After a yearlong advocacy campaign, SVBC savored a big win last night when the Redwood City City Council voted unanimously (Masur abstaining due to recusal) to approve the El Camino Corridor Plan. The Plan lays out a vision that could transform Redwood City’s stretch of the Royal Highway from a high-speed commercial strip into a corridor where people can safely and comfortably walk, bike, and enjoy a tree-lined boulevard with a strong sense of place.

Key to the Plan was the inclusion of protected bike lanes, which are proposed to replace the currently underused on-street parking that lines many blocks. Not a single speaker from the public spoke against the removal of the parking spots, and every Councilmember spoke favorably about the proposed bike lanes. Mayor Bain said he was “all in favor of” the change, while Councilmember Aguirre announced that she’d “like to do this ASAP.” Councilmember Seybert, who was initially skeptical of the vision for bikes on El Camino, noted that he had been convinced that this was an example of “planning for the future” and Councilmember Gee said he had “been persuaded” to favor the protected lanes.

This win was a crucial component of SVBC’s El Camino Real Bike Lanes initiative. We believe that one of the most important ways to promote bicycling on the Peninsula is to make El Camino Real, the “backbone of the Peninsula,” a safe and inviting corridor. Last night’s decision supports similar previous and ongoing plans in Menlo Park, Atherton, Belmont, South San Francisco, and Mountain View. When we launched the initiative in 2014, some people – even some members – told us we were crazy. But with traffic and pollution on the rise, and an increasing number of residents looking to travel by bike, transforming the only street connecting 17 communities from San José to South San Francisco makes more and more sense.

Thank you to the City Council, Community Advisory Group, Redwood City staffers, and the many SVBC volunteers and Redwood City residents who showed up, spoke up, and made this change happen!