Significant outreach completed for Oak Grove bike pilot

Please take the time to review the Oak Grove Bike Pilot that was approved on 12/6/16.

The report outlines (p.404) the extent of community engagement that took place, including meetings with Nativity, the Chamber of Commerce and the mailing of "1,846 postcards to residents, business owners, and property owners along the proposed route up to half a block away two weeks prior to the Council meeting." Menlo Park has a population (in 2013) of 33,071. Roughly 6% of the total population of Menlo Park was personally informed about the initiative via the postcard mailing.

There have also been numerous Almanac articles written over the last almost 2 years about the project:

The Almanac (Dec 8, 2016): 
Menlo Park: Downtown bike route approved

The Almanac (Dec 6, 2016): 
Menlo Park council meeting: parking, bike lanes and more

The Almanac (Apr 13, 2016): 
Menlo Park: Wide support for bike lanes on Oak Grove Avenue

The Almanac (Oct 30, 2015): 
New bile routes for Menlo Park proposed by city commissions

Furthermore, the project was discussed repeatedly at Bicycle Commission meetings and City Council meetings, and all of these meetings have agendas, minutes and video recordings available for public viewing.

It is indeed difficult to keep up with everything that is going on in our city. That's not the fault of the hard-working Menlo Park city staff; the city can only "push" so much information out given the official methods of outreach and without infringing on people's privacy. That is partly why this project was designed as a pilot, so people could experience it and react to it. We won't know if the Oak Grove Bike Pilot will cause people to change their current forms of transportation, although that is the hope; we just know that kids need a safe East/West route NOW.

Community engagement and working together to come up with the best solutions possible is critical. However, with regards to the Oak Grove Bike Pilot, the due diligence was done. It's time to move forward with the pilot and see how it goes.

It is time for Menlo Park to take a stand on Safe Routes. There will never be a perfect solution. Trade-offs will always need to be made. However, if we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we're getting. And what we have now is a dangerous situation for those traveling East/West.

Parents for Safe Routes is committed to getting kids to school safely. It is not committed to the Oak Grove Bike Pilot, per se. The Oak Grove Bike Pilot is a way to get kids to school safely and that's why we're behind it now. If, at any time during the pilot, it becomes evident that kids are being put at risk, we will publicly pull our support from it.

The great thing is that so many of us in the community are paying attention to this now and will be keeping an eye on things. We’ll be the first one to ask for it to be stopped if the pilot isn't going well.

It's a pilot. Let's move forward and see how it goes. We'll all be watching.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to actively pay attention to what is happening in their city. Please take this opportunity to sign up for City Council agenda alerts and to subscribe to free online news updates from the City of Menlo Park and The Almanac.

Jen Wolosin