Separated bike lanes come to Cupertino

The Good. Separated lane on both sides of McClellan Road in Cupertino.

I support separated bike lanes in concept when done right. Cupertino’s new separated bike lanes on McClellan Road are a work in progress.

McClellan Road is a gateway to at least six nearby schools, including DeAnza College. It’s an understatement to say this road is a vital route for cyclists and pedestrians. Road riders use McClellan on their way to Stevens Canyon Road and beyond.

I’m sure the city of Cupertino has had every intention of making the road safer, and well they should after the cyclist fatality that occurred here in 2014.

The driver of the double trailer shouldn’t have been on the narrow road when he struck the cyclist who was just trying to get to class.

Today the separate bike lane is open, my first opportunity to ride it since completion.

McClellan is somewhat better or “safer” than before, but I found issues. Some issues are being addressed, but others I’m not so sure about.

The Bad. Where the cyclist died in 2014. You’re telling me this is safer now? Move the railroad crossing barrier so the road can be widened. I hope that’s in the plan.

For one, the surface is uneven in many locations, making for an unsteady ride. Half the lane is taken up by a gutter. There’s a telephone pole in the lane that needs to be removed. I figure that will be done down the road.

Aside from those problems, I’m concerned with the locations where the separation ends, especially at New Life Church just past Stelling Road.

McClellan is narrow here, only one lane in each direction.

As I approached the end of the divider I saw a car parked only feet away. This stretch of road between Stelling and McClellan Place should prohibit parking.

Imagine a cyclist pedaling along at 15 mph suddenly faced with merging into traffic. During rush hour that’s a strong possibility. Will the motorist assume that he has the right of way? Who has the right of way here?

These locations need to be monitored to see if there are conflicts between bikes and cars. I can see it coming.

I’m disappointed by the absence of “no parking” signs this stretch of road. Considering that traffic volumes are much worse than they were 15 years ago, this location needs a serious review.

There are two “no parking” signs before New Life Church, and one after that, but that one is only for street sweeping days.

The Ugly. Good luck merging with cars here. Please, no parking signs!

Now it may be that the protected lane will be extended here one day. I hope so.

Motorists can no longer turn right on red lights at Stelling and Bubb Road. I’m sure that’s going to ruffle some feathers, but it’s being done in the name of pedestrian safety.

I’m wondering, does the no-right-turn sign apply to bikes? I assume so since there isn’t a sign saying otherwise.

Separated bike lanes are the latest road design to protect cyclists on busy roads. If they’re done right, I think they’ll do their job, but points of conflict do occur. They need to be monitored closely in the days ahead.

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