Re-Imagine Menlo Park (RIMP) Bike Usage Market Research
Menlo Park bike planning is severely handicapped by its poor understanding of (a) how most bicyclists currently use its streets and bike lanes to reach popular destinations on both side of El Camino and (b) what new bike network improvements they would most value. This situation exists because Menlo Park does NOT proactively seek this critical information. At a time when online surveys are routinely conducted by other city governments, Menlo Park has not effectively used surveys and audit. So RIMP attempts to fill this need with its own research. Although its surveys are too small to be statistically significant they still provide valuable feedback on how residents view potential and proposed bike projects. Hopefully, RIMP’s efforts will spur the City to conduct regular online resident surveys and bike usage audits as key elements in its bike planning process and project evaluations. The goal is higher quality decision-making.
Students Crossing El Camino Audit (May 2017)
In May 2017 Re-Imagine took to the streets to monitor where and how students rode across El Camino both in the morning and in the afternoon soon after classes ended. We were surprised by what we learned.
- The most popular crossing is on Santa Cruz Avenue, and westbound students approach the intersection on Merrill from Alma, Oak Grove and Ravenswood. In the morning there is little traffic on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue before businesses open; in the afternoon, middle school students appear comfortable sharing downtown Santa Cruz with motorists. Vehicles travel slowly and motorists generally seem aware of bike riders. Experience riding skateboards and Razors appears to bolster student confidence.
- The second most popular crossing is on Ravenswood in the morning, but eastbound riders prefer either Santa Cruz or Roble due to the lack of continuous bike lanes between Laurel and El Camino.
Where Do Bicyclists Prefer To Cross El Camino (July 2017)
This survey enables Menlo Park residents to share their views on how our city can best improve the safety, convenience and comfort of riding bikes to popular destinations on the opposite side of El Camino. In the first section, the survey requests information about the bicyclists in your household and the routes they currently use to approach and cross El Camino; in the second, you can specify what potential bike network improvements you consider the most important for Menlo Park to make in the next few years. This survey was initiated in July 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Survey responses will be summarized, published and updated on this website once a large number of surveys have been submitted.
Bicyclists are encouraged to use the survey to share their preferences and concerns with our city government and other residents. Your opinions matter!
Menlo Park is currently preparing a field trial for “buffered” bike lanes on El Camino Real between Creek Drive and Encinal Avenue. (Buffered bike lanes have a 2-foot wide space between vehicle and bike lanes.) However, neither the actual value (appeal) of these bike lanes for various types of bicyclists nor their potential negative impacts on other users of El Camino Real, e.g., motorists, pedestrians, businesses and property owners, have been studied. For example, the elimination of all street parking on both sides of El Camino Real – about 150 spaces – would impact existing small businesses.
While many cyclists have already expressed support for bike lanes on El Camino, our City Council has received little feedback from most residents, especially the thousands of parents of elementary and middle school age children, the largest group of bike riders in Menlo Park. This survey is an opportunity for these parents to express their preference for one of two very different options: (1) buffered bike lanes that would create a north-south bike corridor on El Camino and (2) continuous buffered bike lanes and routes that would traverse El Camino and access Downtown Santa Cruz. You can learn more details about both options at Re-Imagine Menlo Park. For the purpose of this survey assume that either one, but not both, could be implemented within the next 3 – 4 years.