Bicycling & Walking
Leading the Way
Palo Alto has been at the forefront of bicycle and pedestrian planning since the early 1980s, when the City developed the nation’s first bicycle boulevard on Bryant Street. Combined with a lively and historic downtown, and great connections to Stanford University and regional transit, the city attracts commuters, students, and visitors alike to bicycle or walk at much higher rates than other South Bay communities. Palo Alto is building upon this history and demand for bicycling and walking to solidify its status as one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in California, if not the country.
Since 2003, Palo Alto has been a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community. For more detail, see Palo Alto Pedals to Gold Level Status below.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan
The Palo Alto Bicycle & Pedestrian Transportation Plan(PDF, 19MB) was adopted in July 2012. The Plan identifies objectives for the expansion of bicycle and pedestrian goals for the City. The City has a goal of expanding all bicycle commute trips by 2020 to 15%. This supports the City's additional goals to encourage a life-long appreciation for bicycle commuting, to support healthy living and to reduce the impacts of global climate change.
This Plan will be updated beginning in summer 2021.
Bicycle Boulevard Projects
Read about the Neighborhood Traffic Safety and Bicycle Boulevard (NTSBB) Projects.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PABAC)
Visit our PABAC web page to learn more about our volunteer citizen advisory committee.
Families: Want to Walk or Bike to School?
Palo Alto is home to one of the nation’s leading Safe Routes to School programs. An impressive average of 50% of Palo Alto's public high school students commute to school on bicycle in part due to the past efforts to provide bicycle-friendly infrastructure within the community. Check out our Safe Routes to School website to learn more or get involved.
Adults: Want to Get Started Biking?
Walks and bike rides are great ways to stay active, enjoy our beautiful community and de-stress by getting your recommended 60 -150 minutes of daily physical activity.
Bicycle Safety Education Resources for Adults
Protect Your Bike: Register with Bike Index
Bike Index is a free national database that has reunited over 5,500 stolen bikes with their owners. Many law enforcement agencies, including the Palo Alto Police Department, use Bike Index. Follow our guide on registering your bike or visit BikeIndex.org to register.
Palo Alto Pedals to Gold Level Status
The City of Palo Alto is a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) as designated by the League of American Bicyclists. The city has been a Gold-Level BFC since 2003 in recognition of Palo Alto’s commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities by encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.
The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program sets the standard for how communities build and benchmark progress toward making biking better. The latest round of awards, which communities applied for in February 2021, includes 37 new and renewing awardees, joining a total 487 Bicycle Friendly Communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Palo Alto is one of 34 Gold Level BFCs out of a total of 487 BFCs nationwide. The City’s BFC designation recognizes Palo Alto’s commitment to improving conditions for all people who bike through investments in promoting and encouraging people to choose biking through pro-bike policies and bike infrastructure.
More than 850 communities have applied for recognition by the Bicycle Friendly Community program, which provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. While the award process considers very visible elements such as bike infrastructure, other essential elements include efforts around adult and youth bike education, encouragement through events like Bike to Work Day, evaluation mechanisms, and enforcement, all through the lens of equity. The rigorous application process is an educational tool in itself and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.
Please visit the Bicycle Friendly Community web page for more information.