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Santa Cruz Avenue Sidewalks

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2015 09:27:47 -0700

Dear Honorable Mayor and Council Members,

As stated last evening during Public Comment #1, we thank you for your
support of implementing new sidewalks on both sides of Santa Cruz Avenue
from Olive to Johnson. These are long overdue and eagerly awaited! I was
prompted to speak out after listening to the outrage of a dear neighbor
Teresa. She has been waiting for sidewalks all 54 years she has resided in
her nearby home, all the while walking downtown daily to work or to shop,
and walking on Santa Cruz for exercise or to visit friends. While my
husband and I have lived in west Menlo for only 24 years, many times/week
we each use Santa Cruz Ave. while walking or bicycling. We share her deep
disappointment at the current state of implementing sidewalks. Rather than
improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, recent changes worsen it.

We know this project was not on last evening's agenda and that you couldn't
respond to our questions of the city, which are:
1. Why was the buffered bike lane implemented before the sidewalks were
installed? This change forces pedestrians and bicyclists to share the
steepest part of the street (parts of Santa Cruz have a high crown), closer
to the gutters. Previously, the separate bike lane allowed pedestrians to
travel, some with strollers or wheelchairs, in a wider lane on the street.
Pedestrians only occasionally needed to go around parked cars, on either
BTW yesterday and today, that same now-shared lane also contains lots of
recycling/garbage bins.

2. Who has the right-of-way when bicyclists and pedestrians (some with
strollers or shopping carts) approach each other, each traveling in
opposite directions? This question was answered by Jesse Quirion last
evening (thank you for asking him to provide an update). He said that the
lane is a marked bike lane, so bicyclists have the right-of-way. This means
that pedestrians have the lowest priority.
He also said that these changes already make walking on Santa Cruz safer.
His rationale was that removal of parked cars makes it easier and safer for
pedestrians. Our neighbor, with 54 years of daily Santa Cruz walking
experience, heartily disagrees with this conclusion. It previously was easy
to walk around the parked cars in the sections where there are no sidewalks
and easy to avoid bicyclists because they were in their own lane. She says
now the only option to avoid bicyclists is to quickly move over and walk in
an undesignated pedestrian "sliver along the gutter".

3. When will the debris from scraping the street be removed? When will the
new dents from that scraping be smoothed out? These make the road surface
very uneven for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

4. Will utilities be undergrounded? If that doesn't happen now as part of
the new sidewalk installation, it isn't realistic to think that it will
ever happen when that would require digging up the sidewalks. Aren't there
ways to finance this when interest rates are low? This kind of
infrastructure investment makes sense for our community.

5.What is the plan for evaluating the design choice that removed parking?
These next several months represent opportunities to assess some of the
intended and unintended consequences of that design decision, which by the
way was a result of a survey that went only to Santa Cruz Ave. property
owners, not all of whom even responded -- not to a broader community of
users of sidewalks and bike lanes.

6. Will there be any measures taken that would make the "bulbout" corners
more visible during this pre-sidewalk phase? These were oddly installed out
of sequence, years before the sidewalks that would connect to them will be
installed. The new bike lanes narrow considerably where these stick out
into the street. Some of these corners are in the shade during the day and
not lighted at night. While adult bicyclists can be observant, we worry
about the safety of kids who may not be attentive enough to notice that
they cannot go straight ahead in the full lane where these protrude into
the new marked bike lanes.

7. What kind of code enforcement can we expect? This question was not
asked last evening, but came to mind as we left the Council chambers on our
way home when we noticed a car parked along the red curb. Earlier yesterday
there was a truck parked in a different place along the red curb. Some of
the vegetation near the street frequently hangs over what is now the new
shared lane.

8. When can we expect the sidewalks? There has been little communication.
When will these questions be answered?

In our opinion, the current situation is less safe for pedestrians who
would be served by sidewalks. We all want to work with you to make this
long-awaited project a success and to make Santa Cruz Avenue a safer place
for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages, with particular attention to
the children going to schools and churches and our downtown.

Respectfully submitted,
Patti Fry
Received on Wed Jun 17 2015 - 09:24:34 PDT

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