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.

Sincerely,

(insert name and signature)

 

Final Feasibility Study and Preferred Alignment

City Council approves preferred alignment in November 2013

A preferred bridge alignment for the US 101 overcrossing, referred to as Alternative 2A in the feasibility study, has been approved by the East Palo Alto City Council. The alignment starts at the intersection of Newell Road and West Bayshore Road; climbs southward adjacent to the highway sound wall; crosses over the highway (at a slight angle to avoid overhead utility impacts), and makes several curves before landing on the north side of Clarke Avenue. The project would include a new traffic signal at West Bayshore Road and Newell Road, as well as wider sidewalks and new bike lanes on Clarke Avenue. The project is not anticipated to require additional right-of-way.

Image

Conceptual illustration of the preferred bridge concept, looking northwest from Clarke Avenue toward East Bayshore Road. The project would include pedestrian and bicycle enhancements on Clarke Avenue up to O’Conner Avenue, which provides direct access to the Ravenswood City School District multi-school campus and linkages to the San Francisco Bay Trail.