Fri08292014

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Pedestrian plan headed for council study session this summer


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The city of Los Altos hosted a Pedestrian Master Plan workshop earlier this month to gather public feedback on potential projects.

The Los Altos City Council plans to schedule a June study session to review the document that will guide future policy decisions on pedestrian travel within the city.

According to Los Altos Transportation Projects Manager Cedric Novenario, the city’s ongoing Pedestrian Master Plan is slated to undergo a round of reviews this summer – beginning with the June study session – before the final vote on its adoption. He said a draft should be available within a month.

The city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) will also review the proposal prior to the council’s final vote later this year. The draft will include an outline of the existing conditions of pedestrian facilities and identify future needs and recommendations, such as Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and other state and federal regulations.

Novenario hosted a public workshop April 10 at Grant Park Community Center to gather feedback on the types of pedestrian features residents wanted incorporated in the plan. He said the policy document will remain sensitive to Los Altos’ traditional rural setting, such as the absence of sidewalks in many residential areas.

“This is where we have to pick solutions that match the needs, wants and character of the area,” he said. “We want to make sure that we do things like create safe access (for pedestrians and cyclists), but not do something people don’t want.”

Participants at the workshop used a limited amount of Monopoly money in an exercise to prioritize desired pedestrian projects. The exercise, Novenario said, mimics the dilemma public agencies often face – determining the priority of projects under the constraint of limited dollars.

“It’s the same thing we face on the city side all the time,” said Novenario, who hosted a pair of public feedback events last summer at the Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market in addition to gathering initial input from BPAC and other city commissions.

The workshop uncovered some additional recommendations that could be included in the draft plan, such as the installation of “No Right Turn on Red” signs at some intersections with high volumes of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Other possible suggestions include retrofitting medians and islands for safer pedestrian landings, installing flashing beacons at some crosswalks for greater visibility and establishing speed limits of 15-20 mph within 500 feet of schools.

“I think we got a lot of good feedback, even though we were hoping more people would come,” Novenario said of the sparsely attended workshop. “However, the feedback we did receive reinforced a lot of what we already thought and heard, but also pointed out some things we may have missed.”

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