Reject Stanford's trail offer, supes recommend

Stanford's $8.4 million would go to Santa Clara County

The end may be near for a two-year-old plan, proposed and funded by Stanford University and despised by the Stanford Weekend Acres community, to spend $8.4 million to rework the roadside trail along the stretch of Alpine Road between Santa Cruz Avenue and Interstate 280.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is set to consider Tuesday a recommendation by supervisors Rich Gordon and Jerry Hill to reject Stanford's proposal, which would mean that the Alpine Road trail stays as it is and Stanford's $8.4 million goes to Santa Clara County.

The five-member board may vote the recommendation up or down when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the board chambers at 400 County Center (corner of Bradford and Hamilton streets) in Redwood City.

The trail proposal was part of an agreement between Stanford and Santa Clara County to allow the university to meet its use-permit obligations while mitigating the recreational impact of its expansion plans.

Rather than build trails on its own land on the south side of San Francisquito Creek, Stanford was willing to pay up to $11.2 million --$8.4 million to San Mateo County and $2.8 to Portola Valley -- to "improve" about three miles of inconsistent paths and trails across the county line along Alpine Road.

Plans for the two sections of trail are independent and were subject to approval by Santa Clara County and the local jurisdiction. Stanford's offers are good until at least 2011. The Portola Valley portion of the deal is going forward.

Residents in Ladera and Weekend Acres foresaw "improvements" that would increase bike and vehicle traffic on an already heavily traveled road. They also objected to the sidewalk-like character of a trail on complex terrain that includes a creek bank.

Supervisors Gordon and Hill recommended rejecting the $8.4 million in a Feb. 4 memo to the board. Going ahead with the trail plans as proposed "would probably lead to lawsuits against San Mateo County," the memo said.

While a less expensive project could shore up deteriorating sections of the San Francisquito Creek bank, the proposals would require Stanford's approval and Stanford would get to keep any unspent funds. Some community groups want to see Stanford hand over the entire $8.4 million for mitigation purposes, the memo said.

Included in the memo is a recommendation that Santa Clara County use the money to create a regional fund to mitigate the environmental impacts of Stanford projects.

This fund, the supervisors said, should be open to nearby public agencies, including San Mateo County, the Midpeninsula Open Space District, and the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley and Menlo Park.


Like this comment
Posted by sally
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Why does Stanford keep pushing the Alpine Road super-deluxe-sidewalk project when absolutely no one wants it and it will do zero to improve pedestrian or bicycle safety on that road.

If Stanford really wants to improve the community, they should go ahead with the trail connecting Old Page Mill Road, under I-280, to Arastradero Road. The current bike lane on the *left* side of Page Mill Expressway is a major safety hazard for the bicyclists that have to navigate through speeding car traffic at the I-280 on-ramps. A bike path that avoids this interchange without going miles out of the way would be a major blessing to Midtown residents and Stanford students trying to reach the Arastradero Preserve or Foothill Park.

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