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Bike bridge to connect East Palo Alto, Palo Alto

Clarke Avenue-to-West Bayshore crossing aims to increase safety and access to schools, stores, public spaces

After decades of dangerous crossings on the University Avenue overpass over U.S. Highway 101, bicyclists and pedestrians will be getting two new bridges linking East Palo Alto and Palo Alto. Construction on the first started in December.

When completed in June 2019, the East Palo Alto Bicycle/Pedestrian Overcrossing could be used by 130,000 to 230,000 people each year, according to a feasibility study.

Residents on the east side will be able to ride or walk from East Palo Alto's south side, at the intersection of Clarke Avenue and East Bayshore Road, to West Bayshore Road at Newell Road, where they can then access Edgewood Plaza shopping center and Rinconada Park, among other places.

Residents living in East Palo Alto's west side and in Palo Alto will be able to cross over the bridge to get to the regional trail system, the United States Post Office on East Bayshore, schools and East Palo Alto's Ravenswood 101 shopping center, which includes Home Depot, Ikea, Nordstrom Rack, Target and smaller shops and restaurants.

The $8.6 million bridge, crossing above the 10-lane, 160-foot-wide highway, comes out of East Palo Alto's 2013 Highway 101 Bicycle and Pedestrian Overcrossing Feasibility Study. The project is not expected to cause major traffic issues during construction, according to consultant Alta Planning & Design. West Bayshore is likely to be narrowed to a single lane at times to accommodate construction of concrete columns and a ramp; Clarke and East Bayshore lanes could be similarly affected. Lanes on Highway 101 will also be temporarily closed when crews build a support column, but the work is not expected to affect daytime and evening traffic flow, according to the consultant's report.

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Northbound 101 will be closed at night during the overhead bridge construction, however.

When completed, the northern ramp at Clarke will border a city-owned parcel in a reverse "S" curve and will end at Clarke, adjacent to Home Depot, according to the report. A new high-visibility crosswalk will be added at the Home Depot driveway and another high-visibility crosswalk with a median island will be added at Clarke and East Bayshore.

Clarke from East Bayshore to Tinsley Street will be a designated Class III bike route, with bicycles sharing the lanes with cars.

The overcrossing will be lighted at night but with lights pointing downward onto the pavement to reduce glare onto the highway and frontage roads, the report states.

The West Bayshore side will consist of a long ramp that hugs the existing sound wall. The West Bayshore intersection with Newell will get a new traffic signal with bike/pedestrian crossing lights and a high-visibility crosswalk.

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Up to 17 young trees and shrubs could be removed near the sound wall as part of the project, but landscaping to screen the bridge from West Bayshore residents will replace some of the vegetation, the report states. Up to four Modesto ash trees and some turf and shrub landscaping will be removed along Clarke on the northeast side of the highway.

East Palo Alto plans to build a second bridge at a future date that would parallel the existing University Avenue vehicular overpass. Both pedestrian and bicycle projects will create badly needed east-west conduits that could encourage bicycle use — a goal of the two cities — to help ease traffic congestion.

Residents' habits indicate both bridges could be well-used: Compared to the rest of San Mateo County, East Palo Alto has a high percentage of residents walking and biking to work: 1.2 percent bike and 2.7 percent walk in the county; 3.8 percent bike and 3.5 percent walk in the city, according to the feasibility study. Palo Alto also has a high percentage of residents who walk and bike: 5.3 percent bike and 8.4 percent walk, the study noted.

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Bike bridge to connect East Palo Alto, Palo Alto

Clarke Avenue-to-West Bayshore crossing aims to increase safety and access to schools, stores, public spaces

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 6:57 am
Updated: Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 9:16 am

After decades of dangerous crossings on the University Avenue overpass over U.S. Highway 101, bicyclists and pedestrians will be getting two new bridges linking East Palo Alto and Palo Alto. Construction on the first started in December.

When completed in June 2019, the East Palo Alto Bicycle/Pedestrian Overcrossing could be used by 130,000 to 230,000 people each year, according to a feasibility study.

Residents on the east side will be able to ride or walk from East Palo Alto's south side, at the intersection of Clarke Avenue and East Bayshore Road, to West Bayshore Road at Newell Road, where they can then access Edgewood Plaza shopping center and Rinconada Park, among other places.

Residents living in East Palo Alto's west side and in Palo Alto will be able to cross over the bridge to get to the regional trail system, the United States Post Office on East Bayshore, schools and East Palo Alto's Ravenswood 101 shopping center, which includes Home Depot, Ikea, Nordstrom Rack, Target and smaller shops and restaurants.

The $8.6 million bridge, crossing above the 10-lane, 160-foot-wide highway, comes out of East Palo Alto's 2013 Highway 101 Bicycle and Pedestrian Overcrossing Feasibility Study. The project is not expected to cause major traffic issues during construction, according to consultant Alta Planning & Design. West Bayshore is likely to be narrowed to a single lane at times to accommodate construction of concrete columns and a ramp; Clarke and East Bayshore lanes could be similarly affected. Lanes on Highway 101 will also be temporarily closed when crews build a support column, but the work is not expected to affect daytime and evening traffic flow, according to the consultant's report.

Northbound 101 will be closed at night during the overhead bridge construction, however.

When completed, the northern ramp at Clarke will border a city-owned parcel in a reverse "S" curve and will end at Clarke, adjacent to Home Depot, according to the report. A new high-visibility crosswalk will be added at the Home Depot driveway and another high-visibility crosswalk with a median island will be added at Clarke and East Bayshore.

Clarke from East Bayshore to Tinsley Street will be a designated Class III bike route, with bicycles sharing the lanes with cars.

The overcrossing will be lighted at night but with lights pointing downward onto the pavement to reduce glare onto the highway and frontage roads, the report states.

The West Bayshore side will consist of a long ramp that hugs the existing sound wall. The West Bayshore intersection with Newell will get a new traffic signal with bike/pedestrian crossing lights and a high-visibility crosswalk.

Up to 17 young trees and shrubs could be removed near the sound wall as part of the project, but landscaping to screen the bridge from West Bayshore residents will replace some of the vegetation, the report states. Up to four Modesto ash trees and some turf and shrub landscaping will be removed along Clarke on the northeast side of the highway.

East Palo Alto plans to build a second bridge at a future date that would parallel the existing University Avenue vehicular overpass. Both pedestrian and bicycle projects will create badly needed east-west conduits that could encourage bicycle use — a goal of the two cities — to help ease traffic congestion.

Residents' habits indicate both bridges could be well-used: Compared to the rest of San Mateo County, East Palo Alto has a high percentage of residents walking and biking to work: 1.2 percent bike and 2.7 percent walk in the county; 3.8 percent bike and 3.5 percent walk in the city, according to the feasibility study. Palo Alto also has a high percentage of residents who walk and bike: 5.3 percent bike and 8.4 percent walk, the study noted.

Comments

resident
Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:02 am
resident, Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:02 am

Caltrans has been talking about this for decades. Speeding cars have made the existing sidewalks much too dangerous. I am glad a separated pedestrian route is finally happening at this location.

Now, will the San Antonio Road pedestrian bridge ever happen?


Good call
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:14 am
Good call, Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

It's been much needed for many years.


Ugh
Midtown
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:27 am
Ugh, Midtown
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:27 am
AlexDeLarge
Midtown
on Jan 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
AlexDeLarge, Midtown
on Jan 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

Design contest anyone?


resident
Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2018 at 10:35 am
resident, Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2018 at 10:35 am

Why is this project so much cheaper and being built so much faster than Palo Alto's Adobe Creek bicycle bridge? No silly political egos and beauty committees to get in the way of progress?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:03 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:03 am

Amazing!!!

Two Bridges, yet Palo Alto can't build one.


Juan
Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm
Juan, Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm

It's good to see more bike / ped bridges get built, but construction should be contingent on EPA banning recreational marijuana sales in the city. Otherwise you're going back to the days of whiskey gulch, except this time it will be marijuana bridge.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Too bad Juan has such disdain for democracy and the results of a vote where people voted in favor of marijuana.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2018 at 11:16 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2018 at 11:16 am

Nice idea, but this should not be a bike bridge only,
it should be built for both bikes and cars,

Then there is access to that strip of land on the other side of the creek from Palo Alto from East Palo Alto to which it belongs, and the bridge at Newell can be removed and the streets will be safer and calmer everywhere as well as the creek will be easier to maintain and control.

During rush hour people use the Newell Bridge and then speed like crazy people along Woodland to University or Embarcadero making it hard to drive on Woodland and dangerous to bike or walk.


David
another community
on Jan 22, 2018 at 8:43 am
David, another community
on Jan 22, 2018 at 8:43 am
sigh
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2018 at 10:56 pm
sigh, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2018 at 10:56 pm

looking forward to the bike bridge. Sad to see someone trying to use this project to promote the removal of the Newell bridge.


Liam
East Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:04 am
Liam, East Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:04 am

I moved from Europe and rent a flat in East Palo Alto. In Europe, it's common to use alternative transportation such a cycling for errands/commute, etc. I find it interesting there isn't more infrastructure built here, yet. I commend city officials for approving such bridge, future residents will be thankful as populations grow past automobile transport.


Resident
Midtown
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:24 am
Resident, Midtown
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:24 am

Wasn't the United States designed to be different from Europe? Individual rights, small government and no socialism.
After WW2 they called it the "American century" and the entire world copied us.

So now, we're supposed to start copying Europe? What changed? Are we going backwards now?


Not quite yet
Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:32 am
Not quite yet, Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:32 am

Nice! This will absolutely get me to rethink commuting on my bike. This would be my route so it's pretty exciting. I'd like to see it finished though. That seems to be the sticking point around here regarding bridges.


Aletheia
Registered user
Green Acres
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:35 am
Aletheia, Green Acres
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:35 am
Steve Dabrowski
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 23, 2018 at 11:09 am
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 23, 2018 at 11:09 am

The other day I was crossing the San Antonio bridge across 101 and noted a couple cycling across on the side walk with no problem. They have cross walks at both ends with good visibility and the walk is just as wide as that on the Embarcadero underpass that is routinely used by cyclists by Town and Country. Why we need to fully replace this San Antonio crossing at a cost of about $16M seems pretty wasteful. Be a lot cheaper to widen the walkway and put in some flashing crosswalk signs to make it a bit safer given the probable use of the crossing. Anyway a new bridge will probably employ the bollards at each end just like the existing bridges uses that interrupts the ride so many will not use it for that reason alone.


Bridge good but...
Menlo Park
on Jan 23, 2018 at 11:16 am
Bridge good but..., Menlo Park
on Jan 23, 2018 at 11:16 am

A bike is a good idea in general. BUT

a) Do we really have to do this AFTER they finally open 101 again. Do we HAVE to do all these projects (slip lane, creek bridge, bike bridge) serially so that we can have a DECADE of screwed up and dangerous roadway on 101? (not to mention that the repaving job with the slip lane was first so that it can get cut up by the later projects and leave crappy surface again. I do not believe for a minute that there will be minimal disruption to 101. The article already talks about nighttime closures. You know that means night time CONSTRUCTION too. And where does that traffic go at night? Ask all of us here in the Willows what happens when they run jackhammers and heavy equipment at 2am? And do we really believe they will leave the lanes intact except for the nights they are building the column? Uh no. They will be diverted and dangerous in a similar but different way than they are now. And they will be left that way during the entire project just in case. It will not be a couple of nights.

b) Why there? Wouldn't the University crossing be better to focus on? Frankly, done right, that could solve for both. On the east side, land in the unbuilt lot next to IKEA with access to the east and south. West side come down on Bayshore again. Then it's a fairly reasonable distance split north to University or south to Embarcadero bike bridge.


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