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.
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.
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.