May 22, 2019
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HOMESTEAD ROAD CORRIDOR
SAFE ROUTE TO SCHOOL STUDY RELEASED
SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County has released a report detailing a proposed expansion of the Safe Routes to School program along the Homestead Road corridor. The report includes proposals for near-term pedestrian and bicycle improvements on Homestead Road in the cities of Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
“Given the ever-growing danger of traffic to young pedestrians and bike riders, we really need to step up to ensure the safety of these kids,” said Simitian. “This is a complex route. It covers multiple communities. It’s going to take everyone working together to make this plan a reality.”
The report details proposed on-street improvements along the Homestead Road corridor, including new traffic signals, high visibility crosswalk markings, bike lane buffers, and sidewalk improvements, among others. The next steps for the Homestead Road Safe Routes to School Project are to apply for grant funding based on the funding sources identified. It is intended that the Partner Agencies will jointly apply for grant funding. A “project champion” from each agency should also be appointed.
In June 2018, at Simitian’s urging, the County Board of Supervisors approved one-time funding to secure a consultant to develop a multi-jurisdictional conceptual plan for additional on-street safety improvements to the Safe Route to School on the Homestead Road corridor. The corridor serves students coming to and from West Valley Elementary School, Cupertino Middle School, and Homestead High School.
This conceptual plan will serve as the basis for subsequent multi-jurisdiction applications for state and federal funding to implement identified on-street improvements.
Homestead Road begins where Foothill Expressway, Vineyard Drive, Grant Road, and El Sereno Avenue converge in south Los Altos. To reach this point, students from the northwest side of Foothill Expressway are crossing the Expressway at St. Joseph or at Arboretum. They join with students exiting the adjacent neighborhoods on the northeast side of Foothill and travel south via Grant Road, which is a frontage road paralleling the east side of Foothill Expressway.
From the west, students are crossing Foothill Expressway at Vineyard Drive/Grant Road/El Sereno. Once across Foothill Expressway, these students then must cross traffic that is exiting Foothill Expressway (including from Interstate 280) to reach Homestead Road. These two groups of students end up on both the north and south sides of Homestead Road, respectively.
Once on Homestead Road headed west, numerous conflict points exist, including a commercial development with seven entrance or exit points on the south side of Homestead, a partial Class I Bicycle Path on the north side of Homestead, and Highway 85 on- and off-ramps on both sides of Homestead.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that this area is a jumble of jurisdictional boundary lines. The boundaries of the cities of Los Altos, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale converge in this area and impact responsibility for Homestead Road.
The County has right-of-way related to Foothill Expressway. Caltrans has right-of-way related to Highway 85. In addition, Cupertino Middle School is located on the north side of West Homestead in the City of Sunnyvale. Homestead High School is located on the south side of West Homestead in the City of Cupertino. These two schools are also in different school districts, Cupertino Union School District and Fremont Union High School District, respectively.
Students bicycling on the Homestead Road Corridor Safe Route to School are therefore crossing from one city to the next with no unified route, facing inconsistent guidelines from the jurisdictions on where to be or what safety rules they should follow to stay safe.
Safe Routes to School is an international movement that has taken hold in communities throughout the United States. The concept is to increase the number of children who walk or bicycle to school by funding projects that remove the barriers that currently prevent them from doing so. Those barriers include lack of infrastructure, unsafe infrastructure, lack of programs that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement programs aimed at children, parents, and the community.
Separate state and federal Safe Routes to School programs serve California. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) distributes Safe Routes funding from the Federal Highway Administration. The California state budget provides roughly an equal amount of funding for the state’s Safe Routes to School program. Funds are distributed in the form of grants.
In addition to state and federal Safe Routes to Schools grants, the study identifies several other potential funding sources, including 2016 Measure B through the Valley Transportation Agency. The Homestead Road Safe Routes to School Project is eligible for 2016 Measure B funding because the project is in the Santa Clara Countywide Bike Plan outlined in Attachment
A of the Measure B ballot. Two other potential sources are Sustainable Communities Grants through Caltrans and One Bay Area Grants through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. When a call for grant applications is issued, which will vary dependent on the funding source, the next steps for the Homestead Road Safe Routes to School Project are for Partner Agencies to jointly apply for grant funding.
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