I attended the Menlo Park Planning Commission meeting on Monday night to deliver some comments regarding the Facebook environmental impact report (EIR) on behalf of SVBC. I mentioned the fact that the bicycle would be a great way to mitigate some of the traffic, noise, and air pollution that the EIR cites as “areas of controversy.” It's not unusual for me to visit such meetings and comment on projects, but the efforts that lead up to this meeting were pretty extraordinary.
SVBC members Adina Levin and Andrew Boone have been engaging with Facebook and its employees, the cities of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, and all interested community members for months to try and utilize Facebook's move as a great opportunity to improve the community through better access for cyclists and pedestrians. They have organized rides through the area, represented SVBC at employee fairs, and rallied advocates to attend crucial meetings. The Planning Commission Meeting on Monday was a great success. I'll let Adina talk about it in her own words:
There were about 30 people total who gave public comment at the meeting. About 15 of them were cyclists, and several others mentioned alternative transportation and related environmental topics. There were compelling personal stories from bike commuters from Google, Facebook and other employers, and a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) manager who had worked on closing the Moffett Field Bay Trail gap in Mountain View, resulting in a notable increase in bike commuting…
After the public comment, the Planning Commissioners discussed all the issues and questions we raised, and all but one were in strong agreement for the results we are advocating for – that safe, continuous routes to Facebook with bike lanes and the Bay Trail – should be completed.
There is certainly more work to be done, like deciding whether bike improvements should be pursued as mitigation measures or public benefits, but it's clear that progress is being made. The Planning Commission public input session was a major milestone and I wanted to give Adina and Andrew a public high-five for their hard work thus far. Keep up with the campaign at http://bikesiliconvalley.org/advocacy/facebook.