Help us repave Skyline Road in San Mateo County

As many of you know, the condition of Highway 35 (Skyline Road) has been seriously degraded after a recent chip seal paving job. With your help, I believe we can get Skyline repaved. Please read on for more background and what specific action you can take today to make it happen. SVBC has been working with Caltrans to find solutions to the issue–hosting meetings with Caltrans staff to examine the roadways, etc. We've really appreciated their openness to engage with us on this issue and try to proactively find solutions. However–we have come to conclude that no matter how many of the 200+ potholes (see below for more info) they repair on Hwy 35, there remains the fact that the roadway is extremely rough due to the large diameter chip seal that was used, among other road surface issues. (SVBC has successfully taken steps to ensure that the max size of chip seal in Caltrans' specifications has been reduced, so this won't happen on our roads in the future.) At this time, we have decided to find some political support to help bring Caltrans the funding to repave Skyline. If you've ridden Skyline and are as dismayed as we are by the road's condition, we're asking you to share your thoughts with Jeremy Dennis, who is the director of State Assembly Member Rich Gordon's district office. Please take a moment to email him now at Jeremy.Dennis@asm.ca.gov and share your concerns about Hwy 35. The more emails he receives, the more he will understand the importance of this issue to the people traveling through the 24th District. More info on...

Tuscany bicycling adventures

For my vacation this summer, I am–FINALLY–cycling in Tuscany, Italy, and an area in north Lazio known as Tuscania. I have stayed in some interesting places–a farm practicing sustainable farming and olive oil production (they sell to tony New York restaurants) as well as the typical places in Florence and Rome and a hotel in the Tuscan countryside. During the time spent in the countryside, the focus has been on cycling. First, an amazing ride to and around Lake Bolsena, and then some rides in Tuscany with Volterra and San Gimignano as lunch spots. What fun! It's been a few years since I've been to this part of the world, and I can report that it certainly doesn't disappoint. The Italians have a reputation for driving like crazy people–but actually, except for one or two vehicles that I suspect were driven by tourists, the motorists have been extremely polite and conscientious of passing at a safe distance. If they needed to pass at 3 feet, they slowed WAY down. If they passed at more than five feet, they might be going at a good clip. Anyhow, I really appreciate the concern they seemed to show for bicyclists on the road. The other thing that makes me feel safe is that most of the cars are really small. It just feels so different being passed by a compact car versus a behemoth SUV. As for the bikes, for you equipment nuts out there–we brought our Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pros. We've had these bikes for about five years and they've been ridden in France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, and some islands...

RSST strategic plan unveiled

The collaborative Roadway Safety Solutions Team (RSST), part of our Vision Zero initiative, recently adopted its two-year strategic plan. The work of the collaborative will focus on the following areas–with the first two being the primary focal areas: 1. Intersections of concern & inter-agency connectivity In the last year, the RSST's Infrastructure Committee reviewed existing bike maps, technical guidelines, and crash data. They identified sites at which to conduct an inter-agency design review. In the next two years, they plan to continue site visits and skill sharing between jurisdictions, with part of the goal being to eventually achieve greater uniformity within Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, with infrastructure that moves beyond minimum standards. 2. Share the Road messaging Within the past year, the RSST reviewed campaigns around the nation for best practices, hosted a brainstorming session in partnership with IDEO to generate “out of the box” ideas for improving bicycle safety in our region, held follow up meetings after the brainstorming session and strategized about how to move into an experimental phase for engaging our community of motorists and people on bikes. Our goal in the next two years is to roll out a quality messaging campaign that will positively affect roadway behavior. 3. Safe Routes to Schools The RSST would like to see standardized bike/ped safety curriculum and active-transportation encouragement in all schools. The group will work with local and state leaders as opportunities arise to make this a reality. The RSST will not be getting involved directly in administration or delivery of Safe Routes programs, but may have occasional opportunity to support our partners' work. 4....

320 glorious miles

A couple of weeks ago I went on my first multi-day supported ride–the Climate Ride–320 miles down the northern California coastline from Fortuna to San Francisco. What an amazing experience! We rode through the giant redwoods and along a beautiful coastline with perfect weather. My first century was tucked into it on the third day, as well–thank goodness for tailwinds and cappuccinos. Team SVBC raised money to support–you guessed it–Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and the work we are doing to create sustainable transportation choices. It is refreshing that there is finally a cause ride that benefits our work to make environmentally-friendly and health-promoting transportation options a safe, convenient, and realistic choice for people of all ages. Funds raised will go straight to our advocacy work in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The ride was an absolutely incredible experience, and what a great group of people–all 150 of them are now friends. I would highly encourage any of you who may be interested to consider joining me next May for the Climate Ride on Team SVBC. Check out their website for more info and let me know if you're interested in joining our team. Special thanks go out to Karl and Steve, my fearless and fantastic team members in 2012! We shared in some special moments and I will be forever indebted to them for pulling me through headwinds on the fourth day. That's all I can say, folks–as team captain Karl said: what happens on the Climate Ride, stays on the Climate...

Chip seal on Highway 35

Last Friday, SVBC hosted a meeting with local advocates and Caltrans representatives to discuss the recent chip seal maintenance job on Highway 35. SVBC heard from a number of our members that the riding experience on Highway 35 had been significantly degraded as a result of the recent chip seal–and we responded. Our invitation to Caltrans resulted in eight of their staff members meeting with us on site to discuss the issues that cyclists face on Highway 35, and how those have been affected by the recent resurfacing. Part of this issue is that environmental regulations have compelled the agency to utilize a rubberized binder for the chip seal, and this is still undergoing experimentation. Caltrans is undertaking a study with UC Davis to determine how to improve the chip seal road condition for cyclists (see http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/projects/chip_seal/index.htm). Caltrans plans on testing the study's various options on Highway 1 in central California. One of SVBC's goals is to have Caltrans also study the road surfaces in Silicon Valley. Caltrans staff admitted that the success of the application of chip seal varies depending on weather and other environmental factors, so we'd like to see the study options demonstrated on Highway 35 in addition to Highway 1 down south. Bicycle advocates had marked a number of trouble areas (emerging potholes) on Highway 35 in advance of the meeting. Caltrans maintenance representatives assured us that they would mitigate the issues, but that it may take several months due to funding constraints. The chip seal used on Highway 35 was consistent with a specification that is now out of date–that of a 1/2″ aggregate...