The Cupertino Bicycle Pedestrian Commission recently had their new 2016 Bicycle Transportation Plan approved by City Council. This is by far the most ambitious Bicycle Transportation Plan ever put together in the city’s history. They engage a bicycle planning consultant Alta Planning & Design to assist in putting this plan together. They have been approved by the city for $2,000,000 to start this $18,000,000 dollar program which will likely span 8-10 years.
That said there are also some major deficiencies in this program. I will attempt to describe some of its features and vision then some of its major deficiencies which may have long term impacts upon making bicycle riding far more practical for most people in our city and in engaging more citizens to ride their bicycles to reduce traffic.
This bicycle plan address traffic around some of our schools in providing safer streets with more buffered bicycle lanes and Class IV protected bicycle lanes, notably along part of McClellan Road between Bubb Road. They are also placing Class IV protected bicycle lanes on Stevens Creek Blvd., Stelling Road, and Blaney Ave. But their primary emphasis is on building interconnected bicycle paths or Class I bicycle trails that are totally separate from traffic except where they need to go through residential areas to join together. There is a large loop trail going around Cupertino as part of the interconnecting trails. These bicycle trails will provide residents with long walking and bicycle trails safely away from car traffic except where they must go through some local streets to connect together for pleasant recreational rides. These trail will be very pleasant with some shade and mostly fairly quiet away from traffic noise except those portions along the freeway sound walls. These trails are mostly intended for weekend recreational bicycle riding though some such as the Union Pacific Trail, which stretches between Rainbow Road and McClellan Road, provides a very safe path to the Tri-school area for students around Rainbow Rd. or south if it such as those living in Seven Springs.
I believe that bicycles should first be useful to everyday citizens to safely and conveniently ride to daily destinations such as shopping, dining, jobs, and visiting friends. This not only make bicycle riding more utilitarian for residents to use daily instead of their cars but makes bicycle riding more accessible for far more citizens who would not normally ride bicycles. This quickly creates more bicycle riders who become bicycle advocates to help promote more bicycle infrastructure reducing the number of cars that are used to do these tasks around town. It promotes healthy living on a daily basis by providing residents more opportunities to get exercise and fresh air while doing their tasks. I bought a Burley Travoy bicycle cart from REI online on sale for shopping. But first the streets and Infrastructure that makes that safe and convenient for everyday citizens to use must be built so that the majority of citizens like yourself and I have the option of riding our bicycles safely and conveniently to our daily destinations. I think recreational bicycling once or twice a week is great. But what we really NEED is DAILY options for BICYCLING instead of driving SAFELY and CONVENIENTLY around town to do chores and go to Frequented Destinations like work and shopping. Some of that is planned along Stevens Creek Blvd. but it is absent elsewhere, notably along South DeAnza Blvd. where the most concentrated shopping and dining destinations in town are located along a one mile strip. Part of DeAnza Blvd. belongs to San Jose but most Cupertino residents consider this part of Cupertino. This is probably the busiest street along Cupertino. Cupertino could easily join forces with San Jose to build Class IV protected bicycle lanes there if they wanted since San Jose also has an aggressive bicycle program in place. But such things will likely not happen for another decade though we Need it Now.
It needs to be at the top of their priorities but at this point it isn’t even on their very lengthy multi page priority list. I am quite disappointed about this decision by the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission. But the current 2016 Bicycle Transportation Plan has been adopted by City Council and it will be difficult to change. I was so hopeful that the Commission would develop bicycle routes for safe, convenient and destination riding for the majority of citizens to ride their bicycles instead of driving their cars. That will likely happen when I am no longer able to ride a bicycle. In spite of this bitter disappointment there is the sweet of a new plan that does provide Cupertino with far more recreational bicycle options than have ever existed before.