Last week, City of Redwood City’s El Camino Real Citizen’s Advisory Group (CAG) held their third meeting, in which consultants presented concepts and options for people biking, walking, taking transit, and driving cars for the Redwood City El Camino Real Corridor Plan. The options were based on the Concept and Options Report, which summarizes community input for each subject and presents potential directions they could go toward for each transportation option. The consultants expressed that they are looking for prioritization at this time and that any of the things they presented could be “mixed and matched” as they moved toward finalization. The consultants presented information about each type of transportation choice and the different options for accommodating people biking, walking, taking transit, and using cars. They also talked about the pros and cons and benefits of each concept.

Some of the high level thoughts they’ve heard from the community and the CAG are that movement of people and safety should be prioritized. For more information about each of the concepts, please refer to the presentation and report linked above. For bicycling they proposed a few options:

  • Adding a Class IV protected bikeway on the length of El Camino Real in both directions
  • Adding a Class II buffered bike lane on the length of El Camino Real in both directions
  • Hybrid: directing people biking to parallel routes within two blocks of El Camino Real, with some bikeways on El Camino Real where good alternatives don’t exist
  • Parallel: focusing entirely on biking routes that are parallel to El Camino Real

The first two options would require removal of current parallel parking spots. The consultants did suggest that parking in key locations could be retained, however, that would impact the type of bicycling facility offered in the area with parking.

The ten members of the CAG almost unanimously favored adding Class IV protected bikeways on the length of El Camino Real in both directions. The consensus was that El Camino Real should be used for transportation space. Some of the opinions expressed by the CAG members:

  • There are only so many ways to move north/south, especially for bikes.
  • This corridor will outlive the model of one person: one car.
  • We shouldn’t make decisions based on the current number of people biking and walking; we need to design for tomorrow.
  • Any other option besides protected bikeways will not encourage more people to bike.
  • A protected bikeway would be used today but also be attractive to people moving to Redwood City.
  • Safety first, for kids, families, and commuters.
  • We need to add bike lanes and parking can be figured out around that.

There was also universal disapproval of the idea of adding sharrows (shared-lane markings) to El Camino Real, especially if there are buffered and protected bike lanes. The CAG expressed that using sharrows would deter people from biking on El Camino Real and would be unsafe. While most of the members expressed that alternate parking solutions should be examined (for example, larger parking lots, side street parallel parking, parking signage) to maintain parking options for local businesses, almost no one felt that parallel parking on El Camino Real should be a higher priority that safe travel routes.

I couldn’t have said it better myself! After the CAG discussion, the public was allowed to comment. Yours truly as well as at least six SVBC members and members of the general public spoke in favor of high quality bike facilities on El Camino Real. See more about our El Camino Real initiative here.

Next up: the consultants will present to the Redwood City Planning Commission on February 21 at 7 pm. There will be additional community meetings and CAG Meeting #4 will focus on a “preferred concept” for the Corridor, which the full Corridor Plan will be crafted around. We’ll need help reaching out to local businesses and City Councilmembers to encourage support for this project. If you are interested in providing your voice and time to supporting bike lanes on El Camino Real in Redwood City, please email me at emma@bikesiliconvalley.org with “Redwood City El Camino Real” in the subject line.