News

Ladera: Green bike lanes coming to Alpine Road

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.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Almanac Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

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.

Safety first

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.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Ladera: Green bike lanes coming to Alpine Road

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 12:32 am

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.

Safety first

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.

Comments

John
Woodside: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm
John, Woodside: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Like this comment

Whew. Thousands of cyclists pass through this intersection every day, year round. Thank you Corrine and SM County for finding a way forward which meets the twin and contradictory goals of 1) moving maximum vehicles/hour through the intersection, and b) making it safe(r) for the thousands of cyclists who go through that intersection daily.


Terry
Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm
Terry, Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm
Like this comment


Has anyone looked closely at the photo included in the article? One of the two cyclist is not even riding in the green-colored bike lane. I think this is telling. . .


prinzrob
another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm
prinzrob, another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm
Like this comment

Terry, the California Vehicle Code allows cyclists to leave a bike lane when approaching any area where a right turn is allowed, like at the intersection in the photo. Therefore both cyclists pictured are riding completely within the law.

Bike lanes are typically designed to keep drivers from encroaching dangerously into a cyclist's space, but not vice versa. There are plenty of reasons why a cyclist might want or need to leave a bike lane to remain safe, which are all detailed in the vehicle code.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Like this comment

"Bike lanes are typically designed to keep drivers from encroaching dangerously into a cyclist's space, but not vice versa. "

What is legal and what is safe are two entirely different concepts. Mixing bicyclists with automobiles and trucks may well be legal but it is stupid. Thinking that green lines will protect you from a 4-10 ten vehicle is wishful thinking. Sensible European countries have long ago installed parallel but separate pedestrian walkways, bike paths and motor vehicle road.


Donald
another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Donald, another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Like this comment

Peter, those same sensible countries have separate traffic lights for bikes to eliminate the conflicts that arise from having separated paths, a feature that reduces intersection capacity. These countries also have very different laws, with much stricter eligibility requirements for drivers and much different liability laws that put more burden on the car drivers to be safe around bicyclists. If we want to copy their success we need to incorporate ALL of the items that contribute, not pick a single one out of the mix.


Doanld
another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Doanld, another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Like this comment

If you want to see the chaos and danger that results from installing separated bike paths without separate signal, see this video from Washington, DC.
Web Link

This improvement to Alpine is welcome, although it does not solve all of the problems there.


Joseph Baloney
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Joseph Baloney, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Like this comment

"What is legal and what is safe are two entirely different concepts."

Holy [email protected]$! Is this the real Peter Carpenter admitting that life exists beyond what is written in legal code. I've read a bunch of posts about developments in the area and all you ever do is quote the code and say "It's allowed".

Guess what. Riding outside of the bike lane is allowed. By written law. CVC 21208, I believe, if you want to look it up.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Like this comment

"Guess what. Riding outside of the bike lane is allowed."

What is legal and what is safe are two entirely different concepts. Mixing bicyclists with automobiles and trucks may well be legal but it is stupid. What is it about these statements that Baloney does not understand?


Joseph Baloney
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Joseph Baloney, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Like this comment

"What is it about these statements that Baloney does not understand?"

I understand them perfectly, including the fact the "stupid" part is only your opinion.

As I said, I was stunned that you recognized that there is life beyond that defined in legal code. For some reason your opinion on cycling in traffic (which I'm guessing you don't do) is to be valued, but resident's opinion on development in the neighborhoods in which they live are irrelevant.

That, I don't understand.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Like this comment

Baloney - you confuse a situation wherein stupid and dangerous behavior is allowed by the law with one where opinions as to what the laws permits are not determinative.


Chris
Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm
Chris, Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm
Like this comment

I can only hope that this additional improvement to the bike lanes is effective. I'm curious, however, how much of the cost will be paid for those who actually use the bike lanes. Bike lanes are expensive, and so, just like roads, should be financially supported by the people who use them--cyclists.

I think that given the increasing demand by cyclists, cyclists should start paying registration fees, be covered by insurance, and pass tests.


Menlo Voter
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm
Menlo Voter, Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm
Like this comment

Don't hold your breath Chris.


Donald
another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Donald, another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Like this comment

All attempts to register and license bicyclists have failed because of 2 issues 1) it would cost far to manage the program than it would bring in revenue, 2) nobody has figured out how to deal with children without making the regulations ridiculously complicated. The Measure A money comes from sales taxes, which are paid for by everyone in the County. Most local roads work is funded by federal funds that come from general funds paid by all taxpayers. Considering that bicyclists cause negligible wear and tear on roads, they are paying more than their share.

In this country roads are not funded on a pay-as-you-go basis. Roads are built and maintained as a general good and are paid for by everyone. All taxpayers pay for the multi-million freeway projects whether they use them or not. You and I are paying for freeways in other states that we may never even see, and bicyclists are paying for the new lanes on 101 even though they are not allowed to use them. You, in turn, pay for bike lanes that you may not use, but you are paying a lot less for those bike lanes than the bicyclists are paying for the freeways.


Herb B
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:25 am
Herb B, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:25 am
Like this comment

Chris said bike lanes are expensive. Compared to what? Bike lanes are the cheapest road infrastructure that can be built, way cheaper per mile than freeways or even city streets. Bikes are given a narrow sliver of road that gets used by 200 lb vehicles. Cars are given a wide lane that gets beat up by multi-ton vehicles. Which one costs more?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.