Alta led a study for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to identify a preferred alignment for a bicycle superhighway that will provide a joyful, continuous, connected, and comfortable bike highway between the cities of Santa Clara and San José.

The community had a lead role in helping shape this 10-mile bike highway. The project team included three community-based organizations (CBOs) in a paid role to lead meaningful outreach and engagement with local communities and focus on reaching traditionally underrepresented community members. The robust engagement featured virtual community meetings, online engagement survey tools, in-person pop-up events, and a demonstration event.

In addition to community input, multi-jurisdictional coordination and collaboration were essential to establishing the project goals. Alta utilized data-driven analytics to evaluate and compare bikeway alternatives, which helped guide Santa Clara VTA and project partners in selecting a preferred alternative that best responds to the project goals and community feedback. Using joy as an evaluation metric, the project will be the first of its kind in the Bay Area and can be used as a blueprint for similar projects across North America.

The study is geared toward tackling the numerous challenges posed by implementing a bike highway in an urban context. The project team focused on developing design recommendations that promote a feeling of openness, safety, flow, and physical comfort—making the on-road experience feel more like a trail experience. These design features include; a wide, seven-foot bike facility fully separated from traffic with protected intersections, raised crossings alongside streets, bike-priority signal timing, shade trees, and context sensitive landscaping.