Palo Alto Bicycle Boulevards Update: Implementing New Interim Modifications on Ross Road and Seeking Input Through An Online Survey
Learn more about the City’s Bicycle Boulevards implementation and what the City is planning in early 2020
Two of the City Council’s priorities for 2019 relate to traffic and transportation and bike boulevards work to reduce vehicular traffic and increase safety for bicycles, vehicles and pedestrians. This blog provides an update on the City’s Ross Road Bicycle Boulevard with interim modifications planned and shares details about Council evaluation of the Bicycle Boulevard Project planned in early 2020.
Palo Alto is widely recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by locals and visitors alike and has been at the forefront of bicycle and pedestrian planning since the early 1980s when the first bike boulevard opened on Bryant Street. Our commitment to enhancing a network of bicycle infrastructure is outlined in the 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan serves as the city’s official road map and aims to double the commuter bicycle rate in Palo Alto by 2020. We already can boast that 68% of all public school children use alternative modes, and 39% of all students are biking (over 4,500 students). This puts Palo Alto’s youth biking to school rate among the highest in the nation. This important ranking is thanks to the Safe Routes to School program the City runs in partnership with the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Palo Alto Parent Teacher Association, and other strategic partners. Supporting the continued non-driving and biking habits of our youth as they grow into adulthood is an important responsibility for the City.
Interim Modifications Planned
While the original Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard implementation in the 1980’s may appear to have been seamless today, it was not without controversy. Phase I of the recent Bike Boulevard project included measures on Ross Road and the Moreno-Louis-Amarillo connection. In addition, there were planned improvements on Bryant and Louis Road that were paused and did not occur. The City continues to hear community concerns about the improvements on the two bicycle boulevards over the last 18-month period. Feedback includes safety issues with vehicle and bike collisions, line of sight challenges, and limited mobility through the roundabouts and other vehicular confusion. The City is continuing to work to meet safety and sustainability goals while also balancing differing viewpoints.
To address safety concerns, City staff has begun implementing interim modifications and finalizing additional modifications to the Ross and East Meadow intersection and the Moreno and Ross intersection. Recently, the City arranged for trimming of the landscape of the northeast corner at Ross and East Meadow to improve visibility. Additionally, staff is installing larger yield signs at both roundabouts to provide greater awareness. At the same time, staff will collect updated counts and observations of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in the vicinity in this month.
Staff is also in the process of reviewing the installed improvements near Louis Road/Amarillo Road/Moreno Avenue and will make minor adjustments to clarify the roadway operations. Some of the interim adjustments include modifications to roadway striping, addition of new and/or modifying existing signage to guide cyclists and enhancing the visibility of bollards.
In addition, the City launched an online survey to residents along and near the bicycle boulevards, and to other street users, to gain current feedback about the road treatments. Staff is also requesting updated feedback from service providers that use these roads often including police, fire, garbage, and the school district.
City Council Update Planned in Early 2020
Palo Alto is not alone in its work on these important issues as many cities have similar efforts underway to modify and update roadway and bike way improvements. The updated community input and other outreach will inform a staff report to Council in February 2020 on Bicycle Boulevards. This meeting will provide an opportunity for the City Council to review modifications to the bicycle boulevards that could be explored including the installation of stop signs, other modifications of the roundabouts, other signage changes, and adjustments to the crosswalks. The City Council update will also discuss next steps and timelines for Bicycle Boulevard projects.
We Want To Hear From You
The City’s Office of Transportation wants to hear from you and recently launched two online surveys to gain community feedback.
- Take this survey if you are a street user or travel on the Bicycle Boulevards (i.e. bike, walk, or car etc.)
2. Take this survey if you are a resident who lives in the Bicycle Boulevard areas (Ross Road). Surveys were also mailed to residents.
Input gained will inform the staff presentation planned for this February to the City Council.
Learn More About the City’s Transportation Priorities Through Online Resources
The City Council recently approved a transportation work plan that the Office of Transportation is implementing. To learn more about the work plan priorities, go here for a recent blog post.
The City’s rail crossing community conversations are continuing. To find out more about this effort and ways to provide input, go here.
For other transportation projects, go here.
To report an issue in your neighborhood, go here.
To weigh in on the City Council’s discussion on priorities in 2020, take this survey.
For the Office of Transportation web pages, go here.