Walking and Biking Tours for Sunnyvale’s Active Transportation Plan

The city is engaged in a year-long Active Transportation Plan to address the needs of bicycle riders, walkers, and children who need Safe Routes to Schools. A series of walking and biking tours have been announced:

Crosstown Biking Tour
When: Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Plaza Del Sol, 200 W. Evelyn Ave. (at the corner of Evelyn Ave. and Francis St.)

El Camino Walking Tour 
When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Peterson Middle School, 1380 Rosalia Ave. (Parking lot at Rosalia Ave.)

Moffett Park Biking Tour 
When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Where: Columbia Park, 739 Morse Ave. (Parking lot at Morse Ave.)

Fair Oaks Park Walking Tour 
When: Friday, Aug 9, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Fair Oaks Park, 540 N. Fair Oaks Ave. (Parking lot at corner of E. Maude Ave.)

Interested residents are asked to RSVP.

Community Workshops will be scheduled in October and January.

Two Young People were Struck by Vehicles and Injured while Riding Bicycles in Sunnyvale on Tuesday Night

Per reports via Sunnyvale Scanners, two children riding bicycles were struck by vehicles in Sunnyvale on Tuesday night.

The first incident, reported around 6:30pm, occurred at Remington and Sunnyvale Saratoga. A 13 year girl old sustained minor injuries and complained of leg pain.

The second incident, reported shortly after 8:00pm, occurred on Fremont at the 85 highway ramps. A 15 year old boy was struck by a car, reported conscious and breathing.

 

Two-Injuries

The roads in Red are identified as Sunnyvale’s High Injury Network. Injuries were sustained by young bicyclists on Tuesday night at the highlighted intersections.

Both of these incidents occurred on Sunnyvale’s High Injury Network, which the city has identified as those roads where most injuries occur, and which should be redesigned to improve safety under the city’s Vision Zero policy.

The City Council will hold a Vision Zero Public Hearing on Tuesday, July 30, at 7pm, at City Hall.

 

A Passion for Zero Waste in Sunnyvale

In May, Sunnyvale resident Tim Oey gave a TEDx Talk at Homestead High School about his passion for Zero Waste. A few take-aways for me:

  1. Sunnyvale’s web site has a page called: “How to Get Rid of Anything”
  2. You can purchase deli/meat/bulk items from local markets using your own reusable containers.
  3. Bicycling is great. (Out bicycle infrastructure could be a lot better.)
  4. I would add that e-bikes are a great innovation that can expand your range: I bought one last year, and with a baby carrier, often run over 30 miles round trip, including daycare drop-off!

Take 15 minutes to watch Tim’s presentation over on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SSKjWyAFH14

City seeks Public Input: Vision Zero, Caribbean Drive

As part of the ongoing Vision Zero program to eliminate all traffic fatalities, Public Works have identified ten priority locations where they will work to improve safety. Public input is welcome online until 5pm April 27. Project locations include:

  1. El Camino Real between Mary and Mathilda
  2. El Camino Real between Taaffe and Fair Oaks
  3. The El Camino-Fremont-Wolfe triangle
  4. Remington / Fair Oaks between Iris and Manet
  5. El Camino Real between Henderson and Helen
  6. Mathilda and Maude
  7. Fair Oaks between Balsam and Taylor
  8. Fremont between Sunnyvale Saratoga and Floyd
  9. Homestead between Heron and Wolfe
  10. Mary between Remington and Fremont

Sunnyvale_Carribean_Drive_MapJPEGforWebsite 10-16-17

Additionally, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) will be meeting on April 19 at 6:30pm to review options to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to the Bay Trail near the Water Pollution Control Plant and Caribbean Drive. To date, vigilant citizens have been engaged in this project ensure a safe, high-quality connection between Borregas and the Bay Trail.

Cyclist Death and a Call to Action

Last week, a cyclist was killed by a big rig truck at Borregas and Sunnyvale Ave, near the SMaRT recycling station. This is where Sunnyvale’s principle North-South bicycle corridor connects to the Bay Trail. There is further coverage at the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

The SVBC has posted a Call to Action for City Council, which meets Tuesday evening. Folks are invited to contact City Council and request that the consent item for the Green Street Demonstration Program along Carribean Drive be pulled from the agenda and that additional review is made to ensure safety.

Must Be Present to Win – A Bike Advocate Success in Sunnyvale

Originally published by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, republished with permission from author Tim Oey.

IMG_0958

Taking a measure along Caribbean Drive.

In September 2017, Sunnyvale bicyclists almost lost a significant connection between the Borregas Avenue bike route and the Bay Trail. Luckily a few key people were at a public meeting and eventually convinced Sunnyvale staff that a safe route in both directions was critical for bicyclists of all abilities.

Here is the story of how this evolved and some pitfalls along the way.

Sunnyvale’s Water Pollution Control Plant has been running for 60 years and is in the process of a much-needed rebuild so it can continue to serve an expanding population and generate cleaner recycled water to keep the San Francisco Bay healthy. As part of this rebuild, Sunnyvale needed to close Carl Road to allow the Water treatment plant to expand. This would sever the current Borregas to Bay Trail connection as well as close Bay Trail public access parking along Carl Road. The plan was to create new a new route for bicycles and pedestrians to go from Borregas to the Bay Trail as well as a new parking area for cars. Borregas, with its two bike/ped bridges over 101 and 237, is the northern end of Sunnyvale’s premier north-south bicycle route.

The Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and its support staff were not informed of this pending major bicycle and pedestrian change, nor were Bay Trail staff. I was invited by Larry Klein, one of Sunnyvale’s council members, to a public outreach meeting to review the final design of what was called the “Caribbean Drive Parking and Trail Access Enhancements Project.” I almost did not attend because it seemed it should be a slam dunk to maintain or even improve this great bicycle and pedestrian connection to the Bay Trail.

Alas, the devil is often in the details.

While local city staff are getting better at handling bicycle and pedestrian issues, they still have a strong bias favoring motor vehicles that lines up with our strong car culture. Call it car privilege.

So the redesign they came up with provided excellent motor vehicle parking as well as reasonable pedestrian facilities but would have required bicyclists to dismount and walk their bikes along a pedestrian sidewalk in the southbound direction for several years until a new bike/ped crossing of Caribbean was built sometime in the future. Even then, bicyclists would be routed on a bike lane along the busy and high-speed Caribbean Drive instead of the much slower Borregas Ave & Carl Drive.

Google-Borregas-Aerial-Map

In this Google Map aerial view, the purple line is Carl Road, which will be closed; the green line is the new bike access trail along a water canal; the yellow line is the sidewalk along Caribbean, and the red line is the future at-grade bike/ped crossing of Caribbean.

During the presentation, Sunnyvale staff were quite insistent that there was no space for a multi-use path instead of a sidewalk on the north side of Caribbean and that the plans were too far along to change. When pressed, they came up with alternative detours for bicycles to go through the Yahoo campus or through a little-known back access way behind and through the Sunnyvale SMART station.

Later, I and others visited the site in person to discover that there were about 26 clear feet between Caribbean and the fenced-in landfill that provided plenty of space for a two-way multi-use trail instead of a pedestrian sidewalk. Also, the detours through Yahoo and the SMART station had navigational challenges and some safety issues in addition to being longer and out of the way — sometimes adding a couple of extra miles to what should have been a short connection.

Thanks to a flurry of dialog from some council members, myself, and many other advocates including Bay Trail staff and former council members, Sunnyvale staff did finally come up with a proposal that included a multi-use trail on the north side of Caribbean to provide safe and easy access between Borregas and the Bay Trail for bicyclists of all ages and abilities. This was confirmed in an email communication from Sunnyvale staff in late October.

In the end, we should now get a connection between Borregas and the Bay Trail that is an enhancement over the current Bay Trail connection, but it was touch-and-go for about a month. If not for the quick and concerted effort, we could have been stuck with degraded bicycle access.

Some key takeaways from this experience:

1) Never assume. It is incredible how many ways things can go wrong.

2) Must be present to win. We need bicyclists at as many public meetings as possible to make sure we catch design issues before they are set in stone (literally). It is often surprising how many developments can have a significant impact on bicyclists and pedestrians.

3) Our network is our strength. Only by leveraging our network did we have enough influence to change plans in the very late stages of this project. Also by having a big network, we can cover more territory and meetings. We need a network of alert advocates to ensure we eventually get a vast network of beautiful routes throughout Silicon Valley. Being a member of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is HUGE! Please encourage your friends to join us!

Thanks!


Tim Oey is currently the president of the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, vice chair of the Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, life member of both the Adventure Cycling Association and League of American Bicyclists, and an SVBC member since 1989.

Caltrain Grade Separation Community Meetings: August 10, 24

(Via Ria Hutabarat Lo, PhD, Sunnyvale Transportation and Traffic Manager)

There are two upcoming community meetings regarding the Caltrain Grade Separation Feasibility Study. This study will assess the feasibility of separating the road and railway at Mary Avenue and Sunnyvale Avenue.

rr-xings

This project is being considered due to safety concerns, congestion delays, pedestrian/bicycle access issues, and noise impacts associated with having active at-grade railway crossings in urbanized communities. Anticipated increases in service frequency along the Caltrain railway line will improve regional access for Sunnyvale commuters but exacerbate concerns associated with railway crossings—if they are not grade separated.

Depending on the selected alternative, the impacts of grade separation could potentially include the following:

  • property acquisitions
  • access modifications
  • temporary road closures

The City of Sunnyvale will hold two community meetings to describe project goals, process, and schedule, and obtain initial community feedback. Each meeting will be tailored to the respective crossing location. Meeting details for each location are as follows:

Mary Avenue Railroad Crossing
6:30 – 8 p.m. Thursday, August 10, 2017
Washington Park Building, 840 W Washington Ave, Sunnyvale
Also: Online Survey

Sunnyvale Avenue Railroad Crossing
6:30 – 8 p.m. Thursday, August 24, 2017
Sunnyvale Library, 665 W Olive Ave, Sunnyvale
Also: Online Survey