Picture of Michele Beasley

Michele Beasley

Sunnyvale’s Plan for El Camino Real

This summer, the City of Sunnyvale kicked off its El Camino Real Corridor Plan update, an opportunity to improve upon an award-winning plan and to create a more vibrant neighborhood along the corridor.

El Camino Real passes through the heart of the Peninsula and South Bay, connecting historic business districts and providing a variety of transportation options. It is also a prime location for adding new homes, jobs, and shops in walkable settings. Sunnyvale can harness development pressure to create people-friendly places along this multi-modal street.

The Plan Advisory Committee (PAC) met each other for the first time in September and shared their hopes and dreams for El Camino—they were an impressive bunch. Multiple people noted the dangerous conditions for cyclists. Another brought up the changing preferences of baby boomers and millennials. According to the PAC, the best of El Camino includes the diversity of businesses—especially mom and pop shops, like Felipe’s Market. Other favorites were Cherry Orchard and India Cash & Carry. Recent efforts to widen sidewalks, add bike lanes, and plant more street trees are all steps in the right direction.

The PAC will not meet again until January, but the City will offer some pop-up community workshops for residents to weigh in with their ideas over the next several months. The City hopes to adopt the new plan by October 2016. Review Sunnyvale planning staff’s presentation to the PAC on September 16.

Greenbelt Alliance offers the following food for thought:

  1. Let’s talk about the need for more homes, especially more homes affordable to a range of incomes. People need affordable housing choices close to public transportation and services. This creates a thriving community. Let’s also discuss why and how we should help people stay in their homes, versus being pushed out by ever-increasing rents.
  2. Always sync up land uses with public transportation—they go together like peanut butter and jelly. A dedicated lane bus rapid transit system can move more people with less room and support community-wide health, environmental, and economic goals.
  3. The world in which we are planning must be considered. Climate change, an aging population, rising obesity rates, and the affordable housing crisis impact each of us. These issues can be addressed, in part, through the El Camino Real Corridor Plan.
  4. Renowned transportation planner Jeff Tumlin said it best: Watch his Sunnyvale talk from last spring here.

Greenbelt Alliance hopes that Sunnyvale residents, small business owners, students, bus riders, and more get engaged in this planning process. Be inspired by your neighbors!


Photo: Taylor Hanigosky ©

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