Safe and Comfortable Freeway Crossings

We see highway and freeway crossings (or lack thereof) as the biggest barrier to riding a bike today. With multiple lanes, high traffic speeds, grade changes, and inhospitable landings, current crossings and intersections can be extremely intimidating for even a confident bicyclist. In other cases, there is no appropriate crossing for pedestrians and people on bikes for miles, which creates a disconnection between communities. Both of these issues make it difficult or impossible for people who bike to conveniently get around. We are working through multiple venues to create safe and comfortable highway crossings through both counties.


Recent News

2015 Silicon Valley Bike Summit Recap

Thanks to all who attended the 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit! Did you miss it? See below for more information and a chance to hear a podcast of the day. You can also view the archive of all tweets from the Summit as well as photos from the event. The Summit was a great day learning about safety and active transportation in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and we enjoyed seeing people from the non-profit, private, and public sectors as well as local residents and advocates! A special thanks to our high level sponsors. Stanford Health Care was our presenting sponsor and co-host, and many thanks to Microsoft and Emison Hullervson LLP for their generous support. We would like to also thank Genze, Palo Alto Bicycles, Paoli & Geerhart, Gary Brustin, Dero, Bank of the West, and M-Group. The opening plenary featured Nuria Fernandez, head of VTA, and Jim Hartnett, head of the San Mateo County Transit District. Our own President Shiloh Ballard moderated a fascinating conversation between them about their respective counties’ involvement in bicycling, safety, and the future of transit. Audience questions touched on funding through sales tax measures, bike access on trains and buses, bike maps, El Camino Real, and equity in transportation. Next, Jessica Osborne and Corina Chung of San Mateo County Health System (SMCHS) and Susan Lowery and Pamela Amparo of Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) presented on collision and injury data involving people who bike and walk. Check out the presentations from San Mateo County Health System and Santa Clara County Public Health Department. We learned that: In SMC,...

Peninsula bike advocacy roundup

It’s been a busy week for bike advocacy on the Peninsula! We sent out comment letters on three issues affecting bicycling: one discussed a new redesign proposal for the Page Mill Road crossing of Highway 280, one weighed in on the Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan, and one urged the City of Belmont to utilize a scheduled repaving of Old County Road as an opportunity to add bike lanes that connect to neighboring communities. Have an issue you’d like to see SVBC act on? Attend a meeting of one of our Local Teams or send us a Position Recommendation Form to...

Friends of Future Millbrae launched to educate residents on Station Area Plan

On Tuesday night, a group of non-profits (including SVBC) and local residents called Friends of Future Millbrae convened a community workshop to educate residents about the potential benefits, impacts, and concerns of Millbrae’s Station Area Specific Plan (MSASP). The plan is an update from the original 1998 plan. It includes updates to zoning, circulation, design, and other guidelines for the specific plan area, immediately surrounding Millbrae’s BART and Caltrain station. This multimodal transit station is one of the busiest on the Peninsula, servicing not only the two train lines, but also connections to San Francisco Airport. It will also serve as one of a few High Speed Rail train stops in the Bay Area (the other two being San Jose and San Francisco) on a blended system with Caltrain. Currently, the station is surrounded by parking lots and effectively disconnected from the Millbrae community through the barriers of Millbrae Ave. and El Camino Real. However, this station is a commute hub for Millbrae and other nearby communities like San Bruno, Burlingame, and San Mateo to access employment and other destinations north and south. This plan and two proposed Transit-oriented Developments could be a real game changer in terms of connections for Millbrae and nearby cities. Friends of Future Millbrae is an ad hoc group of local Millbrae residents and non-profit organizations including the Millbrae Cool Cities Team, the Sierra Club Sustainable Land Use Committee, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, Friends of Caltrain, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and public health advocates. We are dedicated to making the proposed (MSASP) the best transit-oriented development possible to benefit the...

South San Francisco Downtown Plan and new Caltrain station approved

The City of South San Francisco recently passed their Downtown Station Area Plan by unanimous vote. Just a week later, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) voted authorize allocation of $49.1 million in original Measure A funds to the City of SSF for Caltrain Station improvements. SVBC has been working as part of the South San Francisco Community Benefits Coalition for over a year now in support of these two things. The South City Community Benefits Coalition worked over the course of three years with a dozen community and labor organizations and hundreds of city residents to develop a community consensus around a four-point platform that included: Greener and healthier development alternatives, Affordable homes and homelessness solutions, Efficient affordable public transit with bicycle and pedestrian transportation options, and Building businesses and creating good jobs in our community. The final plan is great for bikes. The plan builds upon the City’s 2011 Bicycle Master Plan by planning for key east-west and north-south routes, including a new bicycle and pedestrian tunnel to the relocated Caltrain station, bike lanes on Grand Avenue (the main commercial street), a Colma Creek Canal Trail over the train tracks, and other bike lanes connecting to the east side of the city. This plan hinges on the relocation of the Caltrain station south to line up with Grand Ave. and the completion of a pedestrian and bicycle undercrossing that would connect downtown to the Caltrain platform as well as the east side of the city. I attended the SMCTA meeting in which they approved the funding for this important project to speak in favor. I was...

Campaign update: Bicycle friendly Downtown Station Area Plan in South San Francisco

South San Francisco released their draft Downtown Station Area Plan last month after months of delay. Over the last year, SVBC has been working as part of a Community Benefits Coalition to ensure positive bicycle improvements in the Station Area Plan. We are pleased with the results of the Draft Plan. The Plan builds upon the City’s 2011 Bicycle Master Plan by planning for key east-west and north-south routes, including a new bicycle and pedestrian tunnel to the relocated Caltrain station, bike lanes on Grand Avenue, a Colma Creek Canal Trail over the train tracks, and other bike lanes connecting to the east side of the City. We are working with the Coalition to draft a detailed analysis of the Draft Plan with recommendations. We welcome you to read the Plan and add your comments below. While we think the routes are great, we would like to see the City put a little more effort into extra improvements that will really encourage those who don’t already bike to do so, like buffered or protected bike lanes and way-finding signage with key destinations. The City will be holding community workshops to gather feedback about the Draft Plan in the next few...

California state Active Transportation Program funding announced

The California Transportation Commission has published their recommendations for the statewide Active Transportation Program (ATP). This year saw a change in the way that local projects received state funding by pooling the money from previously separate funds, including the Safe Routes to School state funding, Federal Transportation Alternative Program, and others. The 2014 ATP will cover a two-year period from 2014-15 through 2015-16. The 2014 ATP represents $368.079 million in funding capacity for the following program components (a minimum of 25% of all ATP funds must benefit disadvantaged communities): Statewide (50% or $184.04 million): Safe Routes to School ($72 million with $21.6 million for non-infrastructure) Small Urban & Rural (10% or $36.808 million) Large Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) (40% or $147.232 million) 771 applications were received for projects valued in excess of $1 billion, an oversubscription of the program to say the least. This large amount of projects shows that active transportation programs and projects really demand more money than is currently being allocated at the local, state and federal level. However, many projects not recommended for the statewide program component remain eligible for the MPO program component, which will be governed in our area by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Of the 13 San Mateo County applications and 18 Santa Clara County applications (31 total), the California Transportation Commission is recommending only 2 of those projects for funding. Congratulations to East Palo Alto for being funded for $8,600,000 of their total project cost of $9,400,00 for the Highway 101 Pedestrian and Bicycle Overcrossing! We wrote a letter of support as this project contributes to SVBC’s Initiative to create...

South San Francisco walking tour highlights areas for improvement

This post was written by Adina Levin of Friends of Caltrain On March 22, over 30 people, including all city council members and several planning commissioners gathered in downtown South San Francisco for a walking tour of sites that show the important decisions that will need to be made for the upcoming South San Francisco Downtown Station Area Plan. This event was organized by a coalition that Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a part of that has been working on, including better bike access in the Downtown Station Area Plan, among other benefits to the community. At the South San Francisco Caltrain parking lot, Lawrence Henriquez, an Associate Civil Engineer with the City of South San Francisco talked about the City’s plans to improve connections between the Caltrain station to the downtown and industrial area, uniting the two parts of the city. The photo below shows the challenge of station access today – behind the shuttle, you can see the multi-story metal staircase needed to climb to reach the sidewalk, which is adjacent to a freeway offramp. The project will add an undercrossing for pedestrians and bicyclists, move the station southwards, and separate the northbound and southbound platforms for safety. The City has recently won a grant to update the design for improved station and pedestrian undercrossing, and is applying with Caltrain for federal funding to implement the project. Council member Karyl Matsumoto spoke about the importance of the improved station to the future of the downtown area. In the business park area to the East of the train station, (the area where Genentech is headquartered) Dan Sherman, a...

A launching point under Highway 280

People enjoying a bike ride into or out of Portola Valley along Alpine Road can breathe a sigh of relief as they pedal their way through this picturesque slice of San Mateo County. Once one of the most intimidating freeway underpasses in the county, this junction with Highway 280 has now been repainted, with bike lanes on both sides dyed a bright green and outlined with striped white buffers. The new design is meant to give people on bikes – and the motorists whizzing by on the way to the highway – a clear and safe route through the underpass. The troubling history of this intersection made it a priority location for an innovative redesign. Nearly three years ago, cyclist Lauren Ward was tragically struck and killed by a truck as it approached the 280 on-ramp. Before the redesign, the bike lanes on Alpine Road disappeared as they approached the ramps, leaving a lot of guesswork for bike riders and drivers. In the years since the collision, Ward’s husband Bob has collaborated with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to advocate for safer infrastructure – particularly improved highway crossings. “This is a great improvement in bicycle safety and is a great example of San Mateo County and Caltrans working quickly to make things happen,” says Bob. This morning, we organized an event to commemorate the completion of the fantastic new facility. Bob Ward, Chris Hunter of San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley’s office, Santa Clara County Supervisor and former California State Senator Joe Simitian, Caltrans Deputy District Director for Planning and Local Assistance Lee Taubeneck, CHP Captain Mike Maskarich, and me,...

Alpine Road goes green

Thanks to our intrepid volunteer videographer, Lee Cuthbert, we have exclusive video of Alpine Road under Highway 280 as it got the green treatment earlier today! Once one of the most intimidating freeway underpasses in San Mateo County, this junction with Highway 280 is being repainted with bike lanes on both sides dyed a bright green and outlined with striped white buffers. The new design gives people on bikes – and the motorists whizzing by on the way to the highway – a clear and safe route through the...