Grand Boulevard Initiative

Between 2006 and 2015, 51 people walking or biking along El Camino between Stanford and Lambert Avenue were involved in a collision. That’s an average of five people each year over a 10-year span. The City of Palo Alto is taking action with the Grand Boulevard Initiative, which aims to improve intersection safety and mobility for all travelers along El Camino.

Since January, we have surveyed the community and received 1,700 comments about where we should focus improvements – Thank you! From bike and pedestrian crossings improvements, roadway maintenance, accessibility, speeding control, vehicle congestion reduction, bicycle safety, and crosswalk spacing, we’ve heard your needs and are currently updating design concepts. In the meantime, we are polling the community once more to make sure we’ve heard from everyone – What option do you prefer to increase bicycle safety along the corridor?

Do you travel along El Camino or know someone who does? Let us know what you think.

Want to give more in-depth feedback? Leave comments on the interactive El Camino webmaps.

Just joining us? Learn a bit more about the Grand Boulevard Initiative and what’s happened so far.

Project Background

The Grand Boulevard Initiative began in early 2017, when the City of Palo Alto was awarded a Caltrans grant based on a sense of urgency and great opportunity to improve safety along El Camino between Stanford and Lambert Avenue. The study kicked off in late 2017 with the goals of identifying and enhancing safety and access for those who walk and bike along this section of El Camino, and developing guidance for the rest of the El Camino corridor.

In January, we received over 900 comments about opportunities for improvement. We paired each of the most common concerns and available collision data with initial ideas for improvements. With those in mind, we reached out to the community in June to solicit (1) support for proposed treatments, (2) preferences on use of curb space, and (3) thoughts on proposed ideas to improve transit reliability. Community involvement is critical for informing successful, thoughtful improvements, and this feedback is helping us further refine our recommendations for the draft plan that will be shared with the Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission.

 

Collision Data

The map below shows the intensity and exactly where collisions are occurring along El Camino between Stanford and Lambert Avenue.

Pedestrian collisions often occurred at intersections with permitted right turns, stop signs on side streets, and high red light violations and often involved vulnerable pedestrian populations such as senior citizens. Bicycle collisions tended to occur on side streets and driveways and were the result of high speed traffic, shared travel lanes, bicycling the wrong way, and vehicles running red lights.

Survey Time 

Bicycle access to destinations on El Camino is challenging, because bicyclists are currently required to share the lane with fast moving vehicles. The map below shows the existing and planned biked facilities along El Camino between Stanford and Lambert Avenue.

To improve bicycle safety, the City of Palo Alto could either install protected bike lanes on El Camino or focus improvements on parallel routes such as Park Boulevard.

 

What is your preference? Click on the dropdowns below to learn more about each option.

OPTION (1) Install protected bike lanes in place of on-street parking

Trade-offs

Placemaking & Streetscape

 Opportunity for wayfinding program (in coordination with neighboring cities)

Connectivity

 Provides access by bike to destinations on El Camino

Environment

 Opportunity for green storm water treatments

Safety and Public Health

 Low Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (Stress Score = 1 out of 4)

 High potential for addressing bicycle collision trends on El Camino

 High potential for addressing pedestrian collision trends on El Camino

 No effect on emergency vehicle response time

Multimodal Mobility and Parking Management

 No effect on corridor roadway capacity

 Potential for improved transit reliability

 Unknown if off-street parking supply can satisfy existing El Camino parking demand

Cost

 Medium-to-high cost level

FAQ: How well used is existing parking on El Camino?

To make room for protected bike lanes on El Camino, on-street parking would need to be removed. The image below shows the observed level of parking use on El Camino, collected in 2017 and 2018. The darkest red color represents blocks that are “over-parked.” All other colored blocks have various levels of underutilized parking.

Intersection renderings

OPTION (2) Maintain on-street parking and focus on parallel bicycle streets (like Park Boulevard)

Trade-offs

Placemaking & Streetscape

Requires clear wayfinding for bicyclists on El Camino to parallel bicycle routes (e.g. Park Boulevard)

Connectivity

 Does not provide direct and high-quality bicycle access to destinations on El Camino

Environment

 Fewer opportunities for green storm water treatments

Safety and Public Health

 Focuses improvements on parallel bike boulevard routes such as Park Boulevard

 No effect on emergency vehicle response time

 High Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (Stress Score = 4 out of 4)

 Does not address majority of collision trends on El Camino

Multimodal Mobility and Parking Management

 Existing El Camino parking demand is accommodated by on-street parking

 No effect on corridor roadway capacity

 Potential for improved transit reliability

Cost

 Low cost level

FAQ: What “Parallel Bicycle Streets” offer alternatives to biking on El Camino?

The dark green routes on the image below provide the closest north-south bicycle alternatives to El Camino. The lighter green are routes that provide connections to destinations on El Camino. (Note: These routes have been approved separate from this study through the Palo Alto Bicycle + Pedestrian Plan).

Intersection renderings

Want to give more in-depth feedback? Leave comments on the interactive El Camino webmaps.