a simple, off the shelf, freeway bridge should be built are why we don't have one already.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Alderman- I miss your point, please explain.


5 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Peter Carpenter - Just build the bridge. We don't need design competitions, wow moments, or wood construction. There are literally hundreds of concrete and steel bike/ped bridges built over freeways in California, Just take the standard design, standard construction, adapt it to the location, and build it. It would have been done years ago except for the exceptionalism of the city council and neighborhood activists.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Wood bridges are less expensive, take less time to construct and already exist in hundreds of places.


3 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ Peter Carpenter - Show me some wood pedestrian bridges in California over freeways.


16 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Another option is to close San Antonio at Charleston and let bikes / pedestrians use the existing bridge now used by cars. Rengstorff is about a quarter mile away, there is no need for a redundant freeway access for cars going north on 101.

Those of you making fun of the planning process should take a look at the bridge over 280 in Cupertino. That is truly an amazing piece of architecture, it shows what you can build when half the city isn't at your throat trying to rush the process along for no good reason.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 27, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a magnificent example of what a well designed wood bridge looks like:

Web Link

And this breathtaking, 160-foot long “pinned arc-style" pedestrian bridge costs $720,000 and has become an icon!

And here is a 280 ft clear span wood bridge :

Web Link

Both have been built so we know exactly what they look like and the City can easily get both the plans and the actual cost of both bridges.


4 people like this
Posted by Build 2
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 27, 2017 at 11:01 pm

At that cost, how about instead you build two? The bridge linked below cost $6m (2011 dollars) for a monstrous span over I-80. PA's Bayfront configuration would be very similar if routed down Adobe Creek with bike/ped path to East Meadow for far superior and safer access as proposed by pickpocket above.

Web Link

Looks fantastic to me. "Iconic" even.


Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2017 at 11:33 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

George C. Parker (March 16, 1860 – 1936) was an American con man best known for his surprisingly successful attempts to "sell" the Brooklyn Bridge. He made his living conducting illegal sales of property he did not own, often New York's public landmarks, to unwary immigrants. The Brooklyn Bridge was the subject of several of his transactions, predicated on the notion of the buyer controlling access to the bridge. Police removed several of his victims from the bridge as they tried to erect toll booths.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm

"Here is a magnificent example of what a well designed wood bridge looks like:"

Sorry, that copycats the elegant design that was rejected years ago after winning the design bake-off. Excessively iconic, you know. The current brutalist trestle design is deemed "good enough."

Besides, glued wood outdoor structures lost favor after 1931, when Knute Rockne died in an airplane crash caused by failure of a glued-up wooden wing structure.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm

"Interesting that allegedly environmentally sensitive Palo Alto has chosen to build a non-renewable resource steel bridge..."

Steel's renewable. Didn't nobody tell you that? The iron in the proposed bridge, if built, has been in Model T's, WWII Jeeps and tanks, fifties Chevvies, eighties Chryslers, and possibly the original Bay Bridge.


Like this comment
Posted by "Rushed"...Seriously?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm

"Rushed"...Seriously? is a registered user.

We "rush the process"? Seriously? People have been working on getting this bridge built for more than a decade. Like every other bike/pedestrian project, this has been an exercise in endurance, fortitude, persistence. It is exhausting to get the simplest bike/pedestrian improvements approved and built. Compared to the magnificent price we just paid to add a lane to the 101 for cars only, the cost of this bridge is a tiny drop in the bucket.

Please, just get the bike/pedestrian bridge built expediently. We need a safe, functional route at this end of town across the 101 to the safe, quiet bay trails. We needed this bike/pedestrian bridge twenty years ago. We need it more desperately now.

I would like our transportation system to create safe spaces to quietly and safely ride a bike or walk without getting run down by two ton vehicles.

Truly, we can do better.


Like this comment
Posted by Good for cyclists
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

...eventually.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Steel's renewable"

Wrong.

Steel is NOT renewable, it IS recyclable.

Facts matter.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" that copycats the elegant design that was rejected years ago after winning the design bake-off."

Wrong. This wood bridge was completed in 2012 - BEFORE Palo Alto's design bake-off.

Facts matter.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"glued wood outdoor structures lost favor after 1931.."

Wrong- that was 85 years ago and a lot has happened since then in the wood structure world.

Here is some current examples:

"10 exceptionally tall wood buildings.
Wood is a growing presence in modern skylines across the world, and these timber giants are worth shouting about from the treetops."

Web Link

"Thanks to advances in technology and the rise in popularity of mega-strong, fire-resistant engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), tall timber buildings have emerged as an increasingly feasible — and vastly more sustainable — alternative to traditional high-rises built from concrete and steel. For one, the respective carbon footprints associated with tall wood buildings are relatively petite, making wood — particularly locally sourced and responsibly forested wood — an attractive and aesthetically pleasing choice."

Welcome to the 21st century.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

"Wrong. This wood bridge was completed in 2012 - BEFORE Palo Alto's design bake-off."

The arch-suspension bridge configuration far predates 2012. The PACC nevertheless rejected it due to, among other things, excessive iconicism.

"Steel is NOT renewable, it IS recyclable."

Recycling renews. Like, be glad those beer cans you quaffed from were renewed as they were recycled. You never know who drank from them in their previous inmetalizations, and you probably wouldn't want to know.

Also, wood is not renewable. Killing a tree to get its wood gets you new wood all right, but it does not renew the tree.

"Thanks to advances in technology and the rise in popularity of mega-strong, fire-resistant engineered wood products... "

Wood is still wood and glue is still glue. And, rain aside, there's fire and termites.

Let's not distract this process. Let goofy enough alone. At least the needle is quivering again.


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 28, 2017 at 6:45 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Mr. Carpenter: deja vu? We have been here before. Since we are comparing bridges, there are several multi lane overpasses in the Denver Metro area alone. I note that there is a bike path through the heart of Denver that was designed to get flooded during the spring thaw. Denver Metro and the surrounding cities are easily accessed by concrete bike/pedestrian paths. Share the path rules apply. Yes, a bike patrol officer can cite you for excessive speed.
No mandate to try social engineering to DEMAND people out of their cars, with bike friendly RTD Light Rail and bus connections ( No VTA boondoggles! ), you actually can choose your commute or live close to work.


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Curmudgeon: Well, I guess we will no longer have trees we sell on our woodlots after this and 10 years of clear cutting. NOT! Wood is far more recycle able than aluminum when considering the energy cost. Also, 7 acres of woodlot equals the same recycled oxygen for 1 human. Where is YOUR 7 acres I ask every eco freak who demands I convert to their lifestyle to " Save the Earth ".

Wood is a very viable material to use for structures. Ask any railway worker. Ask any rollercoaster maker. There are many famous wooden rollercoasters that people prefer than the cold,steel ones.
If you want a permanent structure, use stone blocks. Otherwise build with cost-effective materials. There are several single pole suspension ped/bike bridges that use ONE pole (in 101's median ). both cost effective and somewhat iconic.

Think outside the box ( girder )!


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2017 at 9:34 pm

"Wood is far more recycle able than aluminum when considering the energy cost."

Oh yeah? Show us the numbers.

Being the conservative you are, maybe you can explain why the marketplace recycles many tons of aluminum beer cans annually, but not an ounce of wood beer cans.

But, geez anyway. This bridge ain't even built yet, and everybody already wants to recycle it.


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