Guest Blog by Betsy Megas, who lives and works in the City of Santa Clara and commutes by bicycle. She has been an SVBC member and volunteer since 2012.
To get more involved in local advocacy, check out SVBC’s Local Teams.
The four miles of El Camino Real, aka State Route 82, in Santa Clara have some of the worst bicycle- and pedestrian-involved collision rates in the City of Santa Clara and are overdue for maintenance. Considering that it’s among the highest-stress places in the city to ride a bicycle, this poor safety record also suggests relatively high demand. There are upcoming opportunities to get involved now to change how the road looks and feels into the future. We recently saw a win in Redwood City for protected bike lanes on El Camino Real, can we replicate it here?
The road is slated for badly needed repaving starting around July of this year. At the same time, the City of Santa Clara is starting to develop its El Camino Real Specific Plan for the same segment. In general, El Camino is the responsibility of Caltrans but any changes involve a collaboration between the city and the state agency. The recent Caltrans District 4 Bike Plan doesn’t have a specific prescription for improving bicycle safety or access along this stretch of road. Instead, Caltrans is deferring to the city, which is suggesting non-continuous bike lanes along with parallel routes on side streets. This is not a solution for safety and convenience and does not provide access to the transit and retail along El Camino itself. One proposed parallel route, Benton Street, has fast, heavy traffic and no bicycle lanes. This proposed alternative is not safer or lower stress.
El Camino Real in Santa Clara would have the space for a bicycle lane if underutilized on-street parking were removed, which was the solution that Redwood City landed on. This would also improve visibility for all users turning on and off El Camino from the many side streets and driveways. This kind of change requires action from the City of Santa Clara.
If you want to help encourage the city and Caltrans to make significant improvements to El Camino Real, please help by:
- Completing the online survey by January 31. The online survey is available through January 31. Visit www.santaclaraca.gov/survey to take the survey and www.santaclaraca.gov/ecr for more information on the project.
Attending one of the city’s upcoming public workshops:
-Friday, January 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Pop-Up event at Santa Clara University, outside the Benson Center
-Wednesday, February 28, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Central Park Library, Redwood Room
Sending specific concerns to MayorandCouncil@SantaClaraCA.gov, Manager@SantaClaraCA.gov, and to the Santa Clara BPAC in care of Marshall Johnson, MJohnson@santaclaraca.gov. Copy Ben Pacho, SVBC Santa Clara County Advocate: firstname.lastname@example.org and Sergio Ruiz, Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator / Branch Chief for Caltrans District 4: email@example.com
Thanks for your help!