Green-colored pavement is coming to bike lanes along the sides of Alpine Road as they pass under Interstate 280 just east of Ladera. Where the bike lanes and vehicle lanes cross, such as at the freeway entrance and exit ramps, the pavement will be striped in green and white to indicate a "conflict zone," an engineer for the San Mateo County Public Works Department told the Almanac.
The work is set to begin in the first week of August, with much of it to be done at night and with temporary striping for about a month to allow the asphalt to cure before adding the green coloring, said Senior Civil Engineer Gil Tourel of Public Works' road-design section.
A decision to make this part of Alpine Road safer for cyclists, including inexperienced cyclists, stems from a Nov. 4, 2010, accident that led to the death of Los Altos Hills cyclist Lauren Perdriau Ward. Ms. Ward, 47, was traveling west toward Ladera and collided with a westbound tractor trailer truck in the shade under the I-280 overpass.
Colored non-slip pavements for bike lanes are in wide use in Europe and are increasingly popular in the United States, said Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition. The bike coalition and Public Works collaborated on the design of these bike lanes. "It's been fantastic," Ms. Winter said when asked about the joint effort. Relations had been adversarial, but no longer. "We're more often asked for input and expertise and we're being treated as partners," Ms. Winter said.
The project will include grinding and resurfacing the road to create a "blank canvas" for permanent re-striping, Mr. Tourel said. The funding of $560,000 consists of $175,000 from the county's Measure A half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, with the rest coming from the county's dedicated Road Fund, said Public Works Director Jim Porter.
In 2012, the county Board of Supervisors authorized spending $175,000 for this project. Why the 220 percent increase? "The scope of work changed (and) asphalt is expensive," Mr. Porter said, referring to the decision to include the eastbound lane of Alpine Road in the project. "That significantly added to the cost," he said.
There were options in placing the westbound bike lane. At the traffic light where Sand Hill Road meets I-280, for example, westbound bikes cross a lane of vehicle traffic to reach a "pocket lane" sitting between two vehicle lanes. Cyclists heading west across the freeway then find themselves between two lanes of fast moving traffic, sharing space with motorists.
Such a configuration is not safe for children and so was rejected for the Alpine Road intersection, Ms. Winter said. And the preference for pocket lanes among highly skilled cyclists? "That's actually a minority of bicyclists who feel that way," Ms. Winter said. "I generally don't think that pocket lanes are appropriate for the novice rider."
The design at Alpine Road is meant to increase the appeal of cycling and accommodate inexperienced cyclists, including children, who might be avoiding this intersection because it's seen as unsafe, she said. "I think it's really going to enhance cycling in the area and make it much more comfortable for people," she said.