SANTA CLARA COUNTY TRAILS COLLABORATIVE
February 29, 2016 Timm Borden
Public Works Director, City of Cupertino Cupertino City Hall
10300 Torre Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014
Re: City of Cupertino Bicycle Plan Update Dear Mr. Borden,
The undersigned members of the Santa Clara County Trails Collaborative – Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, San Francisco Bay Trail Project, Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, Save Our Trails, and Bike Walk Cupertino – are writing to express our strong support for the inclusion of a viable trail network as a key priority in the City of Cupertino Bicycle Plan Update. The Collaborative represents organizations and agencies that are working to support the development of a trail network across Santa Clara County to 1) help make bicycling a viable and safe alternative to driving for people of all ages and abilities, 2) create a desirable option for locally-based recreation, and 3) support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cupertino has taken significant steps forward in recent years to enhance its bicycle network, and we are encouraged by the growing support for creating a more bicycle-friendly city, particularly through the addition of Class I bikeways to the 2015 Bicycle Master Plan Update. However, the existing bicycle network and the proposed network still consist largely of bike lanes, many of them on intimidating arterial streets. Much of the population – particularly children, and adults who do not ride regularly – remain uncomfortable bicycling on roadways they share with vehicular traffic. Cupertino’s bicycle commute share is less than 1 percent, about ½ the rate in the Bay Area as a whole. A key strategy to increase bicycle commuting – as well as bicycling for other purposes – is to develop “low stress” bicycle networks. The Mineta Transportation Institute’s recent study of San Jose’s bicycle network cited a Portland, OR survey which found that 60% of the population was “interested but concerned” about bicycling. Trails and low traffic streets were a key to increasing willingness to bicycle, and the Mineta study noted that separated facilities are especially important for children.
We recognize that there are limited opportunities for trails in an environment as developed as Cupertino, but we strongly encourage the City to identify and pursue potential trails as priorities in the City’s bicycle plan, a framework for a low-stress bicycle network. Prioritizing these projects is critical to improving their chances to compete for funding and ultimately be implemented. We want to specifically call out several key corridors that can provide the kind of trail connectivity that is needed, including two projects identified in the 2015 plan as well as two additional projects:
Projects included in the 2015 plan:
- Stevens Creek Trail: While the feasibility study identified no feasible Class I options, the implementation of the Cupertino segment of the Stevens Creek Trail along local, low stress streets will provide an important connector to the Class I facilities in this
- Union Pacific Railroad Rail Trail: Despite being in a highly constrained corridor, the 2001 feasibility study for this project identified potential trail segments that should be pursued, even while the railroad remains operational (rail-with-trail). The City should initiate discussions with Union Pacific to determine if there are acceptable designs for rail-with-trail at these
The Stevens Creek Trail and Union Pacific Railroad Trail were two of the top five trails identified as priorities in a survey of Santa Clara County trail users conducted by the Trails Collaborative. Both trails were also identified as priorities by participants in the Collaborative’s Santa Clara County Trails Forum held in November 2015.
New projects recommended for 2016 plan:
- I-280 Trail: This water district-owned corridor along the south side of I-280 would provide a critical east-west connector, linking together the two Apple campuses, the Vallco shopping center development, and the Mary Avenue Bridge over I-280. This trail was identified as a priority at the Trails Forum.
- Cupertino Inner-City School Bike and Pedestrian Pathway: This project, discussed by the Cupertino Bicycle Pedestrian Commission in February 2015, would create north-south and east-west separated bikeways to provide valuable connectivity in Cupertino, not only for trips to school but to other destinations and neighborhoods. If the recommended routes are not feasible, we recommend that the city investigate the potential for parallel routes to enhance the low-stress bicycle
As noted above, the critical feature of these projects is that they would provide low-stress bicycle facilities for travel throughout Cupertino, we also recommend that the City consider opportunities for separated bikeways, for which Caltrans has just approved its Class IV Bikeway Guidance. Finally, where separated facilities are not possible, we would support the development of bicycle facilities such as bicycle boulevards to create a connected, low-stress network.
We look forward to the adoption of the city’s bicycle plan, and the development of new trails in support of a bicycle-friendly Cupertino. Thank you for your consideration.
Manager of Trail Development Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Friends of Stevens Creek Trail
San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager Association of Bay Area Governments
South and East Bay Trail Director Bay Area Ridge Trail Council
Save Our Trails
Walk Bike Cupertino
cc: Cupertino City Council David Brandt, City Manager
David Stillman, Senior Civil Engineer