News

Whizzing cyclists are putting pedestrians on edge

New group advocates for improvements to California Avenue tunnel

A cyclist riding east through the California Avenue underpass encounters pedestrians and children on scooters on June 14, 2018. Though there are "Walk Bikes" signs posted at the tunnel, some cyclists choose to keep riding. Photo by Veronica Weber.

A city effort to make the tunnel under the train tracks at Palo Alto's California Avenue accessible to motorized wheelchairs and bicycle trailers has left pedestrians cursing cyclists and feeling anxious about using the underpass.

A set of "maze" gates used to force bicyclists to dismount and walk through the tunnel. Now on either end of the underpass are a pair of gates jutting out diagonally from the walls and separated by about five feet, which cyclists easily ride around. Signs directing people to "Walk bikes" are posted at the underpass entrances, and by city municipal code cyclists ought to comply.

Vic Befera, who uses the underpass daily, said he was nearly knocked down by a pack of bicyclists in early May.

"I had to throw myself against the cement wall to escape injury. I could feel their clothing brush against me. The city is not enforcing walking bikes," he said.

Befera has been so bothered by the frequent near-misses that he and other Palo Alto residents have formed a group — Pedestrian Safety, or P.S. — to make the underpass safer.

Joan Meyn, another member of the group, agreed the situation with cyclists has gotten out of hand.

"They pay no attention to us — especially us senior citizens," she said.

Group members say they aren't against bicyclists and don't see them as the enemy.

"I remember the first bike I got when I was 12 years old. It had a front light and an electric horn and big, balloon tires. It was the thrill of my life," said Befera, recalling the joy of riding a bike with a girl by his side and the wind going through his hair. "I have no quarrel with bikes and bicycling. The only thing is, I think there is a flaw in our enforcement."

Bicycling should be encouraged, but the city should fix the tunnel so it is safe for all users and enforce its laws, he said.

"The only money they've spent is on the fanciful fish," he said, noting the colorful marine-life-themed mural on the walls.

While Befera can jump out of the way of a zooming cyclist, he said he's mostly worried for the young children who use the tunnel to get to the playground at Jerry Bowden Park, which is adjacent to the tunnel's eastern end.

Befera and Meyn also noted the tunnel is dark and people don't know whether they are on a potential collision course with others.

At Befera's prodding, the city recently replaced some of the burned-out light bulbs. Palo Alto police spokesman Capt. Zach Perron said the city plans to replace all of the bulbs with brighter lights. The police department is also stepping up patrols in the area when staffing permits, he said.

Perron said officers will focus initially on educating bicyclists. It will be up to officers to decide whether to ticket violators. A ticket would cost a $20 base fine plus penalty assessments, which are determined by the court, he said. (Such penalty assessments can add in excess of $100, according to state penalty schedules.)

Perron said it isn't illegal to ride through when no one else is in the tunnel, however.

Given its central location in the city, the tunnel is well-used, according the city's 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority also identified the North California bike lane, which includes the undercrossing, to be of "countywide significance" because it links the California Avenue business district to parts east, including Jordan Middle School, and is part of the larger Bay to Ridge Trail.

Members of Pedestrian Safety would like to see the aged tunnel replaced with one similar to the Homer Avenue undercrossing, which is well-lit, spacious and has designated lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The idea of improving or rebuilding the tunnel is nothing new. The city's 2012 bike plan recommends rebuilding or retrofitting the tunnel, which it estimated would cost $2 million to $5 million. At a minimum, the improvements would include ramps for better pedestrian access. Other projects, pending feasibility and funding, would include widening the tunnel with separate pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. But existing underground utilities would force a much deeper and more expensive tunnel to be dug than similar tunnels, the plan noted.

Restoring the earlier configuration of railings in the tunnel is not feasible because the changes were made to ensure the underpass is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City Chief Transportation Official Joshuah Mello was not available for comment.

While the tunnel modifications aren't expected any time soon, Perron said that during the next school year the city will highlight the underpass regulations as part of an education campaign through the Safe Routes to Schools program.

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Comments

27 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:57 am

Given the length of the tunnel and its poor lighting, that rule seems pretty hard to follow " it isn't illegal to ride through when no one else is in the tunnel". How about completely banning riding at hours where pedestrian traffic is at the highest? Or have sensors to alert cyclists that someone is in the tunnel -e.g. via a flashing dismount sign- ? None of those would break the bank but could really help in safety and rule enforcement...


16 people like this
Posted by Jon Claerbout
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:38 am

It doesn't cost that much money to make another or a bigger pedestrian/bicycle tunnel under the railroad tracks. You should visit Boulder, Colorado.


65 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:20 am

It's down to good manners. People just don't seem to have them or care.

Having to make it a legal requirement to make people consider others is a sad state of affairs about society today.


37 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:23 am

I agree that the tunnel is too narrow and forcing bicyclists to walk just makes it more congested. A big part of the problem for wheelchair users is that the tunnel is also too steep and not ADA complaint. The city really needs to build a new tunnel that is wide enough to handle the traffic. Or build a bridge over the train tracks from Midtown to the California Ave business district, which Midtown residents have been requesting for decades. This will be tremendously cheaper than a lot of the road projects that the city is doing.


17 people like this
Posted by Madias
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2018 at 9:16 am

Cyclists need to learn to share the road/sidewalks.
There should be a 3-foot rule for pedestrians, just like there is for cyclists.
If the cyclist gets closer than 3 feet to a pedestrian, they should be cited.
I like to walk two and three abreast down the sidewalk so cyclists see me and don't run us off the sidewalk.


39 people like this
Posted by Swamp
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2018 at 9:46 am

Bicyclists curse pedestrians if they remind cyclists to walk their bikes at the Cal Ave underpass. Josh Mello, Transportation Director for PA, stays silent on the matter. The Transportation Dept is infiltrated with bike fanatics that don’t care about pedestrians and motorists. This is the same department that built the Ross Road bike boulevard obstacle course and will oversee the railroad roadway crossings in Palo Alto.


29 people like this
Posted by 1st world problem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 10:43 am

The comments are even better than the hilariously spun story :)


22 people like this
Posted by Pedestrian
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 10:59 am

The same thing happens at the University pedestrian underpass near the train station. Bikes race by and don't care about pedestrians. I've told bikers to slow down but they just curse me.


19 people like this
Posted by Stu Berman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:07 am

It is unfortunate that this issue is being spun as a bikes vs. pedestrians issue. The best solution would be to build a new will designed tunnel like the one that connects Palo Alto Medical Clinic with downtown. Until then bikes have as much right to the tunnel as do pedestrians. Remember, this is a bike path.


5 people like this
Posted by native to the bay
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

I am super thrilled the gates are wider now. The one thing I'd suggest is to move the gates even further out. Install them closer to each east and west opening - you know right on either end of the tunnel. However it's view that There is a major difference between a bicyclists and a cyclist. Those that ride through in their super fancy high priced togs and clackety biking shoes don't appear to have any time to get off their super slim seat and are even annoyed and don't like to be off balance to walking their very expensive 24 speeds and just cycle on through. I recommend that my 11 and 12 year-old children ride their 1 speed pedal break bikes through for safety reasons especially when traveling through later in the day. Her is another idea. How about a turn style system on end of the tunnel. The turn style could operate on a automated timer during the hours of say, 7am and 5pm Monday thru Sunday - 7 days a week. When coming up to either end you press a button identifying as a pedestrian or using a wheeled mode. The turn-style would remain locked until those on one side safely get through. Then the other side's turn-style is released. Much like a four way stop light on our roads. Or a metered lighting system like on our freeway on-ramps. Or even how it's done at BART or NYC Subway stations. Think of the tunnel as a ZONE or a underground bridge. Instead of taking a monetary toll we take turns in going through it. This could be a temporary measure to alert those on either end and used until a newer retrofitted tunnel is engineered and built. As pedestrian and wheeled vehicle commuters we have to "adapt" to more bikes, more pedestrian, more elderly, disabled, children ... The system is never perfect but as human being we adapt well and luckily, it's not brain surgery! The fact is that hundreds and hundreds of people using all non automobile like modes use this tunnel hourly, daily. We can figure this out for sure. It's never fun to say excuse me how have a nice day.


45 people like this
Posted by The Real Quesiton
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

How many accidents have been reported here?

Sometimes we get distracted with solutions to problems that are more irritations and not actual dangers.
Before we spend another $Mil, do we know the accident history over the past 5 yrs or so?


12 people like this
Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

The problem extends to sidewalks, especially along Middlefield in Midtown. There are now bike boulevards within one to three blocks on either side of Middlefield, but I don't expect bicyclists to use them any more down the line than in the past or present. City needs to simply ban bicycles on sidewalks in this area (and elsewhere in city?).


18 people like this
Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:52 am

We just returned from Helsinki. There, the bike/pedestrian accesses are a wide sidewalk on each side of the street, with a designated space for bikes on one side and for pedestrians on the other. It works well.


2 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:55 am

James Thurber is a registered user.

A simple and cheap solution: First: Repave the (awful) pavement surface under the railroad tracks.

Second: Restrict auto traffic to one lane each way.

Third: Mark off the remaining road space for bicyclists.

Finally: Put up some bright lights in the tunnel so that auto drivers can SEE the bicycle riders.

I don't ride in the pedestrian tunnels - I take the road. The surface is absolutely awful. The traffic, although not thick, tends to ignore you because of dim lighting in the tunnel.

That can ALL be fixed, on the cheap. How about it Palo Alto?


Like this comment
Posted by duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:55 am

That is, each sidewalk is bisected to allow for pedestrian AND bikes on each side of the street.


11 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:58 am

James Thurber is a registered user.

Second Input: There are two other seriously dangerous spots in Palo Alto. The first is riding along Embarcadero road. Twenty-five miles per hour? Who? When? I do NOT ride on the sidewalk and there are (essentially) no bicycle lanes. So I take the lane - the entire lane. I can cruise along at close to 25 mph but that's good enough for the "I've got no time to waste" drivers. I catch a lot of angry honks.

The other road where things are a bit unlawful is Middlefield. Again, much of it is posted at 25 mph. Most of the traffic thinks that 40 in a 25 zone is OK. It's sometimes fun to watch the "speed signs" light up with significant excesses (I've seen 50, seriously, twice the lawful limit). Again, no place for bicycles EXCEPT the lane - the entire lane. Angry car drivers? Yup.

Apologies? Nope. Hey, I'm peddling as FAST as I can :-)


22 people like this
Posted by Avid Walker
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm

The same rude behavior happens on the foot bridge to the Baylands. Good luck to the biker who hits and severely wounds another person. It will be on you forever.


11 people like this
Posted by It happened to me
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm

I too was once startled by a person on a bicycle. Where are the police?


10 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

Council member Adrian Fine was the strongest proponent of changing the code to allow bikes to be ridden through the tunnel when the council majority discussed and then voted to change the code earlier this year.

Fine testified that as someone who rode his bike frequently he personally always dismounted when there were pedestrians in the tunnel. And that he expected other bikers to do the same. But to have to do so when there were no pedestrians present in the tunnel was a burden on bike riders and an unreasonable code that should be changed.


26 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

It is the same arrogance by those on bikes who feel that they should not stop at stop signs who ignore signs that say walk bikes in tunnels and on bridges.

The fact that they have clip on shoes is not an excuse. Would a similar argument about a car having go fast stripes mean that the car can break the speed limit? No, and footwear doesn't give bike riders an excuse to pretend they are on the Tour de France.


43 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

This tunnel is marked as a official bicycle route on the city's bicycle route map. The vast majority of people bicycling this route are kids riding to/from school and commuters heading to/from their jobs at California Ave or the train station. Discouraging these residents from using this route will just put more cars on the road in a part of town that is already overloaded with cars.

The city needs to do more to encourage bicycling instead of driving. Instead of whining about too many bicyclists, how about building a better bicycle route that can safely and efficiently support all the traffic and reduce cars in the area? For decades, Midtown residents have been asking the city for a bicycle route to the Caltrain station from south of Oregon Expressway. Building a bridge over the train tracks (perhaps at Colorado Ave) is a win-win-win-win for everyone, bicyclists, pedestrians, car drivers, and California Ave businesses. This bridge will be tremendously cheap compared to the new parking garages that the city is proposing. Instead of whining about the current situation that everyone hates, everyone please push the city to improve the situation by building this bridge.


6 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm

I think everyone wants a wider tunnel, with enough room for bikes and peds to be safely separated, but it is not cheap. As pointed out above, the tunnel is too steep to meet ADA standards, and making it less steep means making it longer. Where do you put a longer and wider tunnel? It would have to bend or zig-zag to fit the existing ends. There have been preliminary studies that estimated costs higher than $10 million, and the costs have certainly gone up since those old studies. The opinion of City Hall, and many residents, is that other projects are more important since this tunnel seems to be working OK for now, so there are no prospects for upgrading it any time soon.


8 people like this
Posted by Love the fish tunnel
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm

I love this tunnel! It's a key connector and a big deal. It previously enabled me to get to my job when my husband used our only car for day care drop off and there was no undercrossing like there is now at PAMF. I only regret that the gates weren't fixed while I still was towing a bicycle trailer.

I also understand that it is an actual problem that needs to be fixed to accommodate the many users on the key route. Fixing it would be a much better use of funds than creating a bike boulevard on Ross that bikers and drivers both dislike in equal measure.

[It is ridiculous to walk your bike when no one else is in the tunnel. And even more ridiculous to close it to bicycles when it's a key route. Come on, people!]


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm

I’ve read about this with some interest though I haven’t been in the tunnel. I gather there are official signs stating to walk your bike, and some don’t do that, endangering people such as those described in the article. The City’s response is to suggest “education” for the cyclists. What, they can’t read?!
Or is it they just don’t care about others.
Yeah, the City’s responsibly reacting to this situation.....not.


2 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 2:41 pm

"The city needs to do more to encourage bicycling instead of driving."

Did I read that right...

"The city needs to do more to encourage bicycling instead of driving."

Ha ha ha ha ha... wait that must have been a type-o....

"The city needs to do more to encourage bicycling instead of driving."

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

*breath*

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

HAVEN'T THEY DONE ENOUGH???


FFS!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Art
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Most cyclists are respectful and understanding, but there are some who are rude and curse back at you when you speak to them. My advice to pedestrians who sense an unsafe situation from one of the latter: Make a lot of noise - with a whistle or a loud noisemaker, like one of the New Years noisemakers that you blow into or the kind that have a battery. This will create an unpleasant experience for those in the tunnel, but is sure to alert and annoy those cyclists that they are doing something unsafe and wrong.


60 people like this
Posted by Getahourse
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm

When I'm walking, I hate bicycles and cars. When I biking, I hate pedestrians and cars. When I'm driving, I hate bicycles and pedestrians. I love to sit.


34 people like this
Posted by Non-Problem!!!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 15, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Everyone is so game to totally redo this tunnel, and god knows that will run into the millions of dollars.
Meanwhile...has anyone actually been hurt?

This is how money and time are wasted. Someone gripes about a non problem, with zero evidence that it is a problem, and then calls out how this "Problem" needs addressing.

C'mon people! Demand better from yourself and others.


2 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:14 pm

The topography unfortunately greatly favors cyclists. There is a steep dip down to the center which encourages bikers to simply coast and let gravity do the work. It works agains pedestrians because it is uncomfortable walking, even without the cyclists. Guess who comes out ahead.


16 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Re: the bicyclists wearing road shoes (the "clackety biking shoes").

These shoes often have no tread on the soles, and a big slippery metal cleat. So cyclists using them actually *can't* walk through the tunnel without risking slipping and falling on their rear. They have more control and are safer (both for themselves and others) if they ride slowly and carefully on their bikes through the underpass.

If they are not slow and careful -- well, then they have no excuse.


14 people like this
Posted by Karen H
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Karen H is a registered user.

One thing that would help cyclists would be to change the surface - perhaps rough it a little, making it still safe for walkers - it's too slick for cyclist shoes. I've slipped and fallen while walking my bike on my cleats. Oops - I see a previous comment, but I'm one who did take a bad fall while walking.


34 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:53 pm

The main problem is that there aren't enough routes for bikes to safely cross the tracks, so the one crossing for miles is overcrowded. Open an overpass / underpass at Colorado and one at Meadow and the problem will solve itself.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

Once again, choice of footwear is not an excuse. Bike riders, you are on public roads, sharing a tunnel with others. You are not on the Tour de France.


13 people like this
Posted by B. A. DeBiker
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Resurface the tunnel floor and cut parallel wavy grooves about 1 inch wide, 1 inch deep, 6 feet between wave peaks along the tunnel length. Presto! No more speeding bikers.


5 people like this
Posted by M J
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm

There are not enough routes for peds and cyclists to cross the tracks. CPA could work with SC Cty to widen the Oregon X underpass to accommodate peds, cyclists and other non-motorized modes. This could reduce the number of drivers commuting to Stanford Research Park. Current design was very short sighted.


12 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:41 pm

re: cleats, ever heard of cleat covers? They'll keep you safe and protect your cleats without compromising pedestrians safety.


14 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm

A lot of cyclists are out of control. Try walking out at the Baylands and cyclists have plenty of space to ride and it is easy to avoid hikers and pedestrians, but very often I get a bicyclist with plenty or room to go off the trail or around me ringing his, and it is almost always males, bell furiously at me like it is me that needs to get out of the way. There are supposed to be signs that explain the right-of-way to park visitors.

There is a great sign at the Adobe Creek gate entrance to the Baylands or Byxbee Park that explains the right-of-way protocol ... but there is only one sign like that I have ever seen in the Baylands. First pedestrians, then runners, then bicyclists. Easy to remember and logical. We need these signs at least every mile on the trails, and possibly throughout the city too.

Also easy to remember is to have your dogs on the leash, and yet there are almost always dogs off the leash and pooping all over the Baylands now - because there is no enforcement and no one takes it seriously anymore. If a dog wants to poop, I see their owners walk them off the trail a little so they hide it and do not have to clean it up.

What is wrong with people? If you cannot keep up with your dog's needs and requirements - don't get a dog, and if you cannot follow the rules of the road, don't get a car or bike.

Palo Alto ... can you get your Rangers or Police to enforce these laws, and be where they will see real violators instead of just nailing random people who happen to make mistakes in order to fill a ticket quota please?


6 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2018 at 11:44 pm

@Duveneck,
"here, the bike/pedestrian accesses are a wide sidewalk on each side of the street, with a designated space for bikes on one side and for pedestrians on the other. It works well."

I agree with you. The problem with bringing it up with bike advocates is that someone did a study on when bikes get into more accidents, and found that when bikes try to take sidewalks, ride in the wrong direction, etc, they get into more accidents. Bike advocates here decide to interpret that by generalizing it beyond any context in the study, even where there is evidence to the contrary in foreign countries or domestic municipalities.

So if you bring up creating separated bike and pedestrian ways, these advocates get rigid and aggressive, I've experienced it, there is no reasoning with them or getting them to look more closely at the study or how they are mindlessly overinterpreting it. I'm sure that study is responsible for the ill-advised, stupid and dangerous changes the City made at Donald and Arastradero.

The bike lobby in this town does not care about pedestrians. I have witnessed accidents between bikes and small children on the Juana Briones playground, and the Maybell safety upgrades of a few years ago were supposed to allow the bikes to no longer have to go through the school yard, but that change never materialized. Bikes get to dominate the schoolyard even if it means the kids can't play before or after school, or are at serious risk of being hit by high school kids on bikes.

Don't get me wrong, I support creating the kind of separated network you describe. I think we should underground the train in order to create a cross-town bike and scooter throughway above it. That would do more than anything to increase biking. But it will never happen unless someone does a broader study that draws the bike advocates out of their set-in-stone opinions.


4 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:05 am

Reality Check is a registered user.

Any new bridges (tunnels) over (under) tracks would have to feature ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act) grades.

Tunnels only have to go down about the height of a human plus a bit of headroom (8 feet) and a bit more for a sufficiently-thick ceiling and railbed (tracks+ballast). So maybe 11-12 feet, or so, total.

Bridges, on the other hand, would need to rise at least 24 feet over the tracks in order to provide adequate clearance for the 25-kilovolt bare overhead electric wires that will soon be installed as part of the ongoing Caltrain electrification project.

Due to the requirement for ADA-compliant grades, this means bridges would have doubled ramping length on both sides vs. tunnels. Double the climbing, double the descending vs underpasses. And a potential eyesore vs underpasses ... as the Bayshore Caltrain station pedestrian overpass illustrates perfectly: Web Link (ADA compliance was achieved with elevators since ADA-compliant ramps would be insanely long).


24 people like this
Posted by ZERO Accidents here
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2018 at 5:41 am

Why does everyone want to spend multi-millions of dollars on a problem that does not exit?
Some "Group" claims they "feeeeeel" unsafe and now tax payers might be on the hook for millions? Because of HOW MANY ACCIDENTS? Oh, none? Sounds perfectly Palo Alto.



13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2018 at 7:13 am

For starters, just put the old barriers back as well as another in the middle of the tunnel. Bicyclists had to at least slow down for the old barriers.


19 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 16, 2018 at 9:02 am

@ZERO Accidents Here - Where were the accidents reports to justify the changes in gates/barriers? Seems that this decision was solely for the convenience of one group of tunnel users (CM Fine in particular) .... and apparently at the detriment of and greater risk for pedestrians.


Like this comment
Posted by Heijac
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

Yes. I don’t like the dogs either.


7 people like this
Posted by Polly Wanaknow
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by @Polly
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2018 at 5:13 am

[Portion removed.]

Are we just talking about people feeling uncomfortable, or is there a REAL problem? That's what we need to know. Correct information drives correct decisions.
The more the discussions goes on without this data, the more I feel there's likely no substance to the actual danger some claim.


2 people like this
Posted by Ride on the side
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2018 at 10:09 am

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by lan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

As a cyclist, I dismount my bike before entering the California Avenue tunnel, or any tunnel or bridge in and around Palo Alto. And I feel bloody silly as I get passed by other cyclists pedaling around me. It will not work to mix pedestrians with cyclists in that tunnel without a strong incentive for cyclists to either walk their bikes, or ride very very slowly. Removing the maze gates is a strong disincentive and I too will probably decide it is safer to ride my bike, rather than walk it through the tunnel.


5 people like this
Posted by PA refugee
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

So glad I moved.from PA. Cash out while you still can! Life is so much bettering elsewhere. And so much quieter, no train plans or heavy traffic day and night.


15 people like this
Posted by Traffic flow
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 17, 2018 at 10:58 am

@James Thurber, your attitude is exactly what gives cyclists a bad name. You may have the "right" to ride Middlefield but if you can't keep up with the flow of traffic you have no business being on that street. Or any other street for that matter.

Why aren't bicycles allowed on highways? Because they are an impediment to traffic, If you're impeding traffic you shouldn't be part of it. Oklahoma recently instituted a new law that if you are in the left lane and are impeding traffic you will be ticketed. Even if you're going the speed limit. They have found that the "road rage" caused by slower drivers in the left lane causes more issues that those going over the speed limit.

The same should be done for cyclists. If impeding traffic they should be fined. And actually this brings up another point. If cyclists want so many rights on the road then they need to start being taxes, licensed and insured, same as cars.


9 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 11:50 am

Totally agree with Traffic Flow. Honestly I think HOV lanes should be abolished so drivers can use the far left lane to get around slowpokes distracted by their phone. This is so important for preventing traffic and unnecessary lane weaving.

Most of the cyclists around here don't ride their bikes because they have to. It's their leisure time, they are sporting on the road.
Mororists drive their cars because they have to. They have work, they have someplace to be on time, driving is the lifeblood of our economy.

If cyclists enjoy themselves and get great exercise then more power to them, but that doesn't mean that our city government should cater to these people who are sporting on the road over motorists who NEED the public roads for WORK.

When I need to exercise I confine myself to the gym. I don't like getting in people's way.


12 people like this
Posted by Pro Cyclist
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 2:09 pm

^^^lacks a logical counter-argument, so attacks the poster

Typical lack of internet etiquette.

Looks like I've hit a nerve


7 people like this
Posted by Todd
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2018 at 3:11 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Are you kidding? It's plainly obvious that HOV lanes only make traffic worse. Even our extreme liberal region has finally been force to admit
how inefficient they are, which is why they're being converted to Express lanes.

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Polly Wanaknow
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 17, 2018 at 5:05 pm

"If he was wrong you could post where he is wrong instead of insulting."

He? If he was a he you could post where you know he is a he instead of insulting my inquiry. Correct information drives correct attributions, after all. Else you are merely whining about metawhining, which might be termed (meta2)whining (portion removed).


1 person likes this
Posted by Timmy
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Here's a thought. If you are walking through the tunnel, understand that this is a high traffic choke point. Treat it like the outdated, old infrastructure that it is. Walk single file, walk in a straight line, close to the wall, listen for bikes, be ready for them to pass pretty close since it is old and narrow. Walk "against traffic" so you know they're coming. If someone hits you, sue them or something. Cyclists: ride slower, use your voice to gently warn. If you're in cycling shoes, stay clipped in and pedal! Even though it isn't the Tour de France, that's the best way for all to navigate this old outdated infrastructure. Share and be nice.


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm

How about this ... what your bloddy bikes when you are in close quarters with pedestrians for god's sake and quit whining?


30 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

>> Even our extreme liberal region has finally been force to admit how inefficient they are,

Oh, give me a break, this has nothing to do with political parties or partisanship ... and yet constantly PAO moderators let these slights against Liberals sit there un-edited or moderated. Do your jobs moderators. How does a region admit anything anyway?

Yeah, Liberal CA is so terrible that is the 5th largest economy in the world compared with whole countries.


12 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:35 pm

> what your bloddy bikes when you are in close quarters with pedestrians

I mean WALK ... walk your bloddy bikes, excuse my unruly fingers.


4 people like this
Posted by T. R.
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2018 at 8:07 pm

I spoke softly and carried a big stick, which also bespoked.


22 people like this
Posted by Easy Fix
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

I use the tunnel frequently, usually with a bike or scooter, sometimes on foot. Here's a simple solution. Pull out the rails that are currently there to block bikes and turn them parallel to tunnel walls and make a safe railed off area for pedestrians. Walkers can then leisurely walk through the tunnel protected by the rails from errant bikers. It's what they do in Copenhagen and other bike friendly environments. Put a turnstile on the pedestrian walk through to prevent bikes from using it.

In Copenhagen they curb the bike lanes to protect them from cars. In the California Ave tunnel, curb or rail a path for walkers.

Easy Peasy solution. Don't reinvent the wheel. Just do what any bike friendly city has alreay done.


25 people like this
Posted by Glad there is no real danger
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:24 am

Looking at the issue and reading the comments, it seems this is just a case of a few people, maybe startled at times, who got a hold of someone to write a story that pretends there is an actual danger.

I work in a grocery store. From what I can see by the ambulances that have had to come semi-regularly, seniors are much more at risk from unattended kids in the isles.


3 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Annette is a registered user.

This explains why there was a police officer standing near the CalAve entry several days ago. I guess I earned some social demerits b/c as I walked out with my bike I warned a kid who was just entering on his bike.


20 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Annette is a registered user.

And btw, the title of this article is awfully funny. No one wants to deal with a whizzing cyclist.


Like this comment
Posted by @Glad there is no real danger.
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm

So glad there was no real danger to justify changing the gates to accommodate the inconvenience of cyclists having to dismount and walk their bike... By your own logic, doesn't it make reverting the gates' changes a complete no-brainer...?


12 people like this
Posted by No whizzing!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm

HAHA. I know, right Annette? It's a bit slanted from the get go.
Seems like much ado about nothing, though from the smell at times, people actually are whizzing in the tunnel, which it pretty awful.
Perhaps a recessed, in-wall toilet is in order :)


11 people like this
Posted by @@Glad there is no real danger
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Almost. Yes, I agree, with no real danger, changing the tunnel initially was a silly thing to do. Now again, though, at this time with the current changes in place, we still have no real dangers, but reverting it back would be making a $econd $illy decision. We can't do two stupid ideas hoping they cancel each other out. What's done it done and it's time to move on. If someone in the future demands a change to the tunnel, make them show accident data first.
We've already spend too much money and time on this "problem" of non-existence.


12 people like this
Posted by @@@Glad there is no real danger
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Glad you admit there was no reason to change the gates other than the personal convenience and comfort (laziness?) of some cyclists. Note there were also no complaints from cyclists over perceived danger or about feeling unsafe when that change was made.

So not quite equivalent situation. Seems that change was made solely for one group's comfort on the back of another group's comfort and perceived safety.

Just like any cyclist, I don't like to mix it up with faster (and heavier) vehicles. Pedestrians have the same view and it shouldn't be that hard for cyclists to understand that ....


26 people like this
Posted by Bikermom
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:37 pm

My kids and I frequent this tunnel, I don't mind if people ride through when no one is in the tunnel. Or even if I'm walking through by myself, but when I'm having to shout out at my 3 young children to get out of the way for their own safety of a speeding cyclist and they are freaked out and panicked and I'm trying to keep them safe, then I'm pissed off. Sometimes kids comply who begin to ride their bikes through and I tell them to get off their bikes. But honestly a biker can do a lot of damage if they knock over a young child or an elderly person. Also it really annoys me when they act like my kids and I are in their way. Get off your damn bike and walk it. P.S. A no smoking sign would be nice too


214 people like this
Posted by @@@@Glad there is no real danger
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

"Glad you admit there was no reason to change the gates other than the personal convenience and comfort (laziness?) of some cyclists"

Not quite, you're missing it by _that_ much.

I said there was no real danger to warrant a change. YOU were the one who then projected the reasons that the change was made; reasons you have imagined in your head. Then you went on to use this imagined reason to go back and make another bad decision.
I can see now you have a pet peeve and I won't stoke it. God speed and enjoy the tunnel, regardless of who's in it. Now we can give our @ key a break :)


Like this comment
Posted by @Adobe Meadow Resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2018 at 5:47 pm

All for saving all these @ keys. Can you provide any other reasons the gates were changed?


3 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

If you are riding a bike and whizzing next to pedestrians, then when you get " spoken " by a pedestrian, can get instant KARMA and justice. That would citizens enforcing the 3 foot law. Having a good walking stick just enforces a 3 foot limit around all human beings. It is kinda hard to spoke a bike 3 feet away and just proves you broke the law. Far better than a 2x4 alongside the head given to a [proved] law breaker that now uses his nerd hat to avoid injury.. His arrogance is another issue. Time to say " I'm sorry " and have an attitude adjustment. This is a real world and real people live in it. We want real spoking to enforce real laws. A walking stick shoved into the spokes sends a message quite clear: YOU ARE BREAKING A LAW AND THIS IS HOW PEOPLE STOP LAWBREAKERS. Beyond 3 feet, you cannot reach. right next to you, easy prey. I use an e-trike these days. It does not share a road, so I rarely use it.


10 people like this
Posted by @arrest_them
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm

I use the underpass as both pedestrian and bikeer. Of course I walk my bike when I cross the underpass. When riding a bike, I know very well that it is very difficult to keep balance in a tight space. So, I believe that the bike riders who do not dismount are intentionally using their bike as a weapon to harm other people. Instead of contemplating of spending another couple of million dollars for a wider construction, why don't our mighty PA Police come and arrest people who do not dismount. And maybe our (mostly but not completely) useless city council passes a law to make it absolutely illegal mounted biking in the underpass at any time of the day/night regardless of the occupancy of the passage.


39 people like this
Posted by Hahaha, Arresting people
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2018 at 6:39 am

We should also arrest speeders on the spot? How about jay walkers...lock 'em up right? Maybe wait on the corner with a windshield brick?
Oh, but first hit them with punisher's imaginary stick. LOL!!

"Look! The Loons! The Loons are back!"
- Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond


17 people like this
Posted by @@Adobe Meadow Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2018 at 9:26 am

The older harsh turnstile type gates are not compliant for wheelchair users in most cases and are being removed nation wide. While the tunnel itself is still likely non-ADA compliant, the bureaucracy that is city gub'ment probably just focused on the gates and said "get rid of them all". Have you noticed they're also gone along the Bol park trail and some of the overpasses in the area? That's the most likely reason I can think of, but to speculate is a fool's game, unless you have an agenda.

Regardless of the reason, I see no reason to keep flip flopping these gates back and forth and wasting our tax money, unless there is a compelling reason shown by data rather than suggested by emotion.


12 people like this
Posted by @@Adobe Meadow Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

"A city effort to make the tunnel under the train tracks at Palo Alto's California Avenue accessible to motorized wheelchairs and bicycle trailers..."

There's your "Why". Clearly it's the nefarious work of the Hoveround® Mafia in conjunction with the Mom's w/ Kids Cartel :)


20 people like this
Posted by Darwin
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2018 at 5:32 pm

I walk through that tunnel on my daily commute to work and the bicyclists are the worst. Everytime I walk through the tunnel now I record on my phone. I also do not yield to bicyclists. I'm also a big person. They can take their chance running into me if they want to.


46 people like this
Posted by Haha
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 5:46 am

Uh-oh, looks like we've got us an internet tough guy! ^^^^^


Like this comment
Posted by Well, well, well.
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 7:43 am

Taking a whizz, well we now know that yes the tunnel does stink.


1 person likes this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

My walking stick; quite useful on the trails and paths. It is used to deal with predators, both two legged and four legged and the slithering type like your usual politician. Spoking bike riders is preferred than hitting them in the throat. Their speed could actually get them killed. For the arrogant cyclist who tries to start a fight, the cyclist Will get hit on the side of the head, to teach better manners. That often worked in the past but may not work for today's snowflakes. The word " Civil " or any form of it is not in their vocabulary, probably not taught by the PAUSD anymore.


36 people like this
Posted by Wow Punisher!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

That's quite an imagination. You're like a Superhero!!
Hahaha.


5 people like this
Posted by Bad behavior
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 29, 2018 at 8:51 am

The current underpass is asking for trouble. I go through there twice a day (I walk my bike but have on several occasions been jostled by careless younger riders) and see some pretty ugly behavior by both bicyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, it's usually the bicyclists that are more aggressive. For example, just this morning one bicyclist (walking his bike) used his bike to deliberately block another bicyclist from riding past him. When she tried to squeeze by, he elbowed her into the wall.


14 people like this
Posted by Scooter Mafia
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 29, 2018 at 3:38 pm

The ego game described above by Bad Behavior sounds like the types of petty behaviors I see every single minute on the road with other drivers.

I'm a VERY firm believer that the vehicle operator is the jerk, regardless of which vehicle they chose that day. There's no "bad group" out of peds, bikes or cars, but we have lots of jerks in each group causing problems.

Imagine how many lives would be saved, esp driver's lives, if we were to get all the ego jerks off the road. Note, I did not say all drivers, or drivers as a group are most to blame for whatever...just the jerks.

It's truly a first world problem, though, to be debating about simple annoyances like this.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Re: "simple annoyances" -- it's the cumulative effect that sends people over the edge. Most annoyances are tolerable until there's a constant onslaught. Would be interesting to study the "mean time between annoyances" in various communities, whether sitting at home listening to heavy construction and leaf blowers and ignoring telephone sales calls, or out and about, navigating our tumultuous high-density "first world" environment.


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

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