Have you heard about the recent neighborhood improvements that Google and the city of Mountain View made in the Monta Loma area? I checked it out this week. The changes/improvements were finished in July, just in time for back-to-school season.
The 2.5 miles of bike, pedestrian, and infrastructure improvements allow users of all ages and abilities to ride their bicycle or take a stroll in a more welcoming, safer environment and connects the surrounding neighborhoods to the San Antonio Caltrain station.
Specific improvements include enhanced crosswalks and curb ramps, widened sidewalks, median refuge islands, signal improvements, and updated wayfinding signage.
I noticed “Bike Boulevard” signs, in addition to the more familiar “Bike Route” signs, so I looked it up. According to Wikipedia: Bicycle boulevards discourage cut-through motor-vehicle traffic but allow local motor-vehicle traffic. They are designed to give priority to bicyclists as through-going traffic. They are intended as a low-cost, politically popular way to create a connected network of streets with good bicyclist comfort and/or safety.
"The Monta Loma improvements gave Google the opportunity to implement ideas from our 2015 Bike Vision Plan," said Jeral Poskey, Google’s transportation planner. “The project's proximity to both Google headquarters and the local community also provided a business justification for the investment and ensured a positive impact for residents. Connecting to Palo Alto's bike network gives the Mountain View community a safe route all the way to Menlo Park and San Antonio Caltrain.
I know someone who lives in the middle of the Monta Loma neighborhood, so I asked her what she thinks of the improvements. Leane Reelfs, of Helming's Auto Repair, said she thinks that "Google has been diligent about mitigating the traffic from their employees" and that "the improvements have made bicycling and walking, either in or out of the neighborhood, much safer."
Anything that gets people to work easier and gets them out of their cars is a major victory. The neighborhood improvements are for everyone to enjoy. On campus, Google is working to reduce single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) through bike workshops, beginner bike riding classes, and providing bikes for employees to get to and from work. They’re also working to provide discounts on bikes and bike accessories.
Thank you to the City of Mountain View and Google for the neighborhood improvements and for helping us get around town easier and safer.