Bike lanes may replace parking

The TIDE Academy, which opens this fall at 150 Jefferson Drive in Menlo Park, will be a factor in the decision-making about the new bike lanes. Illustration courtesy of LPA Design Studios.
The TIDE Academy, which opens this fall at 150 Jefferson Drive in Menlo Park, will be a factor in the decision-making about the new bike lanes. Illustration courtesy of LPA Design Studios.

BY JEN NOWELL
Daily Post Correspondent

The city of Menlo Park is considering plans for more bike lanes in the Bayfront area near Highway 101 at a cost of eliminating 165 on-street parking spaces.

The proposal includes removing 37 parking spaces on Chrysler Drive between Constitution and Commonwealth drives, and 128 spaces on Jefferson Drive between Chrysler and Constitution drives, according to a city report from Assistant Engineer Richard Angulo.

Angulo said that in an effort to encourage health and wellness and get people in Menlo Park to get out of their cars, the city is looking at a number of changes, including the addition of bike lanes on these two roads located in the area between Highways 101 and 84. But the streets are too narrow to accommodate both parking and bike lanes, he said.

One of the reasons behind the proposed change is the fall completion of a new high school, TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design and Engineering) Academy, located at 150 Jefferson Drive, Angulo wrote.

The school is expected to open in August, Angulo said. The 2019-2020 school year will include about 100 freshmen with the school reaching full capacity of 400 students by the 2022-2023 school year, he said.

The school, which is part of the Sequoia Union High School District, will primarily serve students from Redwood City, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, with much of this area within a five-mile radius go the new school allowing students to commute by bicycle, Angulo said.

Heavy bike use predicted

Another reason for the potential change is Facebook’s proposal for a bus stop and transit hub located on Constitution Drive and Jefferson Drive, respectively, Angulo wrote. Heavy bicycle use is expected on Constitution, Chrysler and Jefferson drives with the proposed transit hub.

The tech giant currently has the capacity for more than 1,000 bicycles at its corrals, according to the company’s plans it submitted to the city last year.

Vehicle accidents

A study completed by the city found that there were 19 collisions reported on Chrysler Drive, Jefferson Drive and at the intersection of the two streets during a three-year period from January 2016 to December 2018.

“Many of these collisions were reported with the primary collision factors of speeding or unsafe lane change,” Angulo wrote. “These could be related to limited sight distance due to vehicles parked on both sides of the streets.”

With additional bicyclists on these streets, bike lanes would “clarify right-of-way for the various transportation modes, thereby increasing safety for all roadway users,” he said.

While the city contends eliminating parking “seeks to maintain a safe, efficient, attractive, user-friendly circulation system that promotes a healthy safe and active community and quality of life throughout Menlo Park,” residents and business owners in the city haven’t always been behind the idea of removing parking.

Reaction

In 2017, Round Table Pizza owner Bob Larson wrote a letter to city council stating that Oak Grove Avenue had descended into “chaos” after the city put up no parking signs from Middlefield Avenue to University Drive to create bicycle lanes.

Larson’s concern was that people had started parking in his lot at 1225 El Camino Real, taking spots away from customers.

However, the current proposal to eliminate parking in the Bayfront area had yielded no public comments as of last Wednesday, even after postcards were left on parked cars in the area, Angulo wrote in report.

The city’s Complete Streets Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday to vote on whether to recommend the changes for city council to approve.

Council is expected to take up the item Aug. 20.

5 Comments

  1. Will there be any parking to replace these lost spaces? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect drivers will abandon their cars for bikes. It hasn’t happened before.

  2. The article references the safety issues with the additional minors riding bikes to and from the school about to open there. Thank you MP City Council for considering child safety issues over the concerns of people like Ray T who expect the objective of designing a bike lane is for people to abandon their cars for a bike. The objective is for people who do use a bike for heath or environmental reasons (the Bay will rise significantly during the lifetimes of these students) to be safe while biking on streets filled with tons of fast moving steel, and I for one would encourage the MP City Council to make the bike lanes protected from vehcular traffic and the fast drivers adjacent to the freeway. One child hit and killed in a preventable accident is not worth 165 suburban parking spaces.

    P.S. to Bob Larsen from Round Table – consider charging for parking in your lot and credit customers for their parking fee when they dine in your establishment.

  3. This bike lane will be unnecessary for bikers and a pain to people who need to park, but think of the bigger picture here — Council members can use this to curry favor from bike advocates when they run for higher office.

  4. I agree with the poster who referenced safety concerns. Children should be able to bike to and from school safely. This proposal could have a positive impact on the health and well being of those who attend the school and live in the surrounding community. Kudos to the council for helping us to do our part in combating climate change and keeping our community healthy and safe

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