Smart Mass Transit Centered Development for Cupertino

 

I am a Cupertino resident and I support smart growth. From my perspective, smart growth includes rapid transit-centered development and a focus on a more walkable / bikeable community.

 

Besides regional VTA busing, transportation in Cupertino is totally designed around the automobile. The city lacks a direct connection to Caltrain and BART. With Apple's new campus centralizing 12,000 employees in Cupertino, now more than ever, Cupertino needs to take control of its future. I want Cupertino’s future to emphasize rapid transit, walkability, and bike access.

 

During the last election, Cupertino citizens fought bitterly over re-development options for the failed Vallco shopping mall. The concerns about lucrative increased office space and higher density apartment complexes are mostly about the local traffic impacts. This shows a much larger failure of regional transit planning. Our highways are clogged from people commuting to work. Without better transit options as part of the plan, citizens are right to push back against high density developments.

 

If Cupertino were more walkable and there was more affordable housing locally, more employees would live locally near their work. Cupertino won’t become Oakland or Berkeley anytime soon, but it is delusional for residents to expect this city to remain a quaint suburb when our city is host to the 1st or 2nd largest technology company in the world (depending if GOOG or AAPL is winning in market cap that week.)

 

Cupertino is proud to be the home of Apple and we benefit enormously from the tax revenue Apple provides. Our schools are top notch, our city is clean, the sidewalks and roads are in great shape, but our investment in rapid transit is anemic. Transit-centered development experts should be brought into the discussion to help sort out Cupertino's mismatch between our hugely successful technology employment and our woefully insufficient public transit infrastructure.

 

How can we increase funding and develop mass transit to improve our quality of life in Silicon Valley?

 

http://www.vta.org/projects-and-programs/transit/stevens-creek-rapid

 

http://www.cupertino.org/transit/ - If we don’t dedicate more time and resources to this challenge, humanity will colonize mars before we have any mass transit in Silicon Valley.

 

Some positive bits:

  • I applaud efforts to make Cupertino and surrounding Silicon Valley neighboring cities more bicycle friendly:

  • Our walk score walk score is not good and I applaud development efforts to make Cupertino more walkable.

  • I applaud Google and Apple for their efforts to use private busing to fill the void of our neglected public transit infrastructure.

  • I applaud Google and Apple for introducing Bike Share Programs to help their employee move between buildings efficiently and burn off their own lunch.

  • I applaud the hard work being done to develop autonomous driving technology. I hope this will minimize the loss of life, and help unclog our mess of automobile infrastructure. But Autonomous driving does not negate the need for rapid transit:

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/05/the-self-driving-dilemma/525171/


I'm interested in seeking solutions; I have no interest in idle complaining. How do we expand funding for public transit in a productive impactful way, and make the transportation future of Silicon Valley better than it is today?

 

The other option seems to be descending into a transportation chaos that resembles Los Angeles.  I don’t know anybody in the Bay Area that wants our traffic to rival that of Los Angeles but without expanding investment in rapid transit, that is precisely the direction we are heading.

 

Written by Ethan Lipman
https://twitter.com/etlipman

 

 

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