In a vote rolling us one more pedal stroke forward in a long process to open up the Dumbarton Rail Corridor to new uses, the SamTrans Board of Directors voted to adopt the Corridor Study on December 6th. If you’ve been following along, you know that this is a priority campaign for SVBC. In particular, we’re angling for a multi-use trail that includes bicyclists from the Dumbarton Bridge to Downtown Redwood City.

Initially, this step in the process was brought to life by Facebook over two years ago. With an interest in employee mobility and congestion relief, Facebook offered to fund a Corridor Study. Thank you Facebook! It is with their support that this study was made possible.

The study examined space constraints and assessed how to plan this corridor. Unfortunately, SVBC’s hopes for a bike path were dashed when the initial staff recommendation concluded that only rail and bus could fit, not bikes too. Why, you ask? The proximity of bicyclists/pedestrians to rail and buses raises safety concerns.

Safety is a serious issue. However, SVBC believes that there might be some creative ways of allocating space on the corridor in order to safely allow all users. Working together with other committed stakeholders – Peninsula Open Space Trust, Youth United for Community Action, Transform, Friends of Caltrain, MenloSpark and others – We turned to you to help communicate this message. As a result, after hearing from the community, SamTrans staff modified their recommendation in order to continue to explore a bike option. (In fact, SamTrans said that the bike issue was the issue they heard the most about.)

Yay!

This small step forward happened in part because of you, the supporters of SVBC. You wrote letters, sent emails and attended community meetings to encourage continued exploration of a multi-use trail. This is a wonderful example of democracy in action where a responsive public agency sincerely listened to the community and modified its thinking when legitimate questions were raised. Thank you SamTrans staff and thank you to those of you in the community who responded to the calls to action.

At the hearing, Commissioners Groom, Pine, Matsumoto, Powell and Kersteen-Tucker came out strong for a bike path. A motion to accept the staff recommendation with a slight modification to strengthen the commitment to bicyclists was passed unanimously. With that vote, SamTrans has moved one step closer to alleviating traffic congestion by opening up the Dumbarton Rail Corridor.

SVBC appreciates the hard work of SamTrans to move this project along and looks forward to working with staff on the next phase. There’s still a long way to go and we will continue to call upon you to communicate the need for a complete transportation ecosystem that includes bikes.