By Kristi Myllenbeck, Cupertino Courier
Cupertino officials are looking at seven areas around the city that could be designated as “bike boulevards,” which they say would provide havens for biking alongside cars.
The city will hold an open house on Saturday, May 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Collins Elementary School to share with neighbors information about the plan and solicit comments.
The city has identified these potential routes along residential streets: near Fort Baker Drive and Orange Avenue, Hyannisport Drive, Santa Teresa and Terrace drives, Shelly and Westacres drives at Kim Street, Portal Avenue, Greenleaf and Meritt drives, and an area east of De Anza Boulevard.
According to David Stillman, associate civil engineer with the city, many of the proposed boulevards are near schools and could serve as recommended routes for students in the neighborhoods
The city is placing an emphasis on less busy streets to give bicyclists of all ages a way to feel comfortable biking around the city while avoiding major thoroughfares.
“It creates an environment that’s more compatible for bikes and cars to share,” Stillman said. “It encourages bicyclists that may not be as experienced to go out and ride.
“We really want to get people out of cars, especially for shorter trips that you would be doing around town,” he added. “We want to provide an opportunity for people to use their bikes and reduce the traffic, reduce emissions, create family atmosphere for getting families out there on bikes.”
He said that the boulevards could fill in the gaps between less traversed areas of the city and public transportation hubs along major corridors.
The routes will be less about infrastructure and more about clearly identifying recommended streets. Stillman said neighborhoods that get the bike boulevards could see installation of traffic calming improvements like traffic circles, speed bumps, curb bulbouts, and truck aprons that create the illusion of a narrower street. Designated bike lanes will not be added.
Jennifer Chu, city associate civil engineer, said the boulevards have been talked about since May last year when the city council adopted a Bike Transportation Plan that “prioritized improvements to support bicycling in Cupertino.” The boulevards were specifically mentioned in the plan.
The city says the open house will be a chance for residents, especially those living in the neighborhoods where the routes are proposed, to get more information, ask questions and voice concerns.
“We absolutely want the neighbors to attend the open house and be involved; even more so than the bicyclists because they’ve already weighed in on the plan itself,” Stillman said. “It’s the people that live on the streets that may not be as involved or informed and this is going to impact them. If anything, this open house is focused toward people that live on the street more than the bicyclist.”
He said the city will take into account residents’ concerns and adjust the plan as needed. The engineers hope a plan can be presented to the council in a month or so and that construction on the routes can get started by late summer or early fall.
The open house will be in the Collins Elementary guided learning center, 10300 N. Blaney Ave. The event will be broken into three parts, each with a different set of proposed routes discussed.
For a schedule of which routes will be discussed at which time, visit cupertino.org.