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.

Community Serving

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
RSVP here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
6:30 – 7:30 pm
East Palo Alto Library/City Hall
Community Room
2415 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA 94303
RSVP here.

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

August 22, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Menlo Park City Council
Menlo Park City Hall
701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park

August 24, 2017 at 7 p.m.
North Fair Oaks Community Council
Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Road, Redwood City

August 30, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
SamTrans Citizens Advisory Committee
Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 940701250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 94070

September 5, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
San Mateo County Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee
Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 94070

September 6, 2017 at 8 a.m.
Palo Alto Rail Committee
Palo Alto City Hall
250 Hamilton
Palo Alto, CA 94301

September 7, 2017 at 10 a.m.
JPB Board Meeting
Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 94070

September 7, 2017 at 5 p.m.
San Mateo County Transportation Authority Board Meeting
Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium
1250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 940701250 San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 94070

September 11, 2017 at 7 p.m.
East Palo Alto Planning Commission
City Council Chambers
2415 University Ave
East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Redwood City Complete Streets Advisory Committee
Redwood City Hall
1017 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA 94063

September 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Public Meeting
Mark Green Sports Center
31224 Union City Blvd., Union City, CA 94587
RSVP here.

September 19, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
East Palo Alto City Council
City Council Chambers
2415 University Ave
East Palo Alto, CA 94303

September 25, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Public Meeting
Menlo Park Senior Center
100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
RSVP here.

September 27, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
AC Transit Board Meeting
2nd Floor Board Room
1600 Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 9461

Comments can be submitted in the following ways:

Email: reggiardom@samtrans.com
Telephone: 650-508-6283
Mail: Attention Melissa Reggiardo,
San Mateo County Transit District,
P.O. Box 3006,
1250 San Carlos Avenue,
San Carlos, CA 94070