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Designated bikeway to bridge Peninsula cities

California Street cyclist
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Cyclists travel along California Street near the Mariposa Avenue intersection in Mountain View Aug. 22. California Street is included in the temporary Peninsula Bikeway route.

The Danish government credits backlash from traffic congestion, accidents, pollution and development as catalysts for gradually reverting the Copenhagen of the 1960s back to its cycling roots. Today, Denmark’s capital city boasts more than 242 miles of designated bike lanes, and an estimated 37 percent of residents cycle to work.

It’s the cycling culture of European capitals like Copenhagen that local leaders are hoping to emulate through the development of the Peninsula Bikeway, a designated route connecting Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City. Members of the Managers Mobility Partnership, an agreement between Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Stanford University with Joint Venture Silicon Valley support, launched the project to address regional transportation issues, and they hope the route will one day extend along the entire Peninsula. They’re hosting an informational event Sept. 8 at Burgess Park in Menlo Park, where community members can learn about the proposal and provide feedback.

“This Saturday event is really meant to kick off that conversation in each of our communities about how to move this idea and concept forward,” said Nate Baird, Mountain View transportation planner.

Although the Managers Mobility Partnership will eventually develop a permanent bikeway with input from stakeholders, members have created a temporary, 16-mile route that includes Evelyn Avenue and California Street in Mountain View; Miller Avenue, Wilkie Way and Bryant Street in Palo Alto; Willow Road, Laurel Street, Oak Grove Avenue and Valparaiso Avenue in Menlo Park; Elena Avenue, Austin Avenue and Selby Lane in Atherton; and Cypress Avenue, Hess Road, Cleveland Street and Elwood Street in Redwood City. Blue “Peninsula Bikeway” toppers affixed to wayfinding and street signs will be installed in time for the Sept. 8 event, which participants are encouraged to cycle to.

Safe cycling

In addition to signage, a permanent bikeway could include bike boulevards on neighborhood streets with traffic-calming measures that lower vehicle speeds and volumes and protected bike lanes known as “cycle tracks” on major streets, according to Baird.

“In terms of improvements to what we have now, it will really depend on the planning process and working with our community to identify treatments that we want to move forward with, keeping in mind that the long-term goal really is to build something that serves ages 8 to 80, but is a bit more cycle track in nature,” Baird said.

Those unfamiliar with the look and feel of a cycle track may inspect a pop-up version at the Sept. 8 event or the permanent one erected on Castro Street between El Camino Real and Miramonte Avenue in front of Graham Middle School.

Safe Mountain View, a coalition of parents promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety for local children, advocated for the Castro Street cycle track following three 2012 incidents involving Graham students struck by motorists.

Safe Mountain View founding member Cherie Walkowiak praised the Peninsula Bikeway project, which complements her group’s vision of creating a network of protected routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

“All the jurisdictions have their own idea about what good bikeways are like and where they should go, and they don’t always line up,” she said. “So that can be tricky, the conditions between the cities. And that’s one reason I’m really excited about this bikeway.”

To join a community bike ride along the temporary Peninsula Bikeway to the Sept. 8 launch event at Burgess Park in Menlo Park, meet 8 a.m. at Eagle Park, 650 Franklin St., Mountain View.

For more information on the event and the project in general, visit peninsulabikeway.com.

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