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REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan - Survey Results and Thank You

From: domainremoved <Jennifer>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2016 12:51:34 -0700

Dear City Council (and others),

As promised, here is the data from the survey I put together about the
REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan.

Summary Results:

Raw Data (Identifying Information Removed):

I'm thrilled that the City Council voted to prioritize a study of Laurel
Safe Routes. As I mentioned, I am no longer advocating for a specific
plan/route, I just want the community to pay attention and figure this out.
I hope that the data I collected can be a useful jumping off point to help
the study get started. Of course I am always available for questions,
comments, etc. :-)

As the City moves forward with the Safe Routes study, I would encourage
opening up a dialogue with San Mateo County to include a comprehensive look
at the situation on Coleman - in my opinion the most dangerous stretch of
road in our neighborhood (No Parking signs did go up yesterday - thank

Thank you to everyone for keeping an open mind and for thoughtfully
considering the safety needs of our children.

Very sincerely,
Jen Wolosin

On Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 3:28 PM, Jennifer Wolosin <jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)

> August 23, 2016
> Dear City Council Members,
> My name is Jen Wolosin and I am writing to urge the City Council to adopt
> the Transportation Commission and Bicycle Commission's recommendations to
> direct City Staff to conduct a Laurel Safe Routes to School study. While
> Staff Report 16-147-CC suggests waiting for the 2017 Council goal
> setting/work plan, I would like the City to begin the 18-month study right
> away. Upper Laurel is set to open on October 17, 2016. Planning for the new
> Laurel campus began in 2014, with the passage of Measure A. We have already
> lost 2 years of planning and with traffic in our neighborhoods only getting
> worse, we can not wait any longer.
> As you may know, I was called to action in July upon reading the
> Transportation Department Staff Report 16-008-TC that outlined
> recommendations for the streets directly surrounding Upper Laurel. Given
> that so many Laurel students would be having to cross Willow Road to attend
> the new campus, and that biking and walking were strongly being encouraged
> by the school, I found the limited to scope of the staff recommendations
> alarming. After attending the Transportation Commission meeting on July
> 13th and expressing my concerns, I took it upon myself to write the Laurel
> Mom Plan, which then became the Laurel Connector Bike Plan.
> The original Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Dated July 21st) was my attempt
> to dream up the optimal route that would allow the safest passage for
> children traveling from Upper Laurel to the San Mateo County Line on
> Coleman Ave. The plan did not take into consideration the needs of
> neighbors and instead was written solely to maximize safety for kids. While
> an online petition I created on Change.org received 96 supporters, many in
> the community voiced concerns with the one-sided nature of my
> recommendations. I also learned that at least some of those who signed the
> petition may not have thought through the black and white nature of the
> proposed changes. The biggest concern regarding the original plan had to do
> with 24/7 No Parking along Gilbert in order to accommodate buffered bike
> lanes. After listening to and meeting with neighbors, including the
> businesses along Menalto at Gilbert, I realized that I would need to revise
> my original plan to better balance the needs of neighbors with those of
> kids on bikes.
> The REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan (Updated July 27th), in my opinion,
> incorporated the feedback I had received from community members as to
> parking needs, while still maintaining enough safety measure to ensure that
> children could bike safely to school. Also, whereas the original plan was
> black and white in nature and black and white in terms of how feedback
> could be collected, the REVISED plan was more flexible and open. Instead of
> calling for parking restrictions on many streets, the REVISED plan
> presented trade-offs and various options. I also created a Survey Monkey
> survey that allowed for neighbors to provide feedback on different parts of
> the plan and to share their opinions, whether they were in favor or against.
> Because this issue is of great importance to me (I have an 8-year old
> daughter that will attend 3rd grade at Upper Laurel and a 6-year old that
> will be in 1st grade at Lower Laurel, and I am very concerned about traffic
> safety in our area), I have gone to great lengths to get neighbors to pay
> attention to this issue in our community. I have not only put myself into
> the limelight on NextDoor (which is a bit scary), but I have also held
> meetings with neighbors, businesses, Bicycle Commissioners, Transportation
> Department staff, Menlo Park City School District staff and others. I have
> led a group of stakeholders, including Justin Murphy, Menlo Park Public
> Works Director, on a bike ride along the proposed REVISED Laurel Connector
> Bike Route, attended a National Night Out event on Menalto and Gilbert and
> personally mailed over 370 letters to every resident along the route, which
> included the REVISED plan and link to the survey. I have spent my summer
> trying to make our streets safer, to the great annoyance of my family, all
> with the hope that tonight, you will understand the importance of taking
> action on making our streets safer.
> I am no longer advocating for the REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan. My
> plan was a wish list, an amateur's stab at what it would take to get a mom
> to send her kid to school safely on a bike. As I’ve mentioned before, I am
> not a transportation engineer and there are processes set up to make
> changes in our city. I have learned that making transportation enhancements
> is not an easy thing to do...since what is an “enhancement” to many, can be
> seen as a “detriment” to others. The results of the Survey Monkey survey
> clearly show that to be the case (Please note that the numbers below are as
> 8/20/16, with 102 responses. Today, 8/23/16 there are 127 responses, but I
> haven’t yet had a chance to tabulate the new results...I will update as
> soon as possible.):
> -
> Approximately ⅔ of MP Resident not along the proposed route supported
> the plan.
> -
> Approximately ¾ of MP Resident along route did not support any
> restricted parking.
> -
> About half of MP Residents along route supported other aspects of the
> plan.
> -
> The biggest resident concerns included restricted parking, additional
> stop signs, lowering speed limits, the route not being direct enough and
> the fact that the streets were safe enough “as-is”.
> As you know as City Council members, reaching consensus is difficult...but
> I would argue not impossible. On Saturday I met at Cafe Zoe with a handful
> of residents that live along Gilbert and in the Willows that were concerned
> about and extremely opposed to the REVISED Laurel Connector Bike Plan.
> While we did not agree on everything, I am hopeful that over time, we could
> find common ground. These neighbors, many of whom have been living in the
> Willows for more than 30 years, also enlightened me on past traffic calming
> efforts aimed to improve speeding, congestion and safety in the
> neighborhood. Most of these past initiatives failed due to lack of
> consensus. We must try again and we must try harder. I am not only here to
> urge City Council to prioritize Safe Routes, I am also here to urge my
> neighbors to work together to find ways to help each other. It’s easy to be
> cynical. It’s harder to rise above it and seek out creative solutions. We
> are smart people. We can do this.
> I have learned over the past month that this is a challenging, complex and
> emotionally charged issue. I have also learned that it will take efforts
> from three main groups of stakeholders to make Safe Routes a reality;
> residents, the Menlo Park City School District and the City of Menlo Park:
> 1.
> Residents - I have already mentioned that my hope is that residents
> can work together to find common ground.
> 2.
> Menlo Park City School District - Looking at the 5 S’s of Safe Routes
> (Education, Encouragement, Evaluation, Enforcement and Engineering), it
> will be important for Laurel and the MPCSD to do everything they can with
> Education and Encouragement.
> 1.
> Education - In addition to Bike Rodeos that take place in the 4th
> Grade, I would recommend that if Laurel indeed wants kids to bike to school
> (and given that they are installing bike racks at Upper Laurel to
> accommodate 150 bikes, that can be safely assumed), then they should
> prioritize bicycle education among students, starting at the beginning of
> 3rd grade. Parents also should be reminded about bike safety and that bikes
> are vehicles and need to follow the rules of the road (stop at stop signs,
> signal, when to “share” the road, etc.). I would also suggest that Laurel
> hire an organization like KidPower (https://www.kidpower.org/) to
> teach students and/or parents about Stranger Safety and how to help parents
> identify when their child is ready to travel to school alone or with a
> friend.
> 2.
> Encouragement - Laurel needs to encourage families to walk, bike,
> take the bus and carpool. It is suggested that leaders at Laurel reach out
> to GAIS (the former occupants of the O’Connor site) to learn best practices
> on traffic flow and carpool encouragement. From everything I’ve heard, they
> were great neighbors. Laurel can also organize biking and walking school
> buses for families.
> In addition to education and encouragement, there are two other issues
> that the Menlo Park City School District must address; crossing guards and
> busing:
> -
> Laurel is considering having up to 2 crossing guards. One at
> Elliott/O’Connor and one at the school entrance. While the school district
> supports the expansion of City wide efforts to place crossing guards at
> critical intersections, after speaking with staff Transportation
> Department, it has become clear that the City doesn’t provide crossing
> guards for any of the 4 public school districts that fall within its
> jurisdiction. It is unacceptable that the school district can point to the
> City, and the City can point to the school district, and in the meantime,
> kids are left to cross Willow Road on their own. Since the Menlo Park City
> School District already has a crossing guard program set up, it is clear
> that the school district must step up to provide additional crossing guards
> at this time.
> -
> When the Menlo Park City School District decided to have “One Laurel”
> that was comprised of a K-2 at one campus (Lower Laurel) and a 3-5 at
> another campus (Upper Laurel), assurances were made that there would be
> connectivity between the two campuses to ease families’ burdens of having
> kids at different campuses. Sadly, due to a lack of resources, it doesn’t
> appear that this original promise is being kept. In some situations,
> families are being told that at best, they will need to wait one hour for
> children to be bused between the two campuses. On Thursdays, there will be
> no busing available for kids needing to travel from Upper Laurel to Lower
> Laurel to meet up with siblings. The Menlo Park City School District must
> dedicate more resources towards busing, especially given the limited number
> of parking spots available to parents at Upper Laurel (approximately 20)
> and the lack of Safe Routes planning.
> I plan to present these concerns at the next Menlo Park City School
> District School School Board meeting, and I urge my fellow residents and
> the City Council to join me in pushing the School Board for these measures.
> If the District can’t fund these items, then the MPAEF and/or Laurel PTO
> needs to get involved.
> 1.
> The City of Menlo Park - Last but not least is what the City Council
> can do about Safe Routes. Again, looking at the 5 E’s of Safe Routes, the
> City must own Evaluation, Enforcement and Engineering.
> 1.
> Evaluation - As stated at the beginning, the City Council must
> direct City Staff to study Safe Routes to Laurel as soon as possible.
> 2.
> Enforcement - The Menlo Park Police Department must do everything
> they can to enforce existing speed limits (25 mph) and traffic laws. It is
> reported that many cars and bikes run through stop signs and this is a huge
> safety issue for not only kids on bikes but everyone traveling through our
> neighborhoods. Another idea to slow down traffic would be to get neighbors
> and Laurel parents to put “PACE Car” magnets on their cars and to commit to
> driving the speed limit. It’s a way for residents, school families and law
> enforcement to work together.
> 3.
> Engineering
> 1.
> 18 months - Assuming that a Safe Routes study is started right
> away, it is the hope that engineering enhancements can be implemented in
> less than 2 years (as stated, this is already later than it should be given
> that Measure A was passed in 2014). Whether aspects of the REVISED Laurel
> Connector Bike Plan are ultimately adopted or enhancements that come from
> the Safe Routes study are implemented, engineering is necessary to truly
> make biking to Laurel safe for kids. As mentioned, at this point, I will
> leave it up to transportation professionals to determine which combination
> of measures should be implemented.
> 2.
> Short term - Yesterday (July 22nd), I had the pleasure of
> meeting with Transportation Manager, Nikki Nagaya and others on her staff,
> to go over a non-controversial (hopefully!) list of short term enhancements
> that should be considered right away, before school opens on October 17th
> if possible. These include things like light-up crosswalks, fixing painting
> on the ground, striping on Gilbert to narrow the line of sight, and
> additional signage. In addition, while there is a warrant process in place
> for new stop signs, I would strongly encourage the City to look into adding
> a stop sign on Coleman Avenue at Santa Monica as soon as possible. Please
> don’t wait two years for this.
> While I realize that I have potentially added a lot to the City’s plate
> (and I know you have a lot going on), there’s one more thing I’d like you
> to consider. As City Council members, please come out into our community,
> talk to neighbors, get neighbors to talk to each other and do what you can
> to engage residents in any process that takes place. Face to face meetings,
> rather than posts on NextDoor, are a much more personal and effective way
> for our community to communicate with each other. Please lead us… you are
> our elected leaders.
> To close, thank you for your attention and for your consideration. I am
> proud to live in Menlo Park and I plan to live here for a very long time.
> Please help make this community the best it can be.
> Sincerely,
> Jen Wolosin
> 2 Alder Place, MP
Received on Fri Sep 02 2016 - 12:57:34 PDT

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