On December 9, VTA held a community meeting to provide project updates and present the final design for the I-280 and Wolfe Road Interchange project. The new bridge will “reuse as much of the existing infrastructure as possible,” according to Jon Cacciotti, lead Project Manager for HMH, the consulting firm creating the design, though the central portion of the bridge and portions attached to Wolfe Road to the north and south would be completely replaced.
Impact for Cyclists and Pedestrians
The updated bridge will offer significantly improved bicycle and pedestrian access. New bike lanes which are separated from vehicle traffic and located adjacent to the pedestrian sidewalk will allow cyclists of all ages to cross I-280 on Wolfe more safely. Higher speed cyclists will still be allowed to use the main vehicle traffic lanes if they prefer.
At each of the on/off ramps, there will now be signalized crossings for bicycles and pedestrians instead of the current status of painted-only crosswalks.
The design is not ideal for cyclists, however. As our own WBC board member Larry Dean pointed out during the meeting, the four crossings (two in each direction) for cyclists and pedestrians at the on/off ramps present some potential conflicts with vehicles. They will also likely require stopping by cyclists and pedestrians at each on/off ramp. A design which includes a separate ped/bike overcrossing, though much more expensive and impractical from a grade (elevation) standpoint, would be safer and easier for all cyclists and pedestrians.
Connection to Junipero Serra Trail (I-280 Trail)
The design also only includes a pedestrian sidewalk connection to the Junipero Serra (I-280) Trail (JST), which has an understreet crossing at Wolfe. On the east side, it will connect with the portion of the trail near the Hyatt House hotel, and on the west side the connection is not finalized as the trail design is still in progress as well. For cyclists, this is less desirable as there is no designated bike connection. Those who may be using the JST as a commuting path to Apple’s newest campus, Apple Park, may need to continue on the JST to Vallco Parkway and north on Tantau to get to work.
Project Estimated to be Completed in 2025
The new bridge creation is in response to the old bridge nearing the end of its lifespan and its outdated design. The current bridge also does not meet VTA’s Complete Streets guidelines for bicyclists and pedestrians. The new bridge is expected to cost $80-90 million, which would be paid for by Measure B funds.
Competing projects elsewhere in the South Bay can delay or halt the project if the funding went to those projects instead. Construction is planned to begin in 2022 and completed in 2025. A summary of the project information from VTA can be found here.
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.