The Bicycle Pedestrian Commission (BPC) meeting in May covered a multi-use path along the Blackberry Farm entrance road, intersection improvements at De Anza Blvd. & McClellan Rd., and traffic signal changes at Stevens Creek Blvd. & Wolfe Rd. It kicked off with written communications about maintenance issues for the bike lanes near Bubb Rd. If you see a roadway or path in disrepair, report it through Cupertino 311 and, optionally you may email the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission.

The Blackberry Farm Multi-use Path

The entrance to Blackberry Farm has no sidewalk or bike lane along San Fernando Ave., making it difficult to access from the east without a car. In 2019, the City Staff began a feasibility study for how to improve bike and pedestrian access using a combination of an off-street path or a bike lane on the climbing side of the road. In February 2020, the City Staff took these alternatives to the BPC, which voted for an off-street path with modifications. The BPC asked City Staff to allow bikes on this path, making it a Class I bicycle amenity as a multi-use path.

For this meeting, City Staff presented the completed study of that modification, only needing to add striping to separate bicyclists from pedestrians. The project is estimated to cost between $3 and $4 million for the quarter-mile path because the site is on a sloping grade and the path must conform to the ADA definition of a ramp. The BPC unanimously voted to recommend the modified alternative to the City Council, while reiterating that it was only a Tier 3 project on the 2016 Bicycle Transportation Plan. Unfortunately, without direction from the City Council, this project will not move forward to the design phase due to budget and staff resource constraints.

McClellan Road Safety Improvements

The next project presented by the City Staff was the third phase of the McClellan Road safety improvements. This phase deals with the tricky intersection at De Anza Blvd., as McClellan Rd. turns into Pacifica Dr. Not only does the intersection span more than 8 lanes of traffic on De Anza Blvd., but McClellan and Pacifica are significantly offset from each other. It’s unclear if the project will bring bicycle safety improvements when crossing De Anza Blvd., but it does improve the crosswalks, shortening them by making them perpendicular to the roadway. A potential eight-phase signaling system, with dedicated left turn phases, could protect bicyclists and pedestrians from interacting with drivers turning onto De Anza Blvd. The design will be finalized in December 2021 for construction in 2022.

Traffic Signal Changes at Stevens Creek Blvd.

The final item was a request from City Staff for ideas to improve the unique traffic signals used on Stevens Creek Blvd. for crossing Wolfe Rd. going westbound. There are currently three separate phases for right-turning drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The BPC provided feedback that there is already too much signage at the location, exacerbated by a request from VTA to add more signs for their buses. Aside from that, they need ideas on how to make the signaling simpler, safer, and less frustrating for drivers. There was consideration of using a special “no right turn” signal that will light up when bicyclists and pedestrians are crossing the street. If you have ideas, send them to the BPC and City Staff, because the direction for this discussion was inconclusive.
As always, public participation in these BPC meetings is encouraged — even if it’s just to send an email with thoughts about Cupertino biking and walking infrastructure. It doesn’t have to be on the official agenda. Specifically, if you want to make Blackberry Farm more accessible, you should reach out to the BPC and the City Council to voice your support. Much like the Carmen Rd. Bridge, it won’t happen without a groundswell of support for the project.