The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Jardin Drive slated for second redesign

Jardin+Drive+in+its+current+state%2C+which+features+two+car+lanes%2C+a+parking+lane+and+a+bike+lane.+Plan+3%2C%0Aa+proposed+redesign%2C+will+remove+parking+on+the+school+side+of+Jardin+and+add+a+path+for+pedestrians.
Paavo Lahdesmaki
Jardin Drive in its current state, which features two car lanes, a parking lane and a bike lane. Plan 3, a proposed redesign, will remove parking on the school side of Jardin and add a path for pedestrians.

When school reopened in the summer, the City of Los Altos had reconfigured the layout of Jardin Drive, the street behind Los Altos High School. The change added a two-way bike lane and parking onto the two-way road, a measure that squeezes more traffic into a limited area.

With drivers, cyclists and parked cars sharing the same narrow space — a road the same width as Almond Ave, which has bicycle lanes but no parking space — residents and pedestrians raise safety concerns.

According to city officials, Jardin was originally redesigned to address confusion — such as a lack of signs prohibiting U-turns — and traffic congestion, especially with the increase in construction at the front of the school. Protected bike infrastructure was also added to encourage students to bike instead of driving to school. In August 2023, Los Altos Transportation Manager Marisa Lee cited the change as following tried-and-tested safety measures used nationwide.

With drivers, cyclists and parked cars sharing the same narrow space — a road the same width as Almond Ave, which has bicycle lanes but no parking space — residents and pedestrians raise safety concerns. The redesign has minor flaws that increase risk for pedestrians, such as the absence of a sidewalk on the North side of Jardin forcing pedestrians to walk in between bushes and the westbound car lane. With no crosswalk on Distel Drive or Los Ninos Way, cars may turn from or onto Jardin without noticing pedestrians crossing. Confusing signage also results in cars in the loading zone doing illegal U-turns, creating risks for other drivers and cyclists.

Currently, the City has shared three redesign concept plans with the community. Plan 3 is the only one which would remove parking on the high school side of Jardin, and similarly to Plan 2, it would add a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians on both sides of the street. All three concepts would add a barrier in some form between cyclists and drivers, a feature that currently doesn’t exist, endangering cyclists and pedestrians. 

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LAHS senior Sam Cousins, an advocate for Plan 3, believes that a network of safe streets is key to a healthy and independent lifestyle for residents.

Concept Plan 3 prioritizes the safety and dignity of those walking and biking, not only the needs of drivers.

— Senior Sam Cousins

“Concept Plan 3 prioritizes the safety and dignity of those walking and biking, not only the needs of drivers,” Sam said. “For this reason, it is the most equitable, sustainable and long-term option for Jardin Drive.”

After a community outreach meeting on Thursday, January 25, a revised concept was presented to the Complete Streets Commission this Wednesday, January 31. Following further revisions and community feedback, the final design is intended to be taken to the City Council for approval in March.

At the outreach meeting, Donya Amiri — a transportation engineer consultant for the City of Los Altos — emphasized that the Los Altos community will be kept informed and listened to during the redesign process — as communication was controversially limited during the initial changes to Jardin in 2023.

Construction is planned to begin in June, and the redesigns to Jardin Drive are intended to be finished by August 12 before the 2024-2025 school year begins. Updates and information on current proceedings can be found on the City of Los Altos’ website.

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Paavo Lahdesmaki, Staff Writer

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