On August 2, SamTrans staff presented their Board of Directors with draft recommendations for the Dumbarton Corridor. This corridor presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop the safest and highest quality bike/ped transportation alternative in this critically underserved community along an abandoned rail corridor. Their recommendations do not include a bike/ped trail, so the work has just begun.
Bike/Ped Trail Not Recommended
Unfortunately, the draft study DOES NOT recommend a bike/ped trail on the Dumbarton rail right of way between Redwood City and the Dumbarton Bridge.
The recommendations are for a phased approach that would include express buses and lanes over the vehicle bridge, which would continue onto the corridor, and an eventual rail connection from Redwood City to Newark, Union City, and Fremont. Because the study envisions the express buses alongside rail on the corridor from the bridges to Redwood City, staff contends that there is not enough room to include a bike/ped trail.
See Friends of Caltrain’s recap for a thorough summary of the recommendations and transit details.
Why We Believe in a Bike/Ped Trail for Dumbarton Corridor
Coexist with Transit in Short and Long Term
There is 100’ of available right of way (ROW) on the corridor. The minimum width of a bike/ped trail, according to California’s Highway Design Manual, is 12’, which includes two 2’ buffers adjacent to an 8’ trail. To fit all three modes of transportation at the minimum allowable width would require a 103-foot ROW. To fit all three modes at the ideal width for each mode would be 127’, including a 16’ trail.
It is SVBC’s opinion that a phased approach to transit would allow all needs to coexist. The first phase would include a busway next to a bike/ped trail. This could happen quickly, within the next few years. When rail comes online between 2025 and 2030, the buses could either be moved to the street network and/or depending on the ridership, replaced by rail trips, and the bike/ped trail would remain.
Low Cost Option
The draft study estimates that a bike/ped trail would cost $60 million in capital costs, including overpasses at Willow, Marsh, University, and US 101. That is one of the most expensive bike/ped projects we have ever heard of and there may be alternate solutions to the overpasses that would lower the cost. At the same time, it is much less expensive than the proposed transit projects, which are in the $1-2 billion range. In addition, the bike/ped trail would be highly competitive for the California Active Transportation Program (ATP), which funds bicycle and pedestrian projects and prioritizes those that benefit disadvantaged communities.
A bike/ped trail would free to the public and open 24/7, serving locals and commuters alike.
The current bike network in this area is disconnected and at places, unsafe. Off street trails are a safe and attractive option, encouraging more people to bike. This is borne out with high bike counts from nearby Stevens Creek Trail and Guadalupe River Trail.
According to a national travel survey, about 40 percent of trips are shorter than two miles (about a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute bike ride). There is unmet demand for this type of facility for short trips with the potential to remove car trips on local roads, reducing congestion and pollution.
The draft study’s transit options do not include weekend service and only includes limited evening service. There is the potential for transit on this corridor to cater mostly to commuters traveling from the East Bay to employment on the Peninsula. A trail would be available to commuters, but would also be accessible to the many residents of Redwood City, North Fair Oaks, East Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and other nearby communities. This trail would not only provide a much-needed safe biking and walking option for transportation but health and recreation opportunities as well.
Make Your Voice Heard: write a letter and/or attend a meeting
The full draft study will be released no later than August 15, right before two public meetings are held to present the preliminary recommendations (see dates below). There will be a 45-day public comment period. A final version will be taken back to the SamTrans Board of Directors on October 4 (tentative).
Thanks to the many people who already sent emails to the Samtrans Board of Directors and their local city councils expressing support for a bike/ped trail on this corridor. You can also attend one of the following meetings to make a public comment or send an email (see info below).
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
6:30 – 7:30 pm
Union City Library
34007 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City, CA 94587
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
6:30 – 7:30 pm
East Palo Alto Library/City Hall
2415 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Thursday, August 17, 2017
San Mateo County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
7 – 9 pm
San Mateo City Hall
330 W 20th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403
Thursday, August 24, 2017
North Fair Oaks Community Council
7 – 9 pm
Fair Oaks Community Center,
2600 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Redwood City Complete Street Advisory Committee
6 – 8 pm
Redwood City Hall
1017 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA
Menlo Park City Council TBD
Comments will be recorded at meetings; additional comments can be submitted in the following ways:
Mail: Attention Melissa Reggiardo,
San Mateo County Transit District,
P.O. Box 3006,
1250 San Carlos Avenue,
San Carlos, CA 94070