Bike and pedestrian bridge over 101 sought

While officials are going after $6 million in funding for a new bike and pedestrian bridge crossing U.S. Highway 101 near Hillsdale Boulevard, the head of the Peninsula’s leading bicycle-advocacy group says it’s not the most ideal route between San Mateo and Foster City.

San Mateo will gather input tonight on the project, which will allow officials to develop engineering designs that can be used to apply for funding under the Measure A half-cent sales tax, according to Public Works Director Larry Patterson.

It is one of a number of east-west linkages in the works, including a recently completed bike lane on the Third Street overpass, upgrades to the 19th Avenue crossing near the Highway 92/Highway 101 interchange and a complete reconstruction of the Monte Diablo bike and pedestrian bridge near Peninsula Avenue.

“Highway 101 is a major barrier to riding around the city of San Mateo, especially because much of the residential is on the east side and commercial is on the west side,” said Matt Jordan, chair of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.

While bridges such as Monte Diablo exist on the north end of the city, currently there are no bridges on the south end, and sharing the Hillsdale overcrossing with vehicles is very dangerous, he said.

But Steve Van Der Lip, head of the Peninsula Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, wonders who would use Hillsdale Boulevard to get to Foster City. “19th Avenue actually works better for most cyclists than this would,” he said.

The California Department of Transportation upgraded the Hillsdale interchange in 2000, but did not provide bicycle or pedestrian amenities at that time, Jordan said.

The Hillsdale bridge will not materialize for some time, according to Patterson. It’s eligible for Measure A funds that will not become available until 2008, and there is plenty of design work yet to be done.

“We have to compete with all the other projects, but we think it has a reasonable opportunity for funding,” Patterson said.

Around the rest of the Peninsula, Belmont recently applied for $1 million in Transportation For Clean Air funds for a bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 north of Ralston Avenue, according to Belmont Public Works Director Ray Davis.

Meanwhile, Caltrans is working on major upgrades to the Woodside Road crossing in Redwood City, which may make that bridge less safe for cyclists, according to Van Der Lip.

San Mateo will take public input on the new bridge tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 330 West 20th Ave.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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