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REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Updated 7/27/16) and New Survey Launched

From: domainremoved <Jennifer>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2016 12:14:56 -0700

Dear City Council Members and Others,

I have just sent out to the community the REVISED Laurel Connector Bike
Plan (Updated 7/27/16). I have also launched a new survey (in the place of
the original petition) to capture community feedback (both for and against)
this plan.

Link to REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Updated 7/27/16):

Link to survey to share feedback:

In addition, today I am mailing letters to 341 residences along the
affected route and with help from volunteers, I plan to canvas these
residences in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing many of you, when
I present the data, at the August 30th City Council meeting.

Thank you to those of you who were able to attend the bike ride on Friday.
I greatly appreciate your ongoing time and attention to this matter.

Very sincerely,
Jen Wolosin

P.S. Below is the email I just posted to NextDoor:

REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan - Please provide feedback via survey!
Jennifer Wolosin <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/profile/559794> from Vintage
Oaks · Just now

Dear Neighbors,

As promised, the REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Updated 7/27/16) has
been developed. This new plan includes almost all of the feedback I
received from you. I’m proud to have received support for this plan from
many residents and from the businesses at Menalto and Gilbert (e.g., Cafe
Zoe) and from Mardini’s Deli at Willow and Gilbert.

Click on this link to review the REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan
(Updated 7/27/16): http://tinyurl.com/REVISEDLaurelBikePlan...

On Friday, I had the opportunity to lead a bike ride through the proposed
route with key stakeholders in our community. While many were invited on
the ride, those in attendance included:
- Justin Murphy, Menlo Park Public Works Director
- Ahmad Sheikholeslami, Menlo Park City School District, Chief Business
- Linda Creighton, Laurel School Principal
- Witney McKiernon, Menlo Park Bicycle Commissioner
- Theresa Vallez-Kelly, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for San Mateo
- Jessica Garner, Sr. Community Health Planner, San Mateo County Health
- Remona Murray, Menlo Oaks Resident and Community Safety Advocate

In addition, Menlo Park City Council Member, Cat Carlton, came out to hear
about the plan (she was unable to ride because of a hurt foot).

Because of the bike ride and the feedback I have received about the REVISED
plan, I’m more excited than ever about making a positive change in our
community and I’m confident that together, we can make Safe Routes a
reality, while balancing the needs of residents and businesses. We can do

The old petition that I launched on NextDoor on July 23rd has been
suspended. In it’s place, I’ve created a survey that allows for all kinds
of feedback, both support for the plan and concerns about it. The survey is
open to everyone in the community, whether you live along the proposed
route or not. There is logic embedded in the survey that, depending on
where you live, will ask you different questions. Assuming you have read
and understand the REVISED plan, the survey should only take 3-5 minutes to

Click on this link to provide feedback about the REVISED plan:

Please do everything you can to share this link with neighbors who may not
be on NextDoor. My plan is to bring the data from the survey to the August
30th City Council Meeting (Save the Date!), and the information collected
in the survey will be critical in letting the City Council know the
wants/needs of the community.

Because those that live along the route will be the most affected by any
transportation changes, today I am personally mailing out 341 letters to
every resident along the proposed route. The mailing includes a letter of
introduction, a copy of the plan (highlighted to reflect the changes that
directly impact the resident on their specific stretch of road) and an
invitation to take the online survey. The City Council will be looking most
at the opinions of those along the route, so it is of utmost importance to
collect their thoughts. If you live along the route, please keep your eyes
open for this letter.

I need your help. Along with a group of volunteers dedicated to providing
kids a Safe Route, over the next 4 weeks, I will be going door-to-door,
visiting every residence along the route (yes, that’s 341). I will not be
able to do this alone. If you have an hour or two to help, please send me
an email at jenelias_at_(domainremoved)
those of you who live along the route and who can visit direct neighbors.
That being said, I’ll take anyone who wants to help.

Please note that I am not a city official, staff member or part of a
special interest group. I’m a neighbor and mom of two young children who
attend Laurel, our wonderful public school. I’m using my own time and money
to try to make a positive change in our neighborhood. The safety of our
community’s children is worth the effort. I hope you will join us in
supporting this important improvement to our community.

Thank you again for your consideration.

Very sincerely,
Jen Wolosin

P.S. Link to REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Updated 7/27/16):
P.P.S. Link to survey to share feedback:

On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 12:45 PM, Jennifer Wolosin <jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)

> FYI - I am in the process of revising the Laurel Connector Bike Plan and
> Petition. Please see my recent posting on NextDoor (copied below).
> Also, if possible, I'd love to see any of you tomorrow (Friday July 29th)
> at the bike ride around the neighborhood. We're meeting at 11:30am at the
> entrance to the Upper Laurel campus at 275 Elliott Drive. In addition to
> attendees I've already mentioned, Ahmad Sheikholeslami from the MPCSD
> District Office will also be joining. Bring a bike!
> Thanks!
> Jen Wolosin
> --------------------
> I Hear You - Revision Coming - Laurel Connector Bike Plan
> <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=29614526>
> Jennifer Wolosin <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/profile/559794> from Vintage
> Oaks · 2h ago
> Dear Neighbors,
> I hear you. I've been communicating privately with many of you and after
> personally reaching out, I have also talked to and had meetings with the
> owners of Mardini's on Gilbert and Willow, and a group of business owners
> from the shops at Menalto and Gilbert. I want to thank everyone who I've
> either spoken to or corresponded with. Everyone's heart is in the right
> place and everyone is doing their best to figure out a solution that
> works for both kids and businesses, residents and their visitors.
> Given all this tremendous feedback, I am working on a REVISED plan and
> subsequent petition that provides for the safety of our children AND the
> needs of others in the community (businesses, residents and visitors). I'm
> sorry if I alarmed many of you with the strong wording of the petition. My
> passion for creating a Safe Route to School had me laser focused on the
> needs of the kids. Having heard from many of you, I now understand that the
> solution must strike a balance. As long as we can come up with a plan that
> still keeps kids safe, even if it's not my favorite plan, that's great.
> Like I said, this isn't about me, this is about all of us and what
> priorities we have for our neighborhoods. I'm happy to have started a
> conversation.
> I am currently waiting to hear back from the Menlo Park Transportation
> Department to assess the feasibility of some alternative suggestions. I am
> also updating the wording in the plan document and on the petition to
> reflect many of the ideas that you have shared.
> I can't promise that all of you will love the revised plan/petition, but I
> am confident that many of you will find that it strikes an appropriate
> balance. I would love nothing more than to walk into the next City Council
> meeting (August 30th at 7pm - SAVE THE DATE) as a united community with a
> plan with broad support.
> Thank you for your patience as I navigate this process. Please keep your
> eyes open for the REVISED plan and petition.
> Very sincerely,
> Jen Wolosin
> P.S. And as always, I'm here. jenelias_at_(domainremoved)
> Shared with Vintage Oaks + 4 nearby neighborhoods in General
> <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/general/>
> On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 5:18 PM, Jennifer Wolosin <jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)
> wrote:
>> Dear Menlo Park City Council Members and Others,
>> Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment at last week's City
>> Council meeting about Safe Routes to School. To reiterate, my short term
>> goal is demonstrate that there exists enough political will in our
>> community to warrant immediate discussion and further study on a legitimate
>> Safe Route from Upper Laurel to the San Mateo County line (on the way to
>> Lower Laurel), and surrounding area schools. My long term goal is to see
>> Safe Route measures implemented as soon as possible to ensure the safety of
>> all children in our area.
>> I have a handful of updates since I commented last week:
>> - Bike tour of suggested route. I have set up a bike tour for this *Friday,
>> July 29th at 11:30am* for interested parties to ride along the
>> proposed route. We will meet at the new Upper Laurel campus at 275 Elliott
>> Drive. Bring a bike! At a minimum, Theresa Vallez-Kelly, San Mateo
>> County Office of Education Safe Routes Coordinator, Jessica Garner, Sr.
>> Community Health Planner, San Mateo County Health System, Ellen
>> Barton, Active Transportation Coordinator, Witney McKiernan, Menlo Park
>> Bicycle Commission Member and Remona Murray, Menlo Oaks Neighborhood
>> Activist, are going to join me. I've also extended invitations to
>> others in the Transportation Commission, Bicycle Commission, Laurel/MPCSD
>> offices, MP Transportation Staff, San Mateo County Supervisors, Staff and
>> others. I hope to see you there!
>> - Plan Update - I have updated and renamed the proposal I previously
>> submitted on July 15th to City Council. The new proposal is called the Laurel
>> Connector Bike Plan
>> <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPHdC67QNXZScW9nSmdWU1k/view>.
>> Some changes from the previous plan (Laurel Mom Plan - July 15th) to the
>> new plan (Laurel Connector Bike Plan - July 21st) include:
>> - Expansion of "No Stopping" during drop-off and pick-up on
>> certain blocks (Santa Monica to Coleman, and Gilbert from Willow east to
>> Santa Monica) to be on both sides of street to accommodate not only Upper
>> Laurel students, but M-A students and others.
>> - Extension of the morning "No Stopping" zones during drop-off
>> hours to be 8am to 10am (later than Staff rec of 8:00-9:00) to include
>> M-A's Thursday's late start (9:40am). I've included a new appendix (3) that
>> shows all start and end times of the local public schools.
>> - Greater thought on the block of Gilbert from Menalto to east of
>> Central. I've left this block open for discussion pending an analysis of
>> the impact to businesses. I've also provided an alternative route that
>> bypasses Menalto/Gilbert storefronts.
>> - Gilbert and Willow intersection. I've added the need for buttons
>> in both directions on Gilbert that bikers can use to cause the light to
>> change.
>> - Expansion of the scope of the proposal to include improvements
>> for Willow Oaks school students (complete sidewalks on O'Connor that span
>> east of Elliott, "No Stopping" during drop off and pick up on Walnut, stop
>> signs on Central in both directions at Walnut).
>> - Additional considerations including "No U Turn" sign on Elliott
>> and stop signs and/or crossing guards on O'Connor at Elliott.
>> - Better maps
>> - An online petition
>> <https://www.change.org/p/menlo-park-city-council-provide-a-safe-biking-route-between-upper-and-lower-laurel-and-to-surrounding-schools>
>> was launched to gauge community support on Saturday night, July 23rd and as
>> of 5:05pm on Monday, July 25th it has already received 70 signatures. The
>> online petition can be found here:
>> https://www.change.org/p/menlo-park-city-council-provide-a-safe-biking-route-between-upper-and-lower-laurel-and-to-surrounding-schools
>> - A door-to-door canvassing campaign, targeting residents along the
>> proposed route, is being organized and will attempt to be completed prior
>> to the August 30th City Council meeting. The paper petition can be viewed
>> here (includes summary of requests):
>> https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B5BGvPHdC67QZVdvamJCVVBOTzQ
>> - I have begun to engage with some who are concerned about aspects of
>> the Plan, including those worried about the 24/7 "No Parking" along
>> Gilbert. Below is part of an email thread that I posted on NextDoor. I'm
>> including this so you can get a feel for some of the challenges and how I'm
>> addressing them. One new thought since I posted below about Footsteps
>> Preschool (there is concern that preschool parents that park on Gilbert by
>> the shortcut entrance to the park will lose their parking and be forced to
>> cross Gilbert with their preschoolers) would be to add a lighted crosswalk
>> across Gilbert. While I have compassion for preschool parents needing to
>> walk across the street, those kids will at least have a grown-up with them
>> to help with visibility...many 8 to 10 year old kids on bikes heading Upper
>> Laurel will be on their own.
>> Thank you for your ongoing attention to this matter.
>> Very sincerely,
>> Jen Wolosin (Laurel Mom)
>> 2 Alder Place
>> 415-710-5838
>> jenelias_at_(domainremoved)
>> ------------------------------
>> NextDoor response from approximately 2:30pm on Monday, July 25th:
>> Jennifer Wolosin <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/profile/559794> from Vintage
>> Oaks · 2h ago
>> Dear Neighbors,
>> We are up to 66 supporters on the online petition regarding the Laurel
>> Connector Bike Route. Thank you to those of you who have signed the petition
>> (https://www.change.org/p/menlo-park-city...
>> <https://www.change.org/p/menlo-park-city-council-provide-a-safe-biking-route-between-upper-and-lower-laurel-and-to-surrounding-schools>
>> ).
>> In the coming weeks, I will be door-to-door canvasing, along with other
>> volunteers who support the plan, to all of the homes and apartments along
>> the route. I hope that all residents that live along Gilbert and the other
>> streets impacted, will be open to a respectful conversation about this.
>> I understand that this petition has brought up concerns among neighbors
>> as to the impact to those who park on Gilbert, (homeowners and their
>> visitors, shop-owners and store customers, Mardini customers, visitors to
>> the Willow Oaks Park and preschool families that attend Footsteps in the
>> park to name a few). "No Parking" 24/7 on Gilbert is a big ask, and I
>> understand the concerns. If someone was imposing "No Parking" in front of
>> my home, I too, would be apprehensive.
>> Upper Laurel will be s 3rd grade to 5th grade school. The kids attending
>> will be approximately 8-10 years old. I do not feel that it is safe asking
>> these young kids, many of who will be bike new riders, to "share" the road
>> with cars.
>> I looked into making "No Parking" only on one side of the street for the
>> stretch of Gilbert in question (between Menalto and Willow), but after
>> checking with the Menlo Park Transportation Department, I have learned that
>> it is not possible. The road is not wide enough (I can give you exact
>> details if you want). As for other routes that avoid Gilbert, they would
>> require kids on the west side of Willow to use Coleman Avenue to cross
>> Willow. Coleman should be avoided at all costs - it is extremely dangerous.
>> Even starting east of Willow, alternative routes (i.e., via Elm), would
>> need to travel through the German-American International School (GAIS)
>> parking lot. This brings up both liability issues and bikers would be
>> passing through just as GAIS students are being dropped off and picked up
>> themselves.
>> As I have mentioned to some of you, the Laurel Connector Bike Plan (
>> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPH...
>> <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPHdC67QNXZScW9nSmdWU1k/view>) is
>> what I'm proposing. The purpose of my proposal is to get the attention of
>> the City Council so they can direct the Menlo Park Transportation
>> Department to do their own study of the area. While I like to think that my
>> plan is well researched and thought-out, there is no way the City is going
>> to just adopt it as-is. They are going to do their own due diligence to
>> check this out and they will ultimately either use some of the ideas or
>> not. My petition is to show that there is enough political will for further
>> study and for City resources to be allocated to this issue.
>> I encourage those of you who care about this issue (and I'm guessing if
>> you've read this far you do care), not matter how you feel about it, to let
>> me know. Please be as specific as possible as to which aspects of the plan
>> you are in favor of and which you oppose. I will bring all of that to the
>> City. For those of you who oppose 24/7 "No Parking" on Gilbert, would it
>> make a difference if instead of buffered bike lanes it was only "No
>> Stopping" during drop-off and pick-up times (8am to 10am, 2pm-3:30pm)? This
>> would at least eliminate the need for kids to ride into the street to avoid
>> parked cars on their way to school. In a perfect world we will find a
>> solution that will work for most of us. If you do contact me, please keep
>> in mind that this is not personal, and remember to be respectful.
>> I do care about preschoolers and dog walkers and baseball players getting
>> to the park, and Mardini's customers getting to lunch ("No Stopping" during
>> drop-off and pick-up will help that) and folks being able to have friends
>> visit without terrible hardships and businesses at the Menalto end of
>> Gilbert being able to serve their customers (I hope you all read page 4 of
>> the Laurel Connector Bike Plan (
>> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPH...
>> <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPHdC67QNXZScW9nSmdWU1k/view>)
>> that discusses the businesses and has an alternative section of route that
>> bypasses this stretch). I care about all this AND I still believe it's most
>> important that we provide a Safe Route to School for our kids.
>> Thank you for reading,
>> Sincerely,
>> Jen Wolosin
Received on Tue Aug 02 2016 - 12:21:50 PDT

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