Bicyclists of Burlingame and environmentalists have reason to celebrate after the Transportation Authority awarded three grants to make city streets more accessible for bikes and pedestrians.
City Councilmember Cathy Baylock was vital in the process that began nearly eight years ago and ended last month with $550,000 in funding.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing,” Baylock said. “Burlingame is very conducive, so it’s already set up the right way.”
According to Baylock, the three projects set to break ground in approximately 18 months include bicycle and pedestrian improvements on Burlingame Avenue and bike paths along Rollins Road, Old Bayshore Highway and Airport Boulevard.
“That’s all good for the environment and good for traffic,” Baylock said.
Baylock began her work towards improvements in 2003 when Burlingame was ineligible for bike path improvements due to the absence of a bicycle master plan, which the City then spent a year adopting.
The process then took seven to eight years to apply for the necessary grants, Baylock said.
“There’s always more projects than money,” Baylock said. “But we thought we had three really good projects.”
The new bike paths will bring a friendlier atmosphere for bicyclists, and help both local cyclists and those commuting through Burlingame.
Improvements along Burlingame Avenue are overdue, said Jane Gomery, program manager of the Public Works Department.
“This will be a major step towards enhancing the streetscape conditions last installed in the 1960's,” she said.
With the new improvements, locals and visitors will be comfortable taking to their bikes. The new bike paths will cater to those who wish to take a leisurely Sunday ride or employees hoping to skip the morning traffic and bike to work.
“They will enhance commuter, as well as recreation riders, from north to south through the city,” Gomery said.
Once completed, Baylock said, bike paths will allow workers from Burlingame office parks an easy commute to BART or Caltrain stations.
The bike paths will have heat-embossed emblems in order to maintain the highest quality for the longest amount of time, Baylock said.
The three projects are expected to have be completed in approximately two years
“Burlingame has a good reputation of completing projects on time,” Baylock said.
The city will continue to seek projects that continue Burlingame’s progression as the City becomes more and more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
“We do it as we get funding, but we’re making our way through,” Baylock said. “We keep picking away at the list.”
The new improvements to Burlingame will bring less traffic, accommodating bike routes and an opportunity for a community to come together through overall improved health.
“The whole objective is to get people out of their cars. It’s a whole lifestyle change,” Baylock said. “We just want to make it a pleasant experience.”