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January 18, 2013
California Transportation Commission
Bimla Rhinehart, Executive Director
Malcolm Dougherty, Director and Bijan Sartipi, District 4 Director
Re: Chip seal resurfacing on State Highways
Dear Commissioners, Ms. Rhinehart, Mr. Dougherty, and Mr. Sartipi:
Highway 35 was recently resurfaced from the San Mateo County border northward to Highway 92. A 1/2-inch dimension chip seal treatment was used. This type of road surface is a serious safety hazard for cyclists; groups that have been riding this route for years are changing their routes just to avoid it. Previous chip seal treatments used by Caltrans were smaller dimension – 1/4 to 3/8-inch. While the smaller dimensions are acceptable and don't present the safety hazard that the 1/2 inch does, our preference is always for re-paving or slurry seal in place of chip seal.
We have now learned of an upcoming surfacing project on a portion of Highway 130, the road up Mount Hamilton in San José, that is currently slated to have the 1/2-inch chip seal. This project will create a dangerous environment for the many Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition members who enjoy this ride. We urge Caltrans to consider all road users when planning resurfacing projects and avoid using large-diameter aggregate that puts cyclists at risk.
We urge you to reconsider the use of large-aggregate chip seal on Highway 130 and throughout the State of California. We understand that such resurfacing presents some cost savings, but feel this is an excellent example of the intent of the Department of Transportation’s Deputy Directive 64, which guides the department to address “the safety and mobility needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users in all projects, regardless of funding.”
Thank you for you consideration. Please feel free to contact me at (408) 287-7259 or Corinne@bikesiliconvalley.org with any questions.
President and Executive Director