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Post image for Menlo Park parent Jen Wolosin launches initiative to make school routes safer for kids

When Jen Wolosin moved from San Mateo  to Menlo Park four years ago, one of the things she was practically excited about was how close her new home was to Laurel School where her daughter would be attending. Then she encountered Coleman Avenue.

“I got one of those tandem bikes with the child-size bike in the rear thinking we’d bike to school every day,” she recalls. “But riding along Coleman Avenue was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. It’s designed to be a quaint country road, but it was a cluster of cut-through traffic, little kids on bikes, and teens making their way to M-A. We bought a minivan and started car-pooling.”

Her upclose and personal encounter with traffic in Menlo Park and Atherton, including some county areas, led her to launch a new local initiative, Parents for Safe Routes, earlier this month.

In a letter to Mayor Kristen Keith and the City Council, Jen, now a mother of two children, wrote: “…We are a local group of  dedicated families and neighbors committed to making our schools as walkable and bikeable as possible. Our goal is to encourage and support local jurisdictions and schools in their efforts to improve the safety of our kids. We see ourselves as partners with cities, the County, schools and neighbors and we look forward to collaborating with and working together to truly make Safe Routes a reality in Menlo Park.”

Jen is quick to point out the the organization expands beyond the “parents” in its name. She’s recruited an Advisory Board that includes members of the bicycle, planning, and transportation commissions as well as heads of relevant non-profits and businesses and residents who are in close proximity to schools. “I want this to be as inclusive as possible because it’s an issue for the entire community,” she says.

In organizing this effort, she cites great support from neighboring Palo Alto, whose bike and transportation committees get together every month to go over “the six Es – engineering, enforcement, education, evaluation, equity, and encouragement.”

Jen explains: “It’s a little simpler in Palo Alto, as there are not multiple jurisdictions and school districts like there are in Menlo Park. But the foundational pyramid of the six Es gave me hope that we can have a positive impact on the community. We’ll start with engineering and infrastructure.”

Jen attended the City Council meeting earlier this week to introduce the group to civic leaders and will also be at the City Council Goal Setting meeting on Friday, Jan. 27, starting at 1:00 pm in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers (701 Laurel Street).

“I view this initiative as one that is long, sustained, strategic and slow but steady,” Jen says. “It involves a lot of networking and word of mouth.”

The new group also has a Facebook page and interested people can sign up to be on the mailing list online.

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017

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New traffic/automobile laws to be mindful of in 2017

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The Atherton Police Department reminds people that a number of new state laws went into effect on January 1. Among them: Hands Free While Driving Californians are no longer allowed to use a handheld wireless phone or wireless electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted on the vehicle windshield or dashboard in a way […]

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Extra traffic enforcement in Atherton and Menlo Park on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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On Wednesday, September 21, 2016, twenty-four traffic officers from various law enforcement agencies throughout San Mateo County will be participating in the San Mateo County Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). The STEP program is a collaborative effort to increase traffic safety and awareness in known trouble spots throughout San Mateo County. Tomorrow’s deployment will occur […]

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New Hawk Beacon traffic signal debuts in Atherton at El Camino Real and Almendral Avenue

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To improve pedestrian and cyclist safety when crossing El Camino Real from Almendral Avenue,  the HAWK Beacon traffic signal debuted today in Atherton. The Town of Atherton was the lead agency for the planning, design, and construction. Since El Camino Real is a State Highway, Caltrans District 4 was an important partner in developing and approving the […]

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Construction continues on Marsh Road channel – here’s what it looks like

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Work on the construction of a new channel along Marsh Road in Atherton continues. Resident Beverly Brown sent us some photos showing the preparation of the creek bed for anew foundation as well as arebar being installed for the concrete bottom of the new channel/creek feed. Emails Beverly: “Concrete has already been poured near Fair Oaks […]

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More on Marsh Road closure and channel repair from Atherton City Manager George Rodericks

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Editor’s note: The Town of Atherton City Manager George Rodericks posted the following on the town’s website: Reminder: Marsh Road is closed from May 31 through August 15. Adjacent streets are closed to through traffic. These include the Atherton streets of Holbrook, Palmer, and San Benito, and County streets of Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th. Please […]

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City of Menlo Park reacts to Marsh Road closure with additional measures

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The City of Menlo Park  is working to manage the additional traffic on detour routes from the Town of Atherton’s Marsh Road retaining wall repair project, with staff on-call to respond to issues as they arise. Additionally, signal timing was modified on the detour streets (Middlefield Road, Marsh Road, Willow Road and Ravenswood Avenue) in anticipation […]

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Marsh Road closure begins on Tuesday, May 31

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The Town of Atherton will close Marsh Road on May 31 between Middlefield Road and Fair Oaks Avenue for construction to replace the Atherton Channel walls and floor. Scheduled reopening is August 11, 2016. A detour plan with roadway signage plan can be downloaded here. Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2016

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Another busy Bike to Work Day in Menlo Park

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As a host to nine energizer stations, Menlo Park was covered north/south and east/west this morning during the 22nd annual Bike to Work Day. We made our regular stop at the San Mateo Bike Bridge where stalwart volunteers KC and Bernadette Callahan were at their usual spot, which they’ve held for over a decade. When […]

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Find out about Marsh Road closure at informational meeting

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Construction to replace the walls and floor of the Atherton Channel (known to some locals as the Marsh Rd. ditch!) from Middlefield Road to Fair Oaks Avenue will begin in mid-May. The retaining wall supporting Marsh Road, which also forms one of the walls of Atherton Channel, is in need of repair. When the Channel […]

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Community meetings planned to get input on Ravenswood Avenue railroad crossing

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On Monday, May 2, 2016, members of the Menlo Park community will have an opportunity to give input on the study to separate Ravenswood Avenue from the Caltrain railroad tracks. The first of three planned meetings will be held at 6:30 p. in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center’s Oak Room. The project will evaluate the feasibility of […]

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