Myths About the Trail

Those opposed to the trail have published a long document detailing their concerns. Responses to those concerns can be found here.

Update: Public comments/speeches made by trail opponents in April 2019 and responses to those concerns raised can be found here.

Note: there have been updates to the design (such as fences along the entire length of the trail) since these documents were written.

Myth: The local city streets are safe enough without a trail

Both Rodrigues and Blaney, streets that are used in place of the trail, have 30 mph speed limits. According to US Department of Transportation, at 30 mph there is a 40% chance of death or serious injury to a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a car.

Other streets, such as La Mar or Pacifica, are at a 25 mph speed limit and have enough speeding cars that local residents asked for speed monitoring signs. These have been installed in the past two years.

Current routes to Eaton or the library show pedestrians walking in parking lots or cyclists turning across lanes of traffic.

Current street crossings at Blaney at at offset (low visibility) intersections, and E. Estates has no crossing at all from Creekside Park. New crossings at Blaney and E. Estates will include safety features such as high visibility flashing crosswalks. E. Estates will be a raised crosswalk, and at Blaney there will be a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the street, shortening the distance to cross.

Myth: The trail used to be open and there were crimes so it was closed

There has never been a trail in this location. Prior to 1980--almost 40 years ago--the area was unfenced including down to the creek and residents wandered through the area as they wished. The fencing was added not in response to any incidents, but was added by the Water District as part of a large program at that time to add fencing to all their creek areas.

Cupertino was certainly a very different place 40 years ago, with orchards where most of our commercial activity is now (Apple Computer was only 3 years old!). Using complaints from 40 years ago of children throwing rocks as what would be expected from our students in 2019 is not a reasonable comparison. The Saratoga Creek Trail, currently in use and only 1 mile east with homes backing to it, would be a good comparision. There has not been a complaint of any such incidents on that trail.

In 2005--almost 15 years ago--a trail was considered to be added in this location. At that time, the Cupertino City Council decided not to proceed with the project for several reasons: traffic was not as congested as it is now; there was no defined Pedestrian or Bicycle Transportation Plans for the City; there was much less interest in alternative forms of transportation and increased sustainability for our city; and other reasons which time has changed.

Myth: Local neighbors don't support this trail

The overwhelming majority of the over-850 total Pro-trail petition signers are in the Wilson Park and City Center area, with some abutting the trail, and with many more on the adjacent streets. These supporters are very enthusiastic about the trail. Some comments were, “As a pedestrian, I have wished for this access for years”, “Creating safe bike routes to schools and parks is critical to the safety of our kids”, and “Can’t wait!”. The majority of the Wilson Park and City Center signers are parents of school children, from young elementary students up to high school. As one Cupertino High parent stated, “This is great plan. If there was a safe bike [path] to school, I don’t have to drive every morning in the crazy traffic jam near the school to drop them off.” An Eaton Elementary parent stated, “My kids and I would use this to walk to school. I think it's a great idea!” Most comments focused on safety for children, such as, “I support the trail as my kids bike to school. Biking on La Mar is dangerous.“ and “Keeping our kids safe is an utmost priority.”

This trail is also supported by many local organizations with residents on them that live in the local neighborhood: Lawson PTA, Eaton Elementary PTO, Sedgwick PTA, Hyde PTSA, Safe Routes to School, and Cupertino Bike Club.

Myth: The trail is too short to be useful or it won’t be used

It would be a safer and more direct route to schools, without car traffic. Walking and biking students, including 250 Eaton students, 250 Cupertino High students, and 100 Lawson students could use the trail for commuting. Traffic will be improved with more students traveling to school not in a car.

It will provide a more direct route to the Civic Center and Library, and connect three parks (Creekside, Wilson, and library fields). By walking or biking, residents could avoid the congested parking lot at the Civic Center.

With the Creekside Trail, it will be over a mile of an enjoyable off-road recreational path for running, walking and cycling for all residents, including those with mobility issues. It is a key component of the East-West connector between Monta Vista and Cupertino High, and the “Loop” connecting Cupertino using trails and low-volume streets.

Myth: The City Staff has not asked for input from the local residents

There has been a very large amount of outreach to the community. Four public meetings were held prior to the Feasibility Study City council vote to solicit both oral and written feedback from residents, including one held while walking the trail and a focused meeting with the Lozano Lane residents. Since the approval of the study in August 2018, an additional public outreach meeting was held in December 2018, and another community meeting will be held March 30, 2019 on the trail. There was another public meeting on April 24, 2019.

At all times during the planning process, residents have discussed their concerns in one-on-one discussions with City Staff, at Bicycle-Pedestrian Commission Meetings, in independent conversations and at Oral Communications at City Council. The Trail Concepts and the Feasibility Study include this feedback. During March and April of this year, one-on-one individual meetings with each neighbor adjacent to the trail and City Staff were held to influence design direction.

Myth: The trail will be unfenced against a steep slope of the creek bed

The feasibility plan for the trail includes a fence that will run along the edge of the creek. Residents, including children, will not be able to fall accidentally into the creek.

Myth: It will be too narrow to for cyclists and walkers to pass

The trail will be 10 feet wide, with a 2 foot shoulder in most locations. This will allow pedestrians and cyclists to easily pass each other. In the area between E. Estates and Blaney, it will be 8 feet wide with two- 2 foot shoulders. This is wider than the current creekside trail by 2 feet, and includes an extra 2 foot shoulder as well (the trail near the Creekside Bridge has only one shoulder).

Myth: Seventeen trees will be cut down and/or the creek will be harmed

The feasibility plan does not include cutting down any trees, including the portion of the trail that extends along the south side of the library field.

The creek will be unaffected by building a trail, as it is currently paved as a run-off ditch. With the trail, the area will be enhanced with landscaping, so it is less likely to attract litter and refuse. The Water District is very supportive of creekside trails--they even have a grant program for them. They do not have concerns about any harm to the creek bed.

Myth: The trail isn’t safe

The opinion of Captain Rich Urena, the West Valley Division Head for the Santa Clara County Sheriff Department, is that “it does it appear that [The Regnart Trail] is a safe place to walk, a safe place to have a trail.” Similar trails in Cupertino and studies across California and the US show no increased crime, with some areas showing decreased crime.

Bike patrols are planned by the SCC Sheriff and hours will be adjusted to maximize safety. There are no "hidden" or "secluded" areas and the maximum length which is behind homes is a total of 700 feet, or (at a very casual walking pace, 2.5 min).

Myth: The Feasibility Study wasn't done right (or the company doing it is incompetent)

The Feasibility Study is a document that is created to answer the question as to whether building the trail is feasible. It does not answer questions such as final cost, design of features, or address the resolution to specific areas of concern in the design, though it may make recommendations. Those types of issues are resolved during the design phase. Input from concerned parties (such as the Santa Clara Water District) are included as reference material but are meant to be addressed fully in the design phase. The Regnart Creek Feasbility Study answered the question about whether the trail is feasible--it is.

HMH Engineers, who completed the Feasiblity Study and who have now received the contract for the design, are a very well-respected civil engineering firm in business since 1976. They have completed a wide variety of projects in the Bay Area. Their Parks and Trails section of their Streets/Roads/Infrastructure division have recently completed McClellan Road sidewalk updates (here in Cupertino); the Willow Glen Spur Trail; the Coyote Creek Trail in San Jose; the Blossom Hill Park renovation; and many more.