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Heads Up - Vote Happening Tuesday, June 20th at Menlo Park Fire District for Double HAWK Beacon/Safe Crossing of Middlefield at Santa Monica/Linfield

From: domainremoved <Jennifer>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 14:15:12 -0700

Dear City Council Members and Menlo Park City Staff,

I am writing to give you a heads-up about an agenda item that will be
covered on Tuesday (6/20) night at the Menlo Park Fire District board
meeting. The Fire District will be considering an allocation of funds for a
double HAWK beacon in front of Station 1 at 300 Middlefield Ave. Parents
for Safe Route is supporting this proposal because it will create a safe
crossing at Middlefield for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Fire District is about to make their agenda for Tuesday night public,
but I wanted to let you know what was happening. In the spirit of Community
Partnership, I am also sharing with you the Call To Action (see below) that
my group will be releasing once the agenda is public.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Jen

-- 
*Jen Wolosin*
Parents for Safe Routes
www.parents4saferoutes.org
jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)415.710.5838
CALL TO ACTION
An incredible opportunity has presented itself for Safe Routes, but we need
YOU to make it happen! Act now!
On *Tuesday, June 20th at 7pm, the Menlo Park Fire District *will meet and
vote on whether or not to allocate money for a *double HAWK beacon
<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_2oZjkU3sJ_SOATWUkOnpNLIrlU1P0-0R3p-_AX1wYI/edit?usp=sharing>
*to
be placed in front of the main fire station on *Middlefield Avenue at Santa
Monica and Linfield* (see Staff Report here). When activated, the double
HAWK beacon would create a car-free box in front of the fire station. The
fire district wants the beacon so fire trucks/engines can stop traffic and
quickly exit the fire station. Parents for Safe Routes wants the
beacon so *pedestrians
and cyclists can stop traffic and safely cross Middlefield*.
A safe crossing at Middlefield would be a huge win for kids and
pedestrians/ cyclists of all ages. Families from the Willows, Coleman
apartments, South of Seminary and Vintage Oaks neighborhoods, and other
areas on the east side of town could safely get across Middlefield to
access Burgess Park, the train station and downtown (via the new Oak Grove
Bike Pilot). As for Safe Routes, the 170-190 kids that attend Hillview from
the mentioned neighborhoods would be able to, for the most part, avoid
cycling on Willow and Middlefield - two very busy and dangerous streets.
The first step in making this safe crossing a reality is to show the Menlo
Park Fire District that their constituents (us!) want a double HAWK beacon.
Please help us show our force for Tuesday night's meeting in the following
way(s):
1. *Sign our electronic petition* which we will present on Tuesday night to
the board, respectfully asking them to approve the allocation of funds. To
add your name to the petition, click here:
*https://goo.gl/forms/TOXLPU0jBbrvb2pF3
<https://goo.gl/forms/TOXLPU0jBbrvb2pF3>*
2. *Write a letter to Menlo Park Fire Chief, Harold Schapelhouman, at
**harolds_at_(domainremoved)<harolds_at_(domainremoved)the allocation of funds for a double HAWK beacon in front of Station 1 on
Middlefield Ave. If you can include information in your email about how the
HAWK would improve your family's quality of life, please do so. Also, if
you've had a scary experience trying to cross Middlefield, please address
that. A sample email is below.
3. *Attend Tuesday (6/20) night's Fire District board meeting at 7pm*. The
meeting will be in the *classroom at the back of Fire Station 1, 300
Middlefield Road*. We have been told that the double HAWK beacon agenda
item will be moved to the top of the agenda to accommodate us (we'll be out
of there early - not a long night). If you can be there, please come. In
fact, it is likely that we will need about 20 people to show up in order
for our presence to be adequately felt. If you can commit to coming, please
sign up, so we know if we need to start calling around to get bodies to
show. Sign up here:
*https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bvDNIx9VBrwz45RPd7pgQBq_6K7qSKdu5RxQFSw92IM/edit?usp=sharing*
<https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bvDNIx9VBrwz45RPd7pgQBq_6K7qSKdu5RxQFSw92IM/edit?usp=sharing>
These Calls To Action work...as long as you heed them. *Please attend,
email and/or sign our petition* to ensure that we continue to improve the
safety for children (and all of us!) in our community.
Thank you, and I hope to see many of you on *Tuesday the 20th at 7pm
(Classroom at the back of Fire Station 1, 300 Middlefield Road)*!
Spread the word!
Jen
***Please Note: Assuming the Fire District approves the allocation of
funds, the Fire District will need to work with the City of Menlo Park to
determine the exact feasibility/design of the crossing, While the HAWK will
definitely improve the crossing for pedestrians, Menlo Park City codes will
need to be examined to validate the legality of cyclists pedaling in the
car-free box when the HAWK is activated. Encouragingly, according to the
National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), HAWKs being
used for bicyclists have already been adopted in other cities across the
country (
https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/bicycle-signals/hybrid-beacon-for-bike-route-crossing-of-major-street/
).
-----
*Jen Wolosin*
Parents for Safe Routes
www.parents4saferoutes.org
jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)415.710.5838 <(415)%20710-5838>
*My Sample Personal Email (Feel free to copy/edit/paste as appropriate for
you):*
Dear Cheif Schapelhouman,
As a parent of two school-age children (ages 7 and 9), and a resident of
the Vintage Oaks neighborhood of Menlo Park, I'm writing to request that
you approve the allocation of funds for a double HAWK beacon in front of
Station 1 on Middlefield Ave. This traffic device would have a huge
community benefit in that it would provide a much-needed safe crossing of
Middlefield for pedestrians and cyclists.
Currently, my family has no safe way to ride a bike to Burgess (let alone
the train station or downtown). If we exit Vintage Oaks at Seminary and
turn right on Middlefield, we have to ride on Middlefield with cars zooming
past us and only a thin white line for protection. We then have to contend
with the extremely dangerous Ringwood/Middlefield/Ravenswood triangle.
Alternatively, if we exit our neighborhood onto Santa Monica Avenue, we
have 3 dangerous choices. 1. We can cycle to Willow via Nash, and then
contend with the huge volume and speed of cars on Willow until we cross
Middlefield. 2. We can make a left turn onto Middlefield, and then ride on
the wrong side of the road until we get to Willow, so we can cross
Middlefield there (many dangerous issues with that option). 3. We can make
a right turn onto Middlefield from Santa Monica, and either pedal very
quickly to make the left turn onto Linfield or ride to the lighted cross
walk and then walk our bike across the street. Unfortunately, we do not
feel very safe with that crosswalk given the speed of cars and the number
of lanes.
A double HAWK beacon would be an amazing gift to my family, and many like
ours. Thinking longer term, when my kids are old enough to attend Hillview,
having a safe crossing at Middlefield will be a huge factor in my decision
to allow my children to ride their bikes to school. When kids ride their
bikes to school, it improves their health, allows them to arrive at school
ready to learn, reduces stress and provides a multitude of other community
benefits.
Please approve the allocation of funds for the double HAWK beacon. Thank
you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Jen Wolosin
Menlo Park, Vintage Oaks Resident
*FAQ's*
*What is a double HAWK Beacon? *
A HAWK beacon or signal is a pedestrian/cyclist activated warning device
that stops vehicular traffic and allows safe crossing. The HAWK operates
much like a traditional traffic signal. However, the beacon remains dark
and motorists proceed as usual until a pedestrian/cyclist activates the
beacon to cross. Once activated, the light for motorists will sequence from
flashing amber to steady amber and then to steady red. Once red, cars will
be stopped and pedestrians/cyclists may proceed across. The lights will
then change to flashing red notifying cars to proceed when safe.
Pedestrians/cyclists will be signaled to complete crossing and to not start
if they haven’t already. The lights will then go dark again until activated
the next time.
Click here
<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_2oZjkU3sJ_SOATWUkOnpNLIrlU1P0-0R3p-_AX1wYI/edit?usp=sharing>
to
see how the double HAWK beacon (a beacon in 2 locations along the same
road, pointing the opposite direction), would be used in front of Station 1
on Middlefield Road. The document also has a picture of a HAWK and what it
would look like to drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
One study released by the Federal Highway Administration found that, after
a HAWK signal was installed, vehicle/pedestrian crashes were reduced by
69%. As many as 97% of motorists comply with the HAWK beacon, higher than
signalized crossing, or crossings with flashing yellow beacons. (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAWK_beacon)
*Why does the Fire District want a double HAWK beacon?*
In addition to pedestrians/cyclists being able to activate the HAWK, as
emergency responders, firefighters also have the ability activate the HAWK
(and all nearby traffic signals). The HAWK would give the firefighters the
ability to safely and quickly exit Station 1.
*Why do pedestrians/cyclists need this?*
For those residents living in the Willows, Coleman apartments, South of
Seminary and Vintage Oaks neighborhoods, there is currently no low-stress
way to cross Middlefield via bike. Forcing kids and other vulnerable,
non-fearless cyclists to ride on high-volume/high-speed Willow Road and
Middlefield Road is not acceptable. A double HAWK beacon at this location
would allow safe crossing, in both directions, for those seeking an
East/West passage.
*What's wrong with the current light-up side walk?*
While a light-up crosswalk does exist in one of the two locations propsed
for the double HAWK beacon, it is not a sufficient safety measure for those
seeking to cross Middlefield. Due to the speed of cars and the width of the
street, cars may not see that a pedestrian is crossing. The current
crossing does nothing to address safety for cyclists. A HAWK signal is a
much more effective and safe device to use in an intersection such as this,
especially given the Fire District's needs.
*Isn't the City in charge of traffic signals? Why are we lobbying the Fire
District?*
Assuming we successfully lobby the Fire District on Tuesday, June 20th to
allocate funds for the double HAWK beacon, we will then shift our lobbying
efforts towards the City of Menlo Park (stay tuned for a future Call To
Action for that). By starting with the Fire District's funding "gift" and
partnership, we will be in a better position to demonstrate the demand and
consensus around this concept, thereby making this an easy "win" for the
City of Menlo Park. This can not ultimately happen without the City of
Menlo Park, but the Fire District is the first step.
*Why should I care/take action if I don't live on that side of town?*
As we have demonstrated since our launch in January 2017, when we join
together, we can accomplish great things. Our mission is to help ALL
children in Menlo Park (those that live here and those that go to school
here) get to and from school safely. We can only have a powerful voice if
we work together, even on initiatives that don't benefit us directly. We
are actively investigating, reporting and advocating on issues all over
down - from Alameda de las Pulgas near La Entrada, down to Chilco in Belle
Haven. We need to band together so we can make ALL of Menlo Park a better
place for EVERYONE. While this project may directly benefit certain
families today, your area of interest may have a Call to Action tomorrow.
*Why are there so many Calls To Action?*
We're busy! We've entered a new era for Safe Routes in Menlo Park. For the
first time there is an organized and active group of us that are paying
attention to and actively advocating for these types of changes. We are
highlighting issues, starting dialogues and holding stakeholders
responsible (ourselves included - there is a lot individual community
members can be doing to make our streets safer!). We pay attention to
what's happening transportation-wise around town, so you don't have
to...but when we issue a Call To Action, please act!
Received on Fri Jun 16 2017 - 14:19:05 PDT

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