May 25, 2009
See numerous senior transit positions — including two CEOs, one assistant general manager, and a senior vice president — in today's Classifieds.
|SPECIAL ISSUE: THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
VTA Leads Bicycle and Pedestrian Network in Santa Clara County
By LINH HOANG, Public Relations Supervisor, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA
When people think about the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), it’s usually synonymous with images of buses and light rail. However, VTA is also a Congestion Management Agency, and therefore supports the bicycle and pedestrian communities by working with the Santa Clara County and 15 cities to enhance additional trails, bicycle and pedestrian programs and policies, and design and construction of bicycle and pedestrian pathways, trails, sidewalks, bridges, ramps, bicycle lockers, storage and gates.
“VTA is more than bus and light rail. We work diligently to create an environment that allows Silicon Valley residents to have options when they bike,” said Chief Congestion Management Agency Officer John Ristow.
As the region’s Congestion Management Agency, VTA works across many areas, including transportation programming and land use planning, in its efforts to enhance and promote the bicycle and pedestrian communities. The authority identifies cross-county bicycle corridors to plan and implement a seamless bicycle and pedestrian travel network that is continuous across city and county boundaries.
VTA, in striving to promote a greener lifestyle for the communities it serves, also has created an environment that welcomes bicyclists and pedestrians on bus and light rail. Bicycles are allowed on all VTA coaches, and electronic bike lockers are also available. Many light rail lines can drop off passengers directly to the bicycle and pedestrian trails highlighted by the Bikeways Map produced and distributed by VTA. The map has gained popularity among the region’s bicycle and pedestrian communities and has been in high demand.
It is anticipated that eight bicycle and pedestrian bridges or trails will open in Santa Clara County by the end of this month, funded by VTA’s Bicycle Expenditure Program (BEP). The BEP project list has constantly evolved since its creation in 2001. Prior to 2004, the BEP was a 10-year program mostly funded through revenues expected from the 1996 Measure B Transportation Fund for Clean Air and from local Transportation Development Act funds. The program received additional funding through the Regional Bicycle Pedestrian Program administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in 2004.
Over the course of the program’s eight-year history, BEP funds have supported 23 completed projects including Uvas Creek Trail in Gilroy, the Coyote Creek Trail in Milpitas, and the San Jose Los Gatos Creek Trail, giving residents the opportunity to enjoy their local creeks and trails by biking and by walking. In partnership with VTA, the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Los Altos are instrumental in ensuring the process that results to such completion is efficient and, ultimately, best served by the public.
The recent opening of the Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge in Cupertino is among those projects. Cupertino Councilwoman Dolly Sandoval, also chair of the VTA Board of Directors, noted that bicycling has been a great alternative for many residents.
“It’s the partnership between VTA and cities that make projects like the Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge a reality,” said Sandoval. “This bridge allows bicyclists a direct and safe route to and from Sunnyvale and Cupertino.”
The most recent BEP program list, updated and adopted in 2005, totals 46 projects.
“VTA makes every effort to support passengers’ willingness to bike instead of drive to work or school,” said General Manager Michael T. Burns. “VTA is committed to promoting an economical and environmentally friendly alternative.”
It is a priority for VTA to provide a wide variety of transportation options, from bus and light rail to bicycle and pedestrian networks. VTA is committed to continue its collaboration with the county and neighboring cities to enhance livable communities.