Almanac

News - May 18, 2011

Portola Valley may form panel to address bike safety issues

by Dave Boyce

Portola Valley may emulate Woodside and establish a regular forum for bicycle-related issues. A formal discussion of the matter is likely at an upcoming Town Council meeting.

Mayor Ted Driscoll has suggested that the time has come to address bicycle safety and related issues. Among the points brought up in recent council discussions:

• The town's two arterials, Alpine and Portola roads, lack bike lanes but are heavily traveled by two-wheelers.

• Bike traffic has grown by a multiple of three or four over several years, Mr. Driscoll said, and the town is visited almost daily by a knot of 50 to 100 cyclists — a simmering issue that occasionally boils over.

• More cyclists are being cited by deputies, many for running stop signs. Statistics show 223 citations issued in 2010, up from 102 citations in 2009 and 19 in 2008, according to Sheriff's Office statistics.

Mr. Driscoll suggested that road-riding issues might be a good fit for the Traffic Committee, which has been lacking vital issues to address, while trail riding might be taken up by the Trails and Paths Committee.

Former mayor Ed Davis, the town's police commissioner, wrote to the council to register opposition to these ideas. The Traffic Committee has enough to do; mixing in bicycles and their advocates could be awkward and lead to conflicts, he said.

A better idea, Mr. Davis said, is a standalone Bicycle Committee as a public forum for bike-related matters, including town policies and the development, use and safety of all bikeways.

Comments

Posted by Mike Harding, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

The groups of cyclists riding through Portola Valley are not going away. The roads are too convenient and moderately challenging to ignore. Bike lanes or sharrows, where appropriate, might help, if only to signal that bikes do belong on these roads.

A stand-alone bicycle advisory group would be a good addition to Portola Valley government. The Woodside BAC has done a good job in reconciling various agendas in that town.


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