Almanac

Viewpoint - November 23, 2011

Letter: $10 million not enough for Alpine Road trail

It's been over 10 years since Stanford University asked Santa Clara County for a permit to build 5 million feet of development on campus. It was a robust debate and after a long process, permission was granted, agreements were signed, and Peninsula residents trusted that Stanford would keep its promise.

Trails on Stanford land were the mitigation for the development. One of the trails, the S-1, was finally built this year and not much of it resembles what was promised.

The other trail, the C-1, is now being proposed but not on Stanford land and not even in Santa Clara County. This came about when Stanford badgered Santa Clara County to allow Stanford to peddle its C-1 trail in San Mateo County. This was done without checking with San Mateo County first.

So, now, San Mateo County has been offered a trail and a bucket of cash to build it. When the trail was going to be built on Stanford land, it was of a simple design that would accommodate people walking and people bicycling. There were no driveways, no intersections and certainly no freeway on/off ramps to design around.

The amount of money Stanford is now offering would have been enough to build that trail. However, the trail Stanford wants now in San Mateo County is complicated. To work around the limited space and the dangerous proximity to cars driving on Alpine Road, the cost is likely much more than what Stanford wants to pay.

Who will make up the difference?

We will. The residents of San Mateo County who are already facing huge deficits will be stuck with the bill. San Mateo County Supervisor Carol Groom stated at the Nov. 1 meeting that she is concerned that the trail will cost close to $20 million, half of what Stanford has agreed to pay.

Should the San Mateo County taxpayers subsidize Stanford? It's a mystery why Stanford promised to build trails on their land and then reneged. A permit was granted based on mitigations that Stanford agreed to make. This was a business deal. Stanford built its 5 million feet of development and San Mateo County has no dog in this fight.

I look to our supervisors to be practical. Either vote against the C-1 trail or use Stanford's money to repair the existing footpath along Alpine Road and call it a day.

Please don't agree to fulfill Stanford's obligation to Santa Clara. San Mateo County wasn't at the table, wasn't consulted, and should not take on debt for Stanford.

Brielle Johnck, Central Avenue, Menlo Park

Comments

Posted by janet, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

1nCEBrielle: You are absolutely correct. Plus, if you look at the County Trails Manual, the Bike Manual, the Vehicle Code provisions and the AASHTO guidelines there is no way that what is proposed could be constructed in accordance with those requirements. If Ladera wants a safe way to bike to Stanford, a trail could be constructed by connecting Aliso Way or Andeta Way to Stanford property where roadways already exist on Webb Ranch and where Ansel Lane goes UNDER the freeway, and come out through Stanford Hills Park to the approx. 4 acre meadow at the back of Stanford's Buck Estate. This would connect with the pathway opposite Safeway (and the bus stop) and thence to the bike path down Sand Hill Road to Stanford. Virtually no construction would be required. All the wishes of Ladera residents would be more than fulfilled, and the SWA residents would be happy.


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