To that end, it is commendable that both The Hills and The Hamptons will offer additional residential units, which is critical in establishing a city where people can live in close proximity to their workplace, thus minimizing vehicle traffic. Integrating housing with business development is smart design, and it will ensure that Cupertino remains a community rather than a business park filled with parking lots. More diverse housing options are clearly needed, and home ownership increased, to create a stable community.
But in order to really integrate large development projects into the neighborhoods nearby, pedestrian and bicycle paths need to be widely and safely available.
As you may be aware, a large number of people who live and work in Cupertino walk or use bicycles. Apple’s bicycle sharing program alone means that thousands of employees are cycling on the roads, and with the construction of Apple 2, thousands more will be added. The area around Apple’s campus 1 near N De Anza Blvd is often filled with pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including children on their way to and from school.
Ensuring that sidewalks and bike paths are part of all neighborhoods in Cupertino must, therefore, be a top priority.
There should be sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of N. Wolfe Road so that employees and residents from the surrounding neighborhoods can walk or bike to The Hills at Vallco and nearby businesses for dining, shopping or entertainment. Not including safe pedestrian and bike paths will necessarily mean more car traffic and will cause a segmentation of Cupertino that is not conducive to community living. We hope that installing sidewalks and bike lanes on N. Wolfe Road can be done without building an unsightly and massive highway that would discourage people – be it an elderly couple, a mother with a stroller, a child with a dog, a person in a wheelchair – from using N Wolfe Rd without a car. For this reason, keeping N Wolfe Rd close to the existing size would be ideal. Hopefully the addition of public transportation by VTA in the form of more frequent buses and shuttles will also aid in keeping N Wolfe Rd close to its existing size and 280 less congested. Perhaps just the addition of a crosswalk button and lights that allow pedestrians to cross the entrance to 280 safely, as well as better marked bike lanes, will be enough. [please see “280 cross.jpg” below]
In addition to ensuring that pedestrians and bicyclists can access The Hills at Vallco and beyond via N. Wolfe Rd, another path should be created for non-car traffic by opening the wall along Perimeter Rd. and Amherst Dr. to allow people on foot or on bicycles from nearby neighborhoods to safely reach the Vallco shopping area. [please see “Amherst Dr wall.jpg” “Perimeter & Amherst Dr.png” and “Amherst & Perimeter Rd.png” below]
A great model for this is the discrete opening along the wall at the east end of Greenleaf Dr. that separates residences from Bandley Dr. and Mariani Avenue, where many businesses, including Apple offices, schools, bus stops and restaurants are located. Because of this wall opening, many students and employees can access these areas safely, quickly and without a car, while blocking car traffic preserves the peace and tranquility of the residential areas. [please see “Greenleaf & Mariani & Bandley.jpg” and “Greenleaf & Bandley Dr.png” below]
Literally connecting all new construction projects to existing neighborhoods via sidewalks and bike paths will make Cupertino more environmentally friendly, more cohesive and safer. Not only because the infrastructure will be there to discourage single occupancy car traffic that creates congestion and isolation, but because a real community will be formed by allowing people to meet their neighbors on the sidewalk, to do their shopping on foot, to exercise outdoors, to walk to restaurants or entertainment, to walk or bike to work or bus terminals, and to form a human presence on the street that discourages burglaries and robberies.
A walkable, bike friendly and interconnected Cupertino will promote a “small town feel” that increases quality of life and well being for all. Currently many streets do not have sidewalks or marked bike paths. Please invest in building and maintaining these vital resources, which are made even more essential by new construction projects.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Dr. and Mrs. Wilson