It’s been almost a year since we updated our community about the Carmen Bridge project in June 2021. The City allocated $75K to deal with obtaining access to a thin slice of property at the end of a cul-de-sac on the downward facing slope of the Stevens Creek Blvd roadway. In the middle of March, we received exciting news that the city actually owns that slice of property as the bridge’s northside landing site.
Many thanks to the city staff for reviewing county records carefully and verifying that the city owns the needed land, so no easements or purchases would be needed for the project to move forward.
This great milestone progress has been confirmed by Chad Mosley, Assistant Director of Public Works, during the city council meeting on Tuesday April 5th. His oral report is included in the city council meeting video link (time marks 4:21:00 and 4:28:18) during the discussion for the agenda item #12 — Consider Council Goals and Prioritize Potential Fiscal Year 2022-2023 City Work Program Items.
On behalf of the city staff, Chad Mosley said they will potentially consider and recommend this project to the city as a CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) project for the next fiscal year.
Mayor Paul appreciated staff’s effort in completing this 2021 City Work Program item on the land access issue, and he commented that “the time table sounds great” for the Carmen Bridge project to be included in the CIP next year (watch the video at time mark 4:29:40).
Each council member also provided input during the discussion following the staff’s report. Vice Mayor Chao commented that “the Carmen bridge is a really nice project” that would provide safe crossing in “accident-prone” areas, but she suggested reviewing the overall funding status of all biking related projects before the prioritization. Councilmember Moore recalled some issues raised when she served on the city’s Planning Commission, including missing sidewalks on the road leading to the bridge entrance. She suggested that staff investigate these issues further and make a report to the council before considering it in the Work Program. Councilmember Wei reminded everyone that the Carmen Bridge project started many years ago, and it was prioritized highly by the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission even before she was elected to the council. In addition, she recommended for the staff to look into the potential grants that may be applied to fund this project, and this would greatly help reduce the funding requirement. Councilmember Willey weighed in that the Carmen Bridge project should be in the CIP instead of the Work Program because of the amount of funding it may require, compared to smaller projects currently listed in the Work Program. He encouraged the community to provide inputs and help the staff prioritize all the Bike/Ped related projects.
Members of public were also invited to share their voices for the agenda item #12, each given 3 minutes. Four speakers, including 2 avid cyclists and 2 parents who live in the neighborhood, shared personal stories why the Carmen Bridge is going to benefit our community. 14 Carmen Bridge supporters emailed the city council and clerk by 4:30pm on April 5th, and all their inputs have been recorded in the written communication document downloadable from the meeting agenda link. Two more supporters emailed the council, but their inputs were not included in the document due to the late timing and missing CCing CityClerk@cupertino.org. We are very thankful to all the supporters who spent the time and took the action to share with the city.
Below, we quote two paragraphs from a strong supporter who serves on the Stevens Creek Elementary PTO Board.
This project will help many students living south of Stevens Creek Boulevard to safely get to Stevens Creek Elementary each day, without having to be driven because the route is too difficult or unsafe for them. As a parent of three children (two of whom are at Stevens Creek, one at Kennedy), this bridge will definitely have a positive impact on our family. This project is endorsed by Kennedy PTA and Monta Vista’s PTSA. As a board member on the Stevens Creek PTO, we as a group also voted to support this project.
Not only will this bridge allow many students to bike from the neighborhoods north of Stevens Creek Boulevard to Monta Vista High and to Kennedy Middle School, but it will also connect our family with our friends who live in the neighborhoods on the northside of Stevens Creek Blvd. As of now, there is no safe way to cross Stevens Creek Boulevard, without a 1/2 mile in back and forth diversion. For my 13 year old son, who is stretching his wings of autonomy with bike rides with friends, this bridge would allow safe passage without having to cross at crosswalks near fast moving large trucks (Foothill) or at the bottom of a steep hill (Phar Lap). For my elementary school kids, this bridge would allow us to more safely participate in the “Walk/Bike to School Challenge” that was ongoing at SCE prior to the pandemic, and will hopefully resume in the near future. This bridge would allow the expansion of the routes that individuals and families can take as the weather improves and we all continue to strive for more exercise in safe ways.
When residents attend the city council televised meetings, they need to be aware of a rule set up by Mayor Paul since the council meeting moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that all potential speakers need to raise their hands before the first speaker finishes for the same agenda item. Many thanks to Walk-Bike Cupertino Board member Taghi Saadati for being the first speaker who effectively pinpointed the walk and bike safety issue crossing the busy Stevens Creek Blvd where the Carmen Bridge will be located, using up the 3-minute time slot that allowed as many speakers as possible.
During the public speaking, two residents who live on Carmen Rd also shared their concerns such as privacy, safety, and funding. These concerns are very similar to those brought up by the residents who live near the Regnart Creek Trail, which will have a grand opening at the end of this year. We thank their honesty and trust to share these concerns with the city. On behalf of Walk-Bike Cupertino, we would like to exchange ideas and build understanding with the residents on Carmen Rd. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill this form with your name, home address, preferred time to meet, contact info, and brief description of your concerns regarding the Carmen Bridge project. We will greatly appreciate your input and your willingness to discuss your concerns with us. Together we will collaborate to build common ground and make our community a safer place for all!