Daly City seeks to close bike lane gaps

The difficulty of riding a bicycle on city streets is frequently compounded when a cyclist loses the protection of a bike lane.

In Daly City, there’s a stretch of roadway on Southgate Avenue, nearly a mile, where an existing bike lane stops at Westmoor Avenue and restarts at St. Francis Boulevard, according to city documents.

Last month, City Council members voted to seek $26,000 in funding to connect the bike lanes and promised to contribute a matching amount.

The addition, Department of Public Works Director John Fuller wrote in a memo to the council, would run by two schools, Fernando Rivera Middle and Thomas Edison Elementary.

Just as developments are built in phases, bike lanes are also installed at different times, he said.

“We did previous projects at one end of the road and then at the other end,” Fuller said. “We always planned on completing it.”

The city is seeking the funding from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a regional agency that regulates sources of air pollution within the nine Bay Area counties. If approved, the $52,000 in funds would be used to repave some areas of the street and repaint, adding new striping. Work would begin in the spring, Fuller said.

Fixing that gap and others, including bike lanes with breaks along Callan Boulevard, King Drive and Westmoor Avenue, are part of the city’s master bike plan, which City Council members approved in February 2004.

“These [gaps] haven’t been forgotten,” Fuller said. “We can only put so much bike lane down with the funding available.”

As money has become available, he said he’s applied for it in order to get projects under way.

“With the economy turning down, funding is short for all capital improvements,” Fuller said.

Daly City has also sought grant funding for the project from Caltrans’ Transportation For Clean Air program.

Aaron Richardson, spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, said roughly $600,000 in grant money for bike lane projects is awarded each year, but because of budget shortfalls, demand has increased.

“Last year we received applications for twice as much funding that was available,” he said. “The idea is these grants will reduce vehicle emissions.”

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