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Thoughts on 8/25 Council Item A1 El Camion Real Corridor Study Session

From: domainremoved <Mitchel>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:32:23 -0700

Dear City Council Members,

I hope that each of you has been enjoying this beautiful summer.

During an exceptional trip to Central Europe I was able to see protected bicycle lanes successfully in use in the great cities Vienna and Budapest. The bike lanes were deployed in the midst of downtown thoroughfares with much heavier vehicle throughput than El Camino. The protected bike lanes enabled a high level of safe bicycle use and enhanced the beauty of these cities. Drivers are bicycle riders are accustomed to the traffic flow of these shared roads and it is part of the norm of driving and bicycling in these cities.

Menlo Park is presented with a powerful opportunity right now. We can take the lead, in a pilot basis, in providing protected bicycle lanes on El Camino Real. Should we find this pilot is successful, there is every likelihood that neighboring cities will be drawn toward adoption as well, thus enabling a healthy, inexpensive, and carbon-free alternative to driving on heavily congested El Camino Real.

As a frequent bicycle rider to downtown Menlo Park and Palo Alto, such an implementation would enable me to extend my range and more readily reach destinations in the northern part of town. As it stands, I will absolutely not ride my bike on El Camino due to safety concerns and there are no natural North/South routes through the neighborhoods that provide a reasonable route once I am north of Oak Grove.

I have attached an information sheet developed by Menlo Spark that will point you toward studies and data that support this solution.

Some well-meaning citizens favor a solution of an additional vehicle lane and perhaps greater restrictions to bicycles. Yet, more vehicle lanes invariably draw in more vehicles and wind up with either no impact on congestion, or possibly creating even greater congestion along the neighborhood corridors that feed in and out of El Camino. This would be a net detriment to quality of life in our community.

By effectively promoting nearly exclusive reliance on car traffic (other than the existing VERY unsafe bicycle alternative on El Camino) we are exacerbating social equity issues for individuals and families who may find car ownership to be an onerous financial burden or simply unappealing. Safe bicycling on El Camino provides an easy way to bypass automotive congestion. With this solution, Council can improve the quality of life of economically challenged residents, those who simply prefer not to use a car, and others who might consider the healthy alternative of bicycle riding if it were safe.

A pilot program will enable the City to evaluate understandable concerns about safety and traffic flow to determine whether they are well-founded or not. If not, then the pilot can be readily extended into a long-term solution. And, based on assertions by experts who have evaluated transportation best practices, in the long run this solution will alleviate congestion, which is a key concern of our community.

Please provide an opportunity for our community to implement a healthy, socially equitable, and environmentally conscious solution that holds the promise to easing congestion long-term on El Camino, rather than moving in the direction of incentivizing even more people to drive alone on El Camino and further clog up our neighborhoods.

I hope to see you in the coming weeks,

Mitch Slomiak



_________________________________


Mitchel J. Slomiak

Vice-Chair
Menlo Spark

mslomiak_at_(domainremoved)
650-322-6349






Achieving Climate Neutrality as a Community
Received on Tue Aug 25 2015 - 17:31:10 PDT

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