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SAFE Issue #9 - Bike Lane Santa Cruz - Y to Avy Ave

Bike Lanes needed for Santa Cruz Y to Avy

This connecting section of Santa Cruz Ave, between the Alameda “Y” and Avy Ave 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.  

This section of Santa Cruz has numerous residential driveways, many of which are blind driveways that can be difficult to exit onto Santa Cruz. Others require backing into roadway to exit.  There appears to be room for a bike lane and, with a bit of minor engineering, there could be both defined bike lanes and defined parking lines established.  There is virtually no center lane markings other than the poorly maintained small center bumps.

A critical point is at the “Y” intersection. This location is unacceptably dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians that continue northbound on Santa Cruz. This is partially due to the County implicitly encouraging traffic to make the Santa Cruz turn at 35 mph when it should have an advisory of 25 mph.  As a result it is extremely unsafe, the location of many accidents, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage over the years.  The safety issues at the “Y” are so severe and so numerous that they are identified in this collection of issues as its own safety issue (Issue #10).

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


The geometry of the bike lane as shown in the proposed solution unsafe because it lacks proper width. It may be less safe than doing nothing. It gives both bicyclists and drivers false directions and expectations. What is a bicyclist supposed to do and expected to do when there is a parked car? Stop and wait? Weave into the traffic lane? When a bicyclist sees someone in a parked car with a possibility of a door opening, do they weave into traffic? What about southbound bicyclists?

Proposed solution 1. Widen the road so we can have full, less unsafe 5' bike lanes. This would be expensive and contentious.
Proposed solution 2. Roadside signs for "Bicyclists May Use Full Lane". This sign wordage is being used in other places. Signs are more visible in this section of SCA than between Y and SHR.
Proposed solution 3. Bike sharrows. Sharrows warn drivers that bicyclists are may be on the road and allowed to use the road (which they legally are but many otherwise reasonable drivers do not know). After considering many issues - pros and cons - San Mateo County decided for sharrows on its section of SCA as better than nothing and better than any alternatives. It would seem the same reasoning would apply to this section of SCA under Menlo Park control.

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.

I was very impressed at the meeting last night by the detailed information from the SAFE group. Thanks for all of your time, effort and input!

I would like to see the speed limit reduced and a road diet reducing lanes from Sand Hill Road to Sharon Rd. to one lane in each direction; however, I think one issue that hasn't been thoroughly discussed is that there are two turn lanes on Sand Hill Road onto north bound Santa Cruz Ave.

In order to reduce the lanes to one lane in each direction, I think one of the two turn lanes on Sand Hill would need to be eliminated so that only one lane of traffic filters onto one lane on Santa Cruz Ave.

After the meeting, I briefly discussed that with one of the county representatives, but he very quickly said it wouldn't be feasible for the Sand Hill traffic to reduce the two turn lanes to one turn lane. Hmmm... I think anything is possible and needs to be addressed when deciding on how to change traffic on Santa Cruz Ave.

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