Menlo Park is seeking grants to help pay for roadway improvements that will boost bike and pedestrian safety, voting on Sept. 20 to submit two grant applications to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) for cash from the Measure A and Measure W Pedestrian and Bicycle Program.
The county program provides grants to cities to complete projects that protect pedestrians and bicyclists from dangerous traffic conditions. According to the SMCTA, $42.5 million remains from Measure A and $136.5 million remains from Measure W. These measures allowed the county to draw from property tax to rebuild the streets, give local agencies a chance to submit proposals for the funds every two years.
The city has submitted a proposal for the Ringwood Avenue crossing connections project, focusing on Van Buren Road and Ringwood Avenue, where the city aims to improve traffic safety for both bicyclists and pedestrians.
"I do want to acknowledge that we're aware that there was a collision there recently, just last Friday (Sept. 16)," Assistant Public Works Director Hugh Louch said. "There have been a number of collisions there in the past. There's definite safety issues at that location."
The project includes a raised crossing at Van Buren Road, and a pedestrian and bicycle crossing at Ringwood Avenue. Also included are modifications to Pierce Road. The city's Transportation Master Plan would include adding a separated bikeway on Pierce Road and converting the street to one-way traffic.
The proposal includes a possible conversion of Ringwood Avenue and Sonoma Avenue to a one-way couplet between Bay Road and Oakwood Place, as well as adding a bicycle boulevard or traffic calming features to Ringwood Avenue between Oakwood Place and Van Buren Road. The project seeks to address a 300-foot crossing gap on Van Buren Road.
Louch said that the Ringwood Avenue crossing connections project is in the early stages of development, and still needs community outreach on specifics.
"I just think we've seen enough (accidents), right?" Katie Behroozi, member of the Complete Streets Commission said, speaking on herself. "I'm excited to see that council is working on making this stretch safer."
A prior request by the city for a grant from the C/CAG Transportation Development Act (TDA) for the raised crossing at Van Buren Road and pedestrian and bicycle crossing was denied. City officials are requesting $900,000 for the project and matching it with $100,000 of the city's own money to increase competitiveness.
Council member Drew Combs was supportive of all proposed improvements except for converting streets to one-way streets, a change that he believes requires significant community outreach prior to making a decision. Combs made the motion to approve the motion, seconded by Council member Cecilia Taylor.
The city is also seeking a grant for the Middle Avenue complete streets project, requesting $1.2 million to cover most of the costs of the $1.4 million project. The grant would be for traffic calming measures to be taken on Middle Avenue, but would not commit the city to a certain design for the road.
The motion to submit the grant application for these developments passed unanimously.