The welcome sign in front of Homestead High School in Cupertino, on Homestead Road as cars pass.
Homestead Road in Cupertino is slated for improvements to help make it safer for students walking or biking to Homestead High School, West Valley Elementary School and Cupertino Middle School. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

A partnership between multiple cities and a Silicon Valley transit agency is going to construct a long-needed safer route for students biking and walking to school.

The Homestead Safe Routes to School project aims to make traveling to school easier for students attending Cupertino Middle School, Homestead High School and West Valley Elementary School by putting in protected bike lanes and highly visible crosswalks and modifying traffic signals.

The project spans 1.5 miles of Homestead Road in Cupertino, Los Altos and Sunnyvale and is a collaboration between the three municipalities, Santa Clara County, VTA and California’s Department of Transportation. It will affect major corridors along Homestead Road, including Grant Road, Fallen Leaf Lane, Bernardo and Maxine avenues and the off- and on-ramps to California State Route 85 and Helena Drive.

A map of the 1.5-mile stretch of Homestead Road slated to receive safety improvements to make it easier for students to get to school. The map shows the boundaries of Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Los Altos. Courtesy of Cupertino
A map of the 1.5-mile stretch of Homestead Road slated to receive safety improvements to make it easier for students to get to school. Courtesy of Cupertino.

But students won’t see the effects of the plan for at least three to four years. VTA is completing environmental steps and expects construction to start in June 2026 and finish in late 2027 or early 2028, if funding is secured. The transit agency estimates costs at $16.8 million and has secured roughly $1.5 million from the county and Measure B, a 30-year transportation half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2016.

Tim Oey, chair of the Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, said not enough is being done to make roads safer for students to bike or walk to school.

“The project will benefit a lot of commuters who also use Homestead as well by making the whole corridor safer,” he told San José Spotlight.

Homestead Road also falls under the countywide bike plan and part of a proposed connection for Stevens Creek Trail, according to Lauren Ledbetter, senior transportation planner for VTA.

The plan for Homestead Road, which began in 2018, was spurred by the community asking for increased safety measures along the street following a high number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. A county feasibility study conducted in 2019 found that between 2015 and 2019, police received reports of 21 collisions between cars and cyclists and pedestrians. Of those 21 collisions, 15 children aged 17 or younger were involved in crashes.

Seema Lindskog, chair of Walk-Bike Cupertino, an organization that advocates for increased pedestrian and cyclist safety, said she hopes the project not only increases safety, but motivates students to bike and walk — especially as more students choose to drive to school. In March, 179 students biked or scootered to Homestead High School, compared to 245 last March, according to data from Walk-Bike Cupertino.

“We do want to encourage kids to walk and bike to school, but for that, we have to make it safer for them,” Lindskog told San José Spotlight. “It’s not safe right now.”

The plan adds to cities’ goals of improving transportation. Sunnyvale ranked transit safety as one of its top priorities for 2024 and Cupertino moved forward with plans to improve two of its busiest roads in January and March.

Cupertino Councilmember Hung Wei said the project speaks to the city’s willingness to collaborate across municipalities and that’s forward thinking.

“We have (to look) for the next 10 or 20 years. What do we want our city to be?” she told San José Spotlight. “Are we still going to be car-centric, or are we going to develop our future plans to make biking and walking safe?”

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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