News

After early speed bumps, Palo Alto steers bike boulevards in a new direction

City Council approves stop signs on to Ross Road-East Meadow intersection, prepares for more outreach on planned improvements

After a rocky start and a sudden stop, Palo Alto is preparing to resume its ambitious plan to build a network of bike boulevards, which includes modifications to the recently added amenities on Ross Road.

The City Council directed staff on Monday to make a series of changes to the first phase of the bike plan, which the city began implementing in 2017 and which was abruptly halted in 2018, in the face of community opposition. By the time the work stopped, the city had completed the first five segments of the nine-segment plan, which focused on Ross Road and the Amarillo Avenue-Moreno Avenue corridor.

The biggest bone of contention was the new roundabout on Ross Road and East Meadow Circle, which aimed to slow down traffic and create a smoother passage for bicyclists. While some residents spoke in favor of the traffic circle, others argued that it makes the segment more dangerous and confusing.

On Monday, the council agreed to take two actions to address what Mayor Adrian Fine called "one of the most contentious pieces of street furniture we have in entire city." First, the city will install two stop signs on East Meadow Street. In addition, the city directed its Planning and Transportation Commission to take a closer look at this intersection and consider further changes.

The decision was informed by recent analysis by the transportation staff, which showed mixed results. On the one hand, the number of bicyclists on Ross Road had gone up since the changes were made, with bicyclists making up 11% of the total traffic volume on weekdays, compared to 6.7% before the project. At the same time, there have been four collisions at the roundabout on East Meadow, three of which involved bicyclists. In each case, the collision was caused by motorists who did not yield to a vehicle or a bicyclist at the roundabout, according to staff.

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Staff also found that about one in every 30 bicyclists does not yield the right-of-way, rides on the wrong side of the street or goes in a clockwise direction on the roundabout, notwithstanding the street markings directing them to the counterclockwise direction.

The council largely supported the recommendations from transportation staff, including the new stop signs on East Meadow. Staff also plans to consider installing a speed hump on Ross Road, just south of Mayview Avenue, in close proximity to Ramos Park. Staff also plans to enhance its community outreach efforts before implementing the next phase of improvements, including the completion of the work that was approved in 2017. This includes the extension of the Bryant Street bike boulevard and new bike amenities at the Louis Road-Montrose Avenue segment in south Palo Alto.

A future phase of improvements, known as Phase II, focuses on segments on Maybell Avenue, Stanford Avenue and Wilkie Way.

The council unanimously agreed that the city should move ahead with its bike projects, which are based on a master plan the city adopted in 2012. Council members offered different views, however, about the best approach toward improving biking in Palo Alto. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois pointed to the mixed results on Ross Road and questioned whether it's advisable for the city to encourage bicyclists and drivers to share roads, as opposed to having dedicated streets focused on bicycling.

"I don't think it was an overwhelmingly positive result. ... a lot of people are saying they don't feel safer either in bikes or cars on Ross Road," DuBois said.

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But Councilwoman Liz Kniss said part of the problem with roundabouts is that Palo Alto residents are simply not used to them yet. Kniss pointed to her home state of Massachusetts, where roundabouts are common and where "someone will let you know loud and clear" if you fail to yield to them at a roundabout.

"It's such a shock when you see it that people watch and look at it strangely before they realize what they do," Kniss said. "I can't imagine you approach a roundabout and think of going clockwise."

Community members also had a range of opinions about roundabouts, with some arguing that the stop signs are unnecessary and counterproductive. At the same time, the roughly two dozen bicyclists who spoke at the meeting had a unified message for the council: Get on with it!

Paul Goldstein, a member of the city's Palo Alto Bicycle Advisory Commission, was one of the bicyclists who urged the council Monday to move ahead with the bike plan.

"We're at this point where all the bicycle boulevards have been on hold because the Ross Road projects has aroused a chorus of community complaints," Goldstein said. "I'm not saying all decisions on the project were ideal, but in fact bike traffic has increased and it looks like the only problematic place from a safety standpoint is the Ross-East Meadow Circle. We should take the lessons learned and move on."

Art Lieberman, a Barron Park resident, also supported moving ahead with bike boulevards but asked the council to make sure that the new improvements create a "low stress" environment, as seen on Bryant Street. By contrast, the Ross Road bike boulevard often requires bicyclists entering the roundabout to be closely trailed by cars traveling at higher speeds.

"The vast majority of adult riders want to ride on low-stress streets," Liberman said.

Councilman Greg Tanaka, who routinely bikes to meetings, wholeheartedly agreed and made the motion to move ahead with the next phase of bike improvements, along with enhanced community outreach for future improvements. He noted that 80% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and offered bicycling as an important part of the solution.

"I think it's important for us — not just ourselves but for the sake of our children and grandchildren ... — to do our part to help the global warming problem," Tanaka said.

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After early speed bumps, Palo Alto steers bike boulevards in a new direction

City Council approves stop signs on to Ross Road-East Meadow intersection, prepares for more outreach on planned improvements

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 9:44 am

After a rocky start and a sudden stop, Palo Alto is preparing to resume its ambitious plan to build a network of bike boulevards, which includes modifications to the recently added amenities on Ross Road.

The City Council directed staff on Monday to make a series of changes to the first phase of the bike plan, which the city began implementing in 2017 and which was abruptly halted in 2018, in the face of community opposition. By the time the work stopped, the city had completed the first five segments of the nine-segment plan, which focused on Ross Road and the Amarillo Avenue-Moreno Avenue corridor.

The biggest bone of contention was the new roundabout on Ross Road and East Meadow Circle, which aimed to slow down traffic and create a smoother passage for bicyclists. While some residents spoke in favor of the traffic circle, others argued that it makes the segment more dangerous and confusing.

On Monday, the council agreed to take two actions to address what Mayor Adrian Fine called "one of the most contentious pieces of street furniture we have in entire city." First, the city will install two stop signs on East Meadow Street. In addition, the city directed its Planning and Transportation Commission to take a closer look at this intersection and consider further changes.

The decision was informed by recent analysis by the transportation staff, which showed mixed results. On the one hand, the number of bicyclists on Ross Road had gone up since the changes were made, with bicyclists making up 11% of the total traffic volume on weekdays, compared to 6.7% before the project. At the same time, there have been four collisions at the roundabout on East Meadow, three of which involved bicyclists. In each case, the collision was caused by motorists who did not yield to a vehicle or a bicyclist at the roundabout, according to staff.

Staff also found that about one in every 30 bicyclists does not yield the right-of-way, rides on the wrong side of the street or goes in a clockwise direction on the roundabout, notwithstanding the street markings directing them to the counterclockwise direction.

The council largely supported the recommendations from transportation staff, including the new stop signs on East Meadow. Staff also plans to consider installing a speed hump on Ross Road, just south of Mayview Avenue, in close proximity to Ramos Park. Staff also plans to enhance its community outreach efforts before implementing the next phase of improvements, including the completion of the work that was approved in 2017. This includes the extension of the Bryant Street bike boulevard and new bike amenities at the Louis Road-Montrose Avenue segment in south Palo Alto.

A future phase of improvements, known as Phase II, focuses on segments on Maybell Avenue, Stanford Avenue and Wilkie Way.

The council unanimously agreed that the city should move ahead with its bike projects, which are based on a master plan the city adopted in 2012. Council members offered different views, however, about the best approach toward improving biking in Palo Alto. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois pointed to the mixed results on Ross Road and questioned whether it's advisable for the city to encourage bicyclists and drivers to share roads, as opposed to having dedicated streets focused on bicycling.

"I don't think it was an overwhelmingly positive result. ... a lot of people are saying they don't feel safer either in bikes or cars on Ross Road," DuBois said.

But Councilwoman Liz Kniss said part of the problem with roundabouts is that Palo Alto residents are simply not used to them yet. Kniss pointed to her home state of Massachusetts, where roundabouts are common and where "someone will let you know loud and clear" if you fail to yield to them at a roundabout.

"It's such a shock when you see it that people watch and look at it strangely before they realize what they do," Kniss said. "I can't imagine you approach a roundabout and think of going clockwise."

Community members also had a range of opinions about roundabouts, with some arguing that the stop signs are unnecessary and counterproductive. At the same time, the roughly two dozen bicyclists who spoke at the meeting had a unified message for the council: Get on with it!

Paul Goldstein, a member of the city's Palo Alto Bicycle Advisory Commission, was one of the bicyclists who urged the council Monday to move ahead with the bike plan.

"We're at this point where all the bicycle boulevards have been on hold because the Ross Road projects has aroused a chorus of community complaints," Goldstein said. "I'm not saying all decisions on the project were ideal, but in fact bike traffic has increased and it looks like the only problematic place from a safety standpoint is the Ross-East Meadow Circle. We should take the lessons learned and move on."

Art Lieberman, a Barron Park resident, also supported moving ahead with bike boulevards but asked the council to make sure that the new improvements create a "low stress" environment, as seen on Bryant Street. By contrast, the Ross Road bike boulevard often requires bicyclists entering the roundabout to be closely trailed by cars traveling at higher speeds.

"The vast majority of adult riders want to ride on low-stress streets," Liberman said.

Councilman Greg Tanaka, who routinely bikes to meetings, wholeheartedly agreed and made the motion to move ahead with the next phase of bike improvements, along with enhanced community outreach for future improvements. He noted that 80% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and offered bicycling as an important part of the solution.

"I think it's important for us — not just ourselves but for the sake of our children and grandchildren ... — to do our part to help the global warming problem," Tanaka said.

Comments

Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:02 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:02 am
22 people like this

A couple of questions.

1. How do they know bike traffic on Ross has gone up? I have never seen any electronic counter of cars on Ross, either before the work started or after. If they have just used someone standing counting for an hour then that is not an exact method.

2. If the roundabout is confusing, how will adding stop signs make a difference? Roundabouts universally are yield to traffic on the roundabout. With stop signs who has right of way at the non stop signs and how will anybody using them in any mode know what to do? It will probably make bikes even less likely to yield or stop for other traffic.

3. Many people who like roundabouts generally do not like this roundabout because of its size which makes turns clumsy and difficult particularly for large vehicles such as fire trucks and moving trucks and the visibility is poor due to vegetation blocking sight lines on approach. What is being done to improve these aspects?

Roundabouts are efficient methods to keep traffic moving, they are not supposed to be traffic calming obstacles. This roundabout and the other roundabout on Ross are both obstacles, not efficient traffic tools.


Brenton Hanlon
College Terrace
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
Brenton Hanlon, College Terrace
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
30 people like this

The Ross Road boulevard is poorly designed. Both cyclists and cars are forced to share the middle of the road at each bump. There should be space for cyclists to negotiate the bumps along the curb.


Scott
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:03 am
Scott, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:03 am
31 people like this

Sticking stop signs in front of a roundabout is an oxymoron, so I'm not surprised that one of the councils most responsible for the housing crisis would do this.

The roundabout is unpopular, I get that, but they're proven to be safer. You shouldn't rely on measurements immediately after they go in, when people are still getting used to one, to decide otherwise.

As a parent, what I like most about them is that I can actually teach my kids how to use one safely. Ask my 7-yo how to handle a roundabout and she'll tell you: "First, look. Then, take the lane. Then, merge into the roundabout." The only trick is planning ahead to take the lane.

I still haven't figured out how to teach a 7-yo how to handle a stop sign controlled intersection. You first need to figure out if it's 2-way or 4-way. Then you need to teach them that the last one there goes first. Then you need to figure out what to do about the fact that cars basically ignore this and try to yield to cute girls on bicycles who are obviously yielding to them, causing traffic delays.


Member
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:09 am
Member , Old Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:09 am
14 people like this

I don’t know what it means to call the Bryant bike boulevard “low stress.” The intersection of Bryant and N. California is heavily crossed by bicycles in all directions. Bikers normally cruise through, sometimes on the sidewalk, and hardly ever look, slow down or stop. And I have never seen any law enforcement there. This intersection is a death trap, plain and simple.


parent
Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:26 am
parent, Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:26 am
32 people like this

We're glad to see the bicycle boulevard program expanding again. It really helps our kids to bike to school safely instead of us having to drive them everywhere.

We hope that new bicycle boulevards are more adult-friendly with direct routes to the Caltrain stations and local shopping districts and into Mountain View.

The Bryant Bicycle Boulevard could benefit from some of the changes made to Ross Road, including traffic circles at Bryant & California and Bryant & Meadow.


PatrickD
Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:30 am
PatrickD, Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:30 am
33 people like this

The first time I rode on Ross Road I wasn't a huge fan, but after learning how to ride it correctly (i.e. take the center of the lane and do not ride to the right), I really like it. It's a huge improvement over what existed before. I look forward to city council *finally* restarting work on the bicycle boulevards.

As for stop signs at the round-about, doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of the round-about?


I agree with Patrick D and parent
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:54 am
I agree with Patrick D and parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:54 am
25 people like this

Council really disappointed me o this one. Ross Road works for me. I bike it frequently.


parent
Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:55 am
parent, Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:55 am
29 people like this

We agree with @PatrickD. Parents need to teach their kids to ride in the middle of the lane on bicycle boulevards that allow street parking. Stay at least 3 feet away from parked cars that block your vision and also make you harder to see by cars approaching from the rear and from intersections and driveways. This safety technique applies to most streets around the city that allow on-street parking.


Vafer
Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Vafer, Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm
41 people like this

If you don't know how to use a roundabout, you shouldn't be driving.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm
15 people like this

"The Bryant Bicycle Boulevard could benefit from some of the changes made to Ross Road, including traffic circles at Bryant & California ..."

That's not happening. Bryant Street is working fine as it is.


Responsible for Knowing Rules of Road
Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Responsible for Knowing Rules of Road, Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm
30 people like this

Glad the city is moving forward!

@ "In each case, the collision was caused by motorists who did not yield to a vehicle or a bicyclist at the roundabout, according to staff. Staff also found that about one in every 30 bicyclists does not yield the right-of-way, rides on the wrong side of the street or goes in a clockwise direction on the roundabout, notwithstanding the street markings directing them to the counterclockwise direction."

Clearly, this is not a problem with design. The first problem is motorists who are responsible for knowing the rules of the road (including roundabouts) when they take their DMV written/driving test but seem clueless about how to deal with a roundabout when they see it. The second problem is cyclists who also need to be taught/understand the rules of the road. Bikes and cars carry the same rights and responsibilities on the road! (see DMV verbage). I've heard some very vocal parents who are adamantly opposed to the new Ross bike blvd designs say that they have instructed their children not to ride on Ross. What a shame. They are not doing their kids any favors. Instead, they should be teaching their kids a new skill (how to ride through a roundabout), or signing them up for bike safety classes where other knowledgeable adults can teach these skills, or both. The skill of navigating a roundabout is commonplace in other towns/countries and these children will need to understand and be tested on this concept soon enough as new drivers. And the more skilled bikers they are the better drivers they will be (proven research).


Dan
Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:48 pm
Dan, Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:48 pm
29 people like this

Ross used to be a much better "bicycle boulevard" than it is now... very wide road with lots of space for cars to give bicycles a wide berth. Now I find it downright dangerous both as a bicyclist and a driver. The pinch points are completely counter-productive... great idea to force a < 100-lb bicycle and a 2-ton car into the same physical space. Definitely NOT an improvement for anyone except the construction company that pocketed the contract money.


I like Ross as it is.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 1:21 pm
I like Ross as it is., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 1:21 pm
17 people like this

I bike it and drive it. Sharing the road makes bicyclists more visible to drivers, especially on streets like Ross where cars are parked on the side of the road everywhere. Dodging in and out from between parked cars makes bicyclists invisible and unpredictable to drivers--a deadly combination.

If you don't know where your fenders are or how to use a traffic circle, maybe you need to work on your driving skills.


DTN Paul
Downtown North
on Feb 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm
DTN Paul, Downtown North
on Feb 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm
24 people like this

As a resident of Downtown North, where we have a bunch of roundabouts, I feel this point is needs to be emphasized over and over again: If a city doesn't know HOW to build proper roundabouts, it shouldn't build them.

Palo Altos roundabouts are extremely confusing, and don't work like regular ones (like the ones discussed in the CA DMV drivers manual for instance). They are jammed into regular intersections, a have very poor sitelines, and have stop signs in only some entrances. And as others have pointed out, I'm pretty sure if you build them this way, you're doing it wrong.


SMH Jimmy
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm
SMH Jimmy, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm
24 people like this

I've found slowing down makes it MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to negotiate the roundabouts. When I slow and don't try to race through, it's quite easy. Any idiot can do it, but that idiot needs to slow down first.
SMH


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm
14 people like this

Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown

>> great idea to force a < 100-lb bicycle and a 2-ton car into the same physical space.

Dan, and several similar comments from others: When a street is too narrow to give parked cars a wide buffer, then, bicyclists *should* ride merged with the traffic lane, not right next to the parked cars. I've been doing it since circa 1980 when other bicyclists convinced me that it was safer to ride in traffic that way. Riding along next to a long row of parked cars is much more dangerous in fact. (Look up "to door", vt, on the internet.). Later, they used to teach this practice in the classes that the city-sponsored program taught adults and children.

You (all) may have noticed that in certain narrow locations, signs tell drivers to expect bicycles to ride merged with cars. You must have seen the signs: "It's the Law!" If you find yourself behind a bicycle in such a situation, slow down until you can pass safely. Sharing the road is quite simple-- you slow down, if necessary, and wait to pass until it is safe. Most of the time I use this technique, BTW, traffic is already heavy and slow and I'm adding *nothing* to the driver's end-to-end elapsed time. IOW, before you complain about bicyclists riding this way, honestly ask yourself what the effect of the bicycle is on your start-to-finish time.


parent of kids who bike to school
Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2020 at 4:07 pm
parent of kids who bike to school, Palo Verde
on Feb 26, 2020 at 4:07 pm
16 people like this

The first comment asks a valid question about pre-bike boulevard traffic counts. When the project was being installed MANY residents asked for traffic data that justified the decisions and were told Alta (the project designer) did not have time to collect the data.

What is the truth?? Were traffic counts withheld from citizens or made up after the fact?

I would also like to know if the data shows the balance between adult and child bike traffic. That is a huge factor here. Three of the bicyclists hit by cars were minors. They were already safely in the circle and were hit by cars entering too quickly.


Rob
Green Acres
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Rob, Green Acres
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm
13 people like this

Liz Kniss is apparently oblivious about the uproar over the Ross Road / East Meadow Traffic circle disaster specifically related to the safety to pedestrians and cyclists that are forced into it, many of those people are our kids! Her tone deaf automobile centric quote in the story says it all: "Liz Kniss said part of the problem with roundabouts is that Palo Alto residents are simply not used to them yet. Kniss pointed to her home state of Massachusetts, where roundabouts are common and where "someone will let you know loud and clear" if you fail to yield to them at a roundabout."

Apparently our city transportation department is more concerned about saving face, rather than admitting a blunder, correcting it, and moving on.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm
23 people like this

As was just posted in the SF Chron, Palo Alto bicyclists (not the kids!!!) are wealthy white males, in general. Like SF, the bicycle coalition is well organized and works very hard to get a vastly disproportionate amount of public funds diverted to their minority desire to ride their (expensive) bicycles wherever they choose to go. I'm all for spending money for safety improvements for our school-going tykes, but I don't want one red cent more spent on inter-community "Bike Boulevards" that only service a tiny number of excessively vocal residents.

City Council: Your job is to balance the needs of city residents, not cater to a vocal minority,


Rickrolled
Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Rickrolled, Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:26 pm
19 people like this

I have to say it: Rick, OK Boomer

10% bike in Palo Alto, 1% in San Jose, because Palo Alto made it safer to bike. That savings in cars makes your trip way faster in Palo Alto than it would have been with street improvements. You can thank me later.

But, everyone, the reason to put in major bike Lanes, protections etc is because small electric vehicles are the future, and bike infrastuctue enables that. Ok Boomer?


Gary
Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:07 pm
Gary, Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:07 pm
6 people like this

Where is Elyon Musk when you need him? He founded the "Boring Company" which makes less expensive tunnels primarily by making them smaller ... which is perfect for bikes and small electric vehicles. Could you imagine a few tunnels from south to mid and downtown with split offs to Stanford and the Baylands? Bikes and e-carts/scooters etc would become THE way to get around.

I'll have some of that stuff you're smoking now, Elyon.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2020 at 11:35 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2020 at 11:35 am
8 people like this

Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> As was just posted in the SF Chron, Palo Alto bicyclists (not the kids!!!) are wealthy white males, in general.

Why "not the kids"? You have a link to the article you are talking about? Because, anywhere in the Briones/Barron Park elementary neighborhoods, Barron Park in general, Fletcher, Gunn area, between about 7:45 and 8:45, there are very large numbers of students riding their bicycles and walking. Likewise, most other schools areas, although not so concentrated as the greater BP area. Don't tell me all bicycle riders are (adult) wealthy white males. That is absurd. Want to know what it would be like if no one rode bikes? Easy. The next time we get a heavy rainstorm, try to drive southwest on Arastradero at 8:00 AM. If we ever do see rain again. :-(

It is odd how people complain about the hordes of students on bicycles impeding their progress, and then, complain that there are no bicyclists. "Go figure."


Posted by Rickrolled, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> I have to say it: Rick, OK Boomer

Some of us boomers are very favorable towards bicycles. I was always an Ellen Fletcher supporter and remember the opening of the Bike Boulevard in 1982. &etc.

>> 10% bike in Palo Alto, 1% in San Jose, because Palo Alto made it safer to bike. That savings in cars makes your trip way faster in Palo Alto than it would have been with street improvements. You can thank me later.

Yes, it wasn't/isn't so easy to safely ride to a workplace in the east-southeast sector from here, but, that doesn't mean that even a 10% difference has no impact. If traffic is already queued up, increasing the offered load by 10% can have a large impact on delay.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2020 at 1:37 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2020 at 1:37 pm
14 people like this

“Palo Alto bicyclists are wealthy white males.”

Oh, the horror. How did they sneak into Palo Alto?


I like Ross Road as it is too
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2020 at 1:57 pm
I like Ross Road as it is too, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2020 at 1:57 pm
29 people like this

For both cycling and driving Ross Road is much improved in my view. I feel much safer cycling on it now, and driving it is fine too, I really like the roundabout. Previously so many drivers and bikes did not stop at the stop signs. Traffic flow is much better, and yes...you have to slow down to go through it safely. That's the point!


Tribalism
Palo Verde
on Feb 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm
Tribalism, Palo Verde
on Feb 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm
9 people like this

Now we have it. This thread has turned into using race as an argument.

Can you people hear yourselves?

A sensible discussion on the subject is fine. But please don't lower this into tribalism and identity politics.


Ahem
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm
Ahem, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm
33 people like this

Ganady, who writes your headlines?

"After early speed bumps, Palo Alto steers bike boulevards in a NEW DIRECTION"

"After a rocky start and a sudden stop, Palo Alto is preparing to RESUME ITS AMBITIOUS PLAN to build a network of bike boulevards..."


Palo alto city government has not learned anything from the Ross Road fiasco. Palo Alto city government is still committed to the fools-errand of trying create the illusion that bicycles are a viable solution to the problems created by rampant and haphazard office development.

Bicycling advocates have been their own worst enemy.

Mark Twain said "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". In a city controlled by real-estate interests, the solution to every problem gets twisted around to build, build, build. Unfortunately bicycling advocates drank the developer Kool-Aid and foolishly started believing a more urban Palo Alto would be a more bike-able Palo Alto.

By allying themselves with developers and their urbanization plans, bicycling advocates were able to get a few bike paths built, but their utopian dreams blinded them to the unintended consequences of urbanization. Urbanization has congested our streets, making it unsafe for bicycles and motor vehicles to share the same roads, effectively destroying bike-able infrastructure faster than it could be built.

Wake up Boomer. It is not 1970 anymore. We don't wear bell-bottoms anymore. We don't live in communes or yurts, and bicycles cannot solve the transportation problems created by a city government corrupted by the real-estate industry.


Ross Road is STUPID
Midtown
on Feb 27, 2020 at 3:52 pm
Ross Road is STUPID, Midtown
on Feb 27, 2020 at 3:52 pm
34 people like this

The changes in Ross Road are STUPID.

It is STUPID to force bicycles and cars/trucks into the same space.

It is STUPID to force bicycles and pedestrians into the same sidewalks (Louis Road).

It is STUPID to create unconventional street arrangements that confuse auto/truck drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Confusion is DANGEROUS.

Please, when we heard that Ross Road was becoming a bike boulevard, we thought it would be just like Bryant Street. Bryant Street is a joy to ride a bike on. Lots of logical space for cars and bikes and pedestrians. No cross town auto/truck traffic due to the street barriers.

What we got with Ross Road was a really STUPID solution that has NO proven successful precedent anywhere in the world. The outreach was insignificant and clearly developed to eliminate anyone in the neighborhood from organizing a reasonable negative response to the outrageous plan.

Everyone associated with the Ross Road disaster needs to be separated from the next round of work and the city needs to put in place some REAL neighborhood outreach.


Resident
Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 7:06 am
Resident, Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 7:06 am
21 people like this

Is there really any need to touch the roads? Weren't they fine the way they were several years ago?

Literally ALL the changes they've made to Midtown over the past couple decades have been extremely illogical (goofy left turns on Oregon trying to divert people from their natural destinations, etc.) and a massive waste of money, like they're deliberately trying to make life hell for anyone who drives a car (which is every tax-paying citizen). It's not just in Palo Alto, but regional. Too many people in power have caught onto this fantastical trend that we're gonna "phase out cars".


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 28, 2020 at 10:22 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 28, 2020 at 10:22 am
17 people like this

10% of ADULT Palo Alto residents may own bicycles, but 90% of that 10% live in the garage most days. The bicycle coalition isn't above misrepresenting the truth to get their way. In a previous, related, thread I remember a member of the coalition repeatedly and falsely equating the Stanford Traffic Circles (great, by the way) to the Ross Road abomination.

Palo Alto City Council: Trust, but double verify. You are having the wool pulled over your heads. No more bike boulevards and remove and repave the Ross intersection. Even with stop signs - which should be on Ross (improving auto flow), not Meadow (for the pretend bicycles), it is still dangerous.


Novelera
Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 1:20 pm
Novelera, Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 1:20 pm
6 people like this

Hmmm. The comments on this article bear no relationship to the conversations with my neighbors in Midtown, nor to the comments of the majority of attendees at the meeting held at Mitchell Park Library when the outcry forced the city to call a meeting about Ross Road. It feels to me like the Bike Coalition started posting favorable comments, with the "posted by" being a phrase acclaiming the bike boulevard on Ross Road. I hate it when some group tries to overwhelm the comments section of Palo Alto Online. It's quite obvious.


PatrickD
Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 2:40 pm
PatrickD, Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 2:40 pm
5 people like this

@Novelera: It's always possible to cherry-pick evidence, and it's also possible for the community to be divided on the issue but not have the correct representation at one particular meeting. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but I do stand by my points, and I was not prompted by "the Bike Coalition".


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
>> As was just posted in the SF Chron, Palo Alto bicyclists (not the kids!!!) are wealthy white males, in general.

Rick, I found what I assume was the link: an op-ed by Phil Matier:

Web Link

According to the op-ed:

"Male bike commuters outnumber female bike commuters by at least a 2-to-1 ratio in all nine Bay Area counties"
"In San Francisco women accounted for only 5,800 of the morning bike commuters compared to 13,500 men"
"Across the Bay Area, white riders represented 61% of the bike commuters, followed by Hispanics at 17%, Asians at 15% and African Americans at 2.4%."
"In San Francisco, the white percentage was even higher — 65% of regular riders — followed by Asians and Hispanics at 14% each and African Americans at just over 1% of regular San Francisco bike commuters."

I'm not sure what lessons we're to make of this. I'm *happy* that around 20,000 people in SF commute by bike every day, with roughly 30% women. The 30% women was represented as being a significant increase, probably due to the increased safety from more protected bike lanes.


To Rick
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm
To Rick, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm
8 people like this

The 10% you keep referring to only counts the adults. In addition, 68% of 12,000 PAUSD children walk or bike to school each day. If the kids weren't using their bikes, scooters and feet, their parents would be driving them. Each child driven to school potentially generates FOUR car trips (one in and one out in the morning and one in and one out in the afternoon) Do the math. That would add up to a lot of car trips.

Thank goodness those awesome kids are reducing auto congestion. THEY are not the problem. They are just trying to get to school. I hope we adults will all do our part to make sure they can do that safely.


6 Pack of Corona
Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:16 pm
6 Pack of Corona, Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:16 pm
2 people like this

>>How do they know bike traffic on Ross has gone up? I have never seen any electronic counter of cars on Ross, either before the work started or after. If they have just used someone standing counting for an hour then that is not an exact method.

They installed what I assumed was a camera for a few weeks to monitor the situation. It was on metal poles cemented to the sidewalk.

Also, I'm not sure if installing new stop signs will help. I've seen countless cyclist (not all) blow by stop signs and even worse, red lights (treating them like stop signs as well)


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:25 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:25 am
6 people like this

@People with reading comprehension issues:

Please stop conflating road modifications intended to benefit our children riding bikes to and from school with the literally Million$ of dollars spent on Bike Boulevards between cities. A very few adult bike riders, probably hyped up on their own endorphins, are seeking to consume a disproportionate amount of our tax dollars for their own selfish desires.

How about spending that money on a true community resource like the historic theater at the Lucie Stern Community center? Everyone would be able to enjoy that. You don't even need to wear spandex!


Bob
Barron Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:30 am
Bob, Barron Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:30 am
4 people like this

I know this study is wrong from decades of actual real life observation. It should read: Staff also found that about one in every 30 bicyclists DOES yield... the right-of-way. Funny they do not mention bicyclist stopping at Stop Signs. I my self do never stop at them along with 98% of bicyclist.

Staff also found that about one in every 30 bicyclists does not yield the right-of-way, rides on the wrong side of the street or goes in a clockwise direction on the roundabout, notwithstanding the street markings directing them to the counterclockwise direction.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:36 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:36 am
3 people like this

Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> How about spending that money on a true community resource like the historic theater at the Lucie Stern Community center? Everyone would be able to enjoy that.

What makes you think "we" are opposed to maintaining Lucie Stern? I've always loved it, been to many performances in the theater over the years, and used the big dance floor/community room as well. I have to believe that most Palo Alto bicycle supporters also support Lucie Stern.

>> You don't even need to wear spandex!

Now I see the problem. I guess you did not know this, but, it is perfectly OK to ride a bicycle without wearing Spandex. Honest. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles I guess without wearing Spandex.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:48 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:48 am
10 people like this

@Anon

I'm glad that "we" are not opposed to maintaining Lucie Stern, other than diverting Million$ to adult bicycle infrastructure that the majority of residents DO NO WANT, while the beloved theater literally rots away. Not realizing that belies your claim that you have attended many performances over the years. The persistent smell of sewage from the bathrooms would be your first clue. . .


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:53 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:53 am
4 people like this

@6 Pack of Corona

They are installing the stop signs on the wrong road. Putting them on East Meadow as opposed to Ross is in service to the still not dead Bike Boulevard. Let's finish killing that project folks!

By further obstructing through traffic on Meadow and giving Ross through status the City is again appeasing the adult bicyclists to the detriment of the majority.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:54 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:54 am
13 people like this

@Pack of Corona

They are installing the stop signs on the wrong road. Putting them on East Meadow as opposed to Ross is in service to the still not dead Bike Boulevard. Let's finish killing that project folks!

By further obstructing through traffic on Meadow and giving Ross through status the City is again appeasing the adult bicyclists to the detriment of the majority.


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