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Please make 500 El Camino Real a bike/ped-friendly development

From: Lydia W. Lee <"Lydia>
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:54:53 -0700

Dear Councilmembers,

The proposed bike/pedestrian tunnel under Caltrain at Middle Ave. is a
significant investment towards making the city a more bike and
pedestrian-friendly place. However, given the magnitude of this investment,
it seems extremely shortsighted not to include a bike/pedestrian path
behind 500 El Camino Real to enable residents, workers, and visitors to get
around town without a car.

Located within half-a-mile of the Menlo Park Caltrain station and less than
a mile from the Palo Alto train station, 500 El Camino is perfectly
situated as a transit-oriented development. However, the current plan is
still optimized for cars. It calls for 930 parking spots, mostly
underground, and 4 driveway entrances/exits to El Camino Real, two which
are controlled by traffic lights.

The underground garages are accessed by 5 garage ramps, located along the
back of the development. From my understanding of the current plan,
bicycles and pedestrians have the choice of two unsavory options: 1.)
Either use the development road and negotiate with car traffic and cars
going up and down the ramps, or 2.) bike/walk along the sidewalks on busy
El Camino, with its 4 driveways and 2 stoplights.

Picture the alternative: a secluded bike/ped path behind the development
that provides a safe, dedicated route connecting the whole development with
the Middle Ave. tunnel and beyond. Why not seize this opportunity to link
up with the sidewalk/unofficial bike path that runs behind the Big 5/BevMo
parking lot, providing development occupants a convenient way to get
downtown? This is a priceless chance to build out our bike/ped network with
a continuous route along the train tracks, with connections to the office
portion of the project on the north side of the Middle tunnel and on the
other side to Cambridge Ave., Stanford Park Hotel, and potentially El
Camino Park on the other side of Alma in Palo Alto. Without such a path, we
are closing off all these options.

Well-designed, safe paths for bicycles and pedestrians are what encourage
people to get out of their cars--because they can see an attractive
alternative to private vehicles. If we are truly serious about reducing car
traffic in Menlo Park, we need to make sure that our new developments go
out of their way to prioritize bicyclists and pedestrians.

Thanks for your consideration,

Lydia Lee
Menlo Park resident and Complete Streets commissioner
Received on Mon Sep 25 2017 - 17:00:17 PDT

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