San Mateo bike plan would establish commuter network 

A plan to increase bicycling in San Mateo is being unveiled next week, though the proposal has many miles to travel and steep hills ahead before becoming a reality.

The Department of Public Works drafted a citywide plan that would construct a complete network of bicycle routes. The proposal will be available for public vetting Wednesday.

“What [these plans] entail is everything bicycle,” said Gary Heap, the senior engineer of the Public Works Department.

Heap said that though San Mateo has various bike facilities, they are not connected. The draft plan, if adopted by various city commissions and approved by the City Council later this summer, would address that issue. Peninsula bike enthusiasts were pleased with news of the draft plans.

“I think it’s great,” avid bicyclist Mike Kupper said of the prospects of safer bikeways throughout San Mateo. Kupper, who owns the bike shop Cycle Path in San Mateo, said the city’s businest street, El Camino Real, is a dangerous route for bicyclists.

“I’ve had many, many close calls,” he said.

Though El Camino Real itself is not slated for any additional bike upgrades, the draft plan would provide alternative routes parallel to the thoroughfare.

Along with creating a safe network, another goal of the project is to increase bicycle and pedestrian travel from the city’s current 3 percent to 30 percent for trips 1 mile or less by 2020, according to the draft plan.

“Clearly, all of our cities have been designed as if gasoline was 50 cents a gallon … and it’s not,” said Gladwyn D’Souza of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Peninsula Committee. “There’s definitely a need to rethink how we design our cities.”

However, funding the draft plan may be complex. Heap said city funding would be preferred, although he understands economic woes could force the project to rely on various grants — which might be more of a reality once a plan is in place.

Heap said no firm figures for the cost of the project have been confirmed.

Residents who want to weigh in on the plan can do so Wednesday afternoon at the San Mateo Main Library.

Different paths

There are three classes of bikeways:

Class I bicycle paths
Separate from roadways and are available only to pedestrians and cyclists

Class II bike lanes
Allocated space marked by white lines on roadways

Class III bicycle routes
Located on roadways, but are designated bike usable by signs and have no painted lanes

aterrazas@sfexaminer.com

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