Reprint By Matthew Wilson
CUPERTINO >> The city has received a $1.8 million donation from Apple Inc. that will help fund the first leg of a protected bike lane project on Stevens Creek Boulevard.
The City Council accepted the donation earlier this month, and staff plans to work early next year with a consultant to design bike lanes separated from vehicular traffic.
According to an Oct. 4 letter sent by the city to Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s vice president of real estate and development, the first phase includes design and construction of a segment from Tantau Avenue to Wolfe Road. Future phases will include the design and construction of a segment from Wolfe Road to Blaney Avenue and the design of a segment from Blaney Avenue to Foothill Boulevard. The cost for each segment is $1.8 million, $ 400,000 and $650,000, respectively.
The letter, penned by Assistant City Manager Aarti Shrivastava and Public Works Director Timm Borden, also states that Apple’s “ interest in donating money was to help the city’s goal to increase walking and biking.”
Borden told the council that Apple has been interested in contributing “going back several years,” particularly because it sees “a strong benefit to getting around the city on bicycles, especially with their campuses.”
The new Apple Park “spaceship” campus is less than a mile north of Stevens Creek Boulevard and its intersections with Wolfe Road and Tantau Avenue. Apple also has offices just off Stevens Creek Boulevard at the Main Street property and on Vallco Parkway and Tantau Avenue.
The planned bike lanes are called Class IV lanes, and according to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, they are “ physically separated from the vehicle travel lane by more than the white stripe. This can entail grade separation, flexible bollards or permanent barriers.”
It is unclear what exactly will be used to separate Cupertino’s bike lanes from vehicles. Resident Jennifer Griffin asked the council at the meeting how the separations will interact with driveways and affect trees along street frontage. She said she’s concerned that bumpy separations could be a hazard.
“ Elderly people can trip and fall over these; we need to study this more,” she said.
The Stevens Creek project is one of many identified in the 2016 Bicycle Transportation Plan approved by the council in June of that year. The plan suggests several high-priority projects, with a protected bike lane on Stevens Creek Boulevard ranking as the top priority.
When the council approved the city’s 2017-18 capital improvement program this summer, it directed staff to prioritize a similar protected bike lane on McClellan Road as part of an “aggressive plan for safe routes to schools.” Borden told the council that both the McClellan and Stevens Creek projects will move forward.
Last year the council also approved a budget to complete a bike boulevard network throughout the city, as well as feasibility studies for three trails: the Junipero Serra Trail, Regnart Trail and Union Pacific
The city of Cupertino has accepted a $1.8 million donation from Apple Inc. that will go toward funding the first leg of a protected bike lane project down Stevens Creek Boulevard.
PHOTO BY MATT WILSON