Almanac

News - September 14, 2011

Public invited to meetings, walking tour on Stanford's proposed Alpine Road trail

by Dave Boyce

A public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club as the communities in Ladera and Stanford Weekend Acres consider the future of their hiking and biking trail. The trail, on the south side of Alpine Road, is inconsistent in width and quality as it runs from Ladera's border with Portola Valley east to the intersection of Alpine and Junipero Serra Boulevard.

The Thursday meeting, organized by the San Mateo County manager's office, will be the first of five. A walking tour is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, and another evening meeting for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. The Ladera Oaks club is located at 3249 Alpine Road in Ladera.

Two evening meetings to report back to the community are set for Thursday, Sept. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 4, also at Ladera Oaks.

The meetings will revisit a controversial topic: a proposal by Stanford University, first made in 2006, to spend $8.4 million to upgrade and repave the trail and shore up the bank of San Francisquito Creek. (In a related development, Stanford is well along in a $2.8 million project to repave and reroute the one-mile section of trail that continues into Portola Valley.)

The trail project is connected to the university's plans to develop open space on the Santa Clara County side of the creek. If San Mateo County continues to reject the proposal, the $8.4 million will go to the Santa Clara County parks department.

An outside observer might find the trail's Ladera/Weekend Acres section hard to love. It merges with the roadside in places. The paving is old, bumpy and cracked. There are holes as well as spots overlain by layers of dust. But a unanimous San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, echoing residents galvanized by the prospect of a "suburban sidewalk" through their semi-rural community, rejected the university's offer in February 2008, and again in 2010.

Some community residents have spoken in favor of the project and Stanford's offer is good until December of this year, according to a county chronology.

Write to alpinetrail@smcgov.org to comment on the project.

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