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Response to your comments - Facebook West Campus EIR - P2.1p Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation

From: Schapelhouman, Harold <"Schapelhouman,>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2016 06:01:13 +0000

Hello Steve

I appreciate your e-mail and feedback regarding our formal comments and submittal to the Facebook West Campus Expansion EIR sent to the City of Menlo Park. The reality is using these paths is our current practice and has been for many years because of increased traffic and congestion.

It probably would be helpful if you watched our YouTube MPFD Incident Call on the Dumbarton Bridge video taped in August of 2015 because that gives you a sense of what we are up against as an essential public service and as first responders.

I'm not sure what occurred in 1997/8, when you were on the Council, but I'm glad the Bayfront was widened and has an eight foot shoulder because it helps that motorists have a place to safely pull over off the roadway for any emergency. It also separates sections of the traffic lanes from the drainage ditches, where we find the occasional motorist can end up in a roll-over incident if they end up in the ditch.

Vehicles can't easily pull over to the right shoulder in gridlock traffic, or when backed up bumper to bumper because of a traffic accident. We don't use the right shoulder because drivers are taught to pull to the right for emergency vehicles and it creates confusion and conflict when we attempt it.

Fortunately, Bayfront Expressway has evolved over the years and we have worked closely with Cal-Trans on improvements such as the installation of a center barrier/divider wall. If you recall, the first week the new bridge was opened we responded to a head on crash because that safety feature was not included as part of the Bayfront Expressway project.

We also worked with Cal-Trans after the road was widened in 1997/8 because the off-set distance to the light pole standards was not changed, which resulted in vehicles hitting and getting wrapped around them.

We support separated pedestrian/bicycle paths along the Bayfront Expressway but having them actually be designed with our occasional and actual emergency use is a practical reality, and not just a proposal because its already going on.

We most frequently use the paths between Willow and University and University and the Dumbarton Bridge, especially if traffic is completely stopped. Having that capability in the corridor makes practical sense as an alternative when needed.

I'm not sure why you would be opposed to this alternative if a family member, friend or you yourself were injured and this saved valuable seconds and moments in our ability to safely and rapidly arrive on-scene to provide emergency assistance.

The Fire District has been a leader in the State for decades advocating for access doors in the freeway walls, removable sections in the center concrete k-rail separation on freeways near overpasses, safe off-sets for light poles and trees/vegetation, protective barriers, water supply on the Dumbarton Bridge, FasTrak exemptions for emergency vehicles and many more features that improve public safety and our ability to quickly respond when people are in need.

Unfortunately, we were not included in many of these projects before they were designed and/or built. Tragically, I have a number of photographs and memories of the cause and after effect of many of the negative results and consequences of those types of oversights caused by agencies and individuals who either did not include public safety as a partner, listened to what we were trying to say are or address our concerns.

Our personnel daily have a front row seat and hands on experience when things go tragically wrong because seconds do count, minutes actually matter and lives often hang in the balance. My job is to make sure I advocate for those solutions, options and alternative systems that support our critically important mission and public safety.

I don't plan to tell our personnel, who regularly respond going against traffic because of an out dated roadway design, or through other communities, like Palo Alto, because of local congestion, not to carefully push that envelope in order to make a difference or hopefully change a potential negative outcome.

If that means an emergency piece of equipment and crew needs to occasionally use the pedestrian/bicycle path along the Bayfront Expressway to accomplish their life safety mission, then so be it. I would hope that you and everyone else could understand that because we're not looking for permission, just an improved design that includes us as a partner.

Thank you

Harold Schapelhouman, Fire Chief
Menlo Park Fire Protection District

From: Steve Schmidt <menloparksteve_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:16:54 PM
To: city.council_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: kbehroozi_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Fwd: fire district comments

FYI: When Caltrans came to the City of Menlo Park in 1997-8 to seek the support of the City Council for widening the Bayfront Expressway, they dragged the MP Fire Protection District to our public hearing. The District representative touted emergency access as a major reason why the widening was necessary. As a result six travel lanes, two turn lanes at intersections and an eight foot shoulder on each side were approved and built as part of the project. The eight-foot shoulders are still there and should still be wide enough for the 2016 emergency vehicle models.

There is no apparent need for them to now have access to the Bay Trail or other bike/pedestrian facilities in the M-2 zone, contrary to the Fire District's comment to the Facebook Draft E.I.R. cited below.

Steve Schmidt
Menlo Park City Council

2. Significant Traffic Impacts on Emergency Access Routes

P 2.1p - Bicycle/Pedestrian Circulation
Bicycle/pedestrian paths, used for public purposes, should be wide enough and strong enough to support emergency vehicles. Improvements to the current network along Bayfront Expressway would assist first responders, who already use these paths, when traffic conditions create gridlock, as a parallel alternatives to Bayfront Expressway, Reference the Bay Trail Plan 3.1-4.

Received on Sun Jul 31 2016 - 23:09:02 PDT

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