Daly City seeking grant funding for bicycle, pedestrian upgrades along John Daly Boulevard 

click to enlarge John Daly Boulevard
  • Brendan P. Bartholomew/special to the s.f. examiner
  • Daly City is planning to narrow the center median on John Daly Boulevard to make room for bike lanes, part of a $3 million project on the thoroughfare.
Daly City is planning to add bicycle lanes and pedestrian improvements to the stretch of John Daly Boulevard that connects Top of the Hill to the Daly City BART station, but the extent of upgrades may depend on grant funding.

City staff estimate the John Daly Boulevard Streetscape Improvements Project will cost about $3 million. The city has already secured a $1 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission under the OneBayArea Grant program, and applied for $500,000 in Proposition 84 urban-greening grant funds. More recently, the city submitted an application to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority for $1 million in Measure A funds for the project.

The project will involve narrowing John Daly Boulevard’s landscaped median in order to make room for the bike lanes.

Because the street will only be altered between Top of the Hill and De Long Street, which is adjacent to the BART station, the improvements will primarily benefit commuters who walk or bike between BART and the Centennial Plaza bus stop on Mission Street. The city has also approved bike and pedestrian amenities for Geneva Avenue between Bayshore Boulevard and the San Francisco border.

Public Works Department Director John Fuller said it could take several months to find out whether the Transportation Authority has approved the Measure A grant proposal, adding that the agency could choose to allocate less than the requested $1 million. He said the availability of grant funds will determine whether certain aspects of the project can be realized. For example, Fuller said, the proposed bike lane on the south side of the boulevard, going uphill toward Mission Street, would ideally be wider than the downhill bike lane, because cyclists pedaling uphill tend to need more space. Creating a wider lane would be expensive, he said, because the existing gutter and curb would have to be moved.

Other features that would depend on available funds include lighting for pedestrians on the north side of the boulevard and stamped brick crosswalks designed to be more noticeable to motorists, he said. Another possible upgrade is a filtration system that would remove heavy metals and other car-related pollutants from water entering the storm drain under John Daly Boulevard that runs out to sea, Fuller noted.

Despite the planned corridor upgrades, some local bike advocates would like to see more accommodations.

Paul Valentine, who lives near Top of the Hill, hopes the city will eventually extend the bike lanes farther down the boulevard. Valentine often uses his bike for grocery runs to Westlake Shopping Center, but he said the lack of a dedicated bike lane can make those trips dangerous. He said the street is especially hazardous for cyclists where cars exiting from Interstate Highway 280 merge onto westbound John Daly Boulevard.

City Councilman Mike Guingona, a cycling advocate who also expressed safety concerns, said the next step is to have the bike lanes along the thoroughfare run the rest of the way from De Long Street to Skyline Boulevard. Currently, cyclists riding along the John Daly corridor must follow a meandering path, at times sharing mixed-use paths with pedestrians, he said.

“The roads are where we belong,” Guingona said of cyclists, “not the sidewalk.”

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