Activism from Your Couch: Three Projects in Silicon Valley Taking Comments Online
Colma's El Camino Real Project, Sunnyvale and San Mateo County's Active Transportation Plans
While COVID19 continues to keep many of us in our houses and apartments, we’re looking for more ways that people can stay involved as advocates while sheltering in place. Here are three projects in the Silicon Valley that are currently taking public comment: the Active Transportation Plan in Sunnyvale, the El Camino Real Bike/Ped Improvements Project in Colma and the San Mateo County Active Transportation Plan for unincorporated parts of the County.
The City of Sunnyvale is working on an update to its Bicycle Plan for the first time since 2006, and this time they’re taking a larger view of transportation.
“We’ve been working on the Sunnyvale Active Transportation Plan for awhile, and it’s really important because they’ve combined their bike plan, pedestrian plan and Safe Routes to Schools Plan into one document,” explains Emma Shales with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC)
While the draft plan appears to be a step forward for the city, there are some concerns that it doesn’t go far enough. At the March 12 outreach meeting, residents pushed for more projects and even a “Safe Routes to Work” Plan. For its part, SVBC listed five suggestions on their blog to make a good draft plan a great final plan:
- We recommend Sunnyvale set a 10 percent bicycle mode share goal by 2030.
- We encourage City of Sunnyvale plan for at least 50 miles Class I and Class IV bike infrastructure and at least 120 miles of planned improved infrastructure to create a truly safe bikeable, walkable city.
- We recommend the plan includes a plan and methodology to do “quick build” projects that get pilot and demonstration projects on the ground faster and cheaper.
- We request Sunnyvale evaluate potential bicycle infrastructure using our newly developed bicycle network evaluation tool before making high, medium, and low project rankings final.
- We encourage Sunnyvale budget to invest at least $40 million over the next 10 years, or $4 million per year for implementation, adjusting for inflation going forward.
Comments are due on the Sunnyvale Active Transportation Plan at 11:59 p.m. on April 19, so there’s no time like the present to chime in. You can do so online.
Colma may not be the largest city in Silicon Valley, but Shales gives us a big reason to pay close attention to this project.
“It has a BART station on El Camino that’s used by a lot of people from outside the town,” writes Shales. “Even though we’re working on bike lanes on El Camino in a lot of cities, nobody has really implemented anything yet. They could be the first.”
Efforts are underway to create a series of bike lanes along El Camino Real through various cities and two counties between Daly City and San Jose on the Peninsula. And while the city is listing various alternatives for each segment, all of them include connected bikelanes.
The best way to provide feedback is through the city’s website which provides an easy way to compare alternatives. SVBC has suggestions on which alternatives are the best to go forward. You can read more about their ideas, here.
As noted last month, when we were still in the early days of shelter in place, Streetsblog spoke with Sandhya Laddha with SVBC and Julia Malmo-Laycock with San Mateo County about the ongoing efforts to produce a plan for the unincorporated parts of San Mateo County.
The plan will combine policies, recommendations and projects that can help “create more livable communities” according to the project goals. The Active Transportation Plan is the first of its kind for Unincorporated San Mateo County.
The draft plan recommendations have received high marks from advocates, both for the efforts to bring people into the process and for the projects it proposes.
“We are really appreciative of the efforts the County is taking for active transportation in the unincorporated areas – these areas, since they do not fall under any city jurisdiction often get neglected, while they could be great connections between different jurisdictions,” said Laddha.
For more information, read our story from last month and check out the project’s updates online. To submit feedback through their “public input map” or sign-up for updates, make use of the “contact us” portal.