Nearly three months after the fatal bike-big rig collision on Caribbean Drive, the City of Sunnyvale is poised to revisit the design proposal for the SF Bay Trail Access Enhancement project west of Borregas Avenue. Earlier this week, Councilmember Russ Melton sent out a link with the most recent design alternatives, which you can find here.

In comparison to the original proposal (see orange arrow above), an additional alternative was evaluated (blue arrow above). The latter design designates a Class IV protected bike lane next to the multi-use path and provides a safe, convenient facility for all roadway users. Moreover, bio-retention planters and parking would be placed along the traffic lanes and act as a physical barrier between vehicular traffic on one side, and bicyclists/pedestrians safely on the other. As such, SVBC supports this Alternative Evaluated option.

The City’s Preferred Alternative (see pink arrow above) would remove the current bike lane and replace it with a nondescript buffer, with no protection from high-speed motor vehicles should bicyclists choose to ride there at their own risk. Bicyclists may choose to use the multi-use path on the other side of the planters, but this may be sub-optimal in terms of convenience.

In the earnest effort to avoid another fatal collision on this corridor, we believe safety ought to be at the crux of any new design proposal. That is why we believe the Other Alternative Evaluated option should be prioritized over the City’s Preferred option, as it would build on the City’s momentum to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries under Vision Zero.

As such, the City has a unique opportunity to deliver a project with public benefits in safety for all roadway users that could then be applied to other areas of Sunnyvale’s high injury network.

Next Steps:

If you live or work in Sunnyvale: City Council will be considering the aforementioned proposals this Tuesday, May 8, at 7 PM in Council Chambers, Sunnyvale City Hall. (456 W. Olive Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086.) The Caribbean Drive design proposal is the second item on the agenda, so feel free to take extra time to arrive if needed.

If you can’t make tomorrow’s Council meeting and would still like to support the safer alternative option, kindly see below talking points that can be used for emailing City Council and staff.

Email Instructions

Talking points:

  • State that you are requesting City Council adopt the “Other Alternative Evaluated” option, particularly because it would provide the safest facility for bicyclists and pedestrians as opposed to the City’s Preferred Alternative.
  • Thank City Council for removing one westbound travel lane, which will have a positive impact in moderating speed. Another suggestion would be for Council to consider slowing speeds on Caribbean.
  • Encourage the City to consider reducing traffic lane width from 11′ to 10′ to allow for a greater buffer between parking and bicycle/pedestrian facilities.
  • Urge Council to reduce the current speed limit from 45 mph to 30 or 35 mph.
  • Feel free to interject your own experience and why you care about this issue.
  • Thank the Council for their attention to this issue given the bicycle fatality in February.

Email Council@sunnyvale.ca.gov; Mayor@sunnyvale.ca.govBPAC@sunnyvale.ca.gov; and cc aboyer@sunnyvale.ca.gov (project manager), and bcc Ben@bikesiliconvalley.org. If you would like to contact them individually, the webpage for the Council is here.

Draft Email:

Dear Mayor and Council,

Thank you for the City’s work to update the Caribbean Green Streets Demonstration Project with heightened attention to bicycle safety.

The removal of a westbound travel lane is a great feature of the project since it will help moderate traffic speed. However, the envisioned 8′ foot buffer in the City’s Preferred Alternative raises safety concerns, as it would expose people riding their bikes to motor traffic if they are unable to access the multi-use path.

The Other Alternative Evaluated included in the most recent proposal would solve this issue, as it includes physical separation between motor, foot, and bike traffic with the placement of bio-retention planters and parking. Therefore, to bolster bicycle and pedestrian safety and avoid another fatal collision on Caribbean Drive, I strongly encourage the City to adopt the “Other Alternative Evaluated” option.

Thank you,