City may remove bike-lane parking on Laurel Street
Some parents pick up their children from school using bikes; others use cars. This has launched a quest by the city of Menlo Park to figure out how to safely allow both - a quest for the moment centered on Nativity School on Laurel Street, but one that could lead to the elimination of parking in bike lanes along other city streets.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Almanac.
#1 Oct 2, 2013
The removal of parking on Laurel Street near Nativity School will create more safety issues for those who attend the school and others. Nativity school is a commuter type school. A large part of its community is comprised of families who reside outside of Menlo Park in nearby cities of San Carlos, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Fremont. Commuting to school via automobile and using a parking space is often the only choice for these families. The current parking is often full to capacity when there are already many cars parking on Laurel Street. If the Laurel parking spaces are eliminated, the school lot cannot handle those additional cars. People will be forced to park on other neighboring streets and walk to the school. Based on the location of the side streets, this will increase the likelihood for unsafe jaywalking, and it will increase the number of children and parents out on the sidewalks and corners in an intersection that is quite busy during the morning and afternoon school hours. This is likely to result in more traffic accidents for commuters and pedestrians alike especially since most of these children will be the younger ones who are not dropped off via the drive-through lane. once the new Pre-K is built, it will be even worse since that building will be located on Laurel Street, not Oak Grove. Some of the other main streets surrounding are already no parking zones allowing for free biking lanes. Can the people who bike ride one or two streets over to get to their destination?
#2 Oct 2, 2013
The safety of children is of paramount importance, whether they attend Nativity, Encinal or another school and whether they are on a bike, in a car or on foot. Removing these parking spots will only make an already congested area less safe. It will increase the number of parents who have to park in adjacent neighborhoods and walk, relying on already too few safe crosswalks. If safety was the primary concern of the Menlo Park City Council, why was this issue not brought up when Nativity was doing major construction at this very spot and could have easily made accommodations? This seems like a last minute, poorly conceived plan to quiet one complaining citizen. I have seen other possible solutions mentioned in these comments (widening the street, asking bikers to walk their bikes on the sidewalk) and I am sure there are more but they haven't been considered. I would also suggest that the City consider adding a crosswalk (with warning lights) from Pine across Oak Grove as well as adding warning lights at the crosswalks on Oak Grove closer to the train tracks. Almost every day I see pedestrians endangered by speeding cars, and the City doesn't seem to care about them!
#3 Oct 2, 2013
The removal of street parking around schools, any school, is short sighted on the City's part. The school and parking in question is Nativity School. Nativity School is a parochial school that serves students from Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Carlos, to name a few. There are some families that bike into school. The reality for Nativity is that most commute in via car. The removal of the east side of Laurel Street parking directly in front of Nativity School will impact every single family with children at Nativity. The Kindergarten families need to have a hand to hand pick-up, that is 30 families that must park. That now leaves grades 1-8, roughly 240 students that now have to be picked up someplace, somehow. The drive through line on Oak Grove already extends past Vallembrosa Center. With the parking removed, that line of cars in the drive through line will extend beyond Nativity Church and onto Middlefield Road, further exasperating the congestion at Oak Grove and Middlefield.
Now if Nativity families want to get out of the car to greet their children, they will have to find parking on the side streets, Noel, Pine, Marcussen. Pine and Marcussen are very narrow with near impossible conditions when cars are parked on the street. All three aforementioned streets are at least a block from Nativity School. Imagine walking your child to and from the car during a rain storm.
As you can tell, taking away the adjacent on street parking will have a adverse on all of Nativity School families.
Aside from the parking, the safest bike path for ALL people, adults included is the east side of Middlefield Road. There is a beautiful dirt path that sits about 10 feet from the car traffic and is protected by trees. This will always be the safest route. Rather than reroute 200 cars, reroute all people to the safest path, east side of Middlefield Road.
There are too many cars on the road with distracted drivers. All people need to be safe.
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