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Please move forward with the Oak Grove Bike Boulevard pilot

From: domainremoved <Bianca>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2017 16:00:27 -0700

Dear Mayor Keith and Members of Council,

I am a member of the Transportation Commission, but I am writing to you as
a resident and Encinal parent. I used to ride my bike with my kids to
Encinal, but after too many close calls with distracted, impatient drivers
I have retreated to my car, where I add to the congestion on our streets.
We can do so much better in this city, and I urge Council to move forward
with the pilot.

This pilot project is supported by a number of city policies.

First, Menlo Park has adopted a Complete Streets policy that supports “a
comprehensive, integrated transportation network with infrastructure and
design that allows safe and convenient travel along and across streets for
all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities,
(and) motorists.” Our existing built environment is designed for cars. And
yet the moment we step out of our cars, we become pedestrians, so creating
a built environment that makes walking and biking safe and appealing serves
everyone. This is not anti-car; this is pro-people. It is worth noting
that many residents who are used to driving may need to stop driving as
they get older; we should make sure Menlo Park is a community that allows
residents to age in place and still be able to get around without driving.
City Council recently re-affirmed its commitment to Complete Streets by
merging the Bicycle and Transportation Commissions into a Complete Streets
Commission. I hope this pilot is the first of many projects supported by
Council to make our streets safer for all users.

Second, Menlo Park has committed to a reduction in greenhouse gas
emissions. In 2013, 41% of Menlo Park’s emissions were due to
transportation, the single largest factor, and if the City is going to make
a dent in that number, creating a safe and appealing alternative for people
who choose not to drive is critical. Given our topography and mild climate,
many short trips could easily be taken by bicycle if people felt
comfortable doing so. The Oak Grove Bicycle Boulevard is the first step in
building an environment to encourage healthy activity for all our
residents. Bluntly put, bicycles are cleaner than cars. Menlo Park is full
of people who are concerned about the environment. A carefully planned bike
lane should be supported by all those who are concerned about climate
change.

Third, we have safety data that highlights the critical need for improving
bicycle safety near our schools. According to the San Mateo County Health
System, 39% of all bike and pedestrian collisions in San Mateo County
happen within a quarter mile of a school. Given that sobering statistic,
we should be additionally zealous about insuring that we have safe bicycle
infrastructure on Oak Grove. This will serve not only many students on
their way to and from school but for many others as well. We need better
east-west connectivity across El Camino Real, and this pilot provides a
better, safer crossing of El Camino Real through the middle of town. The
existing crossings at Oak Grove, as well as at Ravenswood, can be
discouraging for folks who are interested in bicycling but concerned about
feeling safe.

Finally, as a Transportation Commissioner and as a resident I am fully
aware that there is no right to on-street parking. I know this can be a
hard message to hear. People expect to be able to park in front of their
home. The streets belong to the city, and the city can and should put them
to the best use that serves stated city goals. This is a pilot, and can be
adjusted during the course of the pilot as we understand how it works in
practice. Let’s get started.


Sincerely,

Bianca Walser
University Drive, Menlo Park.
Received on Mon Apr 10 2017 - 16:06:18 PDT

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