My comments to San Mateo County Supervisors on county bike coordinator

Yesterday morning, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors agenda included a “Budget Workshop.” For some time, SVBC has wanted to see the hiring of a countywide bicycle coordinator, so I went to the meeting to make this request. Here is what I said to the Board:

Good Morning President Horsley and members of the Board.

My name is Colin Heyne, I’m the Deputy Director of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. I’m here today to ask that, as you consider the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, you consider the creation of a position that can help make San Mateo County a healthier, cleaner, more connected place: a countywide bicycle coordinator.

Most of our neighboring counties have such a staff position. Whether they are called Countywide Bicycle Coordinator or not, their job is to oversee implementation of the Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, establish guidelines for bicycle facilities constructed in the County, help municipalities coordinate when building bicycle infrastructure that crosses jurisdictional boundaries, and, perhaps most importantly, bring funds into the county for construction of bicycle projects and oversee their distribution.

The importance of this last role was highlighted last week, when a countywide call for bicycle and pedestrian project proposals as part of the One Bay Area Grant process was undersubscribed to the tune of over $2 million dollars. The staff at C/CAG does an excellent job at securing and awarding funding for many transportation projects throughout the County, but without a dedicated staff position, bicycle infrastructure often seems to fall through the cracks. A dedicated bicycle coordinator would be a valuable step toward realizing the ambitious goals that C/CAG and its Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have set forth in the County Bike and Pedestrian Plan.

As our area works to implement State Senate bill 375, and changes the way it plans for growth and transportation, it is imperative that the County has the foresight to bring on board someone who has the skill set to help us keep residents of San Mateo County mobile in a sustainable, healthy way.

Thank you.

After I spoke, Supervisor Adrienne Tissier explained to me that her office was looking into creating just such a position! She's currently looking into C/CAG's capacity and trying to determine the best agency to house a coordinator. SVBC looks forward to working with Supervisor Tissier on this exciting development.

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