Prioritizing Walking & Biking in Sunnyvale

Success! Due to our advocacy leading up to the Jan 28th meeting, the City Council

On Jan 28th 2021 the City Council voted to prioritize walking and biking infrastructure by adding "Active Transportation" to the City Council's Strategic Policy Priorities (SPP). Specifically, they added "Active Transportation" to the "Ability of Infrastructure to Support Development & Traffic".

Ability of Infrastructure to Support Development & Traffic & Active Transportation

You may have noticed that the city council chose not to add "Implement the Active Transportation" specifically to the SPP. I view this as a good thing because the city has multiple walking/biking safety plans (the ATP, the Vision Zero Plan, and the Roadway Safety Plan), and this language enables the SPP to cover all of them. I think that by making this part of the "Ability of Infrastructure to Support Development & Traffic" SPP, it changes the focus to be more centered on sustainable mobility.

So what does this mean? The SPP is a statement of the city's values. It is a signal to staff to prioritize projects that support walking and biking. There are many hurdles to implementing the ATP, Vision Zero, and the Roadway Safety Plan (financial, practical, time), and by prioritizing it we tell staff to accelerate addressing these hurdles. This is also a step forward towards getting the city to fund these types of projects and dedicate staff towards them.

The vote passes 6 to 1 (Watch the for 1 min): https://youtu.be/mINwDaQxfgw?t=29377

I would like to take a moment to appreciate how we were able to accomplish this. Through our outreach and posts on social media, we got 40 letters sent to the city council. FOURTY LETTERS!! That's huge, and that's not even counting the emails that I could not track. I want to give everyone a high-five for this team effort. Russ Melton complemented our email writing campaign during the meeting today (watch for 3 min): https://youtu.be/mINwDaQxfgw?t=28624

Build better walking and biking opportunities in Sunnyvale

We are a group of residents who want to see better walking and biking in Sunnyvale. The city recently set the goal of having 10% of trips done by walking and biking by 2030. We can make this goal a reality by implementing the city's Active Transportation Plan.

What is the ATP?

The Active Transportation Plan (ATP) is Sunnyvale's new pedestrian, bicycle, and Safe Routes to School plan. This plan includes many projects that will make walking and biking safer and more enjoyable in Sunnyvale, such as the East Channel Trail, a planned 6-mile creek trail for walking and biking that will go North/South from Homestead Road to the Bay Trail near Moffett Park. It will connect multiple residential neighborhoods, major employers like Google and Lockheed Martin, the Sunnyvale civic center, multiple parks, and the Bay trail, benefiting thousands of Sunnyvale residents. The Active Transportation Plan also contains projects to build a city-wide low-stress bicycle network so residents of all ages can safely and comfortably bike to their destinations.

Creek trail example

How to build a better tomorrow

In order to build these projects, we must start implementing and funding the ATP in 2021. The ATP is predicted to cost as much as $98 million over 10 years, and this cannot be paid for by only outside grant money in a timely manner. The city needs to commit significant funds from its budget to implement it. Every year, the City Manager makes the budget based on the city's Sunnyvale City Council's Strategic Policy Priorities list (SPP). By adding "Implement the ATP" to the SPP, we can accelerate the implementation of ATP projects.

How you can help:

Write a letter to the city council to urge them to start funding the ATP in FY 2021/2022 and add "Implementation of the ATP" to the Strategic Policy Priorities.

Choose one of the following four pre-written emails to send to the City Council, or send one of your own! Scroll to the bottom for ideas. The more personal the letter, the more impact it has.

If you are a...

Pedestrian

Sunnyvale Parent

Longtime Resident

Sunnyvale Biker

*If one of the buttons above does not work, open your email, create a new email, address it to council@sunnyvale.ca.gov, and manually copy/paste one of the letter templates below into the body.

Don't forget to sign your name at the bottom!

Pedestrian

Dear Sunnyvale City Council and Mayor Klein,


I am a resident of Sunnyvale who walks recreationally and to run errands around the city. I urge you to add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to Council’s SPP list on Jan 28th. This will allow the city to dedicate funding to the ATP, which will accelerate walking infrastructure improvements.


Investing in walking infrastructure improves the livability of our city. It has been shown in cities across the US to increase quality of life, improve the mental and physical health of residents, reduce harmful pollutants, and increase property values. It is especially important that walking paths are safe and enjoyable, away from the stress and air pollution of cars. The John W Christian Greenbelt in North Sunnyvale is a great example of this. Unfortunately, most neighborhoods in Sunnyvale do not have access to these kinds of facilities. This is why we must prioritize funding and building the East Channel Trail and other walking and biking projects outlined in the Active Transportation Plan (ATP).


The ATP is predicted to cost as much as $98 million, and this cannot be paid for by grant money alone in a timely manner. The city needs to commit significant funds to implement it.


>> Please add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to the Council Strategic Policy Priorities on Jan 28th.


Sincerely,


_____(name)

_____(your neighborhood name)

Longtime Resident

Dear Sunnyvale City Council and Mayor Klein,


Please add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to the City Council’s Strategic Policy Priorities on Jan 28th.


I am a longtime resident of Sunnyvale. I have watched as pedestrian traffic has reduced and car traffic has increased over the decades. The percentage of children walking or biking to school has dropped precipitously within just one generation (1969: 48%, 2009: 13%). We must reverse this trend.


Investing in walking and biking infrastructure improves the quality of life in our city for everyone. Increased mobility has been shown in cities across the US to increase quality of life, improve the health of residents, reduce harmful pollutants, and increase property values. It will also help achieve our Climate Action Plan goals and Vision Zero Plan goals to reduce fatalities by 50% by 2030.


I am excited about projects listed in the Active Transportation Plan (ATP) including the East Channel Trail. This trail will create a crucial walking and biking connection between multiple residential neighborhoods, major employers like Google, Microsoft, and Lockheed, the Sunnyvale civic center, multiple parks, and the Bay trail. It will provide an important recreational and commuting trail that will benefit thousands of Sunnyvale residents.


Projects like East Channel Trail will become a reality much sooner if the ATP is included in the Strategic Policy Priorities (SPP) and prioritized for funding.


Implementing the ATP is predicted to cost as much as $98 million over 10 years. The city will need to commit significant funds to implement it. Potential grant money will not be enough.


>> Please add “Implementing the ATP” to the Council Strategic Policy Priorities on Jan 28th. This will help prioritize funding in the FY21/22 Budget and beyond so the ATP will be completed as soon as possible. <<


Sincerely,


_____(name)

_____(your neighborhood name)

Sunnyvale Parent

Dear Sunnyvale City Council and Mayor Klein,


I am a Sunnyvale resident and parent and I would like kids to be able to safely and enjoyably walk and bike to school or to meet up with their friends. Sunnyvale’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) includes a Safe Routes to School Plan to make the commute to schools safer. The Active Transportation Plan also includes safer walking and biking infrastructure on city streets and multiple off-road nature trails.


We need this infrastructure now more than ever. The percentage of children walking or biking to school in Sunnyvale has dropped precipitously within one generation (1969: 48%, 2009: 13%). Nearly one-third of Sunnyvale 5th and 7th grade students did not score in the “Healthy Fitness Zone” during physical fitness testing during the 2018-2019 school year. Kids who walk or bike to school are not just healthier, they perform better in school. Studies show that students who walk and bike to school are also more likely to be physically active and less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.


Making the city safer to walk and bike is critical to the health, wellbeing, and academic performance of our kids and future generations.


We need the ATP to be implemented quickly to meet both our Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero Plans. The ATP cannot be implemented in a timely manner if it is only funded by grant money. The city needs to commit significant funds from the budget towards this effort.


>> Therefore, please add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to Council’s Strategic Policy Priorities on Jan 28th. <<


Sincerely,


_____(name)

_____(your neighborhood name)

Sunnyvale Biker

Dear Sunnyvale City Council and Mayor Klein,


I am a Sunnyvale resident and I bike frequently in Sunnyvale. As car traffic has grown in the city, it has become increasingly unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians alike.


From 2014-2018, 20 cyclists and 40 pedestrians were killed or severely injured by car collisions, not including the additional 287 cyclists and 156 pedestrians who suffered from minor injuries in Sunnyvale. This is unacceptable.


You have created a fantastic document in the Active Transportation Plan (ATP). It contains many solid recommendations to make Sunnyvale safer for bikers and walkers. Now it’s time to commit to implementing it.


I urge you to add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to the City Council’s SPP list on Jan 28th.


Sunnyvale has a goal that 10% of all trips will be done on foot or by bicycle by 2030. We will only be able to meet this goal when walking and biking is safe for even our youngest and oldest residents. This goal cannot be achieved through road signage and painted sharrows alone, it will require protected bike lanes and walking-biking trails away from cars.


Implementing and funding the ATP in 2021 is how we will get there. The ATP is predicted to cost as much as $98 million, and it cannot be implemented in a timely manner if it is only funded by grant money. The city needs to commit significant funds from the budget to implement the ATP.


>> Please add 'Implementation of the Active Transportation Plan' to Council’s SPP list on Jan 28th. <<


Sincerely,


_____(name)

_____(your neighborhood name)

Write your own letter. Ideas to include:

  • Children who walk/bike to school perform better academically and are healthier.

  • Describe how a specific project in the ATP would benefit you (Ex: the East Channel Trail, the Low Stress Bicycle network, spot improvements near your home/work, Safer Routes to School Improvements, etc.)

  • From 2014-2018, 503 pedestrians and cyclists have been hit by cars. This is unacceptable. We must implement the ATP quickly to reduce further collisions in the future and improve the safety for all road users.

  • Building walking and biking infrastructure increases property values, reduces pollution, and improves our quality of life.

  • Implementing the ATP is crucial to achieving the city's Climate and transportation mode-share goals

  • We will not be able to implement the ATP in a timely manner if the city relies on grant money alone to fund the projects. The city needs to commit significant funds from its budget.

Therefore, I urge you to add “Implementing the ATP” to the Council Strategic Policy Priorities on Jan 28th. This will help prioritize funding in the FY21/22 Budget and beyond so the ATP will be completed as soon as possible.

Open your email

This effort is lead by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition Sunnyvale Team. Join us. We love new members!