Connecting Our Communities

The small-town nature of Silicon Valley means that you may live in one city, work in another, and do your errands in a third. It is our goal to expand transit options by making sure that people and families of all ages and abilities can get to all your destinations in a safe, comfortable and convenient way – on a bike! We would like to connect our communities, from end to end. This means working with cities and the counties to improve local bike facilities and routes, and ensure that they are working to fill in the gaps and make their jurisdiction a welcoming place for people to choose a bike as transportation. These types of campaigns focus on implementing city bike plans, creating neighborhood bikeways, improving local streets and creating North-South bike routes.


Recent News

2015 Silicon Valley Bike Summit Recap

Thanks to all who attended the 5th Annual Silicon Valley Bike Summit! Did you miss it? See below for more information and a chance to hear a podcast of the day. You can also view the archive of all tweets from the Summit as well as photos from the event. The Summit was a great day learning about safety and active transportation in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and we enjoyed seeing people from the non-profit, private, and public sectors as well as local residents and advocates! A special thanks to our high level sponsors. Stanford Health Care was our presenting sponsor and co-host, and many thanks to Microsoft and Emison Hullervson LLP for their generous support. We would like to also thank Genze, Palo Alto Bicycles, Paoli & Geerhart, Gary Brustin, Dero, Bank of the West, and M-Group. The opening plenary featured Nuria Fernandez, head of VTA, and Jim Hartnett, head of the San Mateo County Transit District. Our own President Shiloh Ballard moderated a fascinating conversation between them about their respective counties’ involvement in bicycling, safety, and the future of transit. Audience questions touched on funding through sales tax measures, bike access on trains and buses, bike maps, El Camino Real, and equity in transportation. Next, Jessica Osborne and Corina Chung of San Mateo County Health System (SMCHS) and Susan Lowery and Pamela Amparo of Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) presented on collision and injury data involving people who bike and walk. Check out the presentations from San Mateo County Health System and Santa Clara County Public Health Department. We learned that: In SMC,...

The Big Picture of Envision Silicon Valley

As many of you have heard, VTA and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group have spent much of the past year and a half researching projects and public opinion for a potential 2016 transportation sales tax ballot measure, a process and product called Envision Silicon Valley. Though the primary motivation for placing such a measure on the ballot is Phase II of the BART extension, additional revenue from the tax could provide a significant source of funding for bike, pedestrian, transit, and general roadway projects. In Alameda County, a similar tax known as Measure BB passed last year, resulting in $1 billion for bike and pedestrian projects. Think of what we could do for biking and walking with that kind of money in Santa Clara County! SVBC has been working closely with VTA and other involved organizations to better understand the parameters of any potential ballot measure, as well as to determine how much money might become available for active transportation projects, weigh in on the goals and metrics associated with the measure, and solicit input from our members about what kinds of projects they would like to see funded. I sit on the VTA B/PAC, where VTA staff gives monthly updates on the Envision Silicon Valley process; I have also participated on the VTA advocates stakeholder group. At SVBC, each of our three Santa Clara County Local Teams have discussed the tax measure, and we dedicated our most recent Policy Advisory Committee meeting to presentations by VTA and the Leadership Group on the topic, followed by a discussion of SVBC’s priorities. Yesterday was the due date for public agencies...

Peninsula bike advocacy roundup

It’s been a busy week for bike advocacy on the Peninsula! We sent out comment letters on three issues affecting bicycling: one discussed a new redesign proposal for the Page Mill Road crossing of Highway 280, one weighed in on the Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan, and one urged the City of Belmont to utilize a scheduled repaving of Old County Road as an opportunity to add bike lanes that connect to neighboring communities. Have an issue you’d like to see SVBC act on? Attend a meeting of one of our Local Teams or send us a Position Recommendation Form to...

Friends of Future Millbrae launched to educate residents on Station Area Plan

On Tuesday night, a group of non-profits (including SVBC) and local residents called Friends of Future Millbrae convened a community workshop to educate residents about the potential benefits, impacts, and concerns of Millbrae’s Station Area Specific Plan (MSASP). The plan is an update from the original 1998 plan. It includes updates to zoning, circulation, design, and other guidelines for the specific plan area, immediately surrounding Millbrae’s BART and Caltrain station. This multimodal transit station is one of the busiest on the Peninsula, servicing not only the two train lines, but also connections to San Francisco Airport. It will also serve as one of a few High Speed Rail train stops in the Bay Area (the other two being San Jose and San Francisco) on a blended system with Caltrain. Currently, the station is surrounded by parking lots and effectively disconnected from the Millbrae community through the barriers of Millbrae Ave. and El Camino Real. However, this station is a commute hub for Millbrae and other nearby communities like San Bruno, Burlingame, and San Mateo to access employment and other destinations north and south. This plan and two proposed Transit-oriented Developments could be a real game changer in terms of connections for Millbrae and nearby cities. Friends of Future Millbrae is an ad hoc group of local Millbrae residents and non-profit organizations including the Millbrae Cool Cities Team, the Sierra Club Sustainable Land Use Committee, the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, Friends of Caltrain, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and public health advocates. We are dedicated to making the proposed (MSASP) the best transit-oriented development possible to benefit the...

Lincoln Avenue Road Diet needs your help to survive

The June 18 community meeting to discuss the Lincoln Avenue road diet in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood had an impressive turnout of both supporters and detractors of the project. Several hundred residents filled the Willow Glen High School auditorium, with many donning extra large t-shirts with a red circle and stripe through the words “Road Diet” to show their disapproval. Despite the fact that most reactions to the road diet, and the data behind it, have been positive, there was an undeniable sense that the opponents were out in force that night. City staff presented the results of the three-month trial period road diet (PDF). Traffic had been reduced! Speeds had been reduced! Travel times were up by a few minutes during the worst times of day, true, but one of the goals of the project was to make Lincoln Avenue less appealing to commuter traffic using Willow Glen’s main drag as an alternative to Highway 87. Mission accomplished! Importantly, bicycling and walking had increased. And cut-through traffic on side streets was either not significantly increased or actually reduced. To us, to many residents and business owners, and to the city, these were all positive results. SVBC and our partners at California Walks had written a letter to Councilmember Oliverio, the Willow Glen Business and Neighborhood Associations, and the Department of Transportation to voice our support for the trial and celebrate the results. I also attended the community meeting with several SVBC members. We spoke about the multiple goals that have been achieved by the road diet: To reduce and slow vehicle traffic, shifting Lincoln Avenue away from...

SVBC on KQED’s Forum – View the Google Bike Plan

What does it take to make a whole region “bicycle friendly?” How can we double the number of people riding bikes in northern Santa Clara County? What do bike networks look like when they’re built for residents of all ages and abilities, from 8 to 80? Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and Google went on KQED’s Forum program to discuss the Google Bike Vision Plan, a new look at what it’s like for people riding bikes in northern Santa Clara County today and what our region could look like with 8-to-80 bike networks. Click here to hear the segment. Download the Google Bike Vision Plan...

Make the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet Permanent in Willow Glen

Since February of this year, Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen, a business district in San José, has been experiencing a pilot road diet, which has aimed to make the street safer and more friendly to all transportation choices, including people who bike. SVBC has promoted this project from the beginning and there was a lot of work that went into researching the best ideas and doing community outreach. A couple months ago, staff checked it out and the San José local team led a bike ride out to the district. We’ve been thrilled with the results and the improved accessibility to Willow Glen businesses for people who bike and walk. It has also created a safer streetscape. Not everyone is convinced however. We want to ensure that the community and businesses hear why these changes have benefited the residents and visitors to Willow Glen. Here’s what you can do: Educate yourself and read the City of San José’s report on the pilot. Sign the petition in favor of the road diet. Attend the public input meeting on June 18 to voice your...

Road Diet Promotes Small Town Feel in Morgan Hill

This post is courtesy of Nathan Winchell, a resident of downtown Morgan Hill The 6th month pilot lane reduction in downtown Morgan Hill has already begun to restore the small town feel that had been overshadowed by the busy commute traffic of recent years. By many, Morgan Hill is still thought of as an agricultural community. The kind of small town where families can choose to live a slower paced lifestyle, while still having a choice to work in Silicon Valley or in the many local industries. Unfortunately, as the town has continued to grow, traffic congestion and the accompanying added noise greatly affected the enjoyment and relaxing feel of our lovely downtown. Morgan Hill’s downtown is along Monterey Road, and although other arterial roads were created to encourage commuters to use other routes, Monterey Road continued to feel much like an expressway, and less like a downtown street. Cars and trucks rushing through the four lanes of traffic rattled the silverware of the outdoor dining tables. The close proximity of vehicle fumes negatively colored the flavor of food and drink, as well as destroyed the small town atmosphere. Pedestrians felt crossing the four lane street often became a risky game of Frogger, and without a bike lane, people on bikes were bullied by cars and often choose to ride on the sidewalk or not at all. But then our city council and downtown merchants collaborated on a new experiment; a six-month lane reduction with the goal to place more importance on the safety of pedestrians, bikes, and the vitality of the downtown businesses. Living in the downtown for...

I scream, you scream, we all scream for bike lanes!

Despite popular lore, SVBC employees do not spend all of our time on bicycles, tooling about town with the sun on our faces, fighting injustice in the name of pedal-powered propulsion. Most days, we are stuck at our desks or in meetings, warmed only by the blue glow of florescent tubes. Still, we’ve lately made a point of getting out of the office for a monthly staff bike ride, both to better the cohesion of the team and to see what bike-friendly amenities (or car-centric catastrophes) adorn downtown San Jose and its environs. This week’s roundabout took us to the Willow Glen neighborhood to admire and assess the recently commenced road diet trial. The seven staff members present were all familiar with the previous pedal-if-you-dare layout of Lincoln Avenue, and were delighted to be able to cruise the quaint corridor without injecting ourselves into car traffic. New bike lanes mean more customers for the businesses utilizing this curb cafe. Getting there by bike means you’ve earned your ice cream. The trip back to the office featured more great bike lanes on San Fernando Street. In addition to a new pair of spacious bike lanes, the road diet also adds pedestrian visibility to the streetscape. Downtown Willow Glen is a compact shopping district, so pedestrian mobility has wisely been promoted with a series of mid-block crosswalks to encourage wandering and exploration. But with two vehicle lanes in each direction, pedestrians attempting to cross the road were often challenged by the threat of stopped cars in one lane blocking them from the view of drivers in the next. With only one...

Willow Glen begins pilot road diet

di·et noun noun: diet; plural noun: diets 1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. "a vegetarian diet" 2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. "I'm going on a diet" road di·et noun: 1. Like #2 above, but with stripes on roads. "This street is scary! I wish the city would put it on a road diet." A major thoroughfare/quaint business district main street in San Jose is going on a diet – temporarily, at least. Lincoln Avenue in the Willow Glen neighborhood will begin a trial road diet at the end of this month. San Jose District 6 Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio has been working with the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association (WGNA), the Willow Glen Business Association (WGBA) and the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to plan and implement a temporary re-striping of the neighborhood’s main drag for three months. The hope is that, by taking the road from two lanes in either direction to one lane either way plus a center turning lane, speeding will be reduced, pedestrians will have an easier time crossing the street, and space on the road will be freed up for bike lanes. SVBC was in favor of a road diet for this section of Lincoln since we first saw a proposal for nearby bike lanes a year ago. As part of San Jose’s impressively proactive effort to reach its goal of 400 miles of on-street bikeways, the DOT was proposing bike lanes on the northern section of Lincoln Avenue, stopping at Willow Street. Where Lincoln...

South San Francisco Downtown Plan and new Caltrain station approved

The City of South San Francisco recently passed their Downtown Station Area Plan by unanimous vote. Just a week later, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) voted authorize allocation of $49.1 million in original Measure A funds to the City of SSF for Caltrain Station improvements. SVBC has been working as part of the South San Francisco Community Benefits Coalition for over a year now in support of these two things. The South City Community Benefits Coalition worked over the course of three years with a dozen community and labor organizations and hundreds of city residents to develop a community consensus around a four-point platform that included: Greener and healthier development alternatives, Affordable homes and homelessness solutions, Efficient affordable public transit with bicycle and pedestrian transportation options, and Building businesses and creating good jobs in our community. The final plan is great for bikes. The plan builds upon the City’s 2011 Bicycle Master Plan by planning for key east-west and north-south routes, including a new bicycle and pedestrian tunnel to the relocated Caltrain station, bike lanes on Grand Avenue (the main commercial street), a Colma Creek Canal Trail over the train tracks, and other bike lanes connecting to the east side of the city. This plan hinges on the relocation of the Caltrain station south to line up with Grand Ave. and the completion of a pedestrian and bicycle undercrossing that would connect downtown to the Caltrain platform as well as the east side of the city. I attended the SMCTA meeting in which they approved the funding for this important project to speak in favor. I was...

RWC Farm Hill and Complete Streets Committee passed!

Last night, the Redwood City City Council unanimously passed both the formation of a Complete Streets Committee, which will replace the informal RWC Working Group that we’ve organized, and the pilot lane reduction on Farm Hill boulevard from four to three lanes to calm traffic and encourage lower speeds on that road. The Complete Streets Advisory Committee will be made up of at least 5 members who live or work in RWC with no more than one member from RWC’s sphere of influence (including Emerald Hills and North Fair Oaks). The Committee will advise on project selection for grant applications, design and construction of bicycle/pedestrian facilities, and projects for staff to consider. They will also provide annual benchmark reports to Council. The supporters for the Farm Hill traffic calming project were many, including a 10 year old who has to cross Farm Hill to get to her school bus, and many other residents on or near Farm Hill who have witnessed myriad car accidents due to speeding. Thank you to all of our members who came out to speak or wrote emails or letters for one or both of these measures! It definitely made a difference! Take a moment to write a thank you note to City Council:...