At the November 2022 Cupertino Bicycle Pedestrian Commission (BPC) meeting, three proposals on the new Lawrence-Mitty Park were brought for review by Commissioners. A final plan with the option most preferred by both residents and the BPC has been created by City Staff and will be brought to the Cupertino City Council in early 2023.
Options for the Park
Three design options–all with bike and pedestrian trail access–were brought to the commission by Susan Michael, Cupertino CIP manager.
Option 1 was “Wheel Fun”, with a BMX pump track, a new restroom, and fitness stations.
Option 2 was “Story Trail”, which is the most wild, least developed option. It includes a deck overlook near the creek.
Option 3 was the “Play it up” concept, which features a playground and picnic area.
Lawrence-Mitty park will be located on the far east side of Cupertino, just south of the intersection of Lawrence Expressway and Stevens Creek Boulevard.
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As we know from city-wide surveys from the Parks and Recreation department, residents of Cupertino overwhelmingly want more connectivity to their parks and trails. Commissioner Erik Lindskog raised the idea that this park could increase its connectivity for residents by including a bike/ped pathway to Lawrence Expressway and adjacent streets, such as Calvert Drive. Currently, the new park will only be accessible via the pathway next to Sterling-Barnhart Park. Not all Commissioners were supportive. Commissioner Ilango Ganga agreed that it was a good idea, but Commissioner Jack Carter was concerned about “unintended consequences”, including “undesireable elements” and reducing the tranquility of the park. Ultimately, the commission decided to add the connection as a last item on their workplan list for the coming year.
Public Comment at the BPC
Several members living in the adjacent neighborhood gave public comment. They were against the BMX track and had questions about night lighting (there will not be any, as it’s a habitat).
Another issue raised was about the location of a potential restroom. If one is put in, it would go at the adjacent Sterling-Barhart park as that would hook into Cupertino utility services. A restroom at Lawrence-Mitty would require services to come from San Jose, a much more expensive prospect. Neighborhood residents preferred having the location in Lawrence-Mitty.
Final Concept Direction
The new park has had extensive outreach to the Cupertino community to see what residents are looking for, including on-site visits, online surveys, and workshops. Forty-six percent of residents preferred the “Story Trail” concept over the Wheel Fun (21%) or Play it Up (33%) concepts. Based on the extensive feedback to the three proposals, the City Staff have developed a final plan direction, which includes aspects from all three main concepts but is primarily based on the “Story Trail” and its nature aspects. It will also include play features, a restroom, additional connectivity, and social spaces from other concepts.
Walk-Bike Cupertino Input
WBC supports a multi-use path connection to neighboring streets, in addition to the pathway near Sterling-Barnhart. As WBC Boardmember Helene Davis puts it, “This is a rare opportunity to provide off-street connectivity to our students, our community and beyond.” This multi-use path would allow more students of Cupertino High School and Hyde Middle School to safely walk or bike to school.
We are pleased that the park will allow both bicycle and pedestrian users, and appreciate that both Parks and Recreation and Public Works are considering the great number of residents that enjoy these activities when planning the layout of the park.
We look forward to continuing input on this important new amenity to the City of Cupertino. If you would like to share your thoughts on the plans for the park, contact Susan Michael, Public Works CIP Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and Walk-Bike Cupertino and does not reflect the opinions of any other organization or entity. For more information, contact WBC at email@example.com.
Thanks, Geoff, you make some good points. Lighting can have real benefits to easing the fears of residents of all ages and genders. The staff is generally resistent to lighting, due to cost and discouragement by nearby residents of it due to people then using a trail or park after dusk (all Cupertino parks are supposed to close at dusk). I encourage you to send your suggestion about the climbing net and lighting to Susan Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org as she is leading this project. See you on the trail!
1) Lighting: I think that if we want to encourage more walking, we should consider looking at the lighting on Stanford’s walking paths, which have low height lighting. Women would feel safer.
2) Creek access: I put a cargo net up a tree in my back yard that my kids could climb. They loved it, and a net down to the creek would give kids a chance to get wet & muddy – which is an essential part of childhood.