San Carlos: Holly interchange update and letter

The City of San Carlos is expanding the Holly interchange. There are two options currently being considered. One is with on-road lanes and sharrows, with difficult high-speed traffic conditions and crossing through motorists who are using through/right lanes getting onto 101 South from eastbound Holly. The other proposes a separated pathway on the south side of Holly that travels under the on-ramps and over the freeway.

The item came to the Caltrans BAC, on which Corinne sits, and a majority of the committee, many of whom are vehicular cyclists, liked the on-road option better, citing maintenance and safety issues that they thought would plague the separated facility.

At SVBC’s San Mateo County Committee meeting in early June, the committee determined that it did not agree with the Caltrans BAC and would prefer if the separated facility was the option selected. SVBC has also asked the city to consider installing a westbound bike lane on Holly over 101 so that westbound cyclists aren’t forced to cross Holly to get to the separated facility on the south side of the intersection. There are few conflict points with motor vehicles for cyclists traveling west on Holly.

The San Carlos Transportation and Circulation Committee will review the proposals at its June 19 meeting.

SVBC has drafted a letter (PDF, 1 MB) to the City of San Carlos:

June 18, 2012

Al Savay
Acting Public Works Director
City of San Carlos
600 Elm St.
San Carlos, CA 94070

VIA Email: asavay@cityofsancarlos.org

Dear Mr. Savay,

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a member-based bicycle advocacy organization that works to expand and improve bicycling participation and facilities in Santa Clara and San Mateo County.

We have reviewed the proposals San Carlos is considering regarding modifying the Holly/ 101 interchange area. We are would like to see the proposed modifications increase safety and convenience for current and potential bicyclists.

We see that the plan includes increasing the number of vehicle lanes on east-bound Holly Street leading to north-bound Hwy 101, from one lane to two lanes. We believe this will inherently increase motor vehicle traffic and speed, in spite of efforts to the contrary (shown under option 1-G: new traffic signal, more squared-off turning area). In addition, the right hand/through lane to the left of a right turn only lane is problematic for through-traveling cyclists. We believe the road treatments provided under option 1-G (green-painted lane, sharrows, splitter island) will be inadequate to assure safety for bicyclists, and will deter all but the most hardy of cyclists.

The Class I path proposed under option 1-H will not cause any significant danger to path users–San Carlos is an area with minimal crime. The maintenance concerns regarding the path are offset by similar maintenance requirements of the POC described in option 1-G.

It appears that the inadequacy of option 1-G is being acknowledged by the addition of the POC–a separated bike/ped bridge proposed farther south over 101. However, due to probable funding problems and delays, the POC is likely the final part constructed under this option. The prospect for bicyclists of lingering many years with option 1-G, before the POC is built, is a dim prospect for safety.

Regarding west-bound Holly Street crossing Hwy. 101, we urge the City to create a Class II bike lane all the way over the freeway. There are very few conflict points along this alignment with turning motorists, and providing a lane for cyclists traveling west will allow them the option of not crossing over Holly to reach the separated pathway on the southern side of the interchange. Sharrows alone would be inadequate to ensure safety for bicyclists along this roadway.

Please pursue option 1-H, with an added Class II bike lane for west-bound bicyclists.

Sincerely,

Corinne Winter
President & Executive Director

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