Published on November 21, 2012,

Ellen Fletcher for City CouncilPerhaps the greatest of Great American Heroes, Ellen Fletcher, died on November 7 at age 83. The long-time Palo Alto resident served on the city council from 1978 to 1989, and was a tireless advocate for better conditions for bicycling and a fierce critic of the city’s auto-centric policies. “We’ve always put concentration on moving more cars faster,” she told the Palo Alto Weekly in July 2011, “It’s really the wrong policy.”

We couldn’t agree more. This Peninsula Bike Party, we honor the woman who brought into existence some of the best bicycle infrastructure in the Bay Area, and who inspired countless other bicycle advocates to push for improvements elsewhere. Her relentless lobbying and volunteer work gave birth to the county’s very first Bicycle Boulevard (Bryant Street), a concept that has since spread nationwide.

We’ll tour Palo Alto’s bicycle boulevards and bike bridges that wouldn’t exist without Ellen Fletcher, and visit locations that are next up to be improved for bicycling according to Palo Alto’s brand-new Bicycle + Pedestrian Transportation Plan.

Meet at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Street, Palo Alto on Friday, November 23 at 7:30 pm. The ride will include a party stop on Caltrain (fare: $2.50), which first allowed bikes on board back in 1992 thanks to Ellen’s advocacy work.

R.I.P. Ellen Fletcher. Read more about Ellen herehere, and over here too.