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SamTrans Backpedals on Dumbarton Rail Ped/Bike Path

SamTrans still claims that bicyclists can’t safely use shared bus-bike lanes along the Dumbarton Rail tracks. Photo: Christopher William Golden

Under ongoing public pressure to find space (only 12 – 16 feet needed) for a pedestrian and bicycle path along the Dumbarton Rail tracks from Redwood City to East Palo Alto, San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) staff have agreed to strike their original recommendation to exclude such a path from the agency’s final Dumbarton Transportation Corridor Study, published on November 20.

“The potential bicycle/pedestrian multi-use path in the Dumbarton rail right-of-way from Redwood City to East Palo Alto, which was not previously recommended due to right-of-way constraints, will not be eliminated at this phase of study.” – Dumbarton Transportation Corridor Study webpage, November 20, 2017

By assuming an arbitrary 65 feet of width needed for two tracks and a station and 26 feet for two bus lanes, SamTrans still claims they can’t fit a 12-feet wide multi-use path as that would total 103 feet, more than the assumed 100 feet of rail right of way owned by SamTrans. Close enough. Make it 64 feet for the two tracks and 24 feet for two bus lanes and, viola!, 64 + 24 + 12 = 100 feet.

But now SamTrans says it needs “additional planning and conceptual design work in the form of a Technical Refinement will attempt to answer the following questions: Is it possible to safely implement a shared bus and bicycle lane? How much would bus operations, ridership, and person throughput be impacted if only one bus lane was constructed, leaving room for the bicycle and pedestrian multi-use path?”

The agency says it also wants to study the effects of constructing a multi-use path only from Redwood City to Highway 101, if east of the highway to University Avenue the bus lanes are built but no path is built (as it seems SamTrans still prefers).

The next SamTrans Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 6. We assume the final Dumbarton Transportation Corridor Study will be included on the agenda.