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Update: Parents for Safe Routes - Goal Setting Priorities

From: domainremoved <Jen>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2019 16:14:39 -0800

Dear City Council Members,

Given the emails you have been receiving about Sharon Road, I am sending a
follow-up email. Please note that I can't speak for everybody in Parents
for Safe Routes, but the the values I'm stating below as Founder and Chair,
are what I believe the group is about.

Sharon Road needs to become a proper Safe Route, AND so do the following
streets (this is not a complete list):

Ivy Drive
Chilco Street
Newbridge
Pierce Road
Ringwood Avenue
Coleman Avenue
Gilbert Street
Middlefield/Woodland/Willow
Middlefield/Ravenswood/Ringwood
Ravenswood between Laurel and University
Encinal Street
Encinal and Laurel
Oak Grove between Crane and University
University between Crane and Santa Cruz
Middle Avenue
Olive Street
Valpariso and Elder/Politzer
Santa Cruz/Oakdell/Sharon
Santa Cruz Avenue sidewalks/bike lanes (to County line)
Altschul

Parents for Safe Routes has evolved in the two years of our formal
existence. In order to achieve our goal of city-wide safety, we believe a
prioritization process must be developed and followed so that resources can
be allocated fairly. We hold a seat on the City's Transportation Master
Plan - Outreach and Oversight Committee and we use our vast network of
parents around the community to provide feedback on various areas of town.
In addition, we supported the development of a city-wide Safe Routes to
School program so that stakeholders can be brought together and decisions
about where resources should be allocated can be made in a strategic and
transparent way.

The TMP and the Safe Routes to School program are the most appropriate ways
to decide which projects to pursue and when. That being said, while those
are being developed, we understand that projects need to continue to move
forward. Therefore, we support following set council, commission and staff
priorities "in the meantime." We understand that staff resources are
extremely limited and if one project is expedited, that often another
project is delayed. Because we respect past lobbying efforts of others,
city finances (grant money) and staff expertise/objectivity, we do not cut
the line and put one project ahead of another.

We are proud of our city-wide efforts and we do our best to not favor one
side of town or one school over another. We have lobbied SamTrans to
improve busing service to kids from East Palo Alto and Belle Haven to get
to M-A. We have spent over 100 hours being on a San Mateo County Task Force
to improve the safety along Alameda de las Pulgas and Santa Cruz Avenue at
the "Y" to make it safer for La Entrada kids. We supported the bike lanes
on Oak Grove to enable kids traveling to and from Hillview and M-A get
across El Camino in a safer way. The volunteers who make up Parents for
Safe Routes have put aside their own children's needs to advocate for
safety for the greater good.

On February 26th you will meet to set Citywide Council Priorities. This
year's goal setting takes on even more weight given that it is the first
time Menlo Park is going through this process with Districts (one of which,
District 3, has no Council members residing). Now, more than ever, it is
important that you, as Council members, look at the big picture of Safe
Routes, and not focus on one-off projects. Finish the TMP. Get the Safe
Routes program running. Set city-wide safety standards. Develop a city-wide
crossing guard program. Direct staff to hire another civil engineer in the
capital projects area dedicated to transportation so we can do more. Let
Staff, who is unbiased and fair, guide the City towards a Safe Routes
infrastructure implementation schedule that the whole community can get
behind. Right now the politics of prioritization is getting in the way
getting stuff done.

YOU have the power to make Safe Routes a reality. Please do the right thing.

Jen
Founder and Chair
Parents for Safe Routes

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jen Wolosin <jenwolosin_at_(domainremoved)
Date: Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 9:54 AM
Subject: Parents for Safe Routes - Goal Setting Priorities
To: <city.council_at_(domainremoved)


Dear City Council Members,

Thank you for inviting the community to weigh in on what areas should be
prioritized during your 2019 goal setting. As a local advocacy group
committed to getting kids to school safely via non-single occupancy vehicle
trips, Parents for Safe Routes would like you to apply a Safe Routes lens
to your process. Specifically, how will the priorities you set enable
children, families and the community at large, to travel around town on
bike and foot in a safer and more inviting fashion? With climate change
happening, obesity rates rising and traffic turning our streets into
parking lots, there is no better time to invest in and implement real
multi-modal infrastructure. With that said, our asks include:

   - Close bike/ped infrastructure gaps along school routes (at a minimum,
   though we would like to see a full 8-80 network to parks, offices, stores,
   etc.). Regardless of the TMP process, work should not wait. To do this,
   expand the scope of the Safe Routes to School Coordinator that the City is
   hiring to be a full-time job and have that person work on infrastructure as
   well as programmatic issues. Another way to increase this capacity would be
   have a full-time bike/ped person on staff, that includes Safe Routes to
   School.
   - Develop city-wide road standards that prioritize safety and traffic
   calming. Palo Alto welcomes visitors with a sign saying that the speed
   limit within Palo Alto is 25 mph unless otherwise noticed. They have also
   made huge investments in other traffic calming initiatives that remind
   drivers to stay under 25 mph. Many of these tactics involve nothing more
   than a can of paint and some plastic sticks. We can do it, too.
   - Create a city-wide crossing guard program, in collaboration with
   schools and other local agencies. Making key crossings safer for kids
   doesn't have to wait until engineering plans have been developed. A handful
   of additional crossing guards at key locations throughout town would make a
   huge difference.

With regards to specific projects, Parents for Safe Routes, as a group, is
hesitant to advocate for one piece of roadway to be addressed over another
piece of roadway (Coleman Avenue vs. Sharon Road vs.
Middlefield/Linfield/Santa Monica vs. Ravenswood/Alma vs. on and on). They
all need attention and it is our hope that a fair and objective criteria is
used in prioritizing what should be done first. Whether this criteria is
determined via the TMP process, or a one-off community meeting of key
stakeholders, we would like to see this done soon and we would like there
to be a strategic road-map that states when help is coming for all areas
that need attention. Using a train station as an analogy...we all feel much
calmer when we know that a train is 12 minutes away because of the digital
sign letting us know, rather than just waiting anxiously with uncertainty.

   - One exception to the individual project lobbying is with regards to
   the Middle Avenue Bike/Ped Under-crossing. Given the timing of the Stanford
   project, this must be addressed immediately. In addition, it must include
   improvements all along Middle (in front of Safeway, Nealon Park, etc.) and
   even along Olive to Hillview, to make it a true Safe Route. If not now,
   when?

Safe Routes can mean many things to different people and can be a nice
feel-good phrase to throw around. That being said, please think about it in
real-life terms and do so considering your own children, grandchildren and
the kids in our community...what improvements need to be made to our roads
so that they can be comfortable and safe walking and biking? When you
answer that question your priorities should be clear.

Thank you for your consideration and for your service.

Sincerely,
Jen
-- 
*Jen Wolosin*
Parents for Safe Routes
www.parents4saferoutes.org
jen_at_(domainremoved)
Received on Thu Feb 14 2019 - 16:12:04 PST

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