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SAFE Issue #8 - Bike Lane Santa Cruz - Sand Hill to Y

This connecting section of Santa Cruz Ave, between the Sand Hill and the “Y” does not have marked bike lanes nor does it have any on pavement guidance for how cyclists, vehicles, and parked cars are to co-exist on the roadway.  The most critical area is the northbound east side, as there are 26 driveways, a busy intersection, parked cars, a high rate of speed, high traffic volume, and Santa Cruz has unusual road conditions: reduced visibility, road curves, a high amount of lane changes by motorists, a very dangerous intersection to negotiate at the “Y”, and an unacceptable high accident occurrence. 

Southbound lane only has one low use intersection at Oak Hollow, no parking, and only 2 driveways. Much of this current southbound road provides more room for cyclists [than the northbound lane], but provides little in defined bike lane or other guidance for motorists and cyclists.

Important cycling information and research is lacking: There is no competent data pertaining to bike traffic on this section: Lacking are,

  • Bike volume and movement — peak/off-peak volume, weekday, weekend
  • How much northbound traffic at the “Y” routes to Alameda vs Santa Cruz
  • Understanding of destinations for bike traffic (downtown MP, Schools, bike loop routes, train station, commutes, or other main destinations) 
  • Recreational travel vs commuter travel vs students
  • Anticipated bicycle traffic growth for coming years

Without this information it is impossible to consider alternatives.  For instance, if downtown MP was a primary destination, then an alternative to consider would be to improve cyclist access to Sand Hill / Oak Ave or the use of the San Mateo Ave Bike Bridge between Menlo Park and Sand Hill.

A critical point is at the “Y” intersection that is unacceptably dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.  There is absolutely no guidance for vehicles and bikes to negotiate this intersection.  As a result vehicles and bikes are in a no mans land where all have to jockey for lane position.   There are many issues:

  • Northbound expands to a confusing added lane for Santa Cruz traffic causing excessive lane changes by vehicles - dangerous for bikes
  • Santa Cruz northbound traffic generally does not stop, even when other northbound traffic is stopped.   Confusing and causes problems up stream on Santa Cruz due to a constant column of traffic without break 

There is enough room on Santa Cruz to shift all lanes to the west to create bike lanes on both sides.  However, there is an engineering issue/error that causes one location on Santa Cruz that narrows to the point that there is inadequate room for southbound cyclists.  That location is in front of Menlo Commons, at its southern driveway, the sidewalk angles into the Santa Cruz roadway and at the driveway there is further intrusion into the roadway by the driveway island.  This results in creating the narrowest point on Santa Cruz and reduces the roadway width by several feet. 

Full bike lane Northbound Santa Cruz - Shared lane Southbound

Click on the File link below to see the full Safety Issue and proposed solution options.  Have a suggestion or concern? Enter your Comment below.


In Oakland, 40th Street between Adeline and the MacArthur BART station has a new experiment: a continuous green bike lane painted in the middle of the rightmost travel lane, with bike sharrows painted at intervals. The idea is that cyclists and motorists share the right lane and cars pass on the left (instead of squeezing past cyclists or forcing them toward the sidewalk).
This section of the Alameda is a major commute route for cyclists to and from Stanford and other places and I think it might be worth exploring a similar concept.

Signs as are used on Marsh Rd near Bohannon that state "Bikes May Use Full Lane" is much more clearer and make motorists aware that bikes can share the lane. The other 'sharing the road' are less clear and create angry motorists.

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