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Laurel Connector Bike Plan - Updates

From: domainremoved <Jennifer>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2016 17:18:46 -0700

Dear Menlo Park City Council Members and Others,

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to comment at last week's City
Council meeting about Safe Routes to School. To reiterate, my short term
goal is demonstrate that there exists enough political will in our
community to warrant immediate discussion and further study on a legitimate
Safe Route from Upper Laurel to the San Mateo County line (on the way to
Lower Laurel), and surrounding area schools. My long term goal is to see
Safe Route measures implemented as soon as possible to ensure the safety of
all children in our area.

I have a handful of updates since I commented last week:

   - Bike tour of suggested route. I have set up a bike tour for this *Friday,
   July 29th at 11:30am* for interested parties to ride along the proposed
   route. We will meet at the new Upper Laurel campus at 275 Elliott Drive.
   Bring a bike! At a minimum, Theresa Vallez-Kelly, San Mateo County
   Office of Education Safe Routes Coordinator, Jessica Garner, Sr.
   Community Health Planner, San Mateo County Health System, Ellen Barton,
   Active Transportation Coordinator, Witney McKiernan, Menlo Park Bicycle
   Commission Member and Remona Murray, Menlo Oaks Neighborhood Activist, are
   going to join me. I've also extended invitations to others in the
   Transportation Commission, Bicycle Commission, Laurel/MPCSD offices, MP
   Transportation Staff, San Mateo County Supervisors, Staff and others. I
   hope to see you there!
   - Plan Update - I have updated and renamed the proposal I previously
   submitted on July 15th to City Council. The new proposal is called
the Laurel
   Connector Bike Plan
   Some changes from the previous plan (Laurel Mom Plan - July 15th) to the
   new plan (Laurel Connector Bike Plan - July 21st) include:
      - Expansion of "No Stopping" during drop-off and pick-up on certain
      blocks (Santa Monica to Coleman, and Gilbert from Willow east to Santa
      Monica) to be on both sides of street to accommodate not only
Upper Laurel
      students, but M-A students and others.
      - Extension of the morning "No Stopping" zones during drop-off hours
      to be 8am to 10am (later than Staff rec of 8:00-9:00) to include M-A's
      Thursday's late start (9:40am). I've included a new appendix (3)
that shows
      all start and end times of the local public schools.
      - Greater thought on the block of Gilbert from Menalto to east of
      Central. I've left this block open for discussion pending an analysis of
      the impact to businesses. I've also provided an alternative route that
      bypasses Menalto/Gilbert storefronts.
      - Gilbert and Willow intersection. I've added the need for buttons in
      both directions on Gilbert that bikers can use to cause the
light to change.
      - Expansion of the scope of the proposal to include improvements for
      Willow Oaks school students (complete sidewalks on O'Connor that
span east
      of Elliott, "No Stopping" during drop off and pick up on Walnut,
stop signs
      on Central in both directions at Walnut).
      - Additional considerations including "No U Turn" sign on Elliott and
      stop signs and/or crossing guards on O'Connor at Elliott.
      - Better maps
   - An online petition
   was launched to gauge community support on Saturday night, July 23rd and as
   of 5:05pm on Monday, July 25th it has already received 70 signatures. The
   online petition can be found here:
   - A door-to-door canvassing campaign, targeting residents along the
   proposed route, is being organized and will attempt to be completed prior
   to the August 30th City Council meeting. The paper petition can be viewed
   here (includes summary of requests):
   - I have begun to engage with some who are concerned about aspects of
   the Plan, including those worried about the 24/7 "No Parking" along
   Gilbert. Below is part of an email thread that I posted on NextDoor. I'm
   including this so you can get a feel for some of the challenges and how I'm
   addressing them. One new thought since I posted below about Footsteps
   Preschool (there is concern that preschool parents that park on Gilbert by
   the shortcut entrance to the park will lose their parking and be forced to
   cross Gilbert with their preschoolers) would be to add a lighted crosswalk
   across Gilbert. While I have compassion for preschool parents needing to
   walk across the street, those kids will at least have a grown-up with them
   to help with visibility...many 8 to 10 year old kids on bikes heading Upper
   Laurel will be on their own.

Thank you for your ongoing attention to this matter.

Very sincerely,
Jen Wolosin (Laurel Mom)
2 Alder Place

NextDoor response from approximately 2:30pm on Monday, July 25th:
Jennifer Wolosin <https://vintageoaks.nextdoor.com/profile/559794> from Vintage
Oaks ยท 2h ago

Dear Neighbors,

We are up to 66 supporters on the online petition regarding the Laurel
Connector Bike Route. Thank you to those of you who have signed the petition

In the coming weeks, I will be door-to-door canvasing, along with other
volunteers who support the plan, to all of the homes and apartments along
the route. I hope that all residents that live along Gilbert and the other
streets impacted, will be open to a respectful conversation about this.

I understand that this petition has brought up concerns among neighbors as
to the impact to those who park on Gilbert, (homeowners and their visitors,
shop-owners and store customers, Mardini customers, visitors to the Willow
Oaks Park and preschool families that attend Footsteps in the park to name
a few). "No Parking" 24/7 on Gilbert is a big ask, and I understand the
concerns. If someone was imposing "No Parking" in front of my home, I too,
would be apprehensive.

Upper Laurel will be s 3rd grade to 5th grade school. The kids attending
will be approximately 8-10 years old. I do not feel that it is safe asking
these young kids, many of who will be bike new riders, to "share" the road
with cars.

I looked into making "No Parking" only on one side of the street for the
stretch of Gilbert in question (between Menalto and Willow), but after
checking with the Menlo Park Transportation Department, I have learned that
it is not possible. The road is not wide enough (I can give you exact
details if you want). As for other routes that avoid Gilbert, they would
require kids on the west side of Willow to use Coleman Avenue to cross
Willow. Coleman should be avoided at all costs - it is extremely dangerous.
Even starting east of Willow, alternative routes (i.e., via Elm), would
need to travel through the German-American International School (GAIS)
parking lot. This brings up both liability issues and bikers would be
passing through just as GAIS students are being dropped off and picked up

As I have mentioned to some of you, the Laurel Connector Bike Plan (
<https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPHdC67QNXZScW9nSmdWU1k/view>) is
what I'm proposing. The purpose of my proposal is to get the attention of
the City Council so they can direct the Menlo Park Transportation
Department to do their own study of the area. While I like to think that my
plan is well researched and thought-out, there is no way the City is going
to just adopt it as-is. They are going to do their own due diligence to
check this out and they will ultimately either use some of the ideas or
not. My petition is to show that there is enough political will for further
study and for City resources to be allocated to this issue.

I encourage those of you who care about this issue (and I'm guessing if
you've read this far you do care), not matter how you feel about it, to let
me know. Please be as specific as possible as to which aspects of the plan
you are in favor of and which you oppose. I will bring all of that to the
City. For those of you who oppose 24/7 "No Parking" on Gilbert, would it
make a difference if instead of buffered bike lanes it was only "No
Stopping" during drop-off and pick-up times (8am to 10am, 2pm-3:30pm)? This
would at least eliminate the need for kids to ride into the street to avoid
parked cars on their way to school. In a perfect world we will find a
solution that will work for most of us. If you do contact me, please keep
in mind that this is not personal, and remember to be respectful.

I do care about preschoolers and dog walkers and baseball players getting
to the park, and Mardini's customers getting to lunch ("No Stopping" during
drop-off and pick-up will help that) and folks being able to have friends
visit without terrible hardships and businesses at the Menalto end of
Gilbert being able to serve their customers (I hope you all read page 4 of
the Laurel Connector Bike Plan (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPH...
<https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5BGvPHdC67QNXZScW9nSmdWU1k/view>) that
discusses the businesses and has an alternative section of route that
bypasses this stretch). I care about all this AND I still believe it's most
important that we provide a Safe Route to School for our kids.

Thank you for reading,

Jen Wolosin

Received on Mon Jul 25 2016 - 17:25:53 PDT

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