Overcrossing Project Seeks ATP Grant Funding for Final Design, Construction

City Requesting Letters of Support from Neighborhood and Regional Stakeholders

If you are following this project, you may be aware that a major grant source – the newly-developed statewide Active Transportation Program (ATP) – has a Call for Projects due later this month. The ATP consolidates a number of historic funding programs into one grant that is focused exclusively on bicycle, pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School improvements throughout California. With a heavy emphasis on serving disadvantaged communities and improving public health, as well as a $360 million budget for the current call for projects, the ATP is perhaps the single greatest opportunity to fund the construction of the proposed pedestrian and bicycle bridge in East Palo Alto.

Documenting public support for the bridge project is key to the success of the grant application.This means we need to hear from people like YOU.

Please consider taking 5 minutes to write a letter of support for this project; since all support letters must be attached to the application and cannot be sent separately, we request that all letters of support be emailed as an attachment (Word or PDF) no later than May 15 to caseyhildreth@altaplanning.com.

Template language for a support letter is provided here as a Word document as well as below. If you are writing on behalf of an organization or company, please place your letter on official letterhead whenever possible. Letters of support are preferred in English, but can be submitted in other languages if necessary.

Letter of Support – Template Language

Attention: Teresa McWilliam, Division of Local Assistance, MS-1 

Chief, Office of Active Transportation and Special Programs 

P.O. Box 942874 

Sacramento, CA 95814 

Ms. McWilliam,

On behalf of (insert name), we would like to offer our enthusiastic support for the City of East Palo Alto’s Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overcrossing Project Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant application.

This grade-separated crossing and associated pedestrian and bikeway improvements would be a “game-changer” for the community, addressing long-standing travel safety and access issues that result from the division of the community by the U.S. Route 101 corridor. Highway 101 separates dense residential areas in south East Palo Alto (where approximately one-third of city residents live) from the majority of the city’s services, schools, parks, and jobs to the north. A narrow sidewalk on University Avenue is the only existing facility to bridge this divide between Willow Road to the north and the Oregon Expressway pedestrian/bicycle overpass to the south in Palo Alto (a stretch of over two miles).

Establishing a new Class I shared-use trail over the Highway 101 barrier – away from heavy vehicle traffic – will enhance public safety, promote walking and bicycling, and reduce vehicular trips on University Avenue and other congested roadways. The project will also improve community health by providing recreational opportunities and linkages to the Bay Trail and City of Palo Alto (as well as to the city’s only full-service grocery store); will promote safer and more direct walking and biking routes to at least five schools; and will result in a highly-visible commitment to active transportation that will forever shape future investments and travel patterns in the City.

East Palo Alto is a historically underserved community, with a legacy of disinvestment before the city incorporated in 1983. That legacy persists today, with significantly lower household incomes and rates of high school graduation than the county at-large. More than half of households in East Palo Alto have children, which is true for only one-third of households countywide. This suggests that opportunities to provide facilities and activities for youth – starting with this trail overcrossing – are especially important in East Palo Alto.

In short, this project represents the very essence of what the Active Transportation Program seeks to achieve. We strongly encourage you to fund this project and help make this long-standing vision become a reality.


(insert name and signature)



Celebrate 29 years of East Palo Alto!

Do you like parades?  How about fireworks?

East Palo Alto will be celebrating its 29th birthday in grand style on Saturday, June 30th.  And you’re invited!

Come visit the East Palo Alto 101 Team

Helping celebrate 29 years of East Palo Alto, our team will be on hand to share information with the public about the East Palo Alto Highway 101 Pedestrian & Bicycle Overpass.  We’re working hard to incorporate the public’s comments from our first community open house & workshop, and we want to get even more feedback this Saturday.  We hope to unveil updated concepts at the East Palo Alto birthday celebration.

We also still need more input from the public on this vital project.  So please, share your ideas, hopes, and concerns with us about the project.  If visiting with us on the 30th won’t work for you, you can always submit your comments to us online.

Welcome to the East Palo Alto 101 Website

This website, over the coming months, will become a repository for all information, documents, and public notices for the East Palo Alto 101 Bicycle/Pedestrian Overpass project.  Make sure to come back regularly, or subscribe to this website, to stay up-to-date on project progress and chances to share your suggestions.

Highway 101 – A Barrier to Bicyclists and Pedestrians

As a bicyclist or pedestrian, crossing Highway 101 in and around East Palo Alto is no easy task.  The overpass at University Avenue has no dedicated bicycle access and a narrow sidewalk on only one side of the roadway – which must navigate an uncontrolled freeway off-ramp along its route.  Dedicated pedestrian & bicycle crossings of Highway 101, the nearest of which are at Ringwood Avenue to the northwest and at the Oregon Expressway to the southeast, are more than 3 miles apart.  That means a pedestrian or bicyclist on the west side of the University Avenue overpass, who chose to use a dedicated pedestrian/bicycle crossing, would have to travel over 6 miles to get to the east side of the University Avenue overcrossing.

East Palo Alto 101 Bicycle/Pedestrian Overcrossing

Providing safe pedestrian/bicycle access across Highway 101 in East Palo Alto will help knit together the commercial and community service centers east of Highway 101 with the high density housing, future potential open space amenities, and commuter destinations to the west in the Woodland Community Neighborhood area.  As the City of East Palo Alto continues to expand their existing bicycle network and the Bay Trail, pedestrian & bicycle connectivity throughout all of East Palo Alto, as well as to adjacent communities, will become ever more essential.

Studying Possible Overcrossings

The Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass Project will study all possible locations for an overpass.  The study will lead to a community preferred alternative, which we will arrive at through research & analysis, design expertise, and public input.

Share Your Thoughts with Us

What are your thoughts for a potential pedestrian/bicycle overpass of Highway 101?  We want to hear from you as we formulate the community preferred alternative.  Send us your comments at our Contact Us page.