How Bicyclists Currently Use The Menlo Park Bike Network

Re-Imagine Menlo Park (RIMP) Bike Usage Market Research

It is unfortunate that Menlo Park’s bike planning efforts continue to be so severely handicapped by its lack of knowledge about (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. While many bike-friendly communities – Palo Alto comes to mind –  routinely collect this information using online technology Menlo Park does NOT.  RIMP attempts to partially fill this need with its own informal market research. Although its surveys are too small to be statistically significant they still provide valuable feedback on how residents view existing, potential and proposed bike projects. Hopefully, RIMP’s efforts will spur the City to conduct professional online surveys and bike usage audits in order to improve its decision-making.

Survey – 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!

View a summary of key survey findings.

Audit – Where Students Currently Prefer To Ride Cross El Camino (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.

  • Santa Cruz Avenue is the most popular choice for crossing El Camino. Westbound students use Merrill to approach the Santa Cruz-El Camino intersection and access Merrill from Alma, Oak Grove and Ravenswood. In the morning, there is little traffic on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue before businesses open and in the afternoon, middle school students appear comfortable sharing downtown Santa Cruz with motorists. Vehicles travel slowly and motorists generally seem well aware of bike riders.
  • In the morning the second most popular westbound crossing is on Ravenswood, but eastbound riders often prefer to take either Santa Cruz or Roble due to the lack of continuous bike lanes between Laurel and El Camino.

Survey – Which Do Most Bicyclists Prefer:  Investing in East-West Bike Connectivity or in El Camino Bike Lanes

In 2015 Menlo Park approved  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 the Bike Commission and a small number of bicyclists expressed support for bike lanes on El Camino, our City Council the received little formal 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. RIMP conducted a survey that demonstrated that most bicyclists were concerned about the safety of riding on El Camino and wanted the City Council to place a higher priority on improving east-west bike connectivity. 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.

 View a summary of key survey findings.