Facebook goes crazy for bikes in Menlo Park

Facebook to invest in bike facilities to improve bicycle access to new Peninsula campus; challenges other employers to step up their game.

Facebook’s move from Palo Alto to their new headquarters in Menlo Park means an environmental impact review (EIR) and city council meetings to discuss the impact Facebook’s employees will have on the area. Bike advocates from the San Francisco Peninsula took the opportunity to press for bike facilities to improve bicycle access to the campus at the end of Willow Road.

As a result of these efforts, Facebook has agreed to these actions:

  • Pay to extend the San Francisco Bay Trail by creating a connection from the San Francisquito Trail in East Palo Alto to the Dumbarton / Bayfront Trail, which in turn connects directly to Facebook’s new campus on Hacker Way (nee Network Circle). There’s about a one mile gap between Ravenswood Open Space and the Bayfront Trail.
  • Facebook has already gotten approval from Caltrans to restripe the bike lanes on Willow Road from Newbridge Street (north of Highway 101) to Facebook’s entrance on Bayfront Expressway. I’ll be interested in seeing if they plan to reconfigure the bike lane approach at the double right turn lane on Willow.
  • The old, decrepit pedestrian tunnel from Facebook underneath Bayfront will be cleaned up and re-opened later this year.
  • Facebook has started a campus bike share in Menlo Park, which has already exceeded their wildest expectations.
  • Facebook also plans a staffed on-campus bike shop (!).

Facebook also challenged other large Silicon Valley corporations to join them in funding the missing sections of the San Francisco Bay Trail. The San Francisco Bay Trail, when completed, will be a 500 mile walking and bike trail looping through all nine Bay Area counties to allow continuous, car-free travel around the entire SF Bay shoreline. Currently, 300 miles of the trail are complete, with the longest segments in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Read more -> Almanac News: Facebook unveils bike plan, which includes photos of Facebook’s indoor bike racks.

I used to work at this campus when it was Sun Microsystems. Here’s a pair of short videos showing my bike commute from Menlo Park Caltrain to Network Circle (now renamed Hacker Way); only the last hundred yards or so even touch Willow Road.

The first video begins at the alley by the 7-11 near Menlo Park Caltrain, runs past Stanford Research Incorporated (SRI) and the US Geological Service on Middlefield, and alongside drop off traffic for Menlo-Atherton High School and Laurel School.

The second video begins at the Ringwood Avenue pedestrian bridge over Highway 101, through Menlo’s Belle Haven Neighborhood (which Microsoft’s “avoid ghetto” map patent would likely tell me to avoid, though I and dozens of other bike commuters who ride through Belle Haven have never been hassled), then cut through a parking lot on Hamilton & Willow, wrong way on the dirt track alongside Willow Road, in the crosswalk and position myself to go across Bayfront on Willow. Willow Road is completely avoidable.


12 Comments

  • January 31, 2012 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Facebook: We’re going to move to the middle of nowhere. Now cyclists, we challenge you to make it here alive!

    classic.

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  • Johnorr7
    February 1, 2012 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    So Microsoft want you to avoid ” a ghetto ” . What next “don’t go down that street because a scary man will kidnap you”. Wake up America and stop letting yourselves be scared by rubbish like this.

  • February 1, 2012 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Microsoft filed a patent for a routing application that takes local crime into account. More nuanced discussion about that here.

  • Johnorr7
    February 3, 2012 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you Richard for putting me onto the article in Colo(u)rlines. My initial thoughts were about a big corporation jumping on the “Big Fear” bandwagon to peddle their wares. I didn’t look at it as a racial thing. I stand to be corrected but here in the UK we don’t have race issues in our faces as much as you have.
    But then again we don’t have your racial history either.
    As for Microsoft.com I think someone on the staff will be looking for a new job soon.

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  • Anonymous
    February 6, 2012 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

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  • kb
    February 11, 2012 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    i ride past there every day and regularly have to dodge exiting cars that don’t look right when they make the exit onto Bayshore. “Regularly” as in 30-50% of the time.

    Facebook: start with your own motorist employees!

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