Need for More Bicycle Trails

Stevens Creek Trail

Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View

A bicycle trail is a bicycle route that is largely away from the sights and sounds of car traffic.  It is typically made of asphalt but can be made of concrete or dirt and gravel.  Bicycle trails are typically shared with walkers, joggers, and hikers. Many bicycle trails go through undeveloped portions of cities such as long creeks, railroad tracks, parks, and open spaces.  And occasionally they pass through residential area to connect portions of trail not possible along the natural route such as a narrow creek or blocked by private property.  They exist to provide bicyclist a feeling of complete safety from cars as well as an atmosphere away from the noise and distractions of traffic while provide a more natural city-free atmosphere for bicycling.

These trails attract bicyclists of all ages and riding abilities to enjoy the out of doors in a relatively safe and car & care free environment to really enjoy the bicycling experience itself, like taking a nice leisurely walk or hike.  Good bicycle trails are magnets for many bicyclists of all ages equal in sexe.  Many such trails through cities and towns can act as safe bicycle routes to destinations such as for students to safely bicycling to school and residents to shop and go to work.  They encourage people to ride their bikes instead of drive their cars.  They bring people closer to nature and provide a healthy and safe form of exercise and fresh air.  Bicycles are fairly quiet so are minimally invasive to nature and other bicyclists.  This allow for a quiet experience to enjoy wildlife in it natural state.

Bicycles get a bad rap from those who use bicycles as a sporting vehicle to race through streets and even on bicycle trails.  But if enough casual bicyclist and hikers used these trails they will demand that such behavior be stopped on trails.  This is true in general as bicycling becomes more popular.  In the 1950’s when there were fewer cars there were reckless teenagers speeding on street with cars.  That is largely gone now because cars have become far more popular.  The same will happen for bicycles.

In Cupertino there are two perspective bicycle trails through part of town. The Stevens Creek Trail runs from McClellan Ranch near Monta Vista High School all the way to the Shoreline in Mountain View.  There is an effort by four cities (Mountain ViewS, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino) to connect the trail through these cities.  But there are potions of this trail that must run on residential streets because there is no room along  the creek for such a trail.  Residents on these streets are fighting hard to prevent such a trail going through their streets.  Safety issues are most frequently given as reasons for not ruining the trail in their streets but privacy is likely their true reasons.

The other trail is the Union Pacific Trail that run from the Joe’s Trail in Saratoga to the south of Cupertino to the Lehigh Cement Plant to the north-west.  Saratoga developed the Joe’s Trail for bicycling where it runs under the power line and narrow strip of property owned by PG&E along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.  PG&E granted Saratoga permission to uses their land.  Union Pacific has historically been very resistant in a trail being developed on their property.  Since there is no PG&E line along the tracks in Cupertino the city would have to make some kind of arrangement with a reluctant Union Pacific.

So trails are possible through Cupertino to make bicycling far more attractive for citizens but both have problems.  It is unfortunate that there are so many problems with people who do not see the far greater benefits of less traffic and safer paths for children to bike safely to school and their families to bike safely along lengthy and peaceful trails.  People like to enjoy the peace, safety and quiet of trails but only if it is on someone else’s street.  I’m not sure why the Union Pacific, which runs one train a day slowly down its tracks and allows access to bicycles and walkers along their tracks with never an incident, is so resistant to a developed trail paid for by the city.

About Frank Geefay

Sustainable Bicycle and Smart Growth Advocate
This entry was posted in Bicycle, Considerations, Ideas. Bookmark the permalink.

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