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ECR Corridor Study

From: David A. Roise <"David>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:04:08 -0800

Dear Council Members,

It is fairly obvious that the ditto-head members of the Menlo Park's Future
mailing list have come out in force to complain about providing fair and
safe access to El Camino Real for pedestrians and bicyclists in Menlo Park.
For those of you who received Lee Duboc's February 12 missive, please be
aware that her presentation of the results of the city's survey were
confused at best. Specifically, she states that "61% of 309 respondents
'regularly bike on El Camino.' And YET of those 61%, '39% almost never
bike.' I'm not making this up!" In fact, the survey results showed that 19%
of respondents bike on a daily basis, 22% bike several times per week, 19%
bike mostly on weekends, and 39% almost never bike. In other words, about
61% regularly bike (19 + 22 + 19 = 60) and 39% almost never bike. While the
survey results may have been imprecise with respect to whether respondents
were simply "biking" or were "biking on El Camino Real", Ms. Duboc's
comments certainly didn't help clarify anything.

I don't want to harp on math-challenged members of our community, but while
we are on the topic of numbers, empirical studies have shown that there is a
non-linear relationship between the odds of a pedestrian being killed when
struck by a vehicle and the speed of the vehicle. Specifically, a
pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has a roughly 5% chance
of being killed, whereas the odds go up to a roughly 40% chance of death if
the vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, a roughly 80% chance of death if the
vehicle is traveling at 40 mph, and the pedestrian is almost guaranteed of
being killed if hit by a vehicle traveling 50 mph. Why do I mention this?
Because removing parking through downtown Menlo Park, as proposed in
Alternative 1 of the ECR Corridor Study, will almost certainly increase
vehicle speeds on ECR through our downtown area and will put those vehicles
even closer to the sidewalks than they are now. These changes will
disproportionately increase the risk of death and injury to those either
walking on the sidewalks, trying to cross ECR on foot, or riding their bikes
on ECR. In addition, increased speeds require longer stopping distances,
thus further increasing the odds of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by
a motor vehicle. Finally, increasing the number of travel lanes will
increase the effective crossing distance of the road for pedestrians, and
will thus worsen an already difficult and unpleasant experience for the most
vulnerable road users.

ECR already has excess automobile capacity for 20 or more hours each day.
Why would we want to increase the amount of asphalt dedicated to cars even
more? With younger people less interested in cars and driving than ever
before, does Menlo Park really want to send the message that its "vision of
the future" extends all the way into the 1960s? I'm not necessarily in
favor of the bike-lane alternatives described the Corridor Study, but it
would be absolutely absurd for anyone to consider turning ECR into even more
of an expressway than it already is by removing parking and expanding travel
lanes. After all, 81% of respondents in the above-mentioned survey
expressed positive feelings about enhanced pedestrian safety and crossings
on ECR--the most-desired potential change--while 51% expressed negative
feelings about higher travel speeds on ECR--the least-desired potential
change. Please don't make things worse for pedestrians and bicyclists by
even considering adoption of Alternative 1.

Thank you,

David Roise
Former member and chair, MP Bicycle Commission
League Certified Instructor #3168, The League of American Bicyclists
Received on Wed Feb 18 2015 - 15:59:12 PST

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