As San Mateo County encourages people to move away from their old-fashioned commuting habits, local residents will be offered a variety of opportunities to get to work in a different way.
Under an approval Tuesday by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, more than $5.75 million in grant funding will be used to implement the Regional Bicycle Share Pilot Program and the Last Mile Connection Pilot Program.
The bicycle share program aims to use $4.29 million in grant money secured by the county last year to provide more than 1,000 bicycles to the public. The pilot project will include putting the bikes at 100 kiosks along the Peninsula, in cities such as San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City and San Francisco.
Bike kiosks will be located in Redwood City and in nearby unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, according to a county report.
The public will be able reserve and track the location of bicycles through the Internet, which will also serve as a vandalism and theft deterrent system, according to the report.
The project is brought forth as a collaboration between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Mateo County Transit District, the City of Redwood City and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
The project's goal is to promote a zero emission transportation source, by offering a bicycle share program in urban centers near bus and train routes.
"The project will test the potential to effectively reduce single-occupancy vehicle travel to and from transit stops by offering bicycles as a transportation alternative, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled," according to the report, which was issued by the office of Deputy County Manager Peggy Jensen.
The County plans to promote the program to employees and visitors as a change from the antiquated means of one person commuting per car, as well as a way to encourage healthy living, wellness and recreation, according to the report.
The Climate Initiatives Program run by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission supplied the grant funding for the project.
San Mateo County will contribute $105,000 toward the project, through the San Mateo County Transit District.
Furthermore, the transit district, in conjunction with the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance and the City of Redwood City will spend $1.48 million in grant money to increase participation in ridesharing programs.
The money, which also comes from the Climate Initiative Program, will be used to develop and implement programs offering carpool and vanpool opportunities, as well as other projects which aim to reduce the amount of individuals commuting alone in their car.
Similar to the bike project, the goal of the Last Mile Connection Pilot Program is to reduce vehicle miles travelled and greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from Jensen's office.
During an initial two year demonstration period, electric and hybrid rideshare cars for public use will be located at the Redwood City Caltrain Station, and at two more downtown locations to be determined, according to the report.
No regular gasoline-powered cars will be used in the program, according to the report.
The County is also considering implementing telework programs and flex scheduling for half of its employees twice per month, to reduce or eliminate time spent in traffic commuting to work and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.
San Mateo County will contribute $120,000 to the project, through the San Mateo County Transit District.
Ultimately, the project hopes to reduce vehicle miles travelled in Redwood City by 5 percent, according to the report.
No definite timeline has been set for either program to be launched.
After the meeting in Redwood City, local residents said they would embrace the programs.
"I'm really excited about the opportunities both these programs will offer," said Miles West, a Redwood City resident. "I probably drive my car more often than I need. So if there's a chance for me to get to work or school in a different way, I would definitely consider it."
Sarah Ingram, a Woodside resident, agreed.
"I think it is great that our local government is being so proactive in bringing residents these kinds of chances. If the projects get off the ground right, and people take advantage of them, I think we could do a lot of good," she said.