El Monte Avenue in Mountain View will be going on a diet in the coming years – a road diet, that is. The Mountain View City Council approved plans to reduce the number of lanes on El Monte from four to three, and use the extra space to add in buffered bike lanes.
Once redesigned, the street will have one travel lane in each direction, a central turn lane and protected bike lanes on both sides.
City officials have discussed changes to El Monte Avenue going back to 2015, when a pedestrian was struck and killed at the intersection of El Monte Avenue and Marich Way. El Monte Avenue is currently a four-lane street with two travel lanes in each direction, as well as unprotected bike lanes.
“In 2019, the City installed improvements at the intersection to improve the crossing for pedestrians, but there has been a continued interest from the community for an overall corridor study for safety of all modes of travel along the El Monte Avenue corridor and the adjacent West El Camino Real connection,” according to a staff report.
The resulting study identified a number of changes that would improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists along the El Monte corridor, an area that includes El Camino Real from Escuela Avenue to El Monte Avenue, and El Monte Avenue from El Camino Real to the city limits at Springer Road and Jay Street.
In April, city staff presented the findings from the study to the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, offering a few different alternatives for how to change El Monte Avenue for the better.
The committee ended up voting in favor of a road diet – reducing the number of total lanes on El Monte – as the preferred option. It was also the top choice among community members who took an online survey late last year. In May, the Council Transportation Committee voted the same way, leading city staff to recommend that option to the city council as part of the consent calendar at the June 27 meeting, which council approved unanimously.
Though council didn’t pull the item for discussion, Vice Mayor Pat Showalter remarked that the road diet will improve “safety for pedestrians and for bicyclists, and it’s going to be exciting to see those improvements.”
The improvements go beyond just the road diet and buffered bike lanes. Staff also recommended adding high-visibility crosswalks, green striping in areas where cars cross bike lanes, protected intersections, lighting improvements and more vegetation in the El Monte corridor area.
With the city council’s stamp of approval, design work for the improvement is slated to begin in 2024 and construction will start in late 2025.