Image: 2018 draft VTA Countywide Bicycle Plan, pg. 35

In 2016, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) embarked on a process of updating its Countywide Bicycle Plan to bring about a safe, convenient, and connected countywide bicycle network. The Plan identifies 975 miles of Cross County Bicycle Corridors (CCBCs), ten bicycle superhighways, and 283 new and improved bicycle connections across barriers (ABCs). The revamped, more ambitious plan—not updated since 2008—recognizes the important role VTA will have among member agencies to fund, design, and construct consistent, high quality bikeways in Santa Clara County.

Of note, the plan used the following set of key principles to guide re-prioritization of cross county bicycle corridors: coverage, access to destinations, and low-stress bikeways—while providing recommendations for design features of various facility types. Making up the backbone of this corridor network are ten bicycle superhighways, which provide continuous, high speed, and minimal friction bike paths away from motor vehicles ideal for long distance commutes by bike. While we love the forward-thinking bike plan update, we also submitted a few comments on the plan, supplemented by SVBC members:

  • Of the 975 miles of cross county bicycle corridors envisioned in the plan, 367 (37%) miles are considered priority, which will determine VTA’s role, design expectations, and funding priority for implementing projects. El Camino Real (ECR), the only non-highway road that connects Daly City to San José, is a non-priority corridor in the plan. However, SVBC views ECR as critical to a viable countywide bicycle network given its rich access to homes, transit, retail, and other desirable destinations. As cities in Santa Clara County update specific plans for ECR, SVBC looks forward to working with VTA and member agencies to make this key corridor safe, comfortable and convenient for people biking.
  • We support the plan’s prioritization of physically separated bikeways along expressways—such as Central, Foothill, Lawrence and San Thomas—and encourage the implementation of bicycle detection sensors at intersections.
  • We support the plan’s policy to define and share maintenance best practices with member agencies that will promote knowledge sharing across jurisdictions, particularly as they begin to implement more high quality facilities like cycle tracks.
  • The plan includes Three Creeks Trail—a bike path connecting Los Gatos Creek Trail to Coyote Creek Trail and the Five Wounds neighborhood—but does not list the Five Wounds trail specifically. SVBC supports adding Five Woods to the plan because it would provide a key connection between the Coyote Creek Trail at Story Road and at Watson Park, as well as future direct access by trail to the 28th BART Street Station following Phase II construction.

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition supports the plan, and its vision to make biking a viable mode of transportation for people who live, work, and play in Santa Clara County. This spring, the final countywide bicycle plan will be presented to VTA Advisory committees and could be adopted by VTA Board of Directors by June (Dates subject to change). We look forward to working collaboratively with VTA and Member Agencies to deliver projects and programs that will make our communities a much more bikeable, livable, and thriving place.