Caltrans wants to replace parking spaces along El Camino in Palo Alto with bike lanes

May 5, 2023

By Braden Cartwright
Daily Post Staff Writer

Caltrans is proposing to replace parking spaces with bike lanes along El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

Caltrans officials met with city transportation planners in January to discuss the proposal, according to emails obtained by the Post using the California Public Records Act.

After the meeting, city Transportation Planning Manager Sylvia Star-Lack asked Caltrans officials Gregory Currey and Sergio Ruiz to provide a safety study that they said explains the need for adding bike lanes.

“When we bring this forward, our council will want to see this (summary) data and understand the rationale for the bike lanes,” Star-Lack said.

Star-Lack also asked what would happen if council doesn’t approve the removal of parking space on El Camino.

“Would Caltrans abandon the El Camino bike lanes proiect? What would be Caltrans’ next steps to addressing safety on El Camino in Palo Altoft” ske asked Chief Transportation Official Philip Kamhi said in an email yesterday that Caltrans hasn’t responded to Star-Lack. A Caltrans spokesman didn’t return a request for comment.

The city is asking Caltrans to send a formal proposal and to have a public process to get more feedback, Kamhi said.

A bike lane on El Camino could be evaluated this summer when the city updates its Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan, which will look at the citywide network, Kamhi said.

Los Altos and Mountain View are already planning to replace their parking with bike lanes on El Camino when Caltrans repaves the road.

The decision was controversial in Los Altos. Council voted 3-2 in March 2022 to remove 248 parking spaces in favor of bike lanes.


  1. This appears to be an indirect way of eliminating the problem of homeless camping along ECR near Stanford.

  2. Just say NO at least until Caltrans repaves El Camino.

    How many businesses will be hurt or killed when parking’s banned near them??

    Remember all the huge underparked residential complexes coming in? Where are their thousands of residents supposed to park?

    • This is being done as part of the El Camino Real repaving project in response to the high number of serious injuries or deaths on El Camino Real. It will be a “protected bike lane” with flexible bollards.

  3. This is an unsafe idea for bicyclists. Putting bikes into that kind of traffic will lead to needless deaths. Kids fall on their bikes all the time. This is dangerous.

    • Kids falling on their bikes is not the biggest worry they face as cyclists – it’s cars. That’s why the bike lane will be separate from traffic I’m assuming.

      • Radical bike advocates always want physical barriers that can’t be removed because, if the idea turns out not to work, it’s hard to remove them … and the local government will always take the easier solution, which is leaving the barriers in the ground.

  4. Just say no at least until El Camino gets repaved.

    Where are all the thousands of new residents of the huge underparked complexes supposed to park?

  5. How many businesses will this kill or undermine? Where will all the new residents of the underparked new complexes park?

    When will CalTrans repave El Camino? At least use that as a bargaining chip.

  6. For those worried about safety, barriers can be placed to protect cyclists. In Europe they are either made of cast iron or cement. Anything could be better than nothing.

    But this idea has been in my mind for 30 years, so dreams can come true for us cyclists!

  7. Encouraging bikes on El Camino Real is a bad idea. El Camino is already congested and now you want to add bikes?!?!?!

  8. I ride everywhere and I avoid El Camino like the plague. Too many unsafe drivers and cyclist-haters. I use the back streets through neighborhoods where people drive slower.

  9. I’m not a bicycle “hater” but I find it irritating to have a biker dart in and out of traffic. You have to keep an eye on them or you’ll end up hitting them. And in a court of law, the driver of the automobile is always the guilty party, regardless of the facts. I love bicycling, but I’m a responsible cyclist—unlike the idiots from my town.

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