Residents who say that safety installations on Ross Road are making the bicycle boulevard more dangerous are petitioning the city of Palo Alto to remove some of the structures.
The petition, which currently has 176 signatures on Change.org as of Thursday morning, will be brought to the City Council, organizer George Jaquette said.
"Many residents believe that the changes being made at busy intersections along Ross Road are unsafe and unhelpful. In pursuit of traffic calming, the changes have created dangerous interactions between cars and bikes," the petition states in part.
The petition asks the city to stop the project and to remove a roundabout at East Meadow Drive and Ross, which, the residents said, is an "accident-causing design."
Jaquette said by phone that he has already sent emails to council members and plans to meet with one.
"The city spent a great deal of money on a problem that doesn't exist. It is making life harder for a thousand people. The road worked quite well before. Now they are forcing little kids into traffic," he said, noting that bikes are now designated to travel down the center of the road and through narrow traffic-calming slots or around curb extensions. He said that his own children now feel unsafe riding their bikes on the road.
The city has used traffic-calming measures that were adopted for larger municipalities, but they don't work on neighborhood streets, he claimed.
The city "overlaid a solution from big cities on a residential community with wide streets to create the city environment," he said.
Not everyone disapproves of the changes. Christy Moision, a Louis Road resident and Safe Routes to School PTA Coordinator at Fairmeadow Elementary School, said she walks and bikes Ross regularly, as do her children.
"Ross Road before the changes was generally a pretty calm street. I've noticed that now the cars are slowing down. The bulb-outs really do calm the traffic," she said.
She said she and her children are comfortable with riding in the center of the street.
"There's a misconception that bikes should be riding in the gutter," she said, noting that swerving around parked vehicles and car doors that swing out is not safe.
She and other Safe Routes to Schools coordinators went out after the roundabout went in, for example, to teach kids who ride to school how to use it. Generally, they have been receptive, she said.
"The problems now are the construction issues. Hopefully people can be patient," she said, noting that once construction-related materials are removed the roundabout will not be so wide.
Chief Transportation Official Joshuah Mello said the city is making minor modifications to the traffic-calming design to accommodate resident concerns and take care of utility conflicts as construction progresses.
"We are aware of the petition signed by a number of residents regarding the changes to Ross Road. The city has received numerous communications about the project both in favor and opposed to the changes now under construction. We have also received numerous comments regarding the adequacy and timing of notifications to the community about the project," he said in an email.
"The Ross Road project is one piece of a larger effort to improve the city's Bicycle Network as we look to reduce traffic, improve safety and expand the regular use of bikes for travel around Palo Alto. All of the elements included are ones that have been used and tested in other cities.
"We recognize that the construction has been disruptive and the overall goal of slowing traffic and providing more visibility for bike riders (is) not yet fully realized. To that end, we are planning to conduct some concentrated outreach, including a survey, one-on-one notifications and meetings, as well as updated information and communication on the project website. We hope to hear from residents how they would like to be informed and engaged moving forward."
The expected completion date for Phase 1, a total 7.1 miles of traffic-calmed local streets is this September, depending on weather and other factors, he said.
For more information on the bicycle boulevard project, visit cityofpaloalto.org.