On Monday September 19 at 7:40 pm, Palo Alto City Council will consider two alternative bicycle and pedestrian improvement designs along Embarcadero Road from El Camino Real to Emerson Street. You can read the full staff report here (drawings are on page 26 & 27). Take action now and let City Council know which alternative you prefer by signing on to this letter (please be sure add any personal details on why this route is important to you, your family, and your community).

Both Alternative 1 and Alternative 2 are substantial improvements for people walking AND biking. They complete connections from Stanford across El Camino Real to Town and Country Shopping Center and to Palo Alto High School and improve the Stanford Perimeter Trail crossing of Galvez at the intersection. In both Alternatives, the improvements continue through the underpass, with much improved changes from Kingsley to the underpass on the east side.

SVBC Palo Alto Local Team supports Alternative 1 because:

  • It is substantially better for people walking and biking of all ages and abilities.
  • It has separated bikeways on both sides of Embarcadero, supporting travel along the corridor without unnecessary street crossings.
  • The bikeway on the North side will prevent bicycle/pedestrian conflicts from Stanford to Town and Country.
  • The Protected Intersection design at El Camino/Embarcadero will enable safe and comfortable crossings of El Camino, Embarcadero, and Galvez for people walking and biking of all ages and abilities, not just the most experienced and confident. (see video on Protected Intersections)

Alternative 1 could be further improved with two amendments:

  • Switch the pedestrian and bike path configuration east of Alma, to be consistent and continuous with the pedestrian and bike path on the west side
  • Explore extension of both protected bike lanes to the Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard

Alternative 2 is a two–way cycle track on the south (Palo Alto High School) side and removes the north side bikeway in favor of a dedicated right turn auto lane onto El Camino. The protected intersection at El Camino from Alternative 1 is dropped. The projected traffic improvement from the right turn only lane is only 2.5 seconds. In Alternative 2, more confident cyclists might use the proposed bike lane that is sandwiched between two lanes of motorized traffic, but less confident cyclists would be forced to choose between crossing Embarcadero to use the two-way cycle track on the south side, or share a narrow sidewalk on the north side, as they do now. The tiny 2.5 second increase in traffic flow Alternative 2 provides come at significant expense to bicyclists and pedestrians and creates potential for more bike/car conflicts on the street and bike/pedestrian conflicts on the sidewalk.

If you share our support for Alternative 1 on Embarcadero Road, please come in person to City Hall (250 Hamilton Avenue) at Monday, September 19 at 7:40 pm to show city council how important this is for you. If you cannot make it, please join us in support and sign on to this letter (please be sure add any personal details on why this route is important to you, your family, and your community).