As far back as anyone can remember, bikers heading home from M-A faced a grave threat on Oak Grove Avenue: a large tree root protruding into the bike lane. Luckily, the City of Menlo Park has employed a revolutionary tactic to turn this once-deadly threat into a safe haven: spray paint.
In 2011, a tree root next to an apartment building on Oak Grove grew into the bike lane. With its uneven surface and large gash at its peak, the crack posed a threat to all bikers with tires less than 40 millimeters in diameter. In fact, the crack grew so famous that in a recent survey of 170 M-A student bikers, 146 were correctly able to recall the exact latitude and longitude of the crack from memory.
Fortunately, Menlo Park recognized this pressing issue, and decided to step in. The city council knew they had to fix the danger posed by the root, but was also forced to weigh in on the bump’s status as a local legend. “We know how much people love the crack, so we will not be removing it,” stated the front page of the Menlo Park website in 96pt bright blue text. Luckily, after several years of research and development, they arrived at a solution that would please anxious parents and profit-hungry bike repair shops alike: spray painting the top of the crack.
Last Monday afternoon, students biking home were shocked to discover a coating of lime spray paint covering the peak of the crack. “The lime color was actually my idea,” recalls a woman dressed as Menlo Park mayor Betsy Nash. “We needed to make sure the paint was visible, but also blended in nicely with the surroundings. We don’t want to be ruining the look of the street.”
The decision to use spray paint is nothing but a mark of genius. No longer will bikers ever be confused where the split in the pavement is.
Fifth-year M-A student Adam Johnson recalls, “Every day, I would forget about that crack on Oak Grove. And every day, I would feel a slight bump when my bike rolled over it. But now, my eyes are glued to the bright color of the spray paint. Now, I can always anticipate feeling that slight bump.” The statistics agree with him, as well. Ever since the spray paint has gone up, bike accidents resulting from the crack have fallen by 100%, from 0 accidents per year to a staggering 0.
Of course, ten feet away from the crack lies another, much less infamous fracture. With its seam lying parallel to the road, this crack may seem more dangerous than the aforementioned tree root. However, judging by which of the two cracks generated a response, this is not the case.
The M-A administration declined to comment on the situation. Instead, an automated response replied back to my emails with a PSA about how I need to wear a helmet and lock my bike with a U-Lock.