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Creating a safe community - create a continuous sidewalk on O'Connor

From: J. Brady Barksdale <"J.>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:00:02 -0700

Dear who may be concerned:

I had the opportunity to attend last nights Transportation Meeting at the
Menlo Park Senior Center and I heard the plan being proposed and to be
quite candid, I found it inadequate and lacking the basic requirements they
set for on "creating a *safe *community".

As a resident on the North Side of O'Connor Street I applaud the effort to
finally complete and connect the disconnected pieces of sidewalk we do have
on our street. But wait, now I am to understand that the "grant" does not
provide enough funding to complete the North Side of the sidewalk with
still having gap(s) and we are still keeping the South side completely
exposed and even unpaved in most places. First of all, if the grant money
does not cover the completion of the sidewalk couldn't the City of Menlo
park and the Menlo Park City School District come up with funds to actually
provide a complete and contentious sidewalk. How much money is the School
District spending on that school and they are trying to make this a
neighborhood, pedestrian/bike friendly school yet now we are asking our
kids and parents to walk on the side of the road (possibly even further in
the street as many cars park on the side leaving no choice to walk further
into the street). This is incredible that this woudl be accepted as is .
It does nothing, but maybe give the student/parent an additional 50' to
walk along until putting them in peril.


Now that you see the flaw in the above plan, can we discuss why having an
incomplete sidewalks on the opposite side of the side of the street the
school is on and an incomplete sidewalk makes no sense. I assume it was
cheaper as the North Side is already more complete than the South Side
(again because of limited grant money and not for common sense), but I have
5 observations to note about this:

1) Kids/Parents that walk down that street when the German American School
was there (and also where the present location is and where the Willow Oaks
school is now are going down to walk down the street of of least resistance
so having the school entrance being on the South Side of O'Connor
kids/parents will be likely on both sides of the street so we need to have
both sides completed in order to "create a *safe *community."

2) With this poorly conceived plan we are now asking our kids/parents to
cross the street multiple times to stay on a sidewalk to be safe, which
anyone can see is a safety issue, because most accidents occur when people
cross the street (yellow crosswalk or no crosswalk). In the summer it is
very light on both ends of the day, but come Fall and Spring anyone who
travels down O'Connor will tell you the sun is glaring and blinding making
it hard to see cars let alone little kids and parents.

3) I found it funny in a strange sort of way that we are putting in a
sidewalk on the North Side which is the side of the street (at least until
269 OConnor) that is actually in the Ravenswood School District, thus
benefiting the wrong school district and the kids coming from that side of
the street will not be attending Upper Laurel School District which is
fine, but funny.

4) Everyone is worried about increased traffic and cut through traffic in
the Willows. So the plan is to make this a bike safety corridor and create
a plan that allows kids/parents to walk/bike to school without causing a
shift in traffic flow from one street to another (hence no increase in
speed bumps or traffic mitigation items). Kids in Grades 2-5 are the prime
age when kids can walk/bike on their own to school as this is not a K-3
School where kids are liekly needed to be chaperoned or driven to school.
Yet, now we are making it more difficult to allow the parents to feel
comfortable about sending there kids alone to school on their own and thus
will likely increase traffic coming into the school. A continuous sidewalk
allows the safety with the added benefit it allows residents to not lose
parking, maintain the same flow of the street and keeps things status
quo. \

5) LASTLY, the big one, I see we are putting in ADA Compliant Curbs. I
applaud this, but than I see the ADA having some issues with the fact
without a continuous sidewalk are we asking disabled kids to do what? Go
offloading in weeds and dirt? Take to the street for the stretch that is
not complete and going around cars? Also, have you looked at the shape of
the road, every other street in the Willows has been repaved, yet O'Connor
is crumbling and has potholes and cracks big enough to pop a car tire. let
alone a bike tire or someone using a walker or wheelchair.

The good thing is I see some highlights in the plan that were proposed.

1) The reduced speed on O'Connor during school (am/pm) is a step in the
right direction.

2) Yellow Sidewalks, great, would like to see lighted ones (see point #2),
but okay great we have something.

3) Sharrows...well jury is still out on this one. Everything I read, say
this actually creates more problems than it achieves. To my understanding,
they are markings placed in the travel lane to indicate where people should
preferably cycle, but with cars parked along O'Connor all the time are we
than going to put them in the middle of the road as the side (near
"completed" sidewalk) is going to be hidden by parked cars. It also does
not help as their is no turns or detours bikes need to avoid on O'Connor as
it is a straight shot, so are we just wasting important grant money on
these when that cost can go towards completing the sidewalk.

I can't comment on the other improvements and items set forth as I don't
see this every day, but it sounds like neighbors have applauded some of the
efforts, but we if the tag line is to "creating a *safe* community" let us
make sure we do this to the fullest extent and not hide behind the fact we
only have certain grant money as we are talking about the safety of our
kids.

Best,

Brady

-- 
Brady Barksdale
mobile: 650-245-3035
fax:      801-469-2733
e-mail: JBBarksdale_at_(domainremoved)
Received on Thu Jul 14 2016 - 11:06:22 PDT

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