El Camino Real Bike Lanes Gain Planning Commission Approval

Bike Lanes on El Camino Real in Redwood City took one step closer to reality. Image: City of Redwood City

Redwood City’s five-member Planning Commission had mostly praise for the city’s El Camino Real Corridor Plan, recommending unanimously on Tuesday November 7 that the City Council adopt it. All five commissioners spoke in support of the plan’s proposal to replace parallel car parking on El Camino Real with separated bike lanes.

“I think this is exciting,” said Commissioner Giselle Hale at the meeting. “Let’s be the ones to show the rest of the Peninsula how to do this.”

The plan, crafted over the past 15 months by consulting firms Dyett & Bhatia, W-Trans, and city staff, concludes that vehicle parking would have to be removed in order to install any type of bike lanes on El Camino Real. The plan recommends removing all of the approximately 270 parking spaces on El Camino Real within Redwood City city limits to install physically-separated bike lanes on both sides of the street. These parking spaces were found to be 65 to 70 percent occupied during peak periods.

“Moving along and across El Camino Real is safe and convenient for everyone, whether on foot, on a bicycle, via transit, or in an automobile. Space is allocated to efficiently move as many people as possible along the Corridor, while providing attractive choices for how to travel.” – Redwood City El Camino Real Corridor Plan Mobility Vision

As has been the case at over a dozen meetings so far, the public was strongly in favor of separated bicycle infrastructure for El Camino Real.

“Were there a protected bike lane [on El Camino Real] I would use it,” said resident Bob Page. “If Redwood City is bold and steps forward with this, we can have an extended protected bike lane network through several cities.”

“I would love to ride [my bicycle] on El Camino and if there were protected bike lanes I would do it,” said resident Karen Davis.

“If there were a protected bike lane [on El Camino Real] I would take it every day,” said resident and bicycle commuter Isabella Chu. “When you make it cheap and easy to bike, you really conserve resources.”

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) was even on board to cheer the installation of so-called protected bike lanes on El Camino Real. “This plan envisions a future whether you walk, bike, take transit, or drive, it’s equally safe,” said SVBC Policy Manager Emma Shlaes.

The Planning Commissioners got the message and didn’t disagree.

“I personally would like to see us be a leader on this,” said Commissioner Kevin Bondonno of the separated bike lanes proposal, who also chaired the plan’s Citizen Advisory Group.

“I want to make sure we’re putting those [removed] parking spaces somewhere,” said Commissioner Muhammad Safdari. “But I’m absolutely in favor of the separated bike lanes.”

“I think it’s great that we’re moving forward on making this the great thoroughfare that it should be,” said Commission Chair Nancy Radcliffe.

The Redwood City City Council will review the El Camino Real Corridor Plan on December 4.