Simitian Proposes Safe Routes to School on Homestead Road Corridor

June 6, 2018

San Jose - The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal by Board President Joe Simitian to expand the Safe Routes to School program on the Homestead Road corridor, which serves students in Los Altos, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale. 

“Given the ever-growing danger of traffic to young pedestrians and bike riders, it’s crucial that we take every measure we can to ensure the safety of these kids,” said Simitian. “This is a complex route covering multiple jurisdictions. It requires a comprehensive planning effort.”

The funding, to be considered as part of this year’s County budget process, would be $100,000 on a one-time basis allocated to the Public Health Department. The Department would contract with a technical facilitator to develop a multi-jurisdictional (Cupertino, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and County of Santa Clara) conceptual plan of additional on-street safety improvements to the Safe Route to School on the Homestead Road Corridor. The corridor carries students from south Los Altos and northwest Cupertino traveling to both Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School. 

A technical consultant is needed to work with the multiple jurisdictions and community stakeholders to create a conceptual plan that:

  • Inventories and identifies conflict points and safety needs/hazards;
  • Develops on-street improvements to correct those needs/hazards; and,
  • Examines potential funding sources.

The conceptual plan would serve as the basis for subsequent multi-jurisdiction applications for state and federal funding to implement identified on-street improvements.

Students from south Los Altos and northwest Cupertino use Homestead Road to travel to Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School. Homestead Road begins at the intersection of Foothill Expressway/Vineyard Drive/Homestead Road in south Los Altos. From the north, students are crossing Foothill Expressway at St. Joseph or at Arboretum and coming south via Grant Road. From the west, students are crossing Foothill at Vineyard Drive/Homestead Road.

Once on Homestead Road headed west, numerous conflict points exist, including a commercial development with seven ingress/egress 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.

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.

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