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City Adjusts Next Section of Bike Boulevard Network

City Adjusts Next Section of Bike Boulevard Network

Posted: April 6, 2018

Responding to community concerns about some of the traffic calming elements installed as part of the Neighborhood Traffic Safety and Bike Boulevard Project, including a roundabout at Ross and Meadow, the City is revising its approach to construction of elements planned for Amarillo Avenue, the next segment in the project. Construction started last September on Ross Road as the first segment of a 7.1 mile project to make it easier for Palo Altans to get around without a car by slowing down traffic and making it safer for bike riders and pedestrians. Bike boulevards were identified in the Council-adopted 2012 Bike and Pedestrian Transportation Plan as part of the City’s strategy to increase bike ridership.

 “We knew that expanding the bike network would be an ambitious and challenging undertaking, “said City Manager James Keene, “but both our community and the City’s Comprehensive Plan have expressed a commitment to encouraging alternatives to car travel. ” 

City staff anticipates the roundabout currently under construction at Ross Road and Meadow Avenue will be completed in the next week. Roundabouts are used as a way to reduce vehicle speeds, making it safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, as well as drivers. 

Once construction is complete, the City will also be verifying adequacy of the Ross Road and Meadow roundabout for large vehicles, as well as asking independent engineering experts to review the design of all of the roundabouts planned along the route. 

“We have heard the community loud and clear,” said Chief Transportation Official Josh Mello, “and while traffic calming elements such as roundabouts are shown to achieve that goal, we recognize the community has concerns and questions.  We’re going to take the opportunity to modify the construction plan and ensure residents feel comfortable and informed about planned future elements. We will also make adjustments to the roundabout design at Ross and Meadow if appropriate and feasible following the review by the outside engineering experts.”  

Construction is under way on one additional roundabout at Ross and Moreno.  Other traffic calming elements along Moreno Avenue and Louis Road are also under way, and will take roughly two months to complete. 

On Amarillo Avenue, construction will be phased to ensure community awareness and functionality of the planned elements.  First, temporary striping and plastic markers will be installed to outline a roundabout planned at Greer, as well as curb extensions planned between Louis and West Bayshore. This will allow the community to acclimate to the changes and provide feedback to staff prior to concrete construction. 

City staff also plan to step up outreach and informational efforts by meeting with groups of residents, ensuring updated information and visual maps are available on the project website (www.cityofpaloalto.org/bikepedsafety), and doing more “knock and talk” to affected neighborhood streets.  In addition, a bike safety event is planned for April 7 at the YMCA, and Safe Routes to School will be organizing an onsite roundabout education effort for the week of April 9. Details on both events will be posted on the website when available. 

Palo Alto enjoys the third highest rate of commuter bike ridership in the United States with 44 percent of high school commuters traveling by bicycle and 8.5 percent of workers biking to work. One of the goals of creating additional bike boulevards, such as along Ross Road, is to provide better connections for bike commuters, both increasing ridership levels, as well as reducing traffic congestion. For example, more than 216,000 bikers currently ride annually on the shared lane along Bryant Street, which has incorporated similar traffic calming elements to reduce motor speeds and make biking safer.

For more information on the project, go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/bikepedsafety

Last Updated: March 30, 2018