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Under The Wing

What do you get when...

by Jeff Rangel on ‎11-20-2012 07:10 AM (2,607 Views) mix city officials, corporate bicycle 'enthusiasts,' and community partners? Answer: effective collaboration that leads to results. That’s exactly what happened when Brocade recently hosted a round table discussion focused on the City of San Jose's Bike Plan.


San Jose Council member Sam Liccardo has long been a bicycle advocate. Often seen commuting in a business suit, Liccardo is a strong voice for the City's plans to increase the use of bikes as transportation from 1% to 15%  (per San Jose’s General Plan, Chapter 6, Table TR-1). The City aims to complete a 500 mile bikeway network, add 500 bike parking spaces per year, reduce the cyclist crash rate by 50%, and achieve 5% of trips by bike.  Key aspects of the program involve improvements to bike lanes and trails in the North First Street corridor. Collecting input from community members, particularly corporate commuters, is a crucial element to building a program that can go the distance.



Councilman Sam Liccardo welcomes attendees.


With a rich culture of corporate wellness, Brocade has an active bicycle group.  Cyclists share ideas, bike routes and other tips through an online community. Employees, including CEO Mike Klayko, participate in annual "Bike to Work" events and a number of fundraisers in multiple geographies. Nearly 30 San Jose based employees regularly commute to work - at least one of them is so committed to his 2-wheel transportation; he doesn't own a car. Given the opportunity, these dedicated riders were eager to have a dialogue aimed at increasing safety and use of local roads and trails for transportation and recreation. They mapped their commutes and made recommendations to City staff. They also learned from one another.


Attendees map their bike commute.


The bike-friendly culture is just one attribute of Brocade's health and wellness platform. According to Leanne Bernhardt, Sr. Director Compensation & Benefits “Brocade’s WellFit strategy is designed to improve the health and wellbeing of all employees globally. A diversified wellness roadmap is in place to do just that.” Michael Hirahara, Vice President Real Estate & Facilities adds, “An alternative transportation program is important to reducing the Company’s overall carbon footprint, and strategically influences other businesses to consider similar efforts. Through biking, carpooling and public transportation, Brocadians positively influence our sustainability goals.” 


But effective outcomes are best achieved through collaboration. To that end, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and theSilicon Valley Bicycle Coalition were instrumental in coordinating the forum. With a shared goal of addressing critical infrastructure improvements to make biking fun and safe, the two community organizations reached out to their networks to increase participation in the round table. They added credibility, structure and resources. Moreover, they are taking action on various meeting items. Representatives from Aviat, Cisco, Ericsson, Intermolecular, Intersil, Marvell, Samsung, San Jose State University, Stanford University and SunPower shared insights on commutes stretching from Gilroy to San Francisco.


A big thank you to Brocade’s active bicycle group. The City's Department of Transportation was looking for actual community input. With your help, the Company was able to convene a diverse group of subject experts with city planners who together were able to translate words into actions. I believe your suggestions will drive more ridership and safer bike paths. Well done.