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Bicycle Friendly Communities
Palo Alto, CA | Gold Level
Community Highlights: Palo Alto has had a long-standing commitment to being a city that is a great place to ride a bicycle for fun, transportation and for exercise. The community is surrounded by open space of the foothills and the natural preserves of the San Francisco Bay. The community has a grid network of streets, vibrant business districts, park and trail system, and direct proximity to Stanford University. Flat terrain, tree-lined streets, and a temperate climate also make Palo Alto an excellent place to bicycle. Palo Alto continues to strive to be more bicycle-friendly and has embodied a vision for the future that includes continuing to transition auto trips to bicycle trips whenever possible. Current support for green initiatives and the use of bicycles as a green commute option is exceptionally strong. Since 2006, Palo Alto's Safe Routes to School Program has become a full 5 E's program, responsible for an extraordinary expansion in bicycle mode share at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) secondary schools. In addition, the updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan 2011 includes numerous new features and tools to implement bicycle-friendly treatments such as green bicycle lanes, contra-flow bicycle lanes, enhanced share-the-road markings, bicycle boulevards, two-way side paths, and way-finding signs/pavement markings. The plan also identifies a significant expansion in bicycle parking facilities and the City has pioneered new standards in Bicycle Corrals that are now being deployed in the City’s Downtown Business District. These are just a few examples of the City's innovative approach to double Palo Alto’s already high bicycle mode share to 15 percent by 2020.
Most Significant Recent Accomplishment: Palo Alto restriped Arastradero Road, with increased width of bicycle lanes and several bicycle and pedestrian friendly traffic calming features. In addition, resources were allocated for two planning initiatives: the update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan and a feasibility study for Highway 101 Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing at Adobe Creek.
Most Compelling Community Statistic: Bike counts on typical fall days show that a whopping 46 percent of middle school students and 38 percent of high school students bike to school. At the elementary school level, classroom tally data indicate that between 32 percent and 48 percent of the students usually walk and bike to school.
Bicycle Friendly Community
Level Awarded: Gold
BFC Since: May 2003
Square Miles: 26.0
Contact: Kathy Durham