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Woodside wrestles with trail, road conflicts

Council may create a new advisory committee

It's crowded on Woodside's roads, paths and trails. Cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians and motorists, residents and non-residents, contend sometimes for their right to proceed, whether to a beach, a park, a winding rural road, a garage, a parking space.

Weekends are notoriously difficult, and any day can be risky going by foot or bike to the town center or the school.

It's an old story for residents, and there are inflexible realities that bear on it, including narrow roads and fixed rights of way. A knotty problem, to be sure. Sounds like a job for a citizens advisory committee, the Town Council said at its April 10 meeting.

Citizens advisory committees happen to be on the minds of council members. With the town's general plan recently revised, it is an opportune time, they said, to consider the missions of the nine advisory committees and whether they line up with the goals in the revised plan.

One goal addresses the issue of getting around town, referred to as circulation: "Improve the circulation system to balance the needs of motorists, bicyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians." The council considered the idea of a Circulation Committee that could perhaps absorb purviews of the Trails Committee, which tends to focus on equestrian issues, and the Bicycle Committee.

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If there is a third rail in Woodside politics, it is equestrian issues. The council touched it, albeit gently, in appearing to question the existence of the generically named Trails Committee. An equestrian focus, council members said, may be better suited for a new committee dedicated solely to equestrian interests and heritage.

Then there are the cyclists. If there is a thorn in the side of Woodside culture, it is out-of-town cyclists. The town is inundated with them on weekends and visited by a knot of 50 to 100 every weekday around noon.

The Bicycle Committee rarely meets; reaching a quorum is reportedly difficult. Significantly, observers have described the bicycle and trails committees as not on speaking terms. A Circulation Committee could start a dialog.

Go for it, said Bicycle Committee Chair Millo Fenzi and some 12 other residents in a letter to the council. A postscript names 30 more residents who wrote letters for the record, including "concerned parents" and members of the local school board and PTA.

Not so fast, said Trails Committee member Mary Fentress Hall, who said she was speaking for herself. The Trails Committee embodies important and esoteric knowledge on how to oversee a complex system of horse trails.

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Pedestrians are "in the mindset" of the committee, but because pedestrians never attend meetings, "something is getting lost," Ms. Hall said. "If the pedestrians don't feel represented, they need to come to the meetings and tell us what we're not doing properly."

"Bicycles, I admit, we've done nothing for," she said. "The Bicycle Committee needs a lot more help in trying to solve their thing with cars."

"The situation around Town Center ... is a disaster for everybody," Ms. Hall added. "I know what the solutions are, it's just that the California Department of Transportation doesn't want them." (Caltrans regulates state Highway 84, Woodside's artery.)

Fighting it out?

On the council, Mayor Dave Tanner and members Ron Romines and Deborah Gordon expressed support for the idea of re-examining committee missions. Councilwoman Anne Kasten said she wanted to hear more from the committees. (Councilmen Dave Burow and Peter Mason were absent.)

Councilman Tom Shanahan spoke up for preserving the committees as constituted, with a trial run for a Circulation Committee focused on congestion in the center of town. If interests on the circulation and trails committees were to overlap, "let them fight it out," Mr. Shanahan said. "I think you guys are in a cloud of never-never land."

Don't disband what's working, said Alexis Bartlo, of the Livestock and Animal Control Committee, whose members are mostly equestrians. Equestrian concerns are the ones "most endangered when it comes to pragmatic solutions," she said.

Mayor Tanner asked her how she would deal with an overlap in committee interests.

The Circulation Committee should focus on Town Center congestion, Ms. Bartlo replied.

Mr. Romines asked about the idea of creating an Equestrian Committee.

"My concern is that if it's not broke, don't fix it," Ms. Bartlo replied, and suggested that the Trails Committee simply contribute two members to the Circulation Committee.

Centers of passion

Mr. Fenzi said the council should think about committees as serving centers of community passion, one of which is the convenience or lack of it in getting around Woodside.

As for equestrian concerns, they represent "an immense passion that needs its place to be," Mr. Fenzi added. Bicycle issues are a four-watt bulb compared with the 5,000 watts around equestrian concerns, he said.

There's more to come. Town Hall staff will be developing a draft charter for a Circulation Committee, based on Portola Valley's recently formed Bicycle, Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Committee.

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Woodside wrestles with trail, road conflicts

Council may create a new advisory committee

by Dave Boyce / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 19, 2012, 8:22 am

It's crowded on Woodside's roads, paths and trails. Cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians and motorists, residents and non-residents, contend sometimes for their right to proceed, whether to a beach, a park, a winding rural road, a garage, a parking space.

Weekends are notoriously difficult, and any day can be risky going by foot or bike to the town center or the school.

It's an old story for residents, and there are inflexible realities that bear on it, including narrow roads and fixed rights of way. A knotty problem, to be sure. Sounds like a job for a citizens advisory committee, the Town Council said at its April 10 meeting.

Citizens advisory committees happen to be on the minds of council members. With the town's general plan recently revised, it is an opportune time, they said, to consider the missions of the nine advisory committees and whether they line up with the goals in the revised plan.

One goal addresses the issue of getting around town, referred to as circulation: "Improve the circulation system to balance the needs of motorists, bicyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians." The council considered the idea of a Circulation Committee that could perhaps absorb purviews of the Trails Committee, which tends to focus on equestrian issues, and the Bicycle Committee.

If there is a third rail in Woodside politics, it is equestrian issues. The council touched it, albeit gently, in appearing to question the existence of the generically named Trails Committee. An equestrian focus, council members said, may be better suited for a new committee dedicated solely to equestrian interests and heritage.

Then there are the cyclists. If there is a thorn in the side of Woodside culture, it is out-of-town cyclists. The town is inundated with them on weekends and visited by a knot of 50 to 100 every weekday around noon.

The Bicycle Committee rarely meets; reaching a quorum is reportedly difficult. Significantly, observers have described the bicycle and trails committees as not on speaking terms. A Circulation Committee could start a dialog.

Go for it, said Bicycle Committee Chair Millo Fenzi and some 12 other residents in a letter to the council. A postscript names 30 more residents who wrote letters for the record, including "concerned parents" and members of the local school board and PTA.

Not so fast, said Trails Committee member Mary Fentress Hall, who said she was speaking for herself. The Trails Committee embodies important and esoteric knowledge on how to oversee a complex system of horse trails.

Pedestrians are "in the mindset" of the committee, but because pedestrians never attend meetings, "something is getting lost," Ms. Hall said. "If the pedestrians don't feel represented, they need to come to the meetings and tell us what we're not doing properly."

"Bicycles, I admit, we've done nothing for," she said. "The Bicycle Committee needs a lot more help in trying to solve their thing with cars."

"The situation around Town Center ... is a disaster for everybody," Ms. Hall added. "I know what the solutions are, it's just that the California Department of Transportation doesn't want them." (Caltrans regulates state Highway 84, Woodside's artery.)

Fighting it out?

On the council, Mayor Dave Tanner and members Ron Romines and Deborah Gordon expressed support for the idea of re-examining committee missions. Councilwoman Anne Kasten said she wanted to hear more from the committees. (Councilmen Dave Burow and Peter Mason were absent.)

Councilman Tom Shanahan spoke up for preserving the committees as constituted, with a trial run for a Circulation Committee focused on congestion in the center of town. If interests on the circulation and trails committees were to overlap, "let them fight it out," Mr. Shanahan said. "I think you guys are in a cloud of never-never land."

Don't disband what's working, said Alexis Bartlo, of the Livestock and Animal Control Committee, whose members are mostly equestrians. Equestrian concerns are the ones "most endangered when it comes to pragmatic solutions," she said.

Mayor Tanner asked her how she would deal with an overlap in committee interests.

The Circulation Committee should focus on Town Center congestion, Ms. Bartlo replied.

Mr. Romines asked about the idea of creating an Equestrian Committee.

"My concern is that if it's not broke, don't fix it," Ms. Bartlo replied, and suggested that the Trails Committee simply contribute two members to the Circulation Committee.

Centers of passion

Mr. Fenzi said the council should think about committees as serving centers of community passion, one of which is the convenience or lack of it in getting around Woodside.

As for equestrian concerns, they represent "an immense passion that needs its place to be," Mr. Fenzi added. Bicycle issues are a four-watt bulb compared with the 5,000 watts around equestrian concerns, he said.

There's more to come. Town Hall staff will be developing a draft charter for a Circulation Committee, based on Portola Valley's recently formed Bicycle, Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Committee.

Comments

Neighbor
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Neighbor, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Don't disband what's working, said Alexis Bartlo, of the Livestock and Animal Control Committee, whose members are mostly equestrians. Equestrian concerns are the ones "most endangered when it comes to pragmatic solutions," she said.

In other words,"don't disband what's working for us"
.
The lack of access for Mt Bike riders within any dirt trails in or above Woodside(Wunderlich,Phleger,Teague Hill+Huddart) is glaring testament to the equestrian communities iron fist control over publicly funded lands.
The failure of the Squealer Gulch trail specifically, a reasonable (in the fair mind) proposal that would have allowed bicyclists a non auto option of going from Woodside almost to Skyline blvd was shot down by the ever victimized equestrian community (etrac+whoa) .
Even though the Squealer Gulch trail did not cross 1 single trail within Huddart Park(its location is 100% on the south side of Kings Mt Rd)
The equestrian community within Woodside doesn't share,and they want to keep it that way.


Sharing
Woodside: other
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm
Sharing, Woodside: other
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

They share.

Poop.

And flies.

While atop easily spooked large animals that require others to take specific actions to not scare, like sudden movements or noise. Or heaven forbid, a new-fangled bicycle.


Faye Brophy
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm
Faye Brophy, Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Intelligent people object to being told 'half truths'. This person's comments on the proposed Mtn Biker's Squealer Gulch Trail was only partially accurate. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, not 'the equestrians', blocked this trail's creation because of the safety concerns. While this trail did go up the south side of Huddart, up Kings Mtn Rd; it was to connect to the Skyline Trail. Most bikers would then want to go north at this point; this portion of Skyline Trail has very short lines of sight and 500+ft steep drop-off's which the Board wisely saw as a great potential for deadly accidents.


Dave Boyce
Registered user
Almanac staff writer
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm
Dave Boyce, Almanac staff writer
Registered user
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

In a conversation last night with a member of the Trails Committee, I was told that that liaison subcommittees from the Trails and Bicycle committees have addressed several issues over the past year or so.

Among them: smoothing the passage behind Roberts Market for bikes and horses, improving the trail between Roberts Market and Woodside Elementary School, and considering a stop sign at the intersection of Woodside and Whiskey Hill roads.


POGO
Woodside: other
on Apr 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm
POGO, Woodside: other
on Apr 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Equestrians and bike riders are Woodside's version of the Middle East.


Neighbor
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:04 am
Neighbor, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:04 am

Claiming 1/2 truths by stating 0 truth is poor tact .
"While this trail did go up the south side of Huddart, up Kings Mtn Rd; it was to connect to the Skyline Trail."

No, the upper Squealer Gulch trail exits onto Kings Mt Rd almost directly across from the Archery Range (hairpin turn), well below the Skyline tr.(1/4 mile-ish, give or take) No proposal to link these 2 trails was proposed during the Haddart-Wunderlich trails master plan review .
The BOS was fed misleading +outright falsehoods from the Woodside Equine crowd before bowing to their shrill cacophony, the previous posters claims bear this out.


Community minded
Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm
Community minded, Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

The inflammatory nature of the comments from the mountain bicycle community as evidenced by "sharing" , "pogo" and the "neighbor from outside Woodside", who do not identify themselves, are exactly what turns off everyone who reads them, who then can unfortunately paint the entire bicycle community, including recreational road cyclists with a broad brush of negativity. The end result is not in the biking community's best interest in that you polarize the very people that you need to help find solutions, including the many pedestrians and hikers who don't want to meet people like you on the trails. The disrespect and insensitivity shown for any other opinion than yours do not foster solutions. By the way, there were 22 meetings of the San Mateo County blue ribbon community in which the minority were equestrians. Perhaps San Mateo County just did the right thing.


Mary Hall
Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm
Mary Hall, Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

WHOA! was not a member of the San Mateo County blue ribbon committee, so before accusing others of spreading falsehoods, "neighbor" might consider checking the facts.

In interest of completeness, MROSD accepts mountain bikes on the many thousands of acres around and above Woodside. You might visit their website to find some stunning trails to ride.


Sharing
Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Sharing, Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

"who do not identify themselves, are exactly what turns off everyone who reads them"

posted by someone with the apparent legal name "Community Minded".

CM should also re-read the comments if CM thinks all the posts were anti-bike.


Neighbor
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm
Neighbor, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm

OK,here goes:
" who do not identify themselves", thank You Community minded, hypocrites as well as antagonists are well represented in the anonymous postings category I see.


"By the way, there were 22 meetings of the San Mateo County blue ribbon community"

There were just over 30 meetings in around 3 yrs,of the blue ribbon committee, formed by Dave Holland to attempt a bypass of the impasse in meeting some of the needs of the entire trails community(mt bikers) on SMCo Parks dirt trails.
When Mr Holland was promoted upstairs within SMCo gov staff a few months ago, no parks director was hired,parks was summarily folded into the public works dept and the blue ribbon committee was dissolved w no trails access for cyclists policies changing one iota.

"WHOA! was not a member of the San Mateo County blue ribbon committee," If you say that Ernst M+Rob K aren't members of WHOA, I believe you, and retract that claim(falsehood).

"In interest of completeness, MROSD accepts mountain bikes on the many thousands of acres around and above Woodside. You might visit their website to find some stunning trails to ride."
Web Link


All I'll say to that is,if we have it so good, I'll support trading access acreage with the equine community anytime.


POGO
Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm
POGO, Woodside: other
on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Community Minded -

My post was targeted equally to BOTH bike and horse enthusiasts.

Both sides have historically been equally intransigent and irrational about their hobbies. I suspect we are all, to some degree.


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