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Re: Santa Cruz Ave. bike and pedestrian safety improvements

From: domainremoved <Andrea>
Date: Thu, 14 May 2015 04:41:57 +0000

Dear Council Members and City Manager Mcintyre, 
In thinking even more about what I wrote in point #3 below, I realized that  rather than  "imagining" what traffic safety engineers would say about the benefits of a straight bike lane with a 2 foot safety barrier vs. a heritage tree greenery, winding bike path and no barrier, we (you and your community members) should know what traffic safety engineers recommend to be the safest approach.
This shouldn't be a gut feel thing that lay people guess about and vote on.  Have you consulted with traffic safety engineers on this and directly posed the question - what's safer, keeping these particular trees, deleting the barrier, and winding around them, or keeping the lane straight, keeping the barrier, and planting new trees?  If so, what did they say?  
Given the expense of the overall project, and more importantly that this impacts the long term safety of thousands of children (and adults)  it seems like getting a few expert opinions on this safety matter would be well worth it.
I'd love to hear back from a few of you on this.
Thanks so much (and apologies for not efficiently getting this question into the first letter)!

      From: Andrea Luskin <aluskin_at_(domainremoved)
 To: "city.council_at_(domainremoved)
 Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 8:54 PM
 Subject: Santa Cruz Ave. bike and pedestrian safety improvements
Dear Council Members and City Manager Mcintyre,
Firstly, I want to thank you for taking this important initiative on!  It has the potential to be a huge safety win for all the children and adults who walk and ride up and down Santa Cruz Ave. everyday.
I attended the presentation at Hillview school yesterday, which was well done.
I had previously reviewed all the documents associated with the project and watched the entire council meeting where the final option was voted on in March so I was already fairly well informed but I definitely wanted to hear if there were any updates.  Fortunately, a friend of mine who knew I was interested in this, forwarded an email to me about the meeting.  Otherwise, I would have missed it completely.
I'm writing to you for a few different reasons.
1)  While I got lucky and found out about yesterday's meeting through my friend, I was really surprised and dismayed  that the meeting wasn't announced in the Hillview and OakKnoll newsletters.  There are hundreds of parents/children who will be impacted by the changes you make and I think you would have had a very full auditorium if the parent community was directly notified about this.  It's very easy to get a topic posted in the newsletters.  You just need to send the information to the schools by midweek (Wed), and it will hit that same Sunday.
2) I understand that you have the opportunity over the next couple weeks to paint in the bike barrier but for some reason you're choosing to delay this.  I urge you not to delay.  I don't understand why you'd want to when it can directly benefit the safety of so many.
3) Most importantly, I strongly urge you to reconsider your policy decision regarding prioritizing the heritage trees over a consistent, straight bike lane and bike safety barrier.   Cat informed me at the meeting that the decision regarding the heritage trees wasn't about being tree huggers, but rather an attempt to make things safer because "studies show that greenery by and overhanging lanes  slows traffic down."
While I understand this concept, I can't imagine you'd be able to find a single safety engineer who would attest that it would be safer to have a large tree with a bike lane weaving out into the road, and a 2 foot barrier deleted, over having no tree, a straight bike lane and a 2 ft. barrier.  Along with putting our children at risk, I think you're also setting the town up for lawsuits when people get in accidents in these areas.   The good news is, you can have trees AND straight bike lanes with safety barriers - you just need to use a small amount of incremental funding to plant them.   You have the right of way space and the cost will be a drop in the bucket as a percentage of the whole project.  
While the few neighbors who live near these trees may be unhappy, and I completely understand that, I love trees, please think about the safety of the  32,000 other people who live in Menlo Park and the 7000 who live in Atherton and use this road everyday to get to and from school, etc
Thanks so much in advance for considering the above.
Andrea LuskinParent and Hillview Site Council President

Received on Wed May 13 2015 - 21:38:44 PDT

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