Last night, pedestrians, cyclists, and residents filled the cafeteria at Castlemont elementary school in Campbell to learn how Caltrans will solve one of the most frustrating traffic problems in the valley - the 880/280/Stevens Creek interchange. As many shoppers at this time of the year are well aware, the interchange turns into a very expensive parking lot. For cyclists, the Stevens Creek crossing over 880 is, at its best, challenging.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager hosted the event, which included a presentation by Caltrans. Ken's support for cycling was evident by the telltale reflective strips on his red cycling jacket (see photo).
Caltrans has highlighted the three main goals of the project:
- Create a flyover ramp directing traffic from NB 280 to NB 880.
- Demolish the 1950s-era cloverleaf ramps in favor of signalized ramps.
- Create an exit to Winchester Blvd. from SB 880.
Caltrans plans to complete the first two goals in the first phase of the project, with the Winchester Blvd. portion of the project to completed last. The main concern from the numerous and vocal bicycle and pedestrian advocates last evening was the lack of safety for those crossing 880 on Stevens Creek Blvd. by foot or by bicycle. This will only get worse as traffic will increase over time. Many cycling advocates voiced their concern for the safety of bicycle traffic crossing 880, with two speakers specifically asking for separated bike bridges or overpasses.
Two big changes that are disadvantageous to cyclists are the building of a new pedestrian/bike overpass over 280 and the widening (and the addition of lanes) of Stevens Creek boulevard to "store" autos queuing at signals to enter SB 880. The existing bike/ped overpass would not clear the 130 feet needed for a flyover. The proposed overpass height would be the comparable to that of a four story building.
For more information please see the "280 880 Stevens Creek Project" website that Caltrans has set up. If you have any comments you would like to make regarding this project please be aware that the deadline is December 20, 2010. Given the short deadline several speakers last night argued for an extension, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. So let Caltrans know your concerns even if it just a short letter or a quick email. Get your concerns and issues on the public record.
For comments or additional information please contact Sheryl M. Garcia at the California Department of Transportation
111 Grand Avenue, Mail Station 8-B
Oakland, California 94612
For additional information, please call
510-286-5705 or 408-321-5789.