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Town Square

Planning Your Route: Secret Bike Passages

Original post made by Janet Lafleur, Rex Manor, on May 30, 2013

The best way to get around town on a bike is probably not the same way you'd go by car. A route that's convenient by car may be very stressful on a bike. Fortunately, there are bike maps that show you which faster-traffic streets have bike lanes, show you which roads to avoid, and clearly mark the kid-friendly, off-road bike trails. Bike maps are often available on paper so you can take them along on your ride.

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Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by commuter
a resident of another community
on May 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I've found the Google Maps bicycling directions to be very reliable for finding quiet bike routes around Silicon Valley. It is much more complete than the official city or county bike maps.


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@commuter I use Google Maps a lot, especially with the Street View to get a look at streets I think might be an issue. I wish they offered bike maps/directions for mobile phones, though. I'm often already on the road when I need to look something up.


1 person likes this
Posted by commuter
a resident of another community
on May 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Google Maps bicycle directions works really great on my Android smartphone. I frequently use it to create or change my routes on the fly or just to see where a certain road or bike path leads. Since Android is a local product, it understandably works especially well in Mountain View.

Unfortunately, the map programs on some other brands of phones have very dubious reputations :)


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@commuter I didn't realize the Android supported Google Maps for bikes. Good to know.


1 person likes this
Posted by Roight
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I LOVE being able to scoot through a bike passageway and around an otherwise 5-10 minute ride around. I hate it when I'm in my car and I know there's a secret path cut-through. Maybe I just need a super skinny car :)


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Roight There are definitely some routes that are faster by bike with the secret passageways than in a car. Going from Palo Alto's Town & Country to University Ave is so much faster via the Homer tunnel than driving around.


1 person likes this
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

Nice article.

What's the status of the easement between Leland Ave and Towne Cir.? I remember some time ago there was a hubbub about the condo complex locking the gate. Is that still the case?


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Greg I think the gate is probably still locked. About six months ago Dick and I tried to use it from the Leland Avenue side but it was locked.

I don't know much about the history, but it would be great to have a connection from downtown to the San Antonio Caltrain station that doesn't require riding on California St.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pedal your fish
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I LOVE these "Bike Fun" entries. More more more!


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Pedal your fish Thanks! If you like ice cream you'll find this Thursday's story a real treat...


1 person likes this
Posted by Fou du vélo
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

Very instructive maps. Now looking for a sequel showing safe ways to cross El Camino....


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Fou du vélo I wish I could point you to some low-stress ways to cross El Camino, but as you know they don't exist. :(

There are only a handful of streets and roads that cross El Camino and most have speed limits higher than 30 mph and multiple lanes of car traffic. Many people on bikes end up crossing like a pedestrian to avoid mixing it up with the high volume of faster traffic.

Dick and I usually cross at Castro, Escuela/El Monte, or Calderon. We ride in the regular traffic lane to cross, but we are on alert the whole time. It's not fun.

Do you have any suggestions for the MV city transportation committee to improve crossing El Camino on bikes?


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Los Altos has nice bike lanes on San Antonio Road, but last time I checked those ended at the Mountain View border, so biking to the San Antonio Shopping Center or San Antonio Caltrain station were essentially impossible. I hope that the San Antonio corridor is high on the city's priority list, because right now it has to be the worst part of town for bicyclists.


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@resident Yes, it's very unfortunate that the bike lanes on San Antonio Road in Los Altos do not extend across El Camino into Mountain View. It definitely makes biking to San Antonio Center more stressful to have to share a regular traffic lane with cars or awkward to have to cross like a pedestrian.

Altough I've heard it discussed, I don't think there's a timeline for adding bike lanes there. I recommend writing the MV City Council and telling them that bike lanes on San Antonio are critical. Email address is citycouncil at mountainview.gov


1 person likes this
Posted by Fou du vélo
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm

re: crossing El Camino, ideally I'd like the City to look at ped/bike overpasses/underpasses. In the meantime, bike lanes should be enlarged and much better marked at each intersection (Palo Alto has a few good examples of great lane markings). Also the City should ensure bike lane continuity on each side of El Camino. Resident mentioned San Antonio, the same issue exists between Shoreline and Miramonte (the bike lane disappears as you cross El Camino into Miramonte). re: Escuela/El Monte, it's one of the ways I cross El Camino; it might make sense to put a bike lane on El Camino between Escuela and El Monte.


1 person likes this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Fou du vélo I think you should send your concerns and suggestions to city council too. Under and overpasses are not likely to happen anytime soon, but road markings may be possible. I definitely suggest being specific about the intersections you've seen that work in Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Some nice Palo Alto bike routes across El Camino are:
1. Sand Hill Road - bikes have their own signal cycle to cross El Camino; cars are not allowed to cross here

2. Serra Street - traffic calming on the Palo Alto side of El Camino reduces traffic speeds on one of the major bicycle routes into Stanford University

3. Stanford Ave - intersection was recently updated to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. Car parking was removed for 100 feet in all directions to give bikes more space and improve visibility.

4. Matadero Ave - little used by cars, but proposed as a bicycle boulevard to connect neighborhoods and major bike routes on both sides of El Camino

5. Charleston Road - recently traffic calmed from 4 lanes to 2 lanes to reduce speeds and make more space for bike lanes. Unfortunately, the bike lanes end at the Mountain View border (near San Antonio Road).


1 person likes this
Posted by Fou du vélo
a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Here's another example of clear bike lane markings through an intersection in Palo Alto @ Channing.

Web Link