City paves the way for new bike projects | January 29, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 29, 2021

City paves the way for new bike projects

South Palo Alto plan includes cycling lanes on East Meadow, Fabian

by Gennady Sheyner

After a brief interlude, Palo Alto is preparing to resume its effort to expand the citywide network of bikeways, with a particular eye toward the city's south end.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at [email protected]


Posted by coughvid
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 26, 2021 at 5:09 pm

coughvid is a registered user.

Ross road is bad, because as a biker (and a driver) you continuously have to weave left and right and at the roundabouts and each intersection, you get forced into the car lane. This is true at the Stanford traffic circles too. I fail to understand why this is a good idea as the cars speed up to make it to the circle ahead of the bike just as the bike is being forced left into the path of the car.

Can a traffic engineer explain the wisdom of this?

Arastradero road is better for bikes, but a zig-zag for cars. I've seen two long sliding, wheel shearing off accidents as people hit obstructions. But, just drive there yourself and look at every single obstruction that can be hit has MULTIPLE rubber and worse strike marks.

IMO: For a real future: Make most roads one way for cars and use the other lane for 2 way bike and small electric transport vehicles.

Posted by George Jaquette
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 26, 2021 at 11:32 pm

George Jaquette is a registered user.

The Federal Highway Association (FHWA) agreed that the modification to the intersection at Ross Road and East Meadow did NOT conform to roundabout design rules (and also at Ross and Moreno). These shrunken intersections with large concrete circles are neighborhood traffic circles, and the design is inappropriate for the level of traffic that goes through the intersection when school is in session (kids on bikes). It would be great to have real bike lanes on Fabian, but don't forget how hard it is to bike on West Bayshore (to get to the new bridge, which will be a great improvement over the tunnel). The "improvements" made a few years ago were badly done -- the intersections that should have been raised (like at Stanford) were simply painted or changed to a different surface, and they do not slow traffic down. I sincerely hope that real bike riders are involved in this design, and that people with real experience implementing bike routes are allowed to review the design before construction starts. We should not make the same mistakes twice.

Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 27, 2021 at 9:25 am

Neal is a registered user.

@coughvid....You are right on! The traffic circles at Stanford are suicide circles. The bike lanes end when entering the circle and cars speed up to make an abrupt right turns in front of the bicyclists. We don't need traffic circles on bike routes.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 27, 2021 at 10:28 am

Online Name is a registered user.

I thought we had a budget crunch?? Not excited about this after the messes they've made of Ross, Middlefield, the Stanford circles, etc..

Enough really with the suicide circles and bollards and obstacles in the middle of the roads.

Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 27, 2021 at 10:54 am

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

Easements along creeks, old railroad lines and utility routes represent a ready-made network of paths that could easily be converted into bike-pedestrian-only access that would avoid vehicle-bike and vehicle-pedestrian conflicts altogether. City Council: please include an assessment of this possibility in the update to the Palo Alto Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan. Concerns about privacy and other impacts can be mitigated, but let's see the baseline possibilities, please, so that we can have an intelligent conversation on truly safe routes for bicyclists.

Posted by It's Just Ugly
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jan 27, 2021 at 12:33 pm

It's Just Ugly is a registered user.

I get the path to the new pedestrain bridge over 101, but its worth your life getting from Charleston across San Antonio Parkway.

I gave up biking to work across this intersection after three near life ending incidents.

You would think this should be a priorty for S Palo Alto bike lanes.

Maybe a traffic circle would help ;)

Posted by Context matters.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Context matters. is a registered user.

Waverley off-road bike path, which is part of this proposed project, badly needs maintenance and widening. It carries hundreds of bikes every day. East Meadow is a primary route for kids going to Fairmeadow, Hoover, JLS, Gunn. Fabian and a portion of East Meadow are used by some Palo Verde students. Some Gunn and private school kids also use Fabian. Many others of all ages will enjoy better connections to the new bike bridge and jobs in that area and connectivity from the new bike bridge into town from other communities. It's great that the city got this grant and they are thinking about how to make these routes safer.

Less criticizing (before the outreach meetings have even happened) and more contribution of helpful comments would be great.

Council approved (7-0) an outreach process, not a project. Citizens have an opportunity to help create a project that works for road users and the neighborhood, so participate!

Creek bed easements were investigated with the last BPTP--not as easy as the person above suggests, but they were considered. Old railroad beds? Does PA have one that is not being used?

To Coughvid-- You don't need to weave. Ross is designed for bikes to take a lane. Place your bike where the chevrons on the painted sharrows direct you, and you won't have to swerve. This will maximize your visibility to drivers who may pass in areas where there are no double yellow lines and there is no oncoming traffic (not hard on a street that carries so little traffic). We can all learn about learn about sharrows and standard road marking here Web Link .

Posted by Cal Ave resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 28, 2021 at 11:22 am

Cal Ave resident is a registered user.

I moved to Palo Alto 20 years ago because it was relatively bike friendly. The city has done hardly anything significant since and it has become steadily worse biking here. I don’t get it. I thought this place was progressive. Instead we get a $50M parking garage and anemic bike plans. It’s flat here. It hardly rains. People love biking. Where are the separated bike lanes?? Where is the bike parking?? Where are the connections to other cities and open space??

Posted by CarrieFoster
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 29, 2021 at 12:45 pm

CarrieFoster is a registered user.

It's great, I like and support such bike projects

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Who thinks this type of stuff up? Why are we spending money on a project with questionable value when we have higher priority projects? Is someone getting a kick-back from the road company? Sorry - that is my impression of what happened to Ross Road.

I like the roundabouts in the inner sections because they slow down traffic but all of the other road extensions sticking into the road are an accident about to happen.

Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

I would rather see improvements to the road surface on various routes rather than the investment in road furniture and paint on the surface. There are plenty of cross town routes fine for cycling and access however some will shake your teeth out if you use them. For example Park Ave combined with the bike path behind the high school and a couple of streets south of the school will get you from downtown to San Antonio at the Dean area, but through the Ventura area near old Fry's the surface is patch upon patch and a real dread to ride over all the time.

Many of the little used streets offer excellent routes (Ross used too until the safety and organized risk averse community got hold of it) and money keeping them well surfaced and understood would be far better spent than all the bollards and green paint in our little kingdom of Palo Alto.

Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 1, 2021 at 9:56 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

Will someone please name -ONE- US city where this maniacal focus on building adult bicycle infrastructure actually reduced automobile usage? We are underparking development on the theory that if it becomes too painful to use a car, people will, of course, go and buy a bicycle.

I'm tired of the "Field of Dreams" approach to managing the City.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 1, 2021 at 10:18 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@StarSpring, excellent point. How can it -- or anything -- reduce traffic when the high-density folks keep pushing to INCREASE the population?

"Is someone getting a kick-back from the road company?"

Interesting question. When one of PA's former transportation "leaders" who had his own transportation equipment company left PPA to "consult" to Los Altos, one poor couple had a year--long legal fight to remove a 24/7 bright blinking light put in front of their house.

I want to know who's got the bollard franchise to put them at every intersection on Middlefield "to improve visibility"" on corners with no shrubbery when all they do is impede through traffic. I live in fear of being rear-ended whenever I have to cross traffic to turn into my driveway.

Posted by Amie
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 2, 2021 at 3:31 pm

Amie is a registered user.

Hooray! Thank you Council for investing in our low-carbon future and better public spaces for all. This is a great project to help us better negotiate the area no matter what your mode of travel. More bikes means fewer cars so everyone wins!

With a whole lot more folks on bikes (we have lived this awesome phenomenon during covid) and wanting to feel safe riding to more places, this project is a real win. We need to stop judging the quality of our city based on how fast you can drive from one side of town to the other anyway.

As an aside, I LOVE riding on Ross Road and find the roundabouts super-easy to use on a bike and safer than an intersection for sure. I bet those improvements save our family about 400 cars trips last year. We now run errands, to see friends, and to the YMCA entirely on bikes.

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