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Update: Friends of Cupertino Transit

Update: Friends of Cupertino Transit; Stevens Creek, Stelling, Wolfe, De Anza College, Apple Campus 2 and the VTA. This is a general update and I hope to see comments added for further clarification.

It has been some time, sorry, since I've updated my rantings on mobility in and around Cupertino; well, here goes.

Since my last post I have attended a couple of key meetings. These include the Sierra Club, Apple Computer Campus 2 representative, and the VTA.

Of most importance is the fact of how much we did not know about how these entities work individually and together. The complexity of the issue of mobility within a community is now better understood by our group. For example; the major artery of transportation in the Valley right now is Stevens Creek Boulevard from San Jose to De Anza College.

When the De Anza students were able to get "Eco Passes" the whole paradigm of transportation by bus changed. The demand increased significantly from the east side of the Valley to smack dab to the corner of Stevens Creek and Stelling. This has caused the VTA to add a new line known as the 323 from Downtown San Jose to De Anza College.

This line literally just began Monday this week. The line has fewer stops and is hoped to deliver students faster than the existing 23 line by, for example, not diverting to the Valley Fair Transit Terminal and continuing straight down Stevens Creek. This new line adds to an existing problem.

The De Anza 23 Terminal on Stevens Creek across from the Senior Center is too small to accommodate all the buses servicing De Anza College. There are now stops in addition to this one on Stevens Creek, Stelling, and Saich Way. This is one of the reasons so many students are seen crossing at the intersection of Stelling and Stevens Creek. The VTA hopes to add a new BRT line sometime soon.

The corner of Stevens Creek and Wolfe Road is a whole different story. The VTA's charter appears to limit their ability to plan too far ahead. They seem to be better equipped to respond to changes in ridership like the decline in ridership along El Camino Real and increase in ridership caused by the most recent De Anza student Eco Pass implementation.

Apple is very focused on mobility of their people. They will be adding more buses, a bike solution and pedestrian walkways. I was left with the impression that Apple is working with the Sierra Club and VTA to make this all work reasonably well.

The meetings I attended were very civil and I want to compliment those who attended on their professionalism and concern for mobility around our area. Especially the VTA people.

It is fairly obvious that individual, local and business interests here in Cupertino are generally left on the sidelines when it comes to large interest planning. It is clear that if we want to address our more focused community concerns -- that is up to us and our City government to solve.

The County has a mission to serve the good of the whole and not the individual, specific business or government issues like our library, schools or other specific points of congestion like the schools. Appropriately large business interests like Apple have their own agenda specific to their employees and shareholders. Apple is going to pay Cupertino some major fees to build Apple Campus 2 and they consider those dollars to be quite adiquate for the City to work on solving other citizen concerns like our group.

This circles our group back to things like supporting the BRT and a community bus line, improved bike lanes and pedestrian options. The problem in Cupertino is planned growth and the inability to get people out of their cars.

Our group's next interest is to meet with the City Planning people to better understand their mission as it pertains to updating the General Plan and improving mobility within our community aside from De Anza College, Apple and the VTA's planning.

Comments are welcome.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Frank Geefay October 03, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Gary, this is an excellent summary and I feel a optimistic outlook on the public transportation needs in and around Cupertino. There will not be a a single solution. It will be a collaborative effort and will evolve as we better understand where the need are greatest and what can be done now and into the future. As you said this is a very complex issue involving a whole gamut of local and regional government agencies, community organizations, and business and residential interests. But this group has gotten off to a great start largely due to your hard work and efforts to meet and talk with both stakeholders and experts on this matter. I am very optimistic that we can get something going very soon with VTA regarding the proposed BRT line down Stevens Creek Blvd. that will serve De Anza College students, Cupertino businesses, and our community as a backbone for a more extensive transit system into the future. Hope to hear more details and see more discussions on this blog. Thanks.
Gary E. Jones October 03, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Thank you Frank. I use the picture of a Mexican bus to make a point. Whether Cabo, Mexico City, Mazatlan or another country we like to ride the local transit system when traveling. We meet interesting people and have a chance to experience another side of the culture from tourism. All too often in Cupertino I hear this comment, "you are never going to get the citizens of Cupertino out of their cars and vans.” That may in fact be true. Cupertino mobility is not about the middle and upper class of Cupertino. Who then am I addressing the need for Cupertino mobility for? Well; it is those who have a desire and/or need to get around Cupertino without the fear of being injured and getting some exercise. Who are these people? I believe they are the people like hotel and restaurant workers, retail shop owners and their employees, tourists, students, teachers, walkers, bicyclists, seniors, moped riders, library users, the sports clubs and many other classes of individuals other than those buying million dollar homes.
Gary E. Jones October 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
With the planned growth for Cupertino these people, I believe, number in the hundreds if not thousands of people looking for improved mobility in our City, the front and back of the house people we depend on for commerce support. Consider the following projects built, planned and under development; the Bay Club, the Biltmore project, the new hotel on So De Anza Boulevard, Apple Campus 2, the Main Street project, the Rose Bowl project, and a proposed updating of our General Plan to include expansion for more hotels, retail and residential housing, maybe even a big box store. All of this requires everything from janitorial to maintenance people and admin, who would likely use a community transit system, ride their bikes to work, and walk from business to business. They most likely do not live in Cupertino. We are a city approaching a population of 60,000 and the largest corporation in the world, Apple Computer and others. The demographics of which does not include the residences of those supporting our every day needs. We need to warm up to the idea that it is not the general residences of Cupertino who will use Cupertino transit/mobility; it is those who travel to our city and need a planning solution to get here and move around without a car or van. This is true for those of us who live here and are hoping for a mobility plan to meet our needs.
Gary E. Jones October 03, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Very sorry; I forgot to include the handicap's needs form community mobility.
Frank Geefay October 04, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I believe that if the cost of public transit is low enough for riders and took them to the right places residents will use it. If it were free as it is in Palo Alto and Los Gatos it will look even more attractive. Groups of kids can catch a bus to go shopping together. Residents will use it to avoid having to circle crowded parking lots just to find a parking spot at the far corner of an overcrowded shopping center. We just have to make sure that these local buses pick up people in areas where ridership is high such as where there are high density communities such as senior housing and apartments or in residential areas where residents agree to use an alternative to using their cars and make sure it takes them to places such as shopping centers with limited parking, the library, schools, and other areas where there is high public usage. It need to effectively connect to other transit systems such as VTA and Apple,s buses. There needs to be a community outreach program to incentivize residents to use public transportation such as establishing bus stops in residential areas where residents sign up to use it frequently. The community also needs to be engage to improve upon it. But I am optimistic about Cupertino developing a good public transit system in the long run. But we need to learn much more about public transit systems, network with other like-minded organizations and agencies, find funding for such a venture, and engage the city to running and managing it.
Frank Geefay October 07, 2012 at 02:41 AM
With gas prices on the rise it would definitely be cheaper taking a bus than driving your car locally around Cupertino. See increased gas prices on the Patch and my comments: http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/get-out-the-bike-gas-prices-are-skyrocketing-2ed255bf?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001
Gary E. Jones December 06, 2012 at 11:03 PM
@Frank; did you see this? Los Gatos to get Lightrail. http://www.mercurynews.com/traffic/ci_22082567/vta-light-rail-extension-los-gatos-175-million

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