Biking Cupertino envisions a bike-friendly city equipped to help mediate the complications of a rapidly growing community describes in the last paragraph of About Cupertino and consequently the increase in auto traffic. Cupertino is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is the home of Apple. It is one of the economic hubs for jobs. But like so many communities in the U.S. Cupertino has a very car-centric culture.
In addition to housing Apple’s headquarters, we have two world-class school districts that rank among the highest in the nation, a magnet for parents who want their kids to have a competitive edge for entering into our nation’s top universities. As such, our city has a disproportionate number of young families with children moving here each year because of these schools, increasing the demand for housing and placing a very high premium upon housing prices.
But the city has big plans for dramatic growth especially in business developments around our city. Apple is building a 14,000 employ campus here. Vallco Shopping Center has been bought by a developer who wants to construct 2,000,000 sq. ft. of office space called the Hills creating upwards of 10,000-12,000 new jobs right next to Apple’s new campus. Many other offices, shops, and high density housings developments are under construction or being planned in the very near future. But growth has its consequences. As the community grows streets become increasingly congested with more CARs, creating dangerous road conditions both for pedestrians and bicyclists and traffic congestion.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young adults ages 5-34 (http://www.cdc.gov/injury/overview/data.html). Far more Americans have been killed by cars than war-related violence. Yet for most, cars remain the sole mode of transportation.
Street safety is largely related to the number of cars on the road, and this in turn is related to the number of residents and outside employees commuting in our streets. As our city grows our road largely stay the same. So what can we do to stem the increasing rate of accidents and traffic congestion short of putting a stop to growth, an impossibility given the state mandates that cities provide their share of housing in proportion to the overall growth of a region and the city?
This blog proposes that the city promote increased bicycle use over the long-term to constantly reduce the number of cars on the streets in anticipation of population increases as one of the keys to Sustainable Growth in conjunction with public transportation and other commuting alternatives. But the way we plan and develop our city must incorporate elements that mitigate traffic as well by designs which encourage walking and bicycling. Central to the theme of this blog is the ultimate Vision of a totally car-free and carbon-free commuting community 75 years from now (2.3 generations) where walking and bicycles play a major role in commuting.
There are Three Elements which are essential for making this successful today. The order in which they are started is somewhat important but all three can run concurrently:
- Safety – Before bicycling can become a more popular mode of transportation it must first must give residents the feel that it is safe for their entire family.
- Appealing – Once safety is established, it’s important to make biking an appealing activity. Strategies like shaded bicycle paths that run by popular shopping and outdoor destinations can go a long ways to engaging biking.
- Convenience – Eventually larger scale changes can be undertaken, such as dedicated streets for bicycles and establishing bicycle shortcuts to mixed use businesses and houses along closed off to traffic streets throughout the city making biking more convenient than driving.
This blog is the sole thoughts and opinions of my own. Like most I have lived in Cupertino because of its Wold Class Schools. I have lived a total of about 30 years in this community. I was fairly active in the two school districts when my kids were young then upon my retirement focused more on our city government with still an eye on our schools. I live in a neighborhood that is totally blocked by parents driving their kids to school in the morning. I have always worked behind the scenes where I feel most comfortable. In all that time I have developed a sense of what my community was about and have gained insights of what the bigger picture of what our city really needs.
I am anything but a traditionalist thinker and believe that those who think traditionally are doomed to repeat the failure of history. When faced with seemingly insurmountable problems one must think innovatively outside of the box. For residents in my community the ideas and Vision set forth here are way outside the box. But acceptance is slowly happening one person at a time.