San Mateo Bike Plan Languishes for Decade

By Matt Baume
|  Saturday, Oct 30, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 AM PDT
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San Mateo Bike Plan Languishes for Decade

AFP/Getty Images

The First Family concluded their 10-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard this Saturday. Here President Barack Obama rides his bicycle followed by daughter Malia.

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Some things are worth waiting for. And waiting for. And waiting for.

San Mateo's bike plan is finally getting a revamp after more than a decade. The last time the county examined its bike infrastructure, we were all worried about Y2K -- Napster was brand new. Less than half of a 2000 plan has so far been implemented.

The revamp comes at a particularly urgent time, with bicycle ridership seeing a dramatic increase. Many of San Mateos roads are ill-suited for alternate transportation modes, with bike paths abruptly starting and stopping.

The region is ripe for a bicycle renaissance. Friendly weather and relatively few hills make for ideal conditions.

A new plan calls for over 300 miles of new bike paths, with brand new considerations for pedestrian amenities. Routes around the 101 freeway are getting particular attention, as car-drivers have been known to kill bicyclists near various freeway overpasses.

San Mateo's not alone in shifting its priority to more sustainable forms of transportation. Pittsburg recently got a half million dollars to improve street safety by widening curbs, slowing traffic, and improving crosswalks. A roundabout and traffic lights are expected to make the area easier for school children to navigate without having to worry about speeding cars.

Upgrades like those would be a welcome sight in other towns, where police have experienced difficulty with vehicular assaults. The SFPD announced this week that they need the public's help to find a driver who hit a 23-year-old man, carried him for a block on the hood of the car, and then sped off. And in San Jose, a driver hit a 9-year-old girl early Wednesday morning. She escaped major injury.

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