News

For new bike boulevard, it's not smooth sailing

New Ross Road fixtures are confusing bicyclists and drivers, creating danger, residents say

Pedestrians cross Loma Verde Avenue at the intersection of Ross Road where new center lane islands have been constructed for traffic control. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Watch "Behind the Headlines" for a discussion on this issue with City Senior Transportation Planner Chris Corrao.

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The city of Palo Alto's effort to turn a south Palo Alto street into a bicycle-friendly boulevard is encountering a chorus of complaints from residents who say that the changes are making the road more dangerous.

The first phase of the $8.6 million Neighborhood Traffic Safety and Bicycle Boulevard Project commenced this fall and is ongoing. City contractors are adding speed humps, traffic islands, curb extensions and other modifications designed to slow speeders along Ross Road, a major route to local schools. The project involves 7.1 miles of local streets, including Ross, Moreno Avenue, Amarillo Avenue, Louis Road, Montrose Avenue and Bryant Street. In addition to the street fixtures, the plan calls for 11 roundabouts, three raised crosswalks, five raised intersections and the reconfiguration of four intersections.

Todd Koumrian, a resident of Stelling Drive, walked the area on a recent afternoon, pointing to four traffic islands at the intersection of Ross and Loma Verde Avenue that he said now force cars into the existing bike lanes, which in turn push bicyclists off the road.

"Cars making a left onto Ross now have a very narrow spot to turn. It's a danger zone," he said.

Speed humps flanked by concrete landscape boxes that extend out into the street have narrowed the road into pinch points. Koumrian said he has seen drivers speed up to get through the narrowed space with the intent of passing bicyclists.

Palo Verde neighborhood resident Maryann Hinden, an occasional bicyclist, said she's continually looking over her shoulder now for approaching cars, especially as she cycles through the narrow spots.

As a car driver, Hinden said she also finds the new configurations "pretty aggravating." The bike lane, when permanently marked, will be in the middle of lane, and cars and bikes will be expected to share the road.

"All I can see is a recipe for drivers getting frustrated and having road rage," she said.

Annette Glanckopf, co-chair of the Midtown Residents Association, said in an email that she had a near miss this week on the newly configured road.

"I drove it the other night and almost hit a biker. Two cars can barely pass each other; I do not know how two cars and a biker can pass. It is an accident waiting to happen. Although something is technically feasible and seems very logical, it doesn't take into consideration human behavior," she wrote.

But Palo Verde resident Mark Pietrofesa said he approves of the project, which will slow down drivers. He cycles about 10,000 miles annually and has a 10-year-old who rides a bike to school.

"Traffic has gotten worse around here," he said, noting that every day he gets "buzzed" by drivers who get too close while he rides in dedicated bike lanes.

He expects traffic on Ross will lessen because the more aggressive drivers will take another route, just as many have to avoid Bryant, which was the city's first bicycle boulevard.

"I don't think it can hurt the cycling or the driving communities. We just need for everyone to be patient," he said.

Regarding his neighbors' concerns about the new configuration, Pietrofesa believes that putting the bike lane in the middle of the road might force drivers to go a little slower. It also makes bicyclists more visible. Kids will be better off because drivers will be able to see them, he said. Also, cyclists won't have to swerve around parked cars and into the road.

The center bike lane will eliminate another problem: drivers passing cyclists and making right turns in front of them, imperiling the riders who end up in the drivers' blind spots, he added.

But Sunita Verma, who lives on Ross Road, has concerns. She's observed that bicyclists and drivers do not know what to do, especially when they come upon a narrowed roadway. She's seen cars force students from Palo Verde Elementary and Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle schools to stop at the new concrete curb extensions and wait for the cars to go through, she said.

"I wish they had just put a bike lane in. There's no space. Kids have to go on the sidewalk or in the middle of the road," she said.

City Senior Transportation Planner Chris Corrao defended the project in an interview with the Weekly. He maintained the project will be much safer once it's completed and the road markings are in place. The narrower lanes are still legally wide enough for two cars to go through — at least 10 feet — and double-yellow markings will mark the road's center.

The combination of speed humps and curb extensions, which will be installed throughout the length of Ross Road, have been shown to be the most effective method for slowing traffic, he said.

City staff is working on a campaign for the schools on how to safely use traffic circles and the other street structures. They also are developing a user's guide for residents regarding the new corridor. A FAQ will be posted on the project website at cityofpaloalto.org/bikepedsafety.

The road project has lit up the Palo Verde neighborhood, whose residents have posted more than 200 comments ranging from dismay to approval on the website Nextdoor.com. Residents also claimed they didn't receive notification from the city about the project, which led to surprise when the street fixtures started to appear.

Ross Road resident Alison Cormack said neighbors got only a postcard about a workshop in March 2016, a notification of a pre-construction meeting in January and a door hanger this fall as construction began with pictures of what was happening.

"I'm not a traffic engineer or a bicycle commuter. When I heard 'bike boulevard,' I thought bike lanes, like Louis Road. When I heard 'traffic calming,' I thought speed bumps, like the rest of Ross Road," she said.

The planning department should have mailed a FAQ "in plain English, not traffic jargon" and a document with a map on one side with pictures on the other.

"The city requires other projects to provide physical visual notice before final approval — cell towers, home additions, construction, etc. But this significant change to our street did not do that," she said.

The project might turn out well, she added, "but I promise you that if you aren't a traffic engineer or a bicycle commuter, it doesn't look that way when it shows up unannounced in front of your house."

Penny Ellson, a Greenmeadow resident who bikes and drives on Ross and has been a leader in creating safe bicycle routes to schools, supports taking a wait-and-see perspective until the work is completed. The project's effectiveness can't be fairly assessed by conflicts created in part by ongoing construction, she said.

She also implored for people not to divide into "us" and "them" camps of motorists and bicyclists but to work together and see the project as a benefit for all users.

The greatest danger to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists is speed, she said, and this project addresses that. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle at 35 mph has a 68 percent chance of survival; at 25 mph, the survival rate is 85 percent, according to the California State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

Corrao said that city staff has heard "loud and clear" residents' concerns about the lack of outreach about the project. The city did hold multiple bike-along events, conduct outreach at a farmers market and hold four rounds of community meetings regarding the city's planned bike and pedestrian boulevards (not specifically for Ross Road, though it was included) between 2014 and 2016. Staff held a public meeting regarding the final Ross Road draft concept plans at Ohlone Elementary School on March 29, 2016, and 61 people attended. The City Council approved the plans in May 2016, and the contract was awarded by the council on June 27.

Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada said in an email that the public can contact the construction contractor's public-information officer through the project website. The city is now making sure that person contacts residents living near soon-to-be-added fixtures prior to the construction. The city is also asking the contractor to add project information signs earlier as construction proceeds.

For future projects, Shikada said, city staff and consultants will do more door-to-door outreach during the concept-planning stage, in addition to posting public notices and holding workshops. The outreach will include posting signs along the route and making direct contact with residents who live adjacent to proposed traffic features prior to project approval.

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Comments

79 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

Well obviously.
We tried to tell them, but they wouldn't listen!
$8.6 million huh?
Sad!


112 people like this
Posted by Fairmeadow Dad
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 8, 2017 at 7:51 am

There always seems to be a forgotten element in these solutions in that we would all love to have more bikes and fewer cars on the streets (a scenario where something like this could work), but when 200,000 people flood into Palo Alto to work every day and the north/south and east/west road infrastructure doesn't accommodate the mass of vehicles, cars are just going to continue to scrambling through the various neighborhoods. When Ross Road chokes the out through this plan, where will they go next? It's not actually solving a problem in my opinion; just pushing the food around the plate again and again.


78 people like this
Posted by Palo Verde Walker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2017 at 8:03 am

What the article fails to mention is that the YMCA has its only entrance and exit on Ross and that there is no way to get there except by way of Ross. Other traffic may find alternate routes, but those using the Y will continue to use Ross. The entrance/exit to the Y is now pathetic. I have no idea why those bulbouts by the Y were put there.


131 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 8, 2017 at 8:22 am

We need arteries that are fast and unobstructed. We do not have this now, and adding lights and "calming" measures to arteries should be forbidden.....rather, we need to do the opposite. Slowing down the arteries to accommodate bikes is a mistake. I am an avid cyclist and know that cars and bikes do not mix, and painted lines do not protect cyclists. It is less than fun to ride down the middle of a lane, with a frustrated driver tailgating right behind, looking to slam the accelerator and cross the double yellow line in order to pass.

Let's get the bikes on the feeder roads, and get the cars on the arteries. Everyone will be better off.


50 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

Looks like a lot of street paint marks and signs to clutter up the street.

Ugly for those having to live with the results in a residential neighborhood.



78 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

How many council members does it take to screw in a lightbulb. LOL!

Tip: Vote them out.


88 people like this
Posted by Midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

The Ross Road "bike blvd" is shaping up to be a tragic liability for the City and a safety hazard for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike.This nightmare should be placed on hold now and completely reassessed before continuing.


34 people like this
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

Bike Commuter is a registered user.

I don't think Ross Rd. is meant to be an "artery" as mentioned above. It is primarily residential with the exception of the YMCA.

Also, I would think that many folks going to the YMCA are going there to exercise and to improve their health. By cycling instead of driving to the YMCA you get a head start on your workout and for those in gasoline consuming cars, reduce climate impacts and air pollution!


9 people like this
Posted by So many cars
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

You mean physics wins? Shocking. The only spinning wheels will be those who think they can "engineer" our way to better flowing traffic even if there are too many cars.
No need to "engineer" our way to make it worse either though. Sure is a conundrum


10 people like this
Posted by Love Biking
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

Doing nothing is the best solution. Peoples like biking will do so no matter how much money you spend on infrastructure alteration.


59 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 8, 2017 at 10:59 am

Online Name is a registered user.

No comments from Mr. Mello as usual. 3.5 years later here on Middlefield we're still waiting for his response on how the Jordan bike lane and the poles in the road backing up cars into the middle of major intersections are working out!

Only in Palo Alto would we have to pay for an FAQ on how to drive -- in addition to wasting all this money on dangerous "improvements."


27 people like this
Posted by NearbyObserver
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

Another bit of dangerous behavior: people who ignore the "right turn only" as they come to Oregon Expressway on Ross Road (from either direction). I have personally witnessed more than one car cross Oregon on Ross.

This may be due in part to various routing software being out-of-date. I know from personal experience this past week that the Uber app routes drivers straight across Oregon at Ross. (I noticed this illegal routing before we got there and warned my Uber driver.) I haven't checked other routing apps, but there aren't many sources for this data so I expect some others are also wrong.

Another dangerous recent change is the restriping of Middlefield at Embarcadero, which reduces the southbound lanes to one. Drivers who come upon this unexpectedly risk hitting a car waiting on Middlefield to turn left in what used to be a lane going the opposite way. I've seen this occur more than once in the last couple of weeks. It seems to me the city should have anticipated this problem and perhaps put up signs saying "Caution: New Traffic Pattern" or something. Perhaps the intersection should also have some pavement "dots" to guide traffic into the right place.


94 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:04 am

Another is a registered user.

What they're doing just seems to make no sense at all. If you're trying to improve how accommodating Ross is to bikes and cars, if anything you'd want there to be *more* space on the road. So why the heck are they making the road *narrower* when they expect more traffic on the road when it become a bike boulevard?

If the objective is to make cars slow down, that could be accomplished with speed bumps rather than narrowing the road. Putting the bike lane in the middle while narrowing the road so that there is even less room for cars will greatly increase the potential for collisions. What they're doing is nuts!!


35 people like this
Posted by biker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

nightmare.....very dangerous for bikers.. what a mess:)


54 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:36 am

"Alternate routes" - you mean forcing people to Louis so that most of the time, we can't even get out of our own drive way without waiting for 5 minutes already.

This is not a comprehensive plan. Probably some corrupted kickback scheme where some construction companies got some sweet deal. Remember the sudden appearance and removal of the left turn lane on Middlefield onto Mayview in front of the new Mitchell Library?

Palo ALto is full of this sort of corruption. We have the worst tree arborists who trim medium branches off the ash trees on Louis so badly that they started to split and dying off. Someone is making out like bandits with sweet deals for sure.


72 people like this
Posted by Danielle
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:40 am

I LOVE the Bryant St bike boulevard concept and was so excited that we were getting more safe bike routes. Instead, this just seems like a scary modification that squeezes kids biking to school into traffic. I am very concerned bikers are going to get hurt and want my kids to avoid the area. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of a safe bike route?


21 people like this
Posted by Ohlone Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:48 am

Ohlone Elementary is a choice school and there are children commuting from all parts of Palo Alto. Majority are dropped off by cars than biked/walked to school. It is a narrow street and I can see a significant increase in cars from last year. It is highly unlikely that this "improvement" will be beneficial for this particular school. If the city needs a bike boulevard to merge into bayshore, a wider street like Colorado would have been better. City officials, please go to the school in the morning between 8:00 and 8:30 to observe the drop-off, especially on Friday (trash day.) It is a nightmare already...


16 people like this
Posted by Parent of kids who bike to school
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:49 am

We should all be proud and frankly grateful to live in a city where a few thousand of the 12,000 PAUSD students can bike to school most days. I don't bike much, but am sure glad my kids can and am grateful to not have to drive them everywhere.

Think of the traffic on days when it's very rainy and all those kids are in cars.

Are we all in agreement on fewer cars AND safety for humans?

Drivers on Ross go too fast and needed to be slowed down or discouraged from using it unless going to the Y or home.

There should have been better communication and maybe adjustments to the design, but what is the purpose of nitpicking anonymously from home? Send your polite and thoughtful feedback to the city rather than riling up everyone on PA online. Key word is thoughtful.

Everyone please SLOW DOWN everywhere and please ask friends and colleagues who commute to Palo Alto for work to do the same. Seriously, give yourself enough time to get somewhere so you are not risking the lives of others.


50 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 11:59 am

quote from the article "see the project as a benefit for all users". The problem is that the project as executed will be a benefit for NO users. Its terrible for car traffic flow, and will be dangerous for bicyclists. It will also be bad for anyone living on alternate routes, because fear of accidents and road rage will drive more circuitous routes to be taken by drivers, increasing the perceived need for greater speed. If my most direct route would have been up Ross, I would probably choose either Middlefield or Louis and then try to cut over on one of the cross streets. A few mph faster and the transit time might be about the same as the more direct route. Of course the small resulting increase in congestion on parallel routes will make those worse too. It won't be the end of the world ... just one more step in making things incrementally worse.


28 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Came down Loma Verde the other night around 7pm for the first time in a few months and got pinched by a car when I encountered the new islands at Ross road and Loma Verde. It may slow drivers down but it will also lead to confrontation when they don't give cyclists the right away. A roundabout might have been batter solution. We'll see. The atmosphere between cyclists and automobiles seems to be deteriorating lately as people get more frustrated with traffic and the length of lights.


18 people like this
Posted by Midtown Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Midtown Citizen is a registered user.

This will work fine only if you are able to eliminate those drivers who are completely oblivious to other things on the road and those drivers whose sense of entitlement leads to the irrational conviction that their schedule is more important than the safety and schedules of everyone else. Of course, if those drivers are eliminated, there will be about 6 cars on the roads of Palo Alto.

This whole process is either a quixotic attempt at implementing unrealistic fantasies in the real world or something envisioned by people who have never actually driven on Palo Alto streets. During the "work day" (which, in good Silicon Valley fashion, basically encompasses 6 am - 9 pm), Palo Alto is filled with more cars than residents. There is almost no way for all those cars to peacefully co-exist with bicycles and pedestrians on city streets designed to accommodate a population one-third of the actual work day population. The Ross Road solution is only going to create more traffic accidents, accidents which will be bad since they will likely be car vs. bicycle or head-on car vs. car. Terrible, terrible idea.


31 people like this
Posted by Thank you Sue!
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Thank you Sue Dremann for your indepth reporting within the neighborhoods and engaging with residents.


59 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm

38 year resident is a registered user.

The only way to handle this conundrum is to vote out everyone of the city council who supports these measures. They are geared to doing one thing only....discourage and frustrate those who drive cars to find alternative modes of transportation at any cost.

More than likely, Jaime Rodriguez, former transportation manager is still working at or owns the company that installs all these barriers, signs, dots, etc. He double dipped for a long time while working for the city.

None of these so called "solutions" works and eventually, someone is going to be seriously injured or worse.


45 people like this
Posted by Not working
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The City Manager, City Council and the staff urban planners are to blame for the blame game between automobile drivers and bicyclists.

There are traffic laws, yet Palo Alto does not have a traffic enforcement division. Both cars and bicyclists do not stop at STOP signs. Bicyclists speed and ride on sidewalks. Automobile and bicycle users are on their cell phones and not hands free. Pedestrians are jay walking and stepping out onto the street without looking both ways and are instead looking at their cell phones.

I blame the City.


32 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Yes, thank you, Sue. But please demand answers from ALL of CC members and city officials on how these types of projects are helpful at a time when they're pleading poverty for other worthwhile projects.

The Ross Road commenters on Next Door say Asst. City Manager Ed Shikada had some sensible comments. Maybe interview him?

Our traffic all over town is horrible and getting worse. We need some answers, not feel-good rhetoric.


38 people like this
Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

If I had a kid biking to school on Ross, I'd tell them to use the sidewalk and be aware of pedestrians. This is no longer safe for biking.


40 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Whether or not all legal and public notices were adhered to, the fact remains, the public felt caught off guard, felt like they didn't get adequate input or that it wasn't seriously considered, and had difficulty interpreting the online renderings and schematics of the project. I'd expected more response from the city than the brief remarks contained in the Weekly article. The planning and implementation of this project appear to be terribly mismanaged.


57 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I'm questioning the sanity of this department. Every change I've seen in the past few years, is purely nuts!

This one cuts into the bike lanes so when drivers come to the intersection they're half in the bike lane.

I was told my by construction workers that they were "planting." Thus far all I've seen is river rocks and a hazardous transition.

We need an intelligent woman to run the department managing roads.


53 people like this
Posted by Grumpy Old Guy
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Why on earth didn't they mock these up before spending real money. This is a half baked implementation. Let's shove bikes and cars together! thats a great idea. NOT.


56 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

When I first drove through Ross when this new construction began, with no prior notification that it was supposed to become a “bike boulevard”, I became thoroughly confused as to the purpose of all this upheaval.

Particularly: WHERE was the logical expected space BETWEEN the new berms and the curb, in which bicyclists would be able to ride safely?? Wait - bicyclists AND cars are somehow expected to share the narrowed space between “curb extensions”?? Seriously??? WHO thought this would be a remotely good (or safe!!) idea???

All I could see was that Palo Alto’s children bicycling to and from school will now be expected to ride on the sidewalk (which I have always understood was discouraged), or be forced to actually SHARE narrow road spaces with possibly sleepy, distracted, or upset and impatient car drivers - a recipe for disaster, and a nasty accident just waiting to happen.

Was ANY study done of viable bike traffic areas in urban/suburban areas where high bicycle use is the norm?? It does not look like it at all. The number one principle for successful bicycle usage areas appears to be creating dedicated bike passage lanes, which automobiles are NEVER intended to share.

Many have cited Bryant St. as a successful example. As a bicyclist who uses Bryant St., the two designs are in no way alike. Bryant does not have those “curb interruptions”, and in fact, Bryant’s main (and effective) solution to automobile traffic reduction is spaced barriers which prohibit auto through-traffic on the length of the street without hindering bicycle traffic.

Ross Road is now a fiasco, and as currently designed will certainly not contribute to bicyclist safety in any way that I can see. I agree with those who suggest “follow the money”, and find out who is truly benefitting from this ill-conceived project.


39 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 1:16 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

As a resident of and regular bicycle commuter through this neighborhood, I can attest to the uneasy feeling when I lose my bike lane and am informed that I am now sharing the single lane with motor vehicles. My sense of safety while biking derives from having my own lane (and yes, I don't hesitate to shout at and lecture motorists who are illegally in my lane for any reason -- they can easily maim and kill me, but they will remain uninjured while so doing).

Putting pinch points adjacent to the Ross Road Y has made a MESS for people driving past while others are entering and exiting the parking lots. It was clearly safer for everyone before they were installed. VERY bad plan.

That complaint registered, the general problem with these pinch points is that they take away the BICYCLE safety zone. Throwing us into the motor vehicle lane puts us in greater danger from impatient motorists (and I answer to that description evenings and weekends). The only positive development is the new red zones at the corners. Cars parked right up to the corner block sight lines for both motorists and bicyclists.

In sum, I'm not convinced that the city thought this through. We need to revisit the entire concept and modify the most dangerous results.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm

I suppose they did do a vehicle count on Ross before the work started, and a similar vehicle count on Middlefield and Louis? It will be interesting to see just how these numbers differ when the work is completed and the counts are done again.

What? You mean there was no vehicle count done on any of these roads prior to the work?

At least, I haven't heard about any such counts.


14 people like this
Posted by Ride Ross
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ross is now a Bicycle Boulevard.

Bike riding on Ross is better now than it was before. There are fewer cars, and we can ride in the street, not along the edge, in danger of doors. Once construction is done, it will be even better. Motorists are realizing Ross is not an artery, not a normal residential street, and using other streets. Complete Bicycle Boulevard signage will help.

The goal is to "reduce local (car) traffic". Cars are not supposed to go on a bike boulevard except for local access. The construction of a bicycle boulevard does not make the street "better" for *more, faster* car traffic. We don't through-drive Bryant. Don't drive Ross if you can help it.

The language in the article is a little misleading. There is no "bike lane" on a bike boulevard. Bikes rule. Bicyclists ride in the middle of the lane, and accommodate the rare car. A residential street with a bike lane is less bike-safe than a Bicycle Boulevard. In fact, with the many concrete bulb-outs now on Ross, is it downright dangerous to NOT ride in the lane, especially at night. Ride the lane. Ride like it is Bryant. Use your lights.

City government, stand your ground, don't waste our money. Bicyclists, take this opportunity. Ride Ross. Motorists, please be patient, and find another path.


12 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Hilarious. This coming from Palo Alto residents, who tend to vote Democratic and believe that government is the answer to all our problems.

The top down planning approach didn't work for the Soviet Union. Why do we think it will help drive more bicycle usage?


40 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm

"Motorists, please be patient, and find another path." Yes, you all come down to Louis. Let's push the problems elsewhere. As long as it works for "Ride Ross", let others be danged. Suck to be them.


41 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Actually, they should admit their mistakes and demolish the entire thing instead of trying to "make it work".

While they're at it, GET RID OF THE BOLLARDS in front of Jordan. I dream of driving a bulldozer down Middlefield and crushing those things. They are just so insulting, its like the city government giving me the bird and laughing in my face every time I see those bollards NEEDLESSLY creating congestion at N. California/Middlefield. They are pointing and laughing at and demonizing anyone who "solo-drives" a car even though it happens to be 90 percent of the population. They're elitists. This "Ride Ross" guy is an elitist.


52 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2017 at 2:48 pm

8.5 Million Dollars. Straight up could have bought every single person in Palo Alto a $150 dollar bike with that much money, and paid me 10 bucks to spray paint a bike lane on Ross real quick.


46 people like this
Posted by Big spending IS the point
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

"In addition to the street fixtures, the plan calls for 11 roundabouts, three raised crosswalks, five raised intersections and the reconfiguration of four intersections"

AND Shikada said, city staff and consultants will do more door-to-door outreach during the concept-planning stage, in addition to etc.

Yes, spending a lot of money IS the intention. City Manager is very experienced spending huge amounts on questionable projects.
Like the City Hall lobby, the unneeded recarpeting and reupholstering of council chambers (almost 5 Million$$) fancy wayfinding decor, and thousands of signs and paint, all over town.
He makes a lot of contractors rich.


58 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 3:47 pm

This is the stupidest act of governmental incompetence that I have seen in 49 years of living in Palo Alto.

Agree with Midtown Resident: "The Ross Road "bike blvd" is shaping up to be a tragic liability for the City and a safety hazard for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike.This nightmare should be placed on hold now and completely reassessed before continuing."

I intent to write a formal letter to the city warning of the inherent danger of the design. Suggest others do the same, and then the City will have a hard time defending itself when someone is seriously injured or killed. Maybe then all those involved with this disaster will be fired.


18 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

@ Resident.....I've had that same recurring dream. Big bulldozer mowing down the bollards on Middlefield and turning up California Ave. to hit the rest of them.


31 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

"Cars are not supposed to go on a bike boulevard except for local access . . . Don't drive Ross if you can help it."

Ride Ross, you overlooked a glaring problem with your argument. The only way to drive (or bike) to the Ross Road Y is, yes, via Ross Road. With the closure of the Page Mill Y a few years ago, this always-crowded branch became even busier.

The closest branches are now in East Palo Alto, Mountain View (Grant Road), or Sequoia up in RWC. It is flat-out not reasonable to expect that all of Y members can get there on foot or by bicycle.

I daresay the members of the Russian Orthodox Church across the street would also object to your characterization that only "locals" ought to use Ross Road. Y members and Russian Orthodox congregants ARE local, and Ross Road is a public, not a private, street.

You don't own it, and neither do I. I suggest that you think through the implications for people other than yourself before enjoining all to follow your rosy plan.


31 people like this
Posted by ro
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I drive to the YMCA several times a week and I think these road changes are both dangerous to drivers and cyclists. There's barely enough room for cars with these bumpouts, let alone cyclists. I wouldn't want my kids to cycle down Ross road anymore and I wouldn't want to, either. Please stop wasting our taxpayer money with doing any more of this as I feel quite certain that people are going to insist that these stupid changes get torn out at some point.
Eek! What a mess!!!


44 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2017 at 6:13 pm

I have been cycling for over 60 years and have ridden across our fair country east to west and north to south and have never needed a bike lane or painted path to figure out or find my way. This whole approach is just plain nuts, anyone who can't manage to ride without all this silly infrastructure designed by the fools on the city council should leave their bikes at home and take a taxi.


16 people like this
Posted by Olle
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:37 pm

There is no reason anyone needs to drive for more than 1-2 blocks on Ross, Louis, Cowper, Bryant, etc. in South Palo Alto. These are NOT through streets, they are neighborhood streets. If you have somewhere to go then take Alma, Middlefield, West Bayshore or US 101. I'm sorry if you have to wait 10 seconds extra to wait behind a bike on your 1-2 block trip on Ross, but it's for the better. Plan ahead and leave 10 seconds earlier.

I'm NOT sorry that the people who used to drive 50 MPH on Ross now have to find a new way to break the law.


27 people like this
Posted by Sergei
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:59 pm

We need to stop this road works ASAP! The redesign is ridiculous. I drive the Ross Road periodically. My daughter is biking the street every day. All members of my family find these new extensions harmful and dangerous. What a waste of money! Ross Rd used to be pretty wide so biking on the roadside was pretty safe. I'd say this was the safest part on the way to school. Now bicyclists are required to share the road. I wonder who was the project designer and does the problem exists in the first place I mean there is always a risk, but a price/value of improvement (worsening in this case) need to be considered. Did those who made the decision took a feedback from those who actually bike/drive the road? Have those who seen the proposal understood what were they approving?


21 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2017 at 12:20 am

Haven't the council majority just pushed for the new Comprehensive Plan to include another 3 million square feet of office space over the next decade?

If we think it is bad now, what will it be like living in Palo Alto with all these additional employees commuting in, plus the continual densification of existing offices gradually converting to tech which triple or quadruple the number of employees in a given space, even if not another square foot of office is built. Or do you believe those council members who push for office development and gloss over the impact when they tell us, with great certainty, that from now on employees will be taking public transportation, biking, or walking, commuting in car pools,? And in addition an increasing number of employees don't own, or want to own, a car.

If you don't like the traffic (and parking) situation now, and think it is going to get worse, remember this when you vote during the council election next year. It's not wise to take campaign rhetoric at face value either, because there have been some very misleading statements made by some candidates during the last couple of election cycles. What they have stood for and whose interests they have represented prior to the campaign can be more enlightening.

Also, Stanford is asking the county for permission to build another 3 million square feet on campus through 2035, not counting the new hospital expansion which is going to employ hundreds of additional people compared to the old hospita


27 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2017 at 12:51 am

"This is the stupidest act of governmental incompetence that I have seen in 49 years of living in Palo Alto."

Come to my neighborhood, I bet it's as bad or worse. Actually, I can name a few others. Why don't you put up a website and we can have a contest? Mello doesn't respond to complaints, let's at least let him know that he can stop pretending he's never heard anyone complain, or that it's ok to continue the dumb act about failing to notify neighbors. We weren't just not notified, we were lied to.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2017 at 6:27 am

The city is planning to put a bike Blvd on Loma Verde. This will consist of eliminating parking on the north side of the street. They plan on putting in an island and have two way bike traffic on the north side.They also want to put a bike underpass under Alma train tracks.



Everybody needs to go to city council and stop this before it happens.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2017 at 7:22 am

In Town Square, under Palo Alto Issues, look up Ross Road-Hazard.
Look under comments.

The city made a mistake on this project.


16 people like this
Posted by andy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

Yet another well-intentioned, poorly-conceived plan by the City of Palo Alto. This one, like many others, appears to try to solve a problem that doesn't exist.


30 people like this
Posted by "blowoff'
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2017 at 11:40 am

The public should demand that a vote of the CC
be taken to end the Ross Rd project, restore the
street, as well as what was done at Jordan. A citizen committee should be appointed to review
all other actions taken by the transportation staff
in the past few years and in the future, as well as contract services. The City is setting itself up for a serious charge of "negligence" as it stands. If Mayor Scharff does not allow such a vote to take place a recall should be undertaken of him and all others on the CC who do not publicly support such a vote in order to protect the public safety. Finally the charade at City Hall needs to be ended.

The Ross Rd project can be seen as a blowoff of years of city transportation staff pursuing their own agenda without fear of any accountability for anything they do or any of the effects of what they are doing, on safety,neighborhood quality,anything. Ross Rd is the transportation planners version of 27 University Ave, the office tower project a few years ago. But that was stopped - this is going forward.







25 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Re demanding a CC vote on the Ross Road project, demand a vote on the Middlefield mess (Jordan bike lane and stupid new obstacles, too!

"Didn't the city take vehicle counts before starting on Ross?"

If they did, they used their usual tactic of doing it at the lightest traffic times rather than rush hours -- something 70 outraged Middlefield residents called them on BEFORE they put in the Jordan bike lanes and when they tried to make Middlefield a bike boulevard WITHOUT informing us, an idea rejected about 15 years ago when traffic was half what it is now!

Pushing traffic from one street to another solves nothing and we deserve REAL answers.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Rumor has it that there are more bike boulevard improvements in the works on Loma Verde and also to the very successful Bryant boulevard.

My point this time is to really ask about the funding of these improvements. Of course they can all be put in and at some time they could all be taken out again, all at taxpayers expense of course.

I would much rather that all this money had been spent on a footbridge over
101 or improvements for bikes at the Page Mill 280 interchange area. Both of these would make much more of a difference to the average person who wants to commute or ride a recreational bike ride than what is happening to disrupt already well working bike routes around town.

If anyone is going to speak at the council meeting, please include these proposals also.


17 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I just cycled Ross Rd, and those bulb-outs are great for creating "human speed bumps" to help slow the cars. Nothing like putting a human body in front of a car to remind it to slow down!


30 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Re "the very successful Bryant" bike blvd, someone who lives on Bryant just posted this on NextDoor about the planned changes:

--- I live on Bryant St, 4 houses from a barrier. It's a perfectly safe road to bike on from San Francisquito Creek to East Meadow. Yet the city's plans have changes to Bryant that include 6-7 traffic circles, 2 speed bumps, islands, corner bulbouts, 2 raised intersections, 8 painted walkways, lots of painted (slippery when wet) signage, and the killer is the removal of the 4-way stop at Loma Verde and Bryant right where El Carmelo Elementary School sits so they can install a traffic circle. --

This is insane and expensive overkill, just like backing up traffic on Middlefield behind the bus stop just S of Embarcadero while eliminating the right-turn-on-red lane just N of Embarcadero near the Hayes school dropoff /pickup point!

Is the city heavily invested in high blood pressure medications??


37 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

@ Online Name...the city is invested in driving people crazy. Nothing they do these days makes sense. It's all about an agenda to get cars off the road and force people to look for alternative means of transportation. It's time to send a message and vote these idiots out of office.


21 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 9, 2017 at 8:56 pm

"Is the city heavily invested in high blood pressure medications??"

No. Simple gross incompetence in the traffic engineering department, abetted by a morbid obsession with shiny objects, explains everything.


27 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I've given up on expecting good governance from the City of Palo Alto, elected council as well as permanent staff. They don't do the things I want them to do, and DO things I don't want them to do. What a disaster Ross Road is. Why didn't they get their act together to put the money into the bicycle bridge which they now say they can't afford? What a mess.


26 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm

"I've given up on expecting good governance from the City of Palo Alto, elected council as well as permanent staff."

Governance comes from the city manager and his retinue. The city council by and large merely reacts to staff direction, and provides rubber stamp approvals where the law requires its nominal participation. The city manager is theoretically accountable to the council, but the council has effectively abdicated its oversight obligation in the past decade. It even hires an outside consultant to write the city manager's annual job performance review. Dysfunction.

We need to change our form of government to a strong executive mayor who is directly elected by the citizens and directly accountable to them.


18 people like this
Posted by Ross Road More Dangerous for Bicyclists
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Ross Road More Dangerous for Bicyclists is a registered user.

I drive on Ross Road to get to the YMCA. I find the planters extending out into the street dangerous because cars have to drive much closer to each other going in opposite directions and it leaves no room for a bicyclist. This project may make traffic speeds slower and discourage cut through commuters but it makes it much more dangerous for bikers. Why not have put in bike lanes instead of planters? This project is NOT a bike boulevard.


31 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

It seems like the majority of posters are against the new traffic "Calming" projects. I think it is time to take back our streets from the Bicycle Mafia. Show up to City Council meetings and voice your displeasure with these new projects.


23 people like this
Posted by Ross
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm

The city transportation dept discovered street 'furniture', fell in love, and has not looked back. What ever the problem, street furniture is the solution. I understand it looks good on resumes too. I understand that the very well used bike boulevard on Bryant is to be 'improved' with a string of traffic circles to squeeze cars and bikes to compete with each other to get past the obstacles. Why? Those circles are street furniture! and therefore, must be good. Another city fail.


23 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2017 at 10:10 pm

The bike infrastructure mania is not just driven by bike enthusiasts. It is also driven by real-estate developers and their servitors on council who desperately need bike infrastructure, no matter how dysfunctional or underutilized, to justify the continued construction of buildings with inadequate parking.


34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 10, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Palo Alto seems to think "bike-friendly" means "force bicycles into the path of cars." Bulbouts, green paint, oh god traffic circles and chevrons dictating that we shall all share the lane DON'T make it safer for cyclists and make it harder for drivers (I'm both and I hate what Palo Alto has done from both perspectives).

Safety means separating cars and bikes. Unfortunately Palo Alto has decided it shall become Manhattan so it's just not possible.


23 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

If the city can't get this relatively small infrastructure right, how is it going to get our Caltrain trenching nightmare resolved satisfactorily?


3 people like this
Posted by Road Biker
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm

There was public notification of the plan to make Ross Road a bike boulevard, as the article states. As usual, people don't start paying attention to the issues until something gets changed in a way they don't like.

It would be helpful for the city to present some actual data showing how the improvements will make the roads more safe. One of the most important of these is surely the reduction in speeds that will come from traffic calming.


2 people like this
Posted by Road Biker
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Quote from "Ross Road Dangerous for Bicyclists":
"I drive on Ross Road to get to the YMCA. I find the planters extending out into the street dangerous because cars have to drive much closer to each other going in opposite directions and it leaves no room for a bicyclist."

FALSE. There is room for a bicyclist. In the traveling lane, which all cyclists are legally entitled to use AT ALL TIMES, even when there is a "bike lane."


13 people like this
Posted by Justine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I welcome any effort to calm traffic so it's safer for bicyclists. After riding in protected bike lanes for a few weeks in 5 European cities last summer I wish Palo Alto were doing more to build barriers between cyclists and drivers.


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm

@ Justine

From my travels, I have not seen very many streets like Loma Verde in Europe. What is planned for Loma Verde and Charleston is ludicrous! Most homeowners on Loma Verde have no idea what is about to take pkace. The owners on the North / West do not realize that they will lose all the street parking in front of their houses, due to the new divided bike lane. This goes for both sides of the street. This should be put to a vote to all the homeowners on Loma Verde that will be effected. This should not be decided by some traffic planner [portion removed.]


51 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Bicyclists who insist that blocking a lane of traffic is their "right" , are crazy and have a death wish. When I bike I want to be as far separated as possible from cars that can easily travel 3-4x faster than my top speed and weight just a little bit more than a bike. Separation is the key to safety, not forcing incompatible transit modes into the same physical space.


9 people like this
Posted by Road Biker
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 11, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Dan,

You're right, taking the traveling lane is not necessarily the safest way to ride in every circumstance. However, it is much better than 1) riding in a door-zone "bike lane" or 2) being squeezed to the side and right-hooked by vehicles that insist they're the sole legal occupants of the road.

More cyclists should insist on their right to the traveling lane, especially on non-arterial roads.


7 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2017 at 6:20 pm

This is not all about bicyclists. Some of the new features, like bulbouts, are designed to help pedestrians by shortening the crossing distances. Believe me, bicyclists are not big fans of bulbouts, but the ones I know understand that pedestrians need help, especially on wide roads.


32 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2017 at 6:44 pm

I have never seen a high concentration of pedestrians on that part of Ross, ever. Certainly not enough to justify the construction of a bulbout. Furthermore The bulbout just forced bikes and cars into the same space.

I wish that this wae just another case of overeducated under intelligent. But this time it is not. The city new exactly how to fleece the taxpayers out of their hard earned dollars. They did this in an unethical way. They pulled on the heartstrings of the public by implying that this was for bicycle safety, not just regular bicycle safety, but student bicycle safety. The sad part is that the new street furniture is probably going to cause an accident. Just so the city can make some more money....How sad.


6 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2017 at 7:41 pm

[Post removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by RobertA
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2017 at 7:59 pm

One poster here wrote:
"Anything that causes drivers to have to realize that there is something besides cars on the road is a good thing."

A much more efficient and inexpensive way to achieve that commendable goal would be for all bicyclists to be legally required to have front and rear lights on at all times, just as car drivers are so required. A significant and growing percentage of car drivers now keep their headlights or running lights on even during daytime driving, in order to increase their visibility to other drivers. But I observe that at least 2/3 of all cyclists in this area either don't have lights or don't use them, even at night. Some of them have only a front light to improve their own front view, butdon't have a rear light that would enable car drivers approaching them in the same lane to see them. The suicidal adult cyclists who do this may be among those who do much of the complaining about unconscientious car drivers on forums like this one, but it applies just as much to child cyclists. Every day I see elementary-school-age cyclists riding after dark with dark clothing, no lights, and not even a reflector. The parents who allow them to do that ought to be ashamed of themselves at a minimum, if not prosecuted for child endangerment. Those are the same parents who are presumably unaware that their kids show off by riding their bikes with no hands on the steering bar while at the edge of the bike lane adjacent to car traffic, or ride home from school four-abreast with two in the bike lane and two jutting into the car lane while looking down at a phone. In fact, some of those same parents are probably among the recurrent complainers about immoral car drivers.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2017 at 8:01 pm

[Post removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by Driver and cyclist
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Forcing bikes and cars into the same lane is NOT bicycle friendly OR car friendly.


21 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 11, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Other non-CC names to add:

Josh Mello (Chief Transportation) reports to Hillary Gitelman (head of Planning & Transportation and former boss of Mr. Mello's predecessor Jaime Rodriquez) She responds to emails directed to Mr. Mello. Also Ed Shikada (asst city manager) is supposedly refining community outreach, at least re Ross Road.

Contact info:

Development and traffic calming 329-2552

Transportation Division: 650-329-2520, transportation@cityofpaloalto.org

Hillary.Gitelman@CityofPaloAlto.org Planning Director
Ed.Shikada@CityofPaloAlto.org> Asst City Manager
Joshuah.Mello@CityofPaloAlto.org, Chief Transportation Official, 329-2136

Note:

Please contact them individually. I've tried referring them to discussions here on our traffic woes as indicators of community sentiment and/or useful suggestions but they've been dismissive, saying, for example, "We know YOU oppose the Jordan Bike Lane but it's tough to tell from the discussions if it's just a few people using different monikers." - the same argument some CC members use to dismiss our emailed comments to them.

So please do it! It's nice for ME to know I'm not alone in opposing the bike lane but THEY need to know OTHERS are also so upset they're having nightmares about bulldozing the Jordan Bike Lane (as one example).


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2017 at 6:15 am

"So please do it! It's nice for ME to know I'm not alone in opposing the bike lane but THEY need to know OTHERS are also so upset they're having nightmares about bulldozing the Jordan Bike Lane (as one example)."

Bulldozing the Jordan Bike Lane would not be a nightmare, it would be a pleasant dream.


5 people like this
Posted by orphic
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

I hope the council can see past the typical chorus of small-mindedness.

We don't get to a *better* city, one with more areas of Palo Alto where you don't need a car to get around, unless we prioritize the needs of bikes and people over the needs of cars. Changing that mindset does mean reallocating some public resources away from cars, starting with fewer driving lanes and less parking. Yes, that's going to make a few solo-driving residents unhappy. So be it. The city as a whole will be safer and more liveable because of it.


14 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2017 at 10:32 am

"prioritize the needs of bikes and people over the needs of cars."

Your phrase makes no sense. People drive cars. Cars are not separate from people, at least for now.

To put bike needs on the same level as car needs is ridiculous. Yes, both are modes of transportation, but bikes are inferior for many situations IN A SUBURB THAT WE THINK WE LIVE IN. Let's not pretend we live in Amsterdam. For one thing, I don't think the residentialists would like to have a red light district on California Ave.

By the way, the Bike Mafia is watching (hi there!). Just got an email from PAF (which I generally support, but not this time) trying to get people to attend the council meeting on Monday.

The Bike Mafia is mobilizing. Watch out!



6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 12, 2017 at 10:34 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@Resident, of course. you're right. A pleasant dream, a sensible reality and an endless source of absurd possibilities for a PA Holiday:

festively painted poles, posts, bollards, botts dots and other lawn furniture

Lawn ornaments with moving bulldozer replacing Santa's sleigh,


18 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I do bike whenever feasible but after reading all this I think that if I had school-age children at home and needed to navigate Ross Road every day, I would take the safest option for getting my kids to school: driving.

If we don't get smarter about what we are doing we are going to be living with all sorts of unintended consequences. Like accidents.


14 people like this
Posted by RobertA
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2017 at 2:47 pm

orphic says: "…. starting with fewer driving lanes and less parking. Yes, that's going to make a few solo-driving residents unhappy. So be it. The city as a whole will be safer and more liveable because of it."

Actually, no. Fewer driving lanes and less parking is also going to make tens of thousands of car drivers everyday unhappy, irritable, distracted and hence more dangerous to pedestrians as those drivers spend even more hours in throttled stop-and-go traffic or cruising deeper into neighborhoods while searching for parking. Which will also result in ALL residents being exposed to even more unhealthy fumes and noise and visual ugliness, and the environment to even more noxious emissions. So, less safe, less livable.


3 people like this
Posted by Gina Dalma
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Come on guys. It is a bike lane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm

One of the things that I see in many car-centric posts is a lack of understanding of traffic engineering. I'm an amateur myself, but, I know how to read engineering books and papers, and, I would respectfully suggest that before people start a civil war over this, they educate themselves about traffic engineering. I see many misconceptions in these posts. Here is a site about traffic calming:

Web Link

One point of contention that is beyond education, though, is the sometimes expressed view in some posts above to "go fast". Personally, -I reject that-. I understand people wanting to get from point A to point B quickly. That is not the same thing. These are city residential streets, shared by cars, delivery trucks, pedestrians, and yes, bicycles. For cars, transportation engineers have to worry first about safety, second, about getting traffic through the bottlenecks, and third, about getting cars from point A to point B in a reasonable, predictable period. "Going fast", as a means of personal expression, doesn't rate. What some people refuse to grasp, for example, is that "going fast" upstream from a long rush hour queue, actually doesn't get them from point A to point B any faster. Seriously, -think about it-.

People who want to enjoy "going fast" should visit one of the numerous, various kinds of tracks and enjoy their recreational driving there. For example, Google tells me that there is an indoor electric go-cart (kart) track here in Santa Clara:

Web Link

Go for it! Enjoy yourselves! In the meantime, in residential neighborhoods: -Share the road-


7 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"Come on guys. It is a bike lane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Have you actually seen what they've done? It's a disaster in pinching bikes and cars into the same space. If it were just a bike lane, that would be fine. This is a cluster-F

@Anon - your view of "traffic engineering" reminds me of the disaster instant replay has been with the NFL. Is it a catch or isn't it? Sure there are technical rules, but the bottom line is, if everyone in the bar thinks it's a catch, it should be a catch.

In other words, use common sense. Apparently that's beyond the capacity of our bicycle overloads.


6 people like this
Posted by BikingGal
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Having a Bike Boulevard installed is an amazing effort by the City and Staff. Thanks!
The Ross Road Bike Boulevard has been on the radar for over a decade in writing.
Traffic calming efforts and bike boulevards are a luxury and many in the North part of
town enjoy their benefits. Now the benefits are now being shared with the South part of town.
Anyone doubting this should bike down Bryant and see for themselves what a completed bike Boulevard feels like.
Or take a drive around completed College Terrace traffic calming circles - and feel the balance of pedestrians, Bikes and vehicles on streets.

Much the same negativity was said by residents during the traffic circle installation in College Terrace
but the residents worked with the City to make the upgrades work for vehicles, pedestrians
and bicycles.

There are so many hurdles bike boulevards require, planning, public input, funding.
A bike boulevard is a rare opportunity. It has and is supported by many in the neighborhood for years and
residents have been notified for years now, lets work with the City and support the plan.

It's true, wait till the project is built for the results, have confidence in the engineering and give
constructive comment to planners if there is an issue so they can address it.
Give Bike Boulevards A Chance.





2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

>>> @Anon - your view of "traffic engineering" reminds me of the disaster instant replay has been with the NFL. Is it a catch or isn't it? Sure there are technical rules, but the bottom line is, if everyone in the bar thinks it's a catch, it should be a catch.

So, it is a catch even if the ball touched the grass first, but, the ref missed it? ;-) The consensus of the guys in the bar trumps reality? See, that is my "problem" -- for me, reality is not overruled by "common sense", which is often incorrect.

>>> In other words, use common sense. Apparently that's beyond the capacity of our bicycle overloads.

So, a long time ago, a lot of people thought it was "common sense" that onramp metering lights, even if they increased freeway traffic flow, must slow down cars that were entering close in. Experiments ensued, and then people started pushing for -more- metering lights (in places that would benefit them). Common sense changed.

However, although metering lights typically optimize the throughput of freeways, they can create a mess on city streets upstream of the lights if there isn't enough space for the demand (cars) to queue up. The bottom line is that there is a limit to how many cars can go down a traffic lane, even at optimal spacing and speed, and that limit is pretty low.

Palo Alto has a lot (100,000?) daytime jobs. A lot of folks are trying to get here, and, apparently, we are reaching the limit of the number of cars that can get in and out. If the city is going to increase office space and jobs, then, those new people will have to get in and out. That is the basic problem.


5 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm

I wish people would stop throwing around words and phrases like “disaster,” “liability,” “accident waiting to happen,” idiot,” etc. When I encounter phrasing like that, I immediately tune out the rest of what the person is saying. There is no use discussing this topic with someone who is obviously angry about something else entirely (i.e decline of the middle class, Trump presidency, reduction in mortgage interest deduction, impending war with North Korea, continuing racial injustice, etc). It is not possible that people could possibly be this angry over a couple of curb extensions, medians and roundabouts when the world as we know it is coming to an end.


5 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2017 at 5:24 pm

"A lot of folks are trying to get here, and, apparently, we are reaching the limit of the number of cars that can get in and out. If the city is going to increase office space and jobs, then, those new people will have to get in and out. That is the basic problem."

Um, the solution to that problem is called... housing. There's no way someone is going to bike from Sunnyvale or San Mateo THROUGH ROSS ROAD to get to a job at a company on California Avenue or downtown.

This biking to jobs thing is a red herring, just like the promotion of high speed rail for local commuting. It's a talking point from the the bicycle mafia that is nonsense.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

I take umbrance with BikinGal above

Has she used Ross Road? It doesn't sound like it if she is trying to equate Bryant with the new Ross Road obstacle course.

Bryant works. I have used it on a bike. Ross Road is nothing like Bryant.

What strikes me now is that although many of us can avoid driving Ross, we cannot avoid Meadow, Loma Verde and now it seems Colorado. When the bike boulevard encroaches onto other streets it is unfair to all traffic that has to use arterials to get to Middlefield.

I think that the expectations of a bike boulevard and the very complicated diagrams, garbled jargon which the man on the street doesn't understand, and the scale of just what these sketches meant, is nothing at all like what was the expected bike boulevard.

When we are told to just wait and see what it is like when it is finished annoys me incredibly. I can say quite thoughtfully that at least half of these obstacles will end up being taken away when the first Fed Ex or UPS or garbage truck drives over them causing damage - let alone when the first serious accident occurs that injures somebody.


47 people like this
Posted by meetings shmeetings
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 12, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I attended community meetings about this.
At the meetings, it was very clear that actual resident input was not desired. NO ONE in charge would listen to the alternate view point that this project was completely out-of-scale. As a resident of Ross Road whose family drives, bikes and walks on Ross all the time, this was not a broken road in need of fixing. It was a perfectly functional road for multiple uses. Install a couple simple speed bumps on either side of the YMCA and small speed problem would have been addressed.

There is a mandate within the city to create bike-themed traffic projects. There is money allocated to this and additional grant-type money available.
More than a City Council problem this is a city staff problem. They are given the task "create bike boulevards" and that is now their job. Listening to residents is not part of that job. Being thrifty and choosing the simplest most cost effective solution is not part of that job.

When I think of PRO-Bike projects that would benefit many more people than re-jiggering 2 miles of Ross Road that goes nowhere, I wonder WHY haven't we built the south bike/ped bridge over 101?


9 people like this
Posted by meetings shmeetings
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I also just watched the PA Online interview with the city senior transportation:
Web Link

Supposedly another intention of this project is "beautification" and increased tree canopy for the street. Wow! Should the rest of Palo Alto be upset that Ross Road gets this special multi-million dollar treatment?

Ask the street sweepers if Ross Road has inadequate tree coverage.


6 people like this
Posted by BikingGal
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm

I take issue with your comments. Staff and City Council have listened to the public comment for years taking numerous meeting and public input. Anytime I have attended a meeting the input was carried over to plans. There are so many groups that spend hours pouring over plans, providing constructive input.


The traffic engineering consultants are stellar. I feel Ross Road will benefit from this bike boulevard making it safer for
residents and kids needing safe routes that Ross connects them to - like the Library, YMCA and schools.

Give Bike Boulevards a Chance.


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

@ Biking Gal

Sure, they listened to your inputs. They did not listen to the general public, the majority which drives cars.

Biking gal are you sure you do not work for the city?


17 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2017 at 9:34 am

"The traffic engineering consultants are stellar. I feel Ross Road will benefit from this bike boulevard making it safer for
residents and kids needing safe routes that Ross connects them to - like the Library, YMCA and schools."

Stellar? If they were really stellar, they would have noticed that a lot of people who go to the YMCA are senior citizens, many of whom need a car to get there. This is the bike mafia at its worst. I'm as guilty as anyone in ageism (look at my threads on old folks who should be paying more for property tax), but at least I'm self aware. The fact that the bike mafia that a person with a cane is expected to wear spandex is truly, truly ridiculous.

The SVBC is a special interest group. They don't represent the public. Just a bunch of two-wheelers who want to impose their dogma on Palo Alto. And using basic PR tactics that are easily detected. I too wonder if Biking Gal is either a part of the city, part of SVBC - OR BOTH.


8 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 13, 2017 at 10:07 am

For those of you relatively new in Silicon Valley, the Bryant Bike Blvd was widely panned during construction as well. The Ross project is certainly different, Bike Engineering has advanced in two decades, like everything else. Streets wide enough for all the lanes, bike lanes, and on-street parking, will become more rare as Cities struggle with Water Pollution Control regulations covering rainfall into our streets. The Bryant project could not get approved today, and these rules are not just invented by Palo Alto. The City can get fined for not following state and regional rules. That would be a really bad project, so we should give this one a chance. In an educated community people should understand that the time to pay attention is BEFORE construction starts. If your life is too busy to be an active citizen, rest assured, the City will listen to those who raise their voices. However, listening cannot mean solving one problem six ways because six citizens "demand to be heard".


8 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2017 at 10:25 am

If people are really thinking about safety, the real solution is to have completely separate bike paths. There have been numerous studies that show that absolute speed isn't necessarily the issue, but the *difference* in speed of vehicles. I don't think the right answer is to make cars as slow as bicycles.

There is a huge opportunity to have a big north/south bike boulevard if we tunnel Caltrain. I'd support that over some bastardized street furniture that makes things worse.


19 people like this
Posted by Sergei
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2017 at 11:21 am

Sergei is a registered user.

Awesome. :( They are building medians on the Colorado / Ross intersection right now effectively taking 3 public parking spaces near my house and the only shade under the tree. Wasn't it possible to extend the sidewalk and create a "pocket" to keep the parking spaces in place? This would shorten the crosswalk as well. Now trash collecting truck would need the whole roadside where cars used to park to be able to turn or move forward.
Web Link

Was it possible to notify us in last 3 years somehow that this is going to happen? They only notification I got was the notice about upcoming work a few weeks ago without details. It told about improvements for bicyclists and showed affected streets. The (probably less detailed) plane on the link above would be the perfect notification if given few months in advance AND if I still would have time and way to object.

I've been living near this intersection for 3 years and it looks to me that some of the problems the city is trying to solve just don't exist while others are not addressed.
My observations:
1) Kids almost never stop at the stop sign (won't be fixed with the taken measures)
2) Some kids show up by not handling the handlebar. For (1) and (2) it would be nice to have a camera for identification and parents notification.
3) Cars DO stop at the intersection mostly, with rare exceptions. I still can't see why these people would stop with the implemented measures.
4) Cars are not that fast on the Ross Rd except for rather rare individuals.
5) Cars wanting to go fast would avoid Ross Rd already! It's pretty unpleasant for driving already. Driving from Costco I normally try to take 101, Bayshore Rd, or Middlefield. This makes the trip longer but much more pleasant.

Regarding the plan, I'd love to have improvements for both drivers and bicyclists. Examples I like:
- Separating traffic explicitly (painted bike lane) would be a good idea IMO.
- Roundabouts are better than 4way stops as in many situations they do not require bicyclist or driver to stop (unless there is traffic).
- Raised intersections would be great.
- Flashing yellow lights are great as pedestrian indicators
I'm not talking about price and effectiveness here. Also, I do understand the need for safety but effectiveness/throughput of the whole system should be considered as well. (Probably was but this hasn't been well demonstrated).


10 people like this
Posted by Why Bother with PA?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm

What a lousy quality of life.


19 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@BikingGal

"bike boulevards are a luxury"...Really? I would agree that bike only boulevards would be a luxury, but that's not what the Ross Rd project is about. This requires cars and bikes to move in tandem at a pace set by the cyclists. That doesn't sound like luxury for either one, safety for the cyclists, or the slow pace for cars.

What studies were done before this plan was implemented? Was data taken that showed Ross Rd was being used as an alternative route speedway? I have driven on Ross Rd for many years, even accepting it would be a slower way home, and I always drove at a safe speed and knew where all the stop signs were. I observed them and the other drivers I saw did the same. Of course there would be exceptions. Young newly licensed drivers with their first car, revving the engine, burning rubber, and cranking up the bass on their audio systems with windows rolled down. I didn't let that bother me much because I knew, or hoped, they would grow up and out of that phase of life.

I hate to be a predictor of bad things, but I feel bad things will happen on Ross Rd with this change. More accidents, but worse, fatalities, and most probably a child riding a bike to school. How many of these will it take before we undo this crazy project?

Deja vu: I remember the attempt to slow/calm traffic on Louis Rd many years ago. Big teeth jarring speed bumps were installed for 4 blocks coming off Charleston Rd. I happened to be walking up to Meissner's Auto Service to pick up my car when I saw a Channel 7 TV news truck parked nearby. A little farther and a reporter walked out and stuck a mic in my face and asked if he could interview me for that evening's newscast. I said 'yes'...probably my only chance to be on TV. He asked what I thought about the speed bumps. I didn't hold back. I told him they were too high, could rip off an oil pan, and that drivers were so frustrated with the bumps, and the delay they caused, that by the time they got to my corner on Ross Rd they just blew through the stop sign...or they avoided the bumps by driving around them up on sidewalks. That experiment failed for the most part. All bumps removed except two between my house and Charleston and they were lowered so, at normal speeds, I hardly notice them.


24 people like this
Posted by Discontented
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I really, really dislike the crazy changes that are being made on Ross road. It is so annoying to take a reasonably wide street and make it more dangerous for cyclists and cars. Please stop before more money is wasted!


32 people like this
Posted by Stop the growth if you want to stop the crowded roads
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 13, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Bottom line - all those people constantly calling for more housing, more businesses and more people in Palo Alto this is what you get - more cars. The more dense and crowded we get the worse it will become. If you don't want it to continue to get worse, fight to stop growth and development. Palo Alto (and the Bay Area) is already too crowded and everyone needs to speak up to stop the root cause.

Next election don't elect pro-growth candidates. The majority on this council just drove through a package to add another 10,000 housing units to the city over the next few years. That will certainly make the roads more crowded.


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 14, 2017 at 10:38 am

^ Throw in 10,000 new units of Mountain View's "North Bayshore Precise Plan" and looks like local roads will need to accommodate 40,000 more vehicles.

DMV must have statistics on how many automobiles are domiciled in each city. Is that information available anywhere? Particularly the historical trend? I don't think we've built very many new roads recently.


10 people like this
Posted by No Project Option Superior
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

In any EIR they are supposed to have a no project option. In this case, I believe the no-project option would have been safer for bicyclists and better for cars. I'm all for the city spending the allocated money on projects that make it safer and friendly for bicyclists, even at the expense of cars. However, this project appears to make it more dangerous for bicyclists. In particular the double bulb outs that force bikers to share the lane. Studies have shown that physically separating bicyclists from vehicles dramatically increases safety but forcing bicyclists to "share the lane" is slightly less safe (especially when there is no where for the bicyclist to go if the car is driving aggressively or carelessly). I think simply preventing some of these blocks from being through streets like in College Terrace would have been far safer and more effective.


24 people like this
Posted by Sports Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Sports Guy is a registered user.

Bottom line, there was NO reason to do this. My wife and I have lived in the Midtown area for the past 32 years and there has never been any problems with traffic and certainly no need for any "calming." This decision to spend millions on such a stupid idea is ridiculous. Today, we watched a car speed up to pass a cyclist on Colorado, in order to get ahead of the cyclist before reaching the stop sign at Ross Road. There is room for only one car or one cyclist. They cannot co-exist with these new traffic features. What a dumb idea. The cyclist nearly got clipped by the car. A total waste of money (once again) by the City of Palo Alto. The money could be better spent.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Something fishy us going on....With all the discontent connected with projects like these, how did they ever get pushed through?

We all understand that there is a state and Fed grant money for projects like this one. And the job of folks employed by the city is find creative ways to get the funding. This money has to come from somewhere, it is not free. Does anybody care that the Feds ran $666 billion dollar deficit fiscal 2017. Well I do. Projects like these are killing our country. What a waste.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm

@No Project

The root cause might be immigration. Concentrating the "best and brightest" from every corner of the globe to come work for tech companies in the Bay Area. For awhile it was splendid but now we have reached a breaking point.
Sure it's not PC but being PC means people will endlessly seek futile solutions instead of facing the truth.
We should start to limit immigration, or get these tech companies to move. They might bring great innovation to Google, but cyberspace is infinite while living space is not.


22 people like this
Posted by Bill Ross
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Under CEQA this is called a "public controversy" and requires review by an environment impact report. I can hear the condenscending staff response: it was dealt with previously either in the adoption of the Bike Master Plan or annually when the Capital Improvement Plan is approved on consent... Many cities require seperate environmental review for construction projects over one million, two million, five million when not dealt with specifically in prior environmental studies. Having driven Ross before and now I pragmatically ask "why now?" Wouldn't the almost nine million dollars required be better spent reducing the unfunded City pension liability? Practically, I ask that the risk assessment for the project be published by the City, if one was done. As Midtown Resident and others noted this is and will be a liability nightmare. I guess City Planning Staff didn't talk to the lawyers who defended the City on the recent bike/ van collision case. Reality is being avoided in several ways here.


19 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm

cvvhrn is a registered user.

What a mess. I fail to see how forcing me (when I'm biking) into an active lane is supposed to make things safe?

Also, when I'm driving now I have to look out for bikes swerving into the active lane when I'm driving.

Dumb.


3 people like this
Posted by B. Mellow
a resident of University South
on Dec 16, 2017 at 6:50 pm

"I fail to see how forcing me (when I'm biking) into an active lane is supposed to make things safe? "

It's supposed to make the cars following you slow down and that makes the whole street safer.


19 people like this
Posted by an actual resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm

"The narrower lanes are still legally wide enough for two cars to go through"

This guy is a dumb*.

Today, 12/17/17 at 4:30 I saw two cars almost do a head-on in front of the Y. The new barrier is so tight because of its poor design, eastbound cars now have to swerve into the westbound lane in order to make the turn into the parking lot.

How did somebody so dumb get to be in authority in this department.


4 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 18, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I have no real strong disagreement with Ross Rd being selected as a bike boulevard. It's just the design and implementation I'm concerned about. Expecting kids on bikes to be "pace cars" for 2 ton 4 wheeled vehicles is nonsense. Drivers can be distracted by things...cellphones, texting, and visual factors such as sun and hard rain, and there are also people who are marginal drivers, sad to say primarily us older drivers; cases of missing the brake and hitting the accelerator instead.

This is not a 'soft' trial implementation...concrete is not soft. If there is anything to pray for it's for the safety of cyclists using Ross Rd. The city can't afford lawsuits as a result of this project.


9 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

""The narrower lanes are still legally wide enough for two cars to go through"

Yes, legally but how about practically? How about non-car vehicles?

Heading north on Middlefield about an hour ago, several cars at N California had to back up from the intersection so a medium-sized truck pulling a smallish machine could clear the Jordan bike barriers to turn onto Middlefield S.

Perhaps out designers of the costly and ridiculous bulb-outs, barriers, pinchpoints, etc. might take a look around and notice there are a lot of gardener trucks, construction vehicles, huge SUVs?


9 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm

In writing my earlier comment regarding this project I was only informed by my general contempt for the city's other notable installations along Middlefield by Jordan (is it still called that?). Yesterday I actually drove home using Ross and really got my fist look at these bulb outs and how they narrow the street to choke points. Perhaps there is some logic to forcing cyclist's and cars into these tight sections, but I cannot see it. Ross was a nice wide quiet street and an example of a road made for easily sharing traffic by both cars and bicycles-now it is not.


1 person likes this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

The Sports Guys post is a current, true, and first hand experience of witnessing an event that happened on Ross Rd as a result of this new project. I imagine there will be more. Sadly, there seems to be no way of stopping it now, once the steam roller wheels are in motion. It's been funded for a very high price and will happen, and then we will await the real results and reports on it's success. I suspect nothing but bad, but I hope I'm wrong. I was once. lol!


7 people like this
Posted by Jim Wen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 18, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The logic for these barriers is very hard to understand: can safety be achieved by creating danger? Do we throw human bodies in front of cars in order to slow them down?


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

What's the city's liability when large vehicles collide on roads where cars have only minimal clearance? see also "public controversy"

Back east an over-zealous person insisted on adding very high speed bumps all over the place. Those of us without SUVs or trucks whose engines were being damaged worked out a fine solution with the snowplow drivers. :-> The cheering was so loud the speed bump advocate finally slunk away in shame when people started adding up the cost of car repairs. Of course that was decades ago.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Does anybody have a link for the contract between Granite Rock and the City? It would be interesting to know, How much Granite Rock and the other contractors were paid. I have a sneaky guess a good chunk was paid for adminstration services and not so much for the folks actually doing the work. I think most of us would like to know what we are actually getting for eight and a half million.


11 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2017 at 7:10 am

If you want to understand this issue thoroughly, watch the Behind the Headlines video. As I watched I wondered where Palo Alto finds its "we know what's better for your city than you mere residents do" staff.

It is a misconception to believe that City Council runs Palo Alto. They have influence, but somewhere along the line Council abdicated real control of the city to the City Manager. As a result, our City Manager and senior staff are essentially not accountable to residents. We should all expect more "Ross Road" to happen.

It is worth remembering that we are all responsible here b/c we elect the City Council that appoints the City Manager who then chooses all senior staff except the City Attorney, Auditor, and Clerk. After Council appoints the City Manager, accountability pretty much evaporates in part b/c of the way the mayor is chosen and in part b/c of politics and the elections cycle.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

What this whole problem created was another problem - mass transit of cars on Louis Road. I think the waze(?) people are shoving people down this road - I see a long line at different times of day and one of the waze cars came into the cul-de-sac to check out if there were any other openings despite the sign in front on the street. Other times angry people go into the street then whiz around the end of the cul-de-sac and then whiz out - all at angry, frustrated speed. The city is not solving any one problem - it is moving the problem around the city to create a new problem.


4 people like this
Posted by Anke
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2017 at 11:48 am

@resident, I imagine those angry, frustrated drivers whizzing around the end of the cul-de-sac don't even see the not-a-through-street sign because they're distracted from following their nav :(


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

So, what steps do we as citizens need to take to get Ross road restored to its orginal confoguration? It is our road, after all. Let’s take it back!


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2017 at 6:08 pm

"So, what steps do we as citizens need to take to get Ross road restored to its orginal confoguration? It is our road, after all. Let’s take it back!"

The only way that we can have direct influence on City policies are through a voter referendum. It's very difficult to do this and requires a core of committed citizens to do the bureaucratic leg work of getting a petition drafted (probably with the help of a lawyer), and getting the required signatures.

Most such efforts peter out or fail. The ones that succeed are generally where a specific addressable problem has captured the attention of a group of citizens who are adversely affected and riled up to do something. A recent example is the Mayfield housing project in Barron Park.

The Ross Road project certainly seems to have the possibility of being this kind of issue. Someone here should create an email address and see if a core group of volunteers can be raised from the people following this thread. I'm not directly affected...but I'd be a happy signer of a petition.

Maybe some of the other road project nonsense - like that on Middlefield Rd could be folded into the efforts....lots of people upset with that too.

Our city bureaucrats have apparently gone crazy - off the deep end. Someone need to reign them in.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks for mentioning Middlefield, too.

The Stop the Casti Expansion folks have certainly got a lot of attention with their lawn sign. Planting those no more road-furniture / obstructions lawn signs all over PA, especially in front of City Hall and in all the stupid bulbouts, seems like a good way to build momentum before the next election.


6 people like this
Posted by It’s my tax money
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Did the city factor in the upkeep of all the street markings, bollards, etc? When streets like Ross Road needs resurfacing in the future, much of the new bike design will have to be redone. That will be a costly, ongoing expense.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 19, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@It's my tax money, PA's about to resurface Middlefield -- yet again -- starting just north of Jordan and its much-discussed bike lane. So if it's running true to form on Ross, it won't correct any mistakes; it will just spend more of our tax money while continuing to ignore our complaints and comments.


8 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Yesterday my grandson visited me. He is in his 2nd year at UC Berkeley's School of Law. I told him about the Ross Rd project. Later, when we were on our way back home from Stanford Shopping Center, I purposely had him take Oregon Expressway to Ross Rd and make the right turn onto it so he could experience driving the full length of Ross Rd to my house. The first part included 6 mild speed bumps until we got to the start of the installation of the new boulevard features. He was shocked and kept asking "Why are they doing this?" I gave him the stock answer we get from the people who pushed for it, city staff who planned it, and CC members who approved it. He just shook his head, maybe thinking lawyers will get a lot of business from suits filed in the future. He even had a near miss with an oncoming car at a pinch point.

Here's what I'd like to see before the ribbon cutting to officially open this up. Ribbon cuttings are usually times of celebration and speeches from officials and dignitaries. This one might be different. I propose all the city staff and CC members involved in the project hop on bikes and give it a test run. And here's my plan for that test run: Split the group of bikers in two and have half of them coming from the southern terminus and the other half coming from the northern terminus. Further, intersperse cars driven by opponents of the project, between each cyclist. This will be a true test of real life everyday situations that occur on Ross Rd. Video record the event and interview cyclists, those who survive, after it's over.

We opponents are criticized for not getting involved before, when there were notices given and meetings held to get public reaction and feedback to the project. The fact is this was a major project that required more than the casual notices. It required knocking on doors and offering to discuss and explain it to residents. And plane (2 dimensional diagrams) on plain paper just doesn't describe it adequately. There should have been scaled 3D models and animated videos made to show how cars and bikes would flow through the boulevard. C'mon we live in the center of the tech universe in Silicon Valley.

But, the fact that it was approved by CC doesn't mean we, who are now opposing it, gave our tacit approval of it by not being adequately informed and engaged before.


14 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm

For several years I thought it would be a good idea to cut the city planning staff to two people. That way they would be far too busy to sit around and dream up all these nutcase projects. Nice to dream isn't it.


9 people like this
Posted by Petitioner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 22, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Dear City of Palo Alto,

Please don't ever do this again. Please restore Ross Rd. to what it was.

Ross Rd. is now an atrocious monument to ineptitude. Rocks occupying the center of what had been road perfectly wide enough to accommodate both bike + car is supposed to enhance safety? Huh? Safety for what? Oh.. The rocks. Bryant is attractive. We are a family of 6 who cycle Palo Alto every day. You have created a huge liability for my 4 PAUSD students. One of them has already been nipped @ the newly created pinch point @ Ross & Colorado. Penny Ellson, who has until this point done much good for the safety of the community, has her head in the sand on this one.

I've seen enough. The emperor is naked. There is no further need to "wait and see".


Like this comment
Posted by @Petitioner
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 22, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Sorry, I don't respond to anonymous message board posters.

Sincerely,
City of Palo Alto


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:05 am

The project is still heavily under construction. I'm not sure why so many drivers are judging it before we can even see how it is going to work. I pass through that area frequently and it hasn't hindered me at all. But then, I don't rely on Ross as my major North route.

I get the impression, perhaps incorrect, that the real issue isn't bicycle safety, but rather, a desire on the part of many drivers to (continue to) use Ross as a higher-speed North-South expressway?

I think the real problem here is too much business-generated traffic during the day, spilling off what are supposed to be the arterials, like Middlefield, Alma, and El Camino Real (and US 101), and on to city residential streets.

"I told you so": The City Council and Developers, have continued to push office space development to the detriment of local residents. It is what it is. Don't blame bicyclists for too much office space.


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Posted by @Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm

"I get the impression, perhaps incorrect, that the real issue isn't bicycle safety, but rather, a desire on the part of many drivers to (continue to) use Ross as a higher-speed North-South expressway?"

BINGO! If a change in the road slows them down, even where needed for safety of others, they squeal like a stuck pig. They're doomed to languish in their antiquated traffic jams, refusing to admit they, in their car, are the cause of traffic jam. It boggles my mind, but hey, let them live in that world, I'm living in one less stressful.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I think the money is better spent on the second basement than the money wasted on Ross Road.


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Posted by Palo Verde Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:50 am

I drove along Ross Road today.

The bulbouts near Colorado now have trees planted. I suspect that as these trees grow that visibility will decrease and the "bump" signs will be obliterated by foliage.

I also saw what I assume was fire trucks making practice turns around the islands at Ross/Loma Verde.


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Posted by Palo Verde Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 14, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Here is a link to sign a petition about this. Please think about signing this and then sharing it on your Facebook page to advertise to others in the area. Thank you.


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Posted by Palo Verde Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 14, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Web Link

Here is a link to a petition about the Ross Road fiasco. Please think about signing it and then sharing it on Facebook to advertise to others in the area. Thank you.


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Posted by Part of the issue is Middlefield
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Part of the issue is Middlefield is a registered user.

There are only a few North-South routes in Palo Alto, 101, Middlefield, Alma and El Camino. If the City really wanted to make Ross safer, they shouldn't have added so many traffic impeding "things" on Middlefield. Middlefield is not a big bike route (kids use Newell and Bryant in N. Palo Alto. Just today I saw someone drive a car down the "bike lane" section of Middlefield in front of Jordan. Bikes on Middlefield still use the sidewalk - often going the wrong way. And all the "bike encouragement" in the world won't keep commuters from the East Bay, etc. from clogging our streets.


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

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