News

Bike-pedestrian upgrades coming to a street near you

Google gives city's bike and pedestrian network $435,000 boost

A slew of upgrades around town for bicyclists and pedestrians are in the newly approved city budget, thanks to the efforts of activists and a little funding from Google.

The City's 2013-14 budget, approved last month, includes a long list of upgrades around town for those on foot and on bike, paid in part with $435,000 from Google and millions of dollars more in city funds.

In a letter about the offer, Google real estate chief David Radcliffe said he was "delighted" the city had made such things a top priority this year and offered the city $500,000 towards the cause, which aligns with Google's interest in getting its employees on two wheels.

The Google projects include $50,000 for sorely needed downtown bike racks, $150,000 to help extend the Permanente Creek Trail to Middlefield Road and $160,000 towards creating a new bicycle transportation plan for the city that will prioritize improvements and provide measurable goals, such as reducing the number of collisions involving bicycles.

Google also agreed to donate $75,000 to add flashing lights to three crosswalks on Shoreline Boulevard near downtown, where police recently reported that drivers were not stopping for a pedestrian decoy entering several crosswalks there. Google happens to have purchased an office complex nearby, at the corner of Shoreline Boulevard and Villa Street.

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Google's property taxes will also help pay towards funding a dedicated "cycle track" -- a protected bike lane from downtown to the office district where Google headquarters is located, possibly over a new bridge at Highway 101. A $600,000 study of the cycle track is in the city's new budget, paid for by the special Shoreline Fund tax district, the recipient of Google property taxes.

There's a multitude of such projects not funded by Google, including the narrowing of Castro Street in front of Graham Middle School from four lanes to one in each direction. That project came about after three children were hit by cars last year while crossing the street. The intent is to provide room for protected bike lanes, slow traffic and create shorter crossing distances in front of the school.

"It's a very short stretch of road between Castro (downtown) and Graham, and yet it's more like a speedway," Principal Kim Thompson told the City Council last year about the accidents, one of which she witnessed.

The "road diet" in front of Graham would be the city's first since a campaign began in late 2012 to make the city's streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Road diets have also been discussed for California Street, where two pedestrians were killed by cars last year. There's $250,000 to study that possibility in this year's budget, along with studying new signs, lighting and corner "bulb outs" to reduce crosswalk lengths and slow traffic at intersections on California and Escuela streets.

The budget also sets aside $565,000 for the Safe Routes to Schools program, which aims to educate kids about the benefits and fun of cycling while training them how to ride safely. And there's $845,000 for Permanent Creek Trail street crossings; a new street level crossing at Charleston Road and improvements to the existing underpass at Amphitheatre Parkway. Employees in the Whisman area will benefit from improved pedestrian access to the nearby NASA Ames light rail station through a new Highway 101 underpass on Ellis Street, to be designed this year at a cost of $475,000.

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There may be other new projects as well -- city staff members set aside $200,000 for any "new or emerging" bike and pedestrian needs in the city over the next year, and there's still $65,000 in Google money that has yet to be spent on bike and pedestrian improvements.

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Bike-pedestrian upgrades coming to a street near you

Google gives city's bike and pedestrian network $435,000 boost

by Daniel DeBolt / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 9:48 am

A slew of upgrades around town for bicyclists and pedestrians are in the newly approved city budget, thanks to the efforts of activists and a little funding from Google.

The City's 2013-14 budget, approved last month, includes a long list of upgrades around town for those on foot and on bike, paid in part with $435,000 from Google and millions of dollars more in city funds.

In a letter about the offer, Google real estate chief David Radcliffe said he was "delighted" the city had made such things a top priority this year and offered the city $500,000 towards the cause, which aligns with Google's interest in getting its employees on two wheels.

The Google projects include $50,000 for sorely needed downtown bike racks, $150,000 to help extend the Permanente Creek Trail to Middlefield Road and $160,000 towards creating a new bicycle transportation plan for the city that will prioritize improvements and provide measurable goals, such as reducing the number of collisions involving bicycles.

Google also agreed to donate $75,000 to add flashing lights to three crosswalks on Shoreline Boulevard near downtown, where police recently reported that drivers were not stopping for a pedestrian decoy entering several crosswalks there. Google happens to have purchased an office complex nearby, at the corner of Shoreline Boulevard and Villa Street.

Google's property taxes will also help pay towards funding a dedicated "cycle track" -- a protected bike lane from downtown to the office district where Google headquarters is located, possibly over a new bridge at Highway 101. A $600,000 study of the cycle track is in the city's new budget, paid for by the special Shoreline Fund tax district, the recipient of Google property taxes.

There's a multitude of such projects not funded by Google, including the narrowing of Castro Street in front of Graham Middle School from four lanes to one in each direction. That project came about after three children were hit by cars last year while crossing the street. The intent is to provide room for protected bike lanes, slow traffic and create shorter crossing distances in front of the school.

"It's a very short stretch of road between Castro (downtown) and Graham, and yet it's more like a speedway," Principal Kim Thompson told the City Council last year about the accidents, one of which she witnessed.

The "road diet" in front of Graham would be the city's first since a campaign began in late 2012 to make the city's streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Road diets have also been discussed for California Street, where two pedestrians were killed by cars last year. There's $250,000 to study that possibility in this year's budget, along with studying new signs, lighting and corner "bulb outs" to reduce crosswalk lengths and slow traffic at intersections on California and Escuela streets.

The budget also sets aside $565,000 for the Safe Routes to Schools program, which aims to educate kids about the benefits and fun of cycling while training them how to ride safely. And there's $845,000 for Permanent Creek Trail street crossings; a new street level crossing at Charleston Road and improvements to the existing underpass at Amphitheatre Parkway. Employees in the Whisman area will benefit from improved pedestrian access to the nearby NASA Ames light rail station through a new Highway 101 underpass on Ellis Street, to be designed this year at a cost of $475,000.

There may be other new projects as well -- city staff members set aside $200,000 for any "new or emerging" bike and pedestrian needs in the city over the next year, and there's still $65,000 in Google money that has yet to be spent on bike and pedestrian improvements.

Comments

Otto Maddox
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:03 am
Otto Maddox, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

The city isn't willing to pay $11,000 a year to post meeting agendas in a newspaper someone might actually read.

But they will spend $3 million on the following:

$50,000 for bike racks
$150,000 to extend the Premanente Creek Trail
$160,000 to create a Bicycle Transportation Plan for the city
$75,000 to add flashing lights to three crosswalks on Shoreline blvd
$600,000 to study a cycle track
$250,000 to study "road diets"
$565,000 for something called "Safe Routes to Schools Program"
$845,000 for Premanente Creek Trail overcrossings
$475,000 for an undercross under 101 near Ellis

Not to mention all the dollars it will take to maintain some of this stuff for the next 50 years.


nc
another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:50 am
nc, another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

LA has bike lanes that are painted bright green. Maybe we should consider that here in MV too.


resident
Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm
resident, Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Bicycles use much less road space and parking space than cars. More bikes and less cars is a really cheap way to reduce traffic congestion around the city.


Don't cut off your nose
Blossom Valley
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Don't cut off your nose, Blossom Valley
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Just think how clear 101 would be if everyone else was on a bike but you. For the "Never bike, always drive" crowd, this should be a hugely motivating factor to support bike infrastructure: LESS CARS IN YOUR WAY!


f3uJ8
Castro City
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm
f3uJ8, Castro City
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

They should use some of that money to educate people that Shoreline and Villa only has 3 crosswalks. That fourth crosswalk (the one without any crosswalks) is not for pedestrians and can be dangerous, especially in the morning when the sun is in left-turning drivers' eyes.


kwul
Rex Manor
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm
kwul, Rex Manor
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Awesome news. In my opinion, these projects are money well-spent to continue to improve the health and safety of our city.


Try It
Cuesta Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Try It, Cuesta Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Everyone has got a pet peeve or an idea that puts the onus on "the other guy" to clean up his act, as if that's the biggest problem: the other guy. Well we really can't control the other guy, so I'll try and do something constructive other than just sniveling about everyone else.

I plan on helping the city's traffic situation by being more focused on pedestrians and cyclists, anticipating their actions and not trying to force my way, right or wrong. I hope to improve my driving safety by keeping my ego in check, not always trying to get in front of the other guy, or beat him to the spot. I also hope it helps that I will be adhering much more strictly to the speed limit (sorry if I'm in your way, 25 is 25).

There. Those are all things _I_ can do to help. Now tell me what _YOU_ can do to help. Don't tell me about what the other guy should do, tell me what YOU can do.


I'm so happy
Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm
I'm so happy, Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I am so happy to see a bunch of cyclist out of there cars. Yet what do they do? They press the walk button on every street they cross, stopping traffic for way longer than needed.

I would rather the cyclist be safe in their cars rather than risk death.


Wow
Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm
Wow, Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

850 thousand for 2 studies.


CHW
Whisman Station
on Jul 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm
CHW, Whisman Station
on Jul 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Dear Try it, I donated my 3 series BMW to Karsforkids a few months ago and now I ride a bicycle to work.


Easy
another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm
Easy, another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Yay for bicycle improvements but forget the studies...
We all know that whether they go ahead or not depends on politics and not on study results.
So we may as well jump straight to the design phase.


Tom
Blossom Valley
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm
Tom, Blossom Valley
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I guess it will take someone's child getting hit near McKelvey Ballpark, Saint Joseph School, or at the Hans Avenue intersection before Miramonte Avenue gets reduced to one lane each way.


Dana
Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm
Dana, Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I am a cyclist and "Road Diets" are the worst. For example the sections of road on Arastradero and Charleston in Palo Alto, I felt safer when there were 2 lanes going both ways. Drivers were off the road faster, there was no bumper to bumper traffic with irritated and angry drivers and now there is way more exhaust fumes that I have to breath in.

Don't narrow the roads so there is more traffic and congestion, this pisses off the drivers and makes it more dangerous for cyclist!!

Make it safer by painting the bike ways all bright neon green, I guarantee the drivers will see the bike lanes and slow down and not drive in them.

Is it in the City charter that we require a STUDY for everything we do? Does anyone possess any common sense? What a waist of money when in the end its all about the politics.


@tom
Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm
@tom, Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Hopeful even then it won't get turned into a one lane for each way.


Jim Neal
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm
Jim Neal, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jul 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I have to agree that I am stunned that the city spends so money for studies for things that are not a priority and will dither for hours on restoring $50,000 to the library and paying $11,000 for publishing meeting agendas in a local paper! The paper the city uses requires people to pay about $150 per year for a subscription, which is ridiculous. According to my understanding, the city is required to publish in the paper of the paper with the lowest bid and of widely available distribution. In my opinion, a paper that charges so much for a subscription cannot possibly qualify as being "widely available" (unless of course you mean widely available to the wealthy). Information about matters that affect the lives of all who live in Mountain View should be freely available us! This brings new meaning to the term "Dollars for Democracy"!


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Human Powered
Blossom Valley
on Jul 9, 2013 at 6:49 am
Human Powered, Blossom Valley
on Jul 9, 2013 at 6:49 am

Back to the topic, I'm very please MV is keeping relatively well paced in the evolution of municipal transportation options. The idea is sound, even though the gov't waste getting there is tiresome, i.e. endless studies,


Posted by Posted
Old Mountain View
on Jul 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm
Posted by Posted, Old Mountain View
on Jul 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

this is great news for bikers pedestrians and drivers alike. we need a more humane city. next, please, make downtown castro pedestrians only!


HBLandelsMom
Willowgate
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm
HBLandelsMom, Willowgate
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Glad there is more of a push for cycling as the traffic is due to get worse and worse with no one wanting to carpool. Just an observation from driving past so many single occupant cars while in the carpool lane.

Would like to remind all cyclists that there are speed limits (and it's not the Tour de France) on trails, as well. With two elementary school kids who cycle to school and back each day, there are many people trying to get to work on the Stevens Creek Trail who are inconsiderate to young children and families. If you are a cyclist and want to encourage a cycling culture, the next generation needs to be encouraged and not frightened to cycle to school.


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