Lawrence Expressway at Lawrence Station – help needed for a neighborhood-friendly, transit-friendly plan

Update: Here are the latest designs from Santa Clara County which were presented very briefly to Sunnyvale Planning Commission on Monday February 24. The material will presented in more depth, with more opportunity for questions an input, at the upcoming meeting on Monday March 3 (see below for detail). On March 3 the County will also present more detail on how the changes will affect Caltrain access and  bicycle access, responding to questions at the Sunnyvale Planning Commission.


Santa Clara County is gathering community input on how to update Lawrence Expressway at the Reed/Monroe and Kifer intersections near Lawrence Station, as well as the Arques. They have been listening to the community and have started to incorporate community ideas in the plan. However, there are still significant concerns about creating neighborhood-friendly streets that can be accessed by Caltrain, walking, and bicycling, and that help the station area feel more like a “place” to live work and shop, supporting the goals of the City’s plans for the station area. There are a few key opportunities to learn about the latest plans and make your voice heard in the next few weeks.

If you care about making sure that the Lawrence Expressway will support – and not undermine – the city’s goals to make the Lawrence Station Area a friendlier neighborhood that supports walking, biking, and transit, please make your voice heard.  Santa Clara County cares a lot what Sunnyvale residents and decision-makers think. Input is needed and will make a difference. Here are the key opportunities:

* 2/24 Planning Commission study session on the latest proposed designs starting at 7pm at Sunnyvale City Hall, West Conference Room

* 3/3, Santa Clara County Public Meeting at 6:30 pm at Briarwood Elementary School (1930 Townsend Avenue, Santa Clara)

* 3/18 Sunnyvale City Council Study Session, time TBD

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5 Responses to Lawrence Expressway at Lawrence Station – help needed for a neighborhood-friendly, transit-friendly plan

  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco

  2. Duncan says:

    In the last post on this ( there were three options listed. As someone who both biked and drove in the area for a few years, the first one seemed the best. Admittedly the diagrams, being schematics vs. detailed maps, left some room for interpretation. Lowering Lawrence is probably less disruptive overall to the neighborhood (after construction), with the caveat that it’s difficult to tell if the frontage road portion would lead to a lot of property buyouts. Where do cyclists go if Lawrence is lowered? On the frontage road, or a cycle track next to the main lowered portion?

    I was going to try to answer this myself, but I couldn’t find any more detailed diagrams online.

  3. Adina says:

    Checking if there are new diagrams available. According to people who attended, the time for this item at Planning Commission was short, and there will be more time allotted and detail presented at the upcoming public meeting on March 3rd. People giving public comment at Planning Commission mentioned concerns about bike access and access to the Caltrain station.

  4. Adina Levin says:

    An attendee at the meeting shares some information from the meeting.

    “There were a few renderings which showed the concept that the slower bikes and all pedestrians would have a separated shared, raised and railing-ed off area on the right sides of each directional flow, but that bikes that wanted to travel on the expressway would be at the expressway grade on a narrow shoulder area. And the lanes to exit the expressway, onto the cross roads would be on the left side. This would be limited to cars. Those seemed to be two lanes each direction.

    Slow bikes and peds are very physically separated, but, because they would not be at street grade and therefore adjacent to the shops, offices, houses etc that would be at grade, not as good as frontage roads. It was unclear how buildings at grade are to be accessed and how the para-transit vans, buses, cars, bikes and pedestrians access the Caltrain station, as there were no drawings of those things. Also there was no info about how BRT or other busses would be handled.

  5. Duncan says:

    Thanks for the updates!

    Glad to hear that there seems to be some thought given to cyclists and pedestrians in this particular approach.

    Going from three (vehicle) lanes to two seems counterproductive, though, if that’s in fact what’s recommended. The result will be clogs while motorists deal with a narrowed throughway. Lane drops on heavily traveled routes are almost always the cause of major slowdowns. While I don’t much like the notion of widening the ROW, sacrificing through lanes on this heavily traveled road seems like it will just slow traffic rather than creating an overall improvement.

    It puts one in mind of the “jump off the clogged freeway at the clover interchange only to jump back on” phenomenon. “I’ll just pretend to exit, but will get back on instead of exiting and get ahead of 30 cars.” The plan should be to accommodate all modes so the overall result is improved throughput for all. The replacement design shouldn’t create a situation where people in cars are tempted to cheat. When motorists get frustrated, they sometimes deal with the situation, and sometimes do dumb things. The problem with dumb actions is that they are usually abrupt and can lead to the vulnerable road users being in trouble.

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