Thanks to some dedicated Peninsula cyclists, Caltrans District 4 has stepped in to consider alternatives to a dangerous Pacifica intersection. Recently, SVBC members, Pacifica city staff, and Caltrans Bicycle Coordinator Ina Gerhard conducted a site visit to consider ways to make the intersection safer.
Pat Giorni, a local cyclist, sums it up when she states, "When bicycling south along CA-35, Skyline Drive, the rider comes across a difficult situation just before the intersection of Skyridge Drive, westbound. What should be a normal intersection has become a forest of poles, median dividers and lane markings that leave no place for bicyclists to safely continue along Skyline Drive."
She continues to list two unpleasant options for cyclists, "...to stay to the left of the poles, which since the poles are placed immediately beside the single traffic lane, with no shoulder or bicycle lane, moves him/her into the lane of 50 mph automobile traffic. That lane is bordered on the other side by two sets of double-yellow lines, leaving drivers disinclined to move over for the cyclists if they even see them. For even faster moving cyclists, this often means cars are overtaking with zero clearance at a 30+ mph speed difference.
Pat continues, "...to move to the right of the poles into the right-turn-only lane. This reduces the chance of interaction with overtaking vehicles, but causes the cyclist to have to slow down and maneuver around three separate road islands of poles and curbs before rejoining Skyline Drive southbound."
The intersection is the only outlet for a subdivision of just under 100 homes. As Ina Gerhard states, "The developer of the subdivison got an encroachment permit from Caltrans about 12 years ago to put up the first version of the barriers. The city does no maintenance, as they see it as part of the Caltrans right-of-way."
This risky intersection was brought to the attention of Caltrans when Pat had the item put on the Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Advisory Committee agenda back in January of 2009. However, with turnover at Caltrans the item was put back on the agenda when Ina stepped in last summer. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition thanks Ina Gerhard for her quick response on this important issue. Stay tuned. We look forward to the date they are actually removed and will keep you posted.
Photos credit: Pat Giorni