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

Supporting Cities’ Funding Applications

As part of our work to get better biking infrastructure across our two counties, we offer our support to local jurisdictions as they apply for various funding pots. Whether it’s the statewide Active Transportation Program (ATP), nationwide grants, or local level funds, we reach out to cities and the counties to offer our review and support of their grant applications for better bike infrastructure and programs. Because these funding programs for bicycle and pedestrian improvements are always oversubscribed and there are a lot of good projects, support letters from relevant organizations make applications more competitive, can be worth several points in the ranking process, and can be the difference between being awarded a grant or not.

Update on Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan

City Council of Millbrae will hold a study session on the Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan (MSASP) on Tuesday, January 5 at 7:00 pm at City Hall. Following that, there will be a public hearing on the MSASP and the Final Environmental Impact Report on Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 pm at City Hall. This gives you two chances to provide your voice and comments to this plan, which will have a big impact on the future of regional transportation moving forward. SVBC first got involved over the summer, partnering with other organizations to educate residents and stakeholders on some of the key issues .

Page Mill/280 Interim Improvement Process

In the six weeks since cyclist Jeff Donnelly was fatally struck by a vehicle on Page Mill Road near Highway 280, staffers at all the involved agencies have been working to improve, fund, and construct an interim design solution that will boost safety in the short term. SVBC has proposed a forum intended to gather public input and come to consensus on a design. The County Roads and Airports Department would prefer to first meet with technical staff from Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Caltrans, then bring a more fleshed-out design to local cyclists for input. In any case, finding the money necessary for detailed design and construction is first on the to-do list.

Holly St. and Highway 101 update

Freeway crossings are one of the biggest barriers to biking and walking and discourage people from biking for transportation. As highway interchanges are updated, they should include safe and comfortable facilities for all roadway users, for all ages and abilities, which is the definition of Complete Streets. The Holly Street overcrossing of Highway 101 in San Carlos currently has a narrow sidewalk on one side, some fading sharrows, and shoulders adjacent to 4-6 lanes of fast-moving traffic entering and exiting the freeway. Even the most experienced bicycle riders are intimidated by this interchange, with good reason.

Update on Page Mill/280

As many of you know, last week a bicyclist was killed on Page Mill Road near the interchange with Highway 280. This was especially tragic given that SVBC has been working with the various stakeholders (Caltrans, County of Santa Clara, City of Palo Alto, and Town of Los Altos Hills) over several years to make this interchange safer.

In 2014, our Roadway Safety Solutions Team visited the site with engineers and staff from the respective jurisdictions to analyze the site and offer solutions. As Colin mentioned in our previous blog post, there is currently a phased plan on the table. The first stage or “interim” plan requires approval by Caltrans and includes more visible delineation and green paint, similar to nearby Alpine Road at Highway 280. We are currently in conversation with Caltrans and the County of Santa Clara to figure out where the funding for this plan comes from and how to move it forward as quickly as possible.

Fatality at Page Mill Interchange

Yesterday, we learned that a bicyclist was struck by a driver and killed on Page Mill Road, in Palo Alto near the Highway 280 overpass. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of the victim of this tragic collision.

Unfortunately, this is an intersection that Silicon Valley bicyclists know all too well. For over a decade, advocates, including SVBC and the Roadway Safety Solutions Team, have been working to get the area improved for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Questions for Redwood City Council Candidates

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is permitted to educate our members about where candidates for public office stand on our issues. We are not permitted to endorse candidates. Questions were developed with the SVBC San Mateo County Local Team. We emailed all the known candidates for Redwood City City Council and received responses from the following: Alicia Aguirre, Ian Bain, Janet Borgens, Rosanne Foust, Shelly Masur, and Tania Sole. Candidates’ responses are listed in alphabetical order following each question. 1. Should bicyclists be accommodated on El Camino Real through your city? If so, how should the roadway be designed to accommodate them? Alicia Aguirre: Bicyclists [should be accommodated] on El Camino and throughout our City. Unfortunately, not all streets, even El Camino are wide enough. My main concern is safety. We have restriped many streets and are in the process of adding more for bicyclists. Sharing the road with automobiles is a good option, as long as it is safe for all. Ian Bain: I have supported the expansion of bike lanes throughout the city, however, I’m not sure about El Camino. The road is very congested, even during non-peak times, so I’m not sure how well that would work. I will be watching Menlo Park very closely to see how their proposal plays out. Janet Borgens: El Camino is heavily traveled by cars and buses. When I bike El Camino I feel much safer when there is a designated bike lane. As we move towards the Grand Boulevard discussion we should look at opportunities that would accommodate both public transportation, cars and bicycles...

Questions for Belmont City Council Candidates

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is permitted to educate our members about where candidates for public office stand on our issues. We are not permitted to endorse candidates. Questions were developed with the SVBC San Mateo County Local Team. We emailed all the known candidates for Belmont City Council and received responses from Davina Hurt and Dwight Looi. The candidate’s responses are listed following each question. 1. Should bicyclists be accommodated on El Camino Real through your city? If so, how should the roadway be designed to accommodate them? Davina Hurt: Several modes of transportation should be accommodated and supported on El Camino Real. We can look to cities with successful bike programs to see how they have implemented a complete streets application. Personally, I have heard from many bicyclists that protected lanes whether by barriers or clearly outlined on the street surface are needed for safe passage. Close attention needs to be made to retrofitting, signage, and intersections. All in all, the roadway needs to be such that safety is integrated into the design and it is a pleasurable experience that will insight more and more people to get out of their cars for a better and healthier environment. Dwight Looi: Given the small number of bicyclists, I do not believe that it is wise to have a dedicated lane for bicycles. This will take away from flow capacity for cars and exacerbate congestion. 2. A generation ago, half of schoolchildren walked or biked to school. Now, only 15% do. Meanwhile obesity and chronic disease linked to inactivity are soaring. How can your...

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...