Shared Streets Program
In May 2020, the City of Palo Alto responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by providing easier access to recreational space while keeping the community safe. Shared Streets was a way to support physical activity by making more space to practice physical distancing while on local streets.
What is a Shared Street?
The City of Palo Alto temporarily limited vehicle access to local traffic only on certain streets. This created more space for residents to walk, bike, and run while complying with physical distancing requirements. Low traffic allows people to enjoy the outdoors and feel more comfortable getting out for a walk, a bike ride, or some fresh air during this time.
The City of Palo Alto piloted the program on three streets: Ross Road, Park Boulevard, and Bryant Street, based on the existing bike routes, traffic volumes, thru- traffic movements, and high biking and walking areas. The City of Palo Alto does not support self-selected street closures.
Local access is still allowed, which means people who live on the street or need to access a destination on the stretch of roadway for deliveries or other purposes are allowed access. Other non-local access is strongly discouraged; however, the City does not issue citations or formally close streets. The City provided signage at select intersections. At this time, there are no restrictions on cross streets.
People in cars are urged to go very slowly and use extreme caution in these high pedestrian areas.
Signs designating local traffic only are sited on these road segments:
- Bryant Street: From Embarcadero Rd to Forest Ave (North of Bryant at Embarcadero/Bryant will be restricted for vehicles. Bike and Pedestrian access will remain open.)
- Park Blvd: From Birch Street to Cambridge Ave
- Ross Road: From Colorado Ave to Louis Road
VIEW: Shared Streets detail map
What is allowed on a Shared Street?
- Using the street while walking and running to pass others when the sidewalk is occupied. People should maintain physical distancing and be mindful of vehicles and each other regardless of the mode of travel.
- Emergency vehicles and people who live on the street are allowed access.
- People carrying out essential business activities such as deliveries or take-out orders that start or end on the stretch are also allowed access to the roadway.
- On-street parking regulations are unchanged.
- Refuse collection and street sweeping activities still occur on these temporarily-restricted streets.
What is not allowed on a Shared Street?
- Group gatherings
- Sport activities
- Set up of tables, chairs, play equipment, etc.
If you have concerns or questions about the use of these roadways, you can contact the Office of Transportation (Transportation@CityofPaloAlto.org) or through PaloAlto311. To share program feedback and to suggest more streets to add, please take our online survey.
The Shared Streets program will end in the spring of 2021.