The future of SVBC advocacy

On a recent ride from San José to a meeting in Palo Alto, I was checking out the different facilities in each city along the way. Every city has distinctive signage and street markings; It's really fascinating. I found myself thinking that it would be wonderful to have a better understanding of the actual conditions on the ground–so to speak–in all of the communities that SVBC serves. So on this ride I began to ponder… I'd like to see more of our area, by bike, to really understand the challenges and opportunities that our constituencies face. SVBC's goal is to make cycling safe, convenient, and fun–and there are so many factors to look at in each community in our efforts to meet this objective. So, I've decided to challenge you–our members and our cycling public–to invite the SVBC staff to take a ride with you. Show us your communities' triumphs, along with their challenges. We need to understand the roadways as you understand them. This will strengthen our understanding and inform our advocacy. Your voice is crucial. Please email me at corinne@bikesiliconvalley.org to set up rides with SVBC staff members. And please, understand that depending on demand, we may not be able to schedule immediately. This is an in-depth process. We want to spend an appropriate amount of time integrating information about each community in the Silicon Valley and Peninsula region, to enhance our understanding of opportunities and challenges, and thus, our effectiveness advocating for...

Over the Hill with Alison Tetrick

This Sunday, SVBC member John Novitsky hosted a ride (not a date) and brunch with special guest rider, racer Alison Tetrick. This event was an auction item at our Annual Dinner last October, won by a couple of our friends in the Over the Hill Club. Unfortunately I have the flu and couldn't join them but it sure looks like they had...

Alpine Road / Highway 280 update

San Mateo County Department of Public Works has prepared a modified design of Alpine Road under Highway 280 after incorporating some of our input. Due to their grant funding timeline, this is moving very quickly and they will be submitting their encroachment permit to Caltrans in the very near future–probably next week. Our window for making minor adjustments to the design is short, and it's probably not reasonable to expect major changes without derailing the project entirely. At the District 4 Caltrans Bicycle Advisory Committee yesterday we were able to check out the County's current design. I took some photos which are included here. I hope to get some pdfs from the County but for now I thought people might like to see my photos. One note on the design–there is a portion of the drawing where the green of the bike lane appears solid inside the dashed white lines, but if you refer to the “pavement delineation detail” on file #4 you'll note that the green is also...

Caltrans approves some safety elements for Alpine at 280

We’ve received encouraging news from San Mateo County’s Public Works Department regarding the Alpine Road/Highway 280 underpass, a project that we’ve previously discussed here and here. Essentially, Caltrans regulations have put Public Works in a position where the department either needs to proceed with a design that SVBC did not originally support, or do nothing at all to the highly problematic interchange. We responded to that situation with several suggestions, presented in this letter. Department representatives met with Caltrans recently to determine which of SVBC’s suggested design elements could be accepted without further analysis, and some positive news has come from that meeting. Though Caltrans generally requires 12-foot minimum outside lanes, they will accept an 11-foot through lane and reduced width for 280-southbound traffic. This will free up space to provide eight feet for bicycle traffic, which will be utilized for a four-foot bicycle lane with two-foot painted buffers on each side. Moreover, Caltrans has agreed to our request for green coloring on the bike lanes in conflict zones (areas where auto traffic merges across the bike lane) and is in the process of confirming whether green lanes will be allowed to extend beyond the conflict zones. We encourage them to allow this safety enhancement. Though we still face a situation in which Caltrans prioritizes fast moving automobile traffic over the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians, at SVBC we’re glad to see progress being made. We’re also appreciative of the County’s efforts to work with the cycling community throughout this process – and we are following up with those staff members to see if we can add other suggested...

Support SVBC with an end-of-year gift

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a young woman about her commute to work. She wanted to start riding her bike, but didn’t know where to start. I pulled out a county bike map to help her figure out a route. Immediately, I saw that the map was way out of date.   “It doesn’t show it, but there’s a bike lane here, and that dotted green should be solid – that was finished months ago. Also, there’s a bike bridge here now, and this gap was closed last spring…”   Time to swap out my maps, I thought. How old is this thing?   I turned the map over to discover that I actually had the newest edition – just a little over a year old. And it occurred to me, we did that! Advocates across two counties, through years of speaking up, reaching out, and fighting back, have gotten things moving forward so quickly that the maps can’t keep up! In the last few years, our area has seen an unprecedented spread of bigger, better bike lanes; new bike and pedestrian bridges; bike parking that encourages people to ride to work and shopping; and, most importantly, a new mindset among planners and decision makers that is leading to bike facilities being considered whenever roads are being built, redesigned, or repaved.   Wonderful as this trend is, it does not mean we are about to rest on our laurels. More than ever, we need to work hard to improve the knowledge, skills, and behavior of both people on bikes and motorists. That’s why, as we continue...