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Fwd: ECR Lane Configuration Study

From: domainremoved <Steve>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:57:58 -0700

City Council:


The Planning, Transportation and Bicycle Commissions, all appointed by the
Council, are in agreement: Add bike lanes, not traffic lanes. I join these
commissions in their support of adding bike lanes to El Camino in Menlo
Park.


This is an important step in realizing several goals of the Downtown/El
Camino Specific Plan:

*Improve circulation and streetscape conditions on ECR.

*Provide an integrated safe and well designed pedestrian and bicycle
network. *Provide greater east west connectivity for pedestrians and
cyclists.


A look at Menlo Park’s Bicycle Plan shows a remarkable reality: Between
Palo Alto and Ravenswood Avenue the Caltrain tracks creates a 3/4 mile
barrier that separates Menlo Park east and west. While the concept of a
pedestrian/undercrossing of Caltrain has been on the books since 1994,
little has been done. Bicycle access to destinations on ECR has been
discouraged by inaction. However, those of us who choose to make local
trips by bike or make a *direct north-south commute* must use ECR. Safer
access on ECR for bicyclists is even more essential when we consider the
City’s delay to construct a passage way underneath the Caltrain barrier.


Both the costly Specific Plan and the current ECR consultant have offered a
vision and practical solutions. While we are waiting for decisions
regarding the crossings of Caltrain, installation of bike lanes on ECR will
provide the foundation for an integrated transportation network serving
pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and the pending Transit Oriented
Developments. Even after the City finds a solution for safe
pedestrian/bicycle crossings of Caltrain, residents will still need to ride
on El Camino to get to work, to shop and return home. These trips need to
be made with greater safety and with less stress than is now required. This
is how the Specific Plan was envisioned.


To those who see danger in building an infrastructure for bicycles on El
Camino, here are the facts: Motorists who drive on ECR are familiar with
bike lanes and negotiating the social contract with bikes and pedestrians.
This project will provide the marking and cues already employed by
jurisdictions throughout the Bay Area on multi-lane arterials that make it
easier and safer to share our roads. This proposal is not a new concept but
instead is building on precedent set by numerous other progressive
California cities that have learned to successfully diversify their
transportation options in the face of development pressure.


To those who suggest alternatives to bike facilities, here are the facts:
Your suggestions involve multiple turns, crossing Caltrain at grade,
unprotected intersections and access through parking lots, none of which
address the needs of *north-south commuters* and all of which
transportation experts agree increase the danger to cyclists.


To the Fire District’s opposition, the fact is that removing parking and
adding buffered bike lanes *will increase* the amount of clear space
available for emergency vehicles on ECR.


It has taken 21 years since the City decided to improve pedestrian and
bicyclist access in Menlo Park. I believe that the City has the expertise
and the will to move ahead. There is a plan in place for the Willow/101
overpass that will more safely connect the new commercial and housing
development in Belle Haven with the rest of Menlo Park.


Before the City Council August 25th is a proposal that can be executed now
and will have lasting benefits to us and our neighbor cities. Approve bike
lanes on ECR at your next meeting and let’s join other progressive cities
and move along into the 21st Century.


Steve Schmidt

Menlo Park
Received on Mon Aug 24 2015 - 13:56:33 PDT

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