Sunnyvale City Council to discuss Duane Avenue lane reduction tonight

Update: City Council selects to remove parking and lanes on Duane Avenue to make room for buffered bike lanes.

Tonight, the city council for Sunnyvale, California will discuss a city staff proposal to add bike lanes to a one mile segment of Duane Avenue between Stewart Drive and Fair Oaks Avenue. Space for the lanes will be made by removing some street parking and reducing the stroad from four lanes down to three.

Currently, Duane Avenue is 72 feet of two parking lanes and four 12-foot-wide travel lanes, as shown below. (And please never mind the backwards parking on the right hand side – mistake on my part!)


City council directed the transportation department to figure out a way to add bike lanes to this road. They came up with three alternatives that involve either removing lanes, removing parking, or a little of both. The staff recommends Alternative 1, which removes lanes while preserving most street parking.



Duane Street street proposals Sunnyvale CA

Sunnyvale Transportation staff reports 5,500 vehicles per day travel down Duane Avenue, with an 85th percentile speed of 39 to 43 MPH, which is well above the posted 35 MPH speed limit. 30 total vehicle collisions, 5 bicycle involved collisions, and 1 pedestrian-involved collision have occurred in the last five years (and kudos to the city of Sunnyvale for calling these collisions instead of “accidents” in their reports).

Currently, the existing four lanes on Duane Avenue handle 5,500 vehicles per day westbound and 4,500 vehicles per day eastbound; road engineering standards suggest a single lane of traffic can handle 10,000 vehicles per day at an acceptable level of service, so Duane is clearly overbuilt. People use about a third of the available street parking on Duane Avenue. Under Alternative 1, which retains street parking on both sides of Duane Avenue, some parking would be removed at intersections in order to improve visibility of bikes in the bike lanes.

You can view the full staff report here. The Sunnyvale City Council meets 7 PM tonight, Tuesday, September 10, 2013 in council chambers at City Hall, 456 West Olive Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA. Each speaker is given three minutes to speak on a topic. Duane Avenue is the first item of general business after the consent calendar, so be on time.

Curious about those street cross sections? I created those with a fun tool called Streetmix.


  1. Why oh why would they NOT put in the buffered lanes instead of the half in the door zone, unprotected lanes next to 40+ mph cars?

  2. During last nights Sunnyvale, CA, City council meeting the council voted 5-2 in favor of option 3 for the change in Duane Ave to a 4-3 conversion. The surprise was going against the staff recommendation and creating separated bike lanes which will entail removing more parking to allow for the buffers sections on the road to achieve this. Staff and BPAC had recommended Option 1, a 4-3 conversion which left most parking in place. Thinking that would be the most palatable for council. A few people spoke about the current dangerous situation and that separated bike lanes would be preferable.

    Also parking restrictions will be enforced in the vision triangles at all intersections along the route.

    What will be interesting is how the city traffic engineers plan to handle the offset intersection at San Luisito Way and the Montessori Academy/daycare entrance which are offset 100 feet from each other. This causes a dangerous situation for all road users during drop off and pickup times. Not to mention the bus stop across the road where approaching 100% of the riders must cross. I asked for a traffic light.

    Now it goes to the actual planning phase of how this will look. BPAC will be asked to approve the renovations and council will vote on the subject before construction will start. Hopefully within the year. This has been a long time coming.


  3. Thanks a million for that update from last night, Ralph!

    Perhaps green lanes for that school drop-off conflict zone?

    One thing I’m not quite sure on — I couldn’t tell from the staff report if parking should be to the right or left of the buffered bike lane in Alternative 3. Do you happen to know?

    Thanks again!

  4. Exact plan has not been developed. It will go to Sunnyvale BPAC for an approval before heading to council. Don’t know the expected timeline. On Sunnyvale’s website go to the Government tab, under boards and commissions find Bicycle and Pedestrian, agendas are posted there. Meeting are the 3rd Thursday. I wouldn’t expect final plans for a couple of months.

    I don’t believe parking will be to the left of cyclists.

  5. Bicycles next to the sidewalk is how they do it in all places where biking is a >10% activity, and places that aspire to be join them, like NYC, Chicago, and Montreal. Only a small minority of people feel comfortable biking immediately adjacent to motor vehicles.

  6. Putting the bikeway behind parked cars can be made to work with separate signal phases, no right turn on red, etc. Without those essential features, Yikes!

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