San Mateo County Bike-Ped Advisory Boards Seek Applicants

Bike parking and access to trains for people bringing bicycles on-board are among the issues discussed by Caltrain's Bicycle Advisory Committee. Photo: Andrew Boone
Bike parking and on-board storage are issues discussed by Caltrain’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. Photo: Andrew Boone

Deadlines are near for several Board and Committee positions in San Mateo County. Applications are due today for two vacancies on the SamTrans Board of Directors, while the City/County Association of Governments seeks volunteers to fill four vacancies on its 15-member Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (C/CAG BPAC), due Nov. 14. Caltrain is taking applications for six of the nine seats of its Bicycle Advisory Committee, due Dec. 2.

The San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), which operates 76 bus routes, allows non-elected residents to serve on its Board of Directors, unique among the county’s major transportation agencies. Four “public members” are appointed by the five elected officials serving on the Board, who are themselves appointed by the City Selection Committee, composed of the Mayors of all 20 cities in San Mateo County. This committee of Mayors also appoints fellow city council members to the boards of Caltrain, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and other county and regional agencies.

Caltrain contracts with SamTrans to serve as its managing agency, so the two transit brands have many of the same management staff, along with the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA), which distributes revenues collected by a 2004 Measure A half-cent sales tax. Caltrain’s Board of Directors is advised by a number of volunteer committees, including the nine-member Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). The Board is accepting applications until Dec. 2 for six of the nine BAC seats. Two of these seats are available only to staff of a public agency (typically a city), while another two seats are reserved for bicycle advocates.

The City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) of San Mateo County has its own 15-member BPAC, which has to fill four vacant seats by Nov. 18. The C/CAG BPAC is the county’s longest-running bike/ped advisory group, composed of eight elected officials and seven members from the general public. The committee’s mission is limited mainly to evaluating grant applications competing for the meager funds awarded to bike/ped projects.

Even the pittance SMCTA distributes for bicycle and pedestrian safety fixes, at just three percent of Measure A tax revenues, is still more money than the micro-grants C/CAG doles out. SMCTA has not established any bicycle or pedestrian advisory group, but instead has a 15-member Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The three-year terms of members are staggered such that five seats are available each year, with the next applications accepted in 2017.

San Mateo County formed its own seven-member Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) in July, to advise its Board of Supervisors. It works on fixing busy arterial streets such as Middlefield Road. It will seek applications for new members in 2018 and 2020.

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