With the budget crisis that Cupertino is facing, most requests from city commissions for items to be included in Cupertino’s Work Program are expected to be revenue neutral or revenue generating. The Bicycle-Pedestrian Commission is included in this. Luckily, bicycle and pedestrian related projects often are able to be significantly or fully funded by state and county grant money, unlike other requests by other commissions, so it’s much easier to have them be revenue-neutral to the city. On January 24, 2024, the BPC made their yearly recommendations.
This year, the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission recommended three items for the City’s Work Program. (For an explanation of what goes in the Work Program vs. the CIP, or Capital Improvement Plan, see the box.) Each commission is allowed to recommend up to three items, each of which must fall within the purview of the commission. Items which were not chosen in previous years may be requested again. For example, the combined Bike/Ped Plan was not chosen in 2023/24 or 2022/23 and is being requested again.
What’s the difference between Cupertino’s Work Program and the CIP?
In general, Work Program items are generally studies or work that city staff would do. CIP items are infrastructure implementation. A work program item (study) can drive an eventual CIP item (implementing the results of the study).
Combined Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
The first item the commission recommended is a combined Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, or a Complete Streets Plan. Cupertino right now has two plans, a Bicycle Transportation Plan (‘Bike Plan’) and a Pedestrian Transportation Plan (‘Ped Plan’). The Bike Plan was approved in 2016, so it is a minimum of 8 years old already. Plans such as this are considered out of date when they are more than five years old in general. In this case, with traffic patterns changing in Cupertino due to the pandemic, school closings and enrollment patterns changing, and construction projects such as Westport and The Rise, it’s clear that what was considered back in 2015 likely no longer applies. Importantly, a new Plan will allow the city to qualify for grants that require an up-to-date plan.
The current Bike and Ped plans also have priority project lists that do not match. Some items are top priority on one list, but farther down on another. This causes confusion about how important a project is for the city and in what order they should be considered. Read more here about what a plan like this should include.
Your support is needed to let the Councilmembers know that these items are important to residents and community members!
Please write an email in your own words to the council (Click here to start), letting them know that you would like them to approve these Work Program items.
(1) We need a new bike/ped combined plan to meet the updated needs of our city and to qualify for grant funding.
(2) To reduce injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in Cupertino, we need to reduce speeds. A work program item for speed limit studies is required to make this happen.
Speed Limit Studies
The second Work Program item requested by the Bike-Ped Commission is to have the staff perform speed limit studies to determine if speed limits on some local roads can be lowered. Studies have shown that the incidence of severe injury or death is significantly reduced with even a 5 mph reduction in speed on a road. With the recently passed state bill AB43, it is now possible for the city to re-evaluate the speed limits on certain roads to see if reductions can be made. See here for more detailed information about the bill and how it can be implemented.
Homestead Corridor Coordination
The third item recommended by the Bike Ped Commission is to coordinate with Sunnyvale on their planned Homestead bike lane changes to see what can be done with improvements on the Cupertino side of the street. Sunnyvale recently approved converting all part-time bike lanes on Homestead to full-time lanes and investigating adding buffered lanes wherever possible. There is also an ongoing Homestead Corridor project funded by the County to improve student safety.
During the same commission meeting, Public Works Department Head Chad Mosley was in attendance. He asked for the commission to confirm its desire for the results of the Bollinger Road study (a past Work Program item) to continue forward to potential designs for improvements (now a CIP item). The commission was in agreement, but asked that if they were being asked to prioritize a project, that they should be informed in advance what other items were then being considered lower priority.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.