Safe Mountain View advocated for the city to consider making Shoreline Boulevard safe and accessible for cyclists, pedestrians and the disabled. Inspired by this paper on median paths (written by VTA staff), we suggested creating a linear park with paths down the center of the overpass and all the way to El Camino. Mountain View was receptive to the idea, so in the 2014 Capital Improvement Program they included Shoreline Boulevard in a Complete Streets Feasibility Study which also included Escuela Street and California Street from Bryant to Showers.
We are happy to report that at a city council meeting in October of 2015, Nelson Nygaard presented their study results which included three alternatives for each of the three streets in the study. The results do not include a median path as a recommendation, which was certainly disappointing to us, but they do offer some other interesting options.
Options include protected bike lanes, bulb outs, shortened crossing distance for pedestrians, and more. See all the options in the staff report here. For more details, see the Draft report of the California / Escuela / Shoreline Complete Streets Feasibility Study.
We expect the city to recommend funding some of the recommendations in the study during an upcoming Capital Improvement Program process. We plan to be right there, ready to support their progress!
Our Original Idea: Safe and Beautiful Bicycle/Pedestrian Trail in the Middle of Shoreline Boulevard Overpass
Problem: Shoreline Boulevard on Central Expressway is dangerous and inconvenient for pedestrians and bicyclists. Here are some of its problems:
- Cyclists need to negotiate with cars at four freeway-style ramps
- Cyclists and pedestrians need to negotiate with cars through the slip lane at Villa Street, where people turning right onto Shoreline are more likely to look for cars coming from their left than people coming off the trail to their right.
- Shoreline Boulevard is three lanes wide in each direction from El Camino Real to Wright Avenue. It only has two lanes per side north and south of here (and goes down a lane again in Los Altos). The width of the road encourages speeding. This is dangerous to cycle next to and to cross by foot, even at signalized intersections.
- The Central Expressway offramp merges with the road right where three lanes are already merging, essentially turning four lanes into two lanes in a very short distance. And the bike lane runs down the middle of this chaos. And it's on a hill. And it's right before the traffic light. This slows down car flow and creates a situation where there is too much going on to keep track of everything, causing car accidents and putting both cyclists and pedestrians in danger
- There is no green light button on the median at Wright Avenue, so a slower person can get stuck in the middle of Shoreline "forever"
- Pedestrians are forbidden on the west side of Shoreline so they are forced to cross 7 - 8 lanes of car traffic (twice if traveling from west to west)
- The existing path on the East side is too steep for wheelchairs, strollers, small children on bikes and anyone not at their peak ability level. It is also very bumpy from tree roots and slippery from needles and leaves
- Two underpasses are dark and uninviting
- One crosswalk is missing at the Shoreline and Villa intersection. Walking on the north side side of Villa requires waiting for green lights three times!
- A man walking at the intersection of Wright Avenue and Shoreline was recently struck by a car and killed
This is a route to school. This is a death trap. This needs to change. But how?
What can be done to make this road safe for our children to get to school? Here's our idea:
Shoreline Median Path
Imagine a linear park running down the middle of Shoreline Boulevard from Wright Avenue to El Camino Real with a cycle trail next to a pedestrian path (2 car lanes, linear park, 2 car lanes). At around 50 feet wide, such a trail could become an attractive destination in itself. Even with a 10 foot wide pedestrian path and a 10 foot wide bicycle path, there are still 30 feet available for interesting landscaping, benches, sculptures, etc.
See for yourself:
If you like this idea, click Me Too on our Public Square idea page, here:
Link to interactive map with proposed trail and avoided dangers:
Existing examples of median paths coming soon
Best practices from Bogotá, Columbia:
Article by Michelle DeRobertis and Michelle Mowery :