Smart city planning helps support robust community health. Here’s how: we have the most walkable and pedestrian-centered downtown core of any South Bay city. Take a stroll down East Campbell Avenue and you’ll note the lack of stoplights. That’s because city planning isn’t a neutral act; it’s a reflection of our values.
In other cities, stoplights downtown send the message that the downtown core is built for and centered on cars. On East Campbell Avenue, by contrast, the lack of stoplights means four-way stops at each intersection, making it safe for pedestrians—whether seniors, children, or anyone in between.
Our pedestrian-friendly downtown, along with our abundance of community parks, makes Campbell a great place for bikers and runners as well. I know this first-hand as an avid marathon and long-distance runner! It’s no accident that Campbell is one of the healthiest cities in the County, with 66% of adults meeting Center for Disease Control guidance on aerobic exercise.
At the same time, we have to make sure our public facilities are accessible to all. That’s why I’m particularly excited for the coming renovations to John D. Morgan Park. I’ve participated in the planning process, which will result in a newly redesigned park that includes “design elements to address the needs of all, regardless of age and abilities. This may include people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Challenges, Visual and Auditory Impairments, Cognitive, Developmental and Physical Disabilities as well as medically fragile individuals.” I grew up playing in John D. Morgan Park, but as a shy and introverted child, I experienced firsthand how different people have different ways of playing, exercising, and engaging with the world. I’m thrilled that our new park will help make Campbell a more inclusive and accessible community for everyone.
Here’s a rundown of how my policies would support community health and help make Campbell an even more livable community.
Public health is an outcome of smart city planning, which is a reflection of our values. That’s why I will direct staff to prepare and present a Community Public Health Plan, which will consolidate existing public health resources and ongoing projects, as well as map a vision and strategy for the future of our community.
Both John D. Morgan Park and Campbell Park are in the midst of important renovations which will occur in the next few years. John D. Morgan Park is being reimagined to include an all-inclusive playground, one that will be accessible to all our children. This is being done through a successful grant from the County of Santa Clara. Campbell Park is also being renovated for safety reasons, with outdated equipment to be replaced and new surfacing installed for the playgrounds, as well as new bathrooms being installed.
I will continue to participate in planning sessions and help see this process through.
Currently, the General Plan, the document that laws out a blueprint for City policy, directs the Council to ensure the entire City can be safely navigated by bike, a critical Capital Improvement Project. Despite efforts from City staff, the City Council has not prioritized this issue. I will work toward completing this critical piece of our City’s public policy within the next five years.
The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of having public infrastructure that supports community health.
Expanding and maintaining the Campbell-Los Gatos Creek Trail has become a matter of public safety, with a lack of proper infrastructure making it difficult if not impossible in some areas to maintain proper social distancing.
Promoting and normalizing bike use is one of the most important ways to promote community public health and get more cars off the street. According to experts from the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, there is evidence of social effects — a tipping point — making it more acceptable to ride bikes for day-to-day use.
That’s why I plan to implement a citywide Ride Your Bike to Work Day in conjunction with regional and national initiatives.
I have previously participated in public meetings with housing developers to successfully push for the installment of bike racks in developments near the downtown area.
I will continue to encourage the use of bike infrastructure in new developments to keep cars off the road and achieve better public health outcomes.