Viewpoint - June 22, 2011

Letter: Stanford pushing Alpine Road trail again

Stanford is again apparently trying to pressure San Mateo County into agreeing to a wide, paved, partly cantilevered, bi-directional "trail" across the front of residents' driveways along Alpine Road.

This is instead of complying with its obligation under its General Use Permit to build a trail across its own land in Santa Clara County. The prior Alpine Road plan also involved eliminating almost 100 mature oaks and armoring the creek. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, largely on the basis of the inherent dangers of this plan, roundly rejected the offer a couple of years ago, and suggested that the money be given instead to Santa Clara County to provide recreational facilities in that county.

One of the biggest dangers, and possibly the worst detrimental factor for the environment, is the truck traffic to and from Stanford. This morning (Monday June 13), I was out by the road and in less than one hour, in addition to regular traffic, I counted 42 double tractor-trailer rigs go past my driveway. This is likely to increase with the hospital expansion.

Not only is this intolerable in a medium-density residential neighborhood that is home to several hundred people, but a truck route is not an appropriate site for a recreational "trail."

Furthermore, there appear to be no limits on the type of cargo that can be transported, whereas freeways and expressways appear to have restrictions on hazardous materials, and the size of truck. There has already been one woman killed recently by a truck in this stretch of road.

Gigantic double, through-traffic trucks need to be eliminated from Alpine Road, and proposing that Alpine be the site for a recreational "trail" is ludicrous in the extreme. It is especially egregious since Stanford owns all of the land on the other side of Alpine Road and could easily — if it truly wanted a decent trail — construct a hiking route from the Buck Estate to and under Interstate 280 that could connect with the Portola Valley trail.

Janet Davis, Alpine Road, Menlo Park


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