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ECR Corridor Study: Where To Go From Here?

From: domainremoved <dana>
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2015 17:52:44 -0700

Date: April 20, 2015

To: Menlo Park City Council Members

CC: Planning Commission, Transportation Commission, Bike Commission,
Transportation Division

 From: Dana Hendrickson, Editor, Re-Imagine Menlo Park

I cannot decide whether I am more disappointed, exasperated or distressed
about how the city is handling the El Camino Corridor Study. After more
than a year and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars it has so far
failed to provide the essential information needed to make good decisions
about the future use of El Camino Real by bicyclists, motorists,
pedestrians and public safety vehicles, and I fear it was never required.
Despite this major problem three city commissions are relying on their own
limited knowledge and experiences and inadequate information to interpret
the potential impact of several alternatives and make proposals about new
bike facilities and vehicle lane configurations. Why have they been put
into this unenviable position? And why hasn’t anyone including a well-paid
consultant raised red flags well before now? It is clear the two most
important considerations - safety and convenience – have NOT been
adequately addressed yet apparently the city council plans to make
important decisions soon. I recommend that it not make any final decisions
about El Camino Real and instead focus on ensuring the best ones are made
and clearly explained to all Menlo Park residents. That means everyone
needs better information.

1. *No one has determined* there is actually a significant need for
bike facilities on El Camino Real because no credible analysis has been
done. What are we trying to accomplish? Who would benefit? How much of a
difference would bike facilities really make? New bike facilities should be
evaluated only within the context of our existing bike network, the 2005
Menlo Park Comprehensive Bike Development Plan (which may need updating),
and other ideas identified in the Specific Plan.

2. *No one has determined* whether the safety associated with riding on
El Camino would be even close to the safety associated with riding
alternative routes because no one has done this analysis.

3. *No one has determined* the impact that more bicyclists riding on El
Camino Real would have on the safety and convenience of motorists,
pedestrians, and public service professionals because no one has done the

4. *No one has shown* how bike facilities on El Camino Real ranks in
importance re: other improvements to bike safety and convenience. Do we not
have a prioritized list of our best ideas? Metrics for measuring their
value and drawbacks? Policies for balancing conflicting interests? How
about the cost of implementing them? What about the timeframe? How is
possible the City has a 10-year old Bike Transportation Plan that no one on
the study team or commissions even references? Does it need updating?

5. With regard to the 3-lane alternative the city commissions and
transportation division appear to have all accepted the consultant’s
counter-intuitive computer model projections with little skepticism and
understanding of the uncertainty that surrounds probabilistic data? What
are confidence levels in the expected values? Implications of the
projections about traffic flows in nearby neighborhoods? Why has no one
shown any interest in acquiring actual field trial data?

So where do you go from here? The study has increased our knowledge but the
necessary work is clearly not done. And If the City proceeds to make major
changes to El Camino Real without having an excellent understanding of the
likely outcomes it risks appearing irresponsible and possibly negligent
when avoidable accidents occur. It’s not the time to assign blame; it’s
time to get this work back on track before it’s too late

I again invite you to contact me if you have questions. Like a growing
number of residents I am eager to learn how you intend to proceed.

Received on Sun Apr 19 2015 - 17:48:59 PDT

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