photo Scott-Schiller-flickr
Picture of Michele Beasley

Michele Beasley

Rethinking Sunnyvale’s Streets

On May 6, over 50 people attended How to Create Safer and Healthier Streets: An Evening with Jeff Tumlin at the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.

Jeff, Principal and Director of Strategy at the internationally recognized transportation firm Nelson\Nygaard, spoke about how Sunnyvale can design great streets to improve quality of life.

Here are a few of Jeff’s tips:

  1. Put the needs of daily life within walking distance and make that walk delightful
  2. Make cycling safe and pleasant for all ages
  3. Make transit fast, safe, reliable, and dignified

The results can be astounding when cities design streets with these principles in mind. Creating safer streets for all ages that encourage modes of travel like walking and cycling has many quantifiable benefits. According to a report by the City of New York [PDF], when a parking area in Brooklyn was made more pedestrian-friendly, the surrounding businesses experienced a 172% increase in retail sales. And when better crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes were added in Union Square in Manhattan, speeding decreased by 16% and injury crashes fell by 26%. People are also less stressed and happier when they can move about freely on foot or bike as opposed to being stuck in traffic.

For those who attended the event, thank you for joining our forum about how streets in your city can be safer, healthier, and more welcoming places for people of all ages and abilities. We hope you were as inspired by Jeff’s talk as we were.

For those who missed it, do not fret! Jeff kindly shared his presentation [PDF] with us and you can watch a video of the event below:

Greenbelt Alliance brought Jeff Tumlin to Sunnyvale in partnership with Sunnyvale Cool, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Friends of Caltrain, VTA, TransForm, and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

Our goal is to get the community thinking differently about its streets. The City of Sunnyvale will be taking a closer look at one significant corridor this summer with the update of the El Camino Real Precise Plan. Get involved in planning for the future of your community.

Here are five planning processes that are in various stages in Sunnyvale:

  1. Horizon 2035 is the update of the Land Use and Transportation chapter of the Sunnyvale General Plan (LUTE). Residents can participate in an online survey here.
  2. The draft environmental impact report for the Lawrence Caltrain Station Area Plan is being prepared. Learn more about Lawrence Station.
  3. The Sunnyvale City Council recently adopted a general framework to guide the update of the Peery Park Specific Plan, a 400-acre business district at Maude and Mathilda.
  4. What do you want to see at the Sunnyvale Civic Center? The Civic Center Modernization Project will re-imagine these 25 acres as a community gathering place and civic campus that allows the city to more efficiently deliver services to residents.
  5. The City will soon start the recruitment process for the Sunnyvale El Camino Real Corridor Plan Advisory Committee (ECRPAC) before the end of May. Stay tuned!
  6. The Stevens Creek Trail Four Cities Joint Feasibility Study is available for public review and comment and three public outreach meetings will be held in May and June.

Greenbelt Alliance hopes to see you at future events and meetings in Sunnyvale. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Michele at

Photo: Scott Schiller via
Video: Andrew Boone / Streetsblog SF

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