The Don Burnett (Mary Avenue) Bike Pedestrian Bridge has been open for over 10 years. I estimate that since opening, I have crossed this 500-foot span cable-stayed steel bridge on my bicycle well over 3000 times, mainly on my daily commute to work in Menlo Park, but also on recreational and utilitarian rides. During this time, I have developed a mental database of the bridge uses and functions. For one, the bridge seems to be in use at all hours of the day, whether I am traveling north at 6 am or returning to Cupertino at 6 pm, I usually see someone crossing the bridge. During prime daylight hours, the bridge is most heavily
A stunning overhead view of the bridge. (Hat tip to “TB” from Yelp for the picture!)
used by both pedestrians and cyclists, including joggers and walkers of all ages, young children learning how to ride a bike or scooter, and grandparents pushing their grandchildren in strollers.
Students, seniors, and families love using the bridge.
Nighttime is beautiful on the bridge (Thanks to Bigyan B. for the picture from Yelp.)
The bridge also draws photographers, day and night, who set up tripods for their SLR cameras at various locations along the bridge span, apparently in search of a compelling artistic photograph. Occasionally I have seen an artist sketching on an easel set up near midspan. It is also quite common to see small social groups, usually young people, either seated or standing around bridge mid-span, possibly enjoying the view of the valley. I have noted that the bridge is also a common location for taking informal and formal individual, couple and group photographs.
The point I make is that this bridge seems to be something far more than a structure that allows bicyclists and pedestrians passage over the 280 freeway. For whatever reason, it is also a social and artistic magnet. The bridge has a certain elegant simplicity, with two 90-foot tall slender steel towers, with a geometric esthetic created by the bridge cables- I never tire of traveling over the bridge. It is particularly beautiful at night, especially when it is lit up.
This bridge seems to be something far more than a structure that allows bicyclists and pedestrians passage over the 280 freeway. For whatever reason, it is also a social and artistic magnet.
The City of Cupertino should be highly commended for all the effort and hard work required to bring a project such as this to fruition. This bridge is a prime example of government doing good for its citizens. It is my understanding that the original cable-stayed bridge design was to be concrete; however, the construction bids came in at nearly twice the budget. For six weeks, the city worked with the design firm to redesign the bridge with steel, which brought the costs down substantially. Cupertino could have selected the standard, Caltrans multiple span concrete bike-pedestrian bridge visible throughout the bay, but it would not have had the same effect on its citizens.
Metal birds found at the Mary Ave/Meteor Drive entrance to the Don Burnett Bridge.