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Posts from the "Redwood City" Category

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On the Peninsula, Demand Could Overwhelm Limited Bike-Share Launch

A total of 20 Bay Area Bike Share stations will be installed in downtown Redwood City, Palo Alto, and Mountain View. Click for an interactive system-wide map.

All the way down the Peninsula, excitement around the pilot launch of Bay Area Bike Share comes tempered with a dose of concern about the small number of bikes that will be clustered around Caltrain stations in five cities.

Bay Area Bike Share’s meager scale at the time it launches is sure to limit its usefulness. Half of the system’s 70 stations — holding ten bikes each — will be placed in downtown San Francisco, and the other half distributed among participating cities down to San Jose, which will get 15 stations. Redwood City will get just seven stations, Palo Alto six, and Mountain View seven.

“That’s the big concern,” said Adina Levin, co-founder of Friends of Caltrain. “A lot of current and potential Caltrain riders I talk to are excited about being able to use bike-share in theory, but it’s not serving where they need to go.”

Nonetheless, advocates say the launch of bike-share is overdue.

Image: Bay Area Bike Share

“Bike-share is going to make it easier for everybody to ride a bike more often, whether for work, shopping, or quick trips during lunch break,” said Colin Heyne, deputy director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “Data from other bike-share systems show not only increased rates of bicycling, but also decreased rates of driving and car ownership, so it can contribute to reducing traffic congestion and improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Hundreds have already signed up for Bay Area Bike Share since membership sales opened on Monday. For $88 per year, members can rent sturdy new celeste-colored city bikes for up to 30 minutes at a time for free, with surcharges for trips longer than that.

The system is set to arrive at a time when both transit and bicycle commuting are surging. Caltrain ridership has increased 80 percent over the past decade, and the number of commuters bringing bikes on board has tripled, according to the agency’s stats. With commuters who are able to use the shared bikes instead of hauling their own bikes aboard, bike-share could free up some much-needed bike storage space on the train.

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As Bike to Work Day Booms, Some San Mateo County Cities Lead the Way

Commuting to work on Gateway Boulevard in South San Francisco. Photo: Andrew Boone

Among the record-breaking 9,000 bike commuters celebrating Bike to Work Day in San Mateo County on Thursday, County Supervisor Dave Pine led a convoy from downtown Redwood City to the Oracle energizer station, crossing Highway 101 using the Ralston Avenue bike-pedestrian bridge in Belmont.

Dave Pine and Diane Howard - Bike To Work Day 2013

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine and Redwood City Council candidate Diane Howard at the Oracle energizer station. Photo: Andrew Boone

“We really have to look at bicycling as a viable and important part of the transportation network and not just a recreational pursuit,” Pine said. “The county needs to take more of a leadership role to publicize bike routes and get cities to work together to construct practical bicycle infrastructure so that people can get to work more easily.”

Bike to Work Day is booming throughout San Mateo County, with ridership increasing 33 percent since last year, and more than doubling since 2011, according to the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance.

Commuters were greeted with 37 energizer stations along popular bike commuting routes, where volunteers from the PTCRA and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition helped them fuel up with coffee and snacks. Nearly 1,000 cyclists enjoyed an outdoor breakfast at Oracle’s energizer station at the company’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, which lies along the Bay Trail, a route favored by many bike commuters for its long sections of off-street bicycle and pedestrian paths and beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.

Each year, more Silicon Valley employers — from tech giants like Genentech, Facebook, and Google, to other major businesses like Kaiser Permanente (which partnered with Whole Foods) and Food Service Providers — are holding their own events to encourage participation in Bike to Work Day as a way to promote employee health and reduce traffic congestion.

“Bike to Work Day provides an opportunity for people who are considering biking to work to try it along with thousands of others, while being cheered on at the energizer stations along the way,” said PTCRA Executive Director John Ford. “Once people try cycling to work, many of them make it part of their regular commute.”

While improvements to make bicycling in San Mateo County safer and more convenient have been hampered by a lack of bureaucratic coordination between cities, a few are starting to take the lead. The city of San Mateo is currently planning safer crossings over and under Highway 101: a bike-ped bridge at Hillsdale Boulevard, and a bike-ped path along the 16th Avenue canal under the freeway.

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Bicyclist Killed in Redwood City Was a Fixture of Peninsula Bike Paths

IMG02.JPGMary Yonkers, right, with a bike trail friend. Photo courtesy Barry Grossman.
Mary Yonkers, 58, of San Mateo, was killed by a truck driver while riding her bicycle to work on Shoreway Road in Redwood City last week.

That stale description of her death belies the incredible impact she had on a countless number of people during her life. Not even her closest friends had grasped the breadth of that impact. During her daily routine of running, bicycling, and walking with her beloved dog, Moe, Mary got to know so many people that no single friend of hers realized how many other friends there were.

Yonkers was headed to work last Wednesday when the crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. as a truck driver was turning right onto Holly Street from southbound Shoreway Road, Redwood City police said. Sgt. Eric Stasiak said their investigation had concluded that Yonkers tried to pass the truck on the right, while she may also have been turning right, but was struck and killed, based on eyewitness accounts. The driver later claimed he was unaware he had hit her.

Ken Stecklein, Mary's roommate for over 20 years, said the response to her death made him realize how little he really knew about her in some ways. After 25 years, Stecklein said, "you'd think you know everything about a person. I found I knew very little about her. She'd come home and tell me about all these people, but it's amazing. Now, I walk on the streets and they see Moe, and the response is unbelievable. People are crying, and they're telling me these stories about her. One lady said she was 'an angel on earth.'"

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Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Bicyclist Claims No Knowledge of Crash

Note: We've posted an update and a profile of Mary Yonkers.

The driver of a dump truck who killed a bicyclist this morning in Redwood City has been located by investigators, but claimed he was not aware he hit the woman, and has not been arrested, Bay City News quoted police as saying.

Redwood City Police said the crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. as the driver, who was not identified, was turning onto Holly Street from southbound Shoreway Road. Earlier reports had the crash on Redwood Shores Parkway. According to the BCN report, "a woman on a bicycle tried to pass the truck as it turned, but she was struck and some part of the truck rolled over her, police said."

The bicyclist was identified by the San Mateo County Coroner's office as 58-year-old Mary Yonkers of San Mateo. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

BCN quoted police as saying a truck matching the description was located by witnesses at the Allied Waste San Carlos transfer station on Shoreway Road around 9 a.m.

Monica Devincenzi, the recycling outreach and sustainability manager for the South Bayside Waste Management Authority, confirmed the driver works for one of the agency's subcontractors. She described the vehicle as a transfer truck.

"It is a tragic incident and we're sorry that it happened. We hope that the investigation results in finding out exactly what happened," she said, adding that SBWMA contractors are required to undergo driver safety training but "they are generally handled by the companies the drivers work for."

Redwood City Police did not immediately return our phone calls seeking more information.

Updated 4:29 p.m.