News

Bike lane all but certain at intersection of Alpine and I-280, where cyclist died

Click on map to enlarge and see caption.

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Bikes heading westbound on Sand Hill Road as they approach Interstate 280 have the option of merging with traffic into a bike lane that, as it crosses the freeway, centers the cyclists in between two lanes of traffic, one headed for the freeway and the other up Sand Hill and on into Woodside.

A similar design is under consideration for Alpine Road as it approaches I-280, the intersection where, on Nov. 4, Los Altos Hills cyclist Lauren Ward died after a collision with a tractor trailer.

The hundreds of westbound bicycles that traverse the Alpine Road intersection every day have been making do without a bike lane. That would change with the implementation of any of four proposed designs now being looked at by the San Mateo County Public Works Department and the California Transportation Department.

Go to this link to view the four designs. Each inserts a bike lane between the lane for I-280-bound traffic and the lane into Ladera as Alpine Road passes under the freeway. The differences lie in where bikes weave into traffic and the markings indicating the bike lane.

The Almanac spoke with Assistant Civil Engineer Robin duSaint of the county public works department about the four options.

■ Option D-1 has bikes merge with vehicle traffic after the stop sign. The bike lane boundaries are marked by dotted lines at first and then solid lines further west.

■ Option D-2 has bikes split the traffic lanes and weave into traffic well before the stop sign. The boundary lines are solid for the bike lane.

■ Option D-3 is like D-1 as to where it would merge bikes and traffic, and like D-2 in that it uses solid lines to mark the bike lane. But D-3 adds pavement cross-hatching and two road signs: one ordering vehicles to yield to bikes, and another forbidding vehicles already committed to the southbound freeway to cross the bike lane and head into Ladera.

■ Option D-4 resembles D-3, including the signs, but with a substantially longer and continuous bike lane with a painted pavement.

"We prefer D-3," Ms. duSaint said. Why? Because D-3 would merge bikes after the stop sign, the merging traffic is moving more slowly. D-2 has the merge happening before the stop sign; traffic headed to I-280 north from Alpine Road has a straight shot to the onramp, Ms. duSaint noted.

Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, said she agrees that the speed of motor vehicles when merging with bikes is a major concern.

Moving from light to dark is another potential problem. With the current D-3, cyclists move west from the stop sign in full daylight, but merge with motor traffic in the relative darkness under the freeway overpass.

The bicycle coalition prefers a combination of D-3 and D-4's painted bike lane, Ms. Winter said.

Records of the California Traffic Control Devices Committee show ongoing experiments with colored bike lanes, including in San Francisco.

To apply color at Alpine Road, San Mateo County would have to ask the committee, Ms. Winter said, adding that while she would like the county to apply, it should not delay a fix to the intersection.

The bottom line, she said, is safety. The intersection "should be safe enough for 8-year-olds to ride their bikes across," she said.

Comments

Posted by sadfsf, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 2, 2011 at 7:52 am

i would prefer making bikes illegal in that section of roadway


Posted by happyfsf, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

sadfsf,

I would prefer allowing gas to float to its real price of roughly $7 per gallon and making driving 1 mile in a monster SUV to drop your kids off to school treason for aiding and abetting America hating terrorists.

Alas, I guess we don't always get what we want do we?


Posted by happieryet, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I agree with happyfsf.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Me, too.


Posted by me four, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

happyfsf is right on.

sadfsf probably just wants to stir things up, but statements like that shouldn't be left without a response. Get over it folks, bikes are here to stay.


Posted by sadfsf, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm

heh $7 wouldn't affect me at all
I would happily pay it, and i don't have a monster SUV

in fact, i would pay $50 bucks a day to make all bicycling illegal. How about that?


Posted by wilierracer, a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2011 at 8:58 am

@sadfsf
Tool !


Posted by tom turner, a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm

This is one of the worst intersections that I use. You also have bike riders going toward Stanford on the other side of Alpine along with walkers.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Universal Language
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 1,457 views

On Tour at Selective Schools: Chapman, La Verne, Redlands, Whittier
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,400 views

The dress code
By Jessica T | 13 comments | 1,181 views

Anglo Menlo Park
By Paul Bendix | 0 comments | 477 views

Council election, and then some.
By Stuart Soffer | 0 comments | 213 views