Pacifica Competes For Nearly $700,000 in Grants to Complete Coastal Bike Trails

One path would connect Linda Mar to new Devil's Slide park.

Pacifica engineers requested $688,000 in grant money from regional heads on Thursday night to pay for three improvements to the city's coastal pedestrian and bicycle trail network.

The most expensive project proposed to the San Mateo City/County Council Association of Governments (CCAG) Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is the Pedro Point Headlands Trail Project, which would bridge the gap in the coastal trail network between Linda Mar and the upcoming Devil’s Slide park. The funding request for the trail is $360,000.

 “The grants we’re seeking are not only for the enjoyment of Pacifica, but they’re also to provide a safe and interpretative experience for the citizens of San Mateo County,” said Raymond Donguines, Pacifica civil engineer. 

The money for the project is available for cities to use for such projects. CCAG, an organization made up of county and city leaders, decides how to split it up. 

This project would add 5,800 feet of surface to the trail, connecting the Linda Mar Beach Coastal Trail to the Devils’ Slide Trail, which is still being developed. It would also provide access to the Coastal Conservancy’s Pedro Point Headlands, an area where bicyclists and pedestrians go to immerse themselves in nature.

The biggest challenge to the project is purchasing the parcels of land between the two areas, some of which are privately owned, said Janet Diehl, project manager for tor the California Coastal Conservancy. That group has sway in what grants are awarded to which city. The Coastal Conservancy owns some property in the Pedro Point Headlands, which would be used to construct the trail.

The Coastal Conservancy has written a letter to the Council Association of Governments Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee recommending that the Linda Mar to Devil's Slide project receive approval. 

“The Pedro Point Headlands is a high priority for the Coastal Conservancy, the county and Pacifica," said Jim Duff, project manager for the Coastal Conservancy. "It's a critical link in the coastal trail system. The coastal trail will allow people to hike and bike over Devil's Slide to the park to the south side of the tunnel at Montara State Beach.” 

Pacifica is one of 17 cities that pitched a total of 41 environment approval proposals to the committee. They're in competition for $4,138,972 in Measure A and the Transportation Development Act money allocated for bicycle and pedestrian projects within the county. 

Local authorities say they cannot afford to pay for the whole project, so they are turning to local agencies for financial help. 

“Construction funds have not been secured,” said Dave Rogers, associate civil engineer for Pacifica. “But we do have assurance from the Coastal Conservancy that they’re going to help the city."

While the city of Pacifica would pay the $139,000 needed for the preliminary design and associated environmental fees, it still has not identified funding sources for purchasing the parcels to complete the right of way for these trails other than the grants monies mentioned. 

The city will rely heavily upon the Coastal Conservancy to pay for that part of the project through matching funds.  

Now that members of the City/Council Association of Governments Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority have heard the project proposals, they will visit a portion of them in person to score them on criteria such as whether the projects provide environmental and safety benefits. 

John Hoang, C/CAG Program Manager, said this field trip will make a huge difference when assessing the sites to determine if indeed a project will make the area safer.

“When you are at a site and the cars are passing close by you, you really get a sense for what it feels like for a person who is making that trip," Hoang said.

During that field trip, the transportation authorities will use these scorecards to rate the projects and decide which ones will be funded. 

They will reconvene on April 28 to compare scorecards.  The San Mateo County Transportation Authority has the final say and plans to make the final selections on July 7. 

For more information on Pacifica's projects, click on the link over the photo associated with this article that says “View Gallery.”

Bruce Hotchkiss April 01, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Of course no one has to stand up and say it's insane. If you want to keep funding frills, go for it. I personally would prefer our governments fund the necessities first.
Lionel Emde April 01, 2011 at 04:15 AM
I understand the directed nature of certain kinds of funding, such as the trails' funding being discussed. But the ridicule starts when basic needs such as public safety and infrastructure are not funded, and this really nice, limited use public project can be happily funded by the county. This county we live in, by the way, is also broke, through bad investment decisions (read: Lehman Bros.) and fantastic promises made to their employees.
Peter B. Olinger April 01, 2011 at 04:45 AM
Spot on and Thank you Norm and Lionel! I sincerely hope our elected officials consider and respond positively to your thoughts and recommendations.
concerned voter April 01, 2011 at 06:03 AM
need a precise answer here a prior statement: "While the city of Pacifica would pay the $139,000 needed for the preliminary design and associated environmental fees, it still has not identified funding sources for purchasing the parcels to complete the right of way for these trails other than the grants monies mentioned." 1. where is $139K coming from within pacifica budget? 2. are right of way parcels 100% paid for with seller agreement to sell? 3. if right of way not secured, what is the rush?
Lionel Emde April 02, 2011 at 02:07 AM
So where the heck are the other councilmembers? Ms. Nihart is doing quadruple duty, not only here, but in every other forum I've seen. I don't agree with the thrust of this council's hand in the pockets of the taxpayers, but at least Ms. Nihart engages. It just illustrates the larger problem of out-of-touch politicians who think that it's just fine to squeeze the public at a time when that is the worst thing to do. And the new councilmember Mr. Stone, where is he? Does he at all advocate for us? At the March 14 city council meeting, there were only three councilmembers present, according to the minutes (Nihart, Digre, Stone). All the votes were 3-0 in the affirmative to raise sewer rates. Where are our very well paid absent councilmembers, and who's looking out for the taxpayer?


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