New cameras will speed up South City bike commutes

Bicyclists commuting to South City will no longer have to run red lights in a hurry to get to work.

Next year, the city plans to install 23 video detectors on traffic lights east of Highway 101. The detectors, which just received a grant from the City/County Association of Governments, activate when bicyclists approach the intersection.

Tracy Scramaglia, the city’s associate civil engineer, helped secure the grant and said there are a lot of bicyclists, including about 400 Genentech workers, who commute from Caltrain and BART stations, as well as other parts of South City.

“It’s pretty tough to bike out there because there is a lot of traffic,” Scramaglia said.

The detectors will sit atop trafficlights and spot bicycles’ shapes through changes in video pictures, city staff said.

According to Scramaglia, the technology is better than in-ground traffic loops, which need to be replaced during resurfacing and can easily stop working.

Dennis Chuck, a city worker who commutes from Foster City to South City, said the system will be helpful.

“A lot of times, I have to veer off and push the ‘walk’ button,” he said. “With detectors, I’d ride up and it will see you coming … It will make it a little faster and more convenient.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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