El Camino Real Crossings improvements

  • Project typeTraffic and transportation

This project designs improvements for east-west pedestrian and bicycle connections as identified in the El Camino Real Corridor Study at Ravenswood Avenue, Encinal Avenue and Roble Avenue.


What is the El Camino Real Corridor Study?

The City of Menlo Park’s El Camino Real Corridor Study will review and recommend potential transportation and safety improvements to El Camino Real, making it safer and more efficient to move along and across El Camino for all modes of travel: pedestrians, bicycles, automobiles, and transit. The purpose of this study is to identify potential reconfiguration alternatives, and evaluate the feasibility and potential impacts (adverse and beneficial) of up to three of these alternatives to improve multi-modal transportation along the corridor. This study will consider possible modifications to allow for the addition of a bicycle lane or an additional through lane, for a total of three lanes in each direction between Sand Hill Road and Encinal Avenue. Impacts to traffic, active transportation, safety, parking and aesthetics will be addressed as part of the evaluation. In summary, within the limited right-of-way available, this study will assess safety, efficiency and convenience trade-offs between motorists and bicyclists on El Camino Real between Sand Hill Road and Encinal Avenue.

Why is the study being done?

In short, El Camino Real as it currently exists does not adequately serve the Menlo Park community’s need for safe and efficient multi-modal transportation and access to local destinations. This study will closely study existing conditions, evaluate alternatives, and recommend a solution. Community input will be sought and incorporated throughout the process.

El Camino Real is a key roadway connecting cities throughout the Peninsula, and it provides a key transportation route through downtown Menlo Park. El Camino Real serves many local businesses fronting and adjacent to the street, and is one of few north-south thoroughfares in the City, providing connections for residents to jobs and services in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Atherton, Redwood City, and beyond.

El Camino Real also divides the City, with the downtown business district on the west side and the Civic Center, recreation facilities and library on the east side, and the Menlo Park City School District schools straddling both sides. This orientation requires frequent crossings by Menlo Park residents on a daily basis, and represents a challenging situation for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists making short trips to local destinations.

The El Camino Real corridor and Downtown Menlo Park were recently re-envisioned through the City’s El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan (Specific Plan), adopted by the Menlo Park City Council in June 2012. The Specific Plan provides the framework for redevelopment of many underutilized parcels in the Plan Area, and encourages transit-oriented, mixed-use and infill development. Menlo Park also adopted a “Complete Streets” Policy in January 2013 to improve its commitment to a comprehensive, integrated transportation network that allows safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users – including pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, users and operators of public transportation, seniors, children, youth, and families, emergency vehicles, and freight.

What issues have already been identified?

As the Specific Plan Area has begun to redevelop, the community, the Bicycle, Transportation and Planning Commissions, and City Council have raised concerns about the functionality of El Camino Real to serve multi-modal transportation users safely and efficiently. Key issues raised have included:

  1. Occurrence of congested conditions and delay to motorists, transit vehicles, and emergency vehicles during peak commute hours;
  2. Occurrence of a bottleneck for vehicular traffic in the northbound direction, where El Camino Real, Sand Hill Road, and Alma Street (six total lanes) feed traffic to El Camino Real, which drops from three to two lanes at Ravenswood Avenue-Menlo Avenue;
  3. Ability to serve local traffic and connect local businesses, including provision of on-street parking;
  4. Safety of motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians traveling along and across El Camino Real;
  5. Barriers to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians attempting to cross El Camino Real;
  6. Prevalence of motorists making U-turns at Cambridge Avenue;
  7. Comfort of bicyclists traveling on El Camino Real, and bicyclists’ need to access local destinations in the corridor; and
  8. Designation of El Camino Real as a Class II bike lane/minimum Class III bike route facility in the Specific Plan.

How long will the process take?

The corridor planning process is anticipated to conclude in June 2015. Actual construction of roadway improvements would follow based on funding availability and other factors.

How can I get involved?

We are identifying improvements to El Camino Real in order to make it safer and more efficient for the Menlo Park community, so we want your input! The Corridor Study planning process includes many opportunities and ways to participate, such as public workshops; Bicycle, Transportation, and Planning Commission meetings; City Council meetings; a web survey; and more.

Please watch for details on upcoming events. You can also contact us directly with your thoughts and sign up for email updates on the project. We look forward to hearing your ideas on how to improve El Camino Real.

Contact us

Kristiann Choy - Senior Transportation Engineer




El Camino Real corridor, Menlo Park, CA 94025  View map

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