Mountain View opens new $9 million trail link

Permanente Creek Trail includes new bridge over Highway 101

After the ceremonial ribbon was cut, a crowd swarmed onto the new Permanente Creek Trail extension Tuesday, June 12, striding across a new bridge over U.S. Highway 101 and a tunnel under Old Middlefield Way.

A crowd of more than 100, including government officials, residents and many Google employees, patiently waited before racing over the extension with giddy excitement, although some were restrained a bit by the hot sun. A pair of Googlers on brightly colored Google bicycles lead the way at one point.

"All you have to do is look at all those cars," on Highway 101, said council member Laura Macias as she walked over the bridge Tuesday. "Maybe a few pedestrian bridges is not a bad thing."

Construction workers spent the last 18 months on the bridge and tunnel, pouring 2,500 cubic yards of concrete and assembling 470,000 pounds of steel. The extension connects residential areas in western Mountain View to thousands of jobs north of 101.

The options for pedestrians in the area had been overpasses for Shoreline Boulevard, Rengstorff Avenue and San Antonio Road, all of which "are just really scary," said bicyclist Jarrett Mullen. Accelerating cars getting on and off the freeway will make you "mincemeat."

Macias said she had balked at the original $3 million price of the extension, which grew to $9.9 million with the unexpected inclusion on the tunnel under Old Middlefield Way. "We did the right thing," Macias said of the tunnel, which protects bikers and pedestrians from cars speeding off 101 onto Old Middlefield.

"People are already asking when we'll build the next segment," Macias said.

The 1,300-foot extension ends at Old Middlefield, but the next segment would continue south to connect to Crittenden Middle School and Middlefield Road. To the north, the Permanente Creek Trail splits the Google headquarters and Shoreline Golf Links and ends near the historic Rengstorff House in Shoreline Park.

"The public works folks did a great job," said former city manager Kevin Duggan as he walked the extension Tuesday. City Manager Dan Rich said Duggan was the original "guiding light" for the project, originally proposed in 2004 and approved in 2008.

Bicycling advocate Andrew Boone, who said he worked with Facebook to get bike lanes in Menlo Park, said Mountain View's commendable work on its trails shows other cities, "Hey, you can do this" and he's heard officials in Palo Alto say, "Why don't we have any urban trails, like Mountain View?"

City officials say it took several nighttime closures of Highway 101 to build the bridge and a three-month closure of Spring Street to build the tunnel. In all it took 38,000 man hours for contractor Gordon N. Ball, a company that has also constructed several other segments of the Stevens Creek Trail.

It's not the only trail segment opening this month. On Saturday, June 23, at 10 a.m. there will be an opening ceremony at the end of Sleeper Avenue for a new segment of the Stevens Creek Trail over Highway 85 to Heatherstone Way.

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Like this comment
Posted by commuter
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

Palo Alto may have started this bike-friendly trend 40 years ago, but Mountain View has long since passed us in creating fantastically useful family-friendly bicycle routes like the Stevens Creek Trail and now the Permanente Creek Trail. These trails connect businesses, schools, parks, and residential areas with safe car-free family-friendly bicycle and pedestrian routes.

There are currently zero family-friendly bicycle routes to Palo Alto's two nicest parks (Arastradero and Foothill on the west side of I-280). The Embarcadero bicycle bridge over Hwy 101 is obsolete and unusable by many users (wheelchairs, child trailers) because of the narrow width and sharp turns. The Adobe Creek bike path under Hwy 101 is completely unusable by everyone for all of this year. The lack of safe bicycle and pedestrian routes to these parts of town is a disgrace.

We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on car projects (like the Hwy 101 boondoggle going on right now). How about dedicating a tiny fraction of that budget to pedestrian and bicycle projects? For years now, city transportation engineers have had a long list of high priority, high demand bicycle and pedestrian projects with no funding. I'm not calling for cancelling all car projects. Just dedicate a small portion of that huge pot of money towards non-car transportation infrastructure.

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

It may get better instead of worse. The federal transportation budget has, for the last few decades, included a tiny fraction for ped and bike projects, too tiny a fraction to meet the demand. Nevertheless, the House is presently trying to eliminate even that tiny fraction from the new transportation bill. If you are fed up with that situation, contact your legislators now using the link below.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

Oops. I meant it might get worse instead of better.

Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

I especially enjoy the photos of families riding bikes on the new bridge where the kids have helmets but mom and dad don't. Way to set an example.

Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

@ eric,

Well it would be illegal for the children to not be wearing helmets. The adults have the option and they don't have to answer to anyone for not choosing to wear them. Not even you.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Palo Alto may have started this bike-friendly trend 40 years ago, but Mountain View has long since passed us ...."

Palo Alto is the leader in starting many things but quickly falls behind because the well known Palo Alto Process takes forever to get anything decided. Mountain View is a much better grounded and focused community and simply gets things done.

Like this comment
Posted by Mountain Man
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

MV is a far more enjoyable place to live in because of these little things. The sense of community pride is evident in so many places from the neighborhood blocks to the overall infrastructure and convenient access to groceries and other daily task destinations. We moved from PA 8 years ago and wondered why we didn't do it sooner. Our general life is sooo much more enjoyable(not as many selfish/rude people either.)
MV is getting it done!

Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

@ P.A. Native

Read his post, @eric didn't say anything about it being illegal.

Wearing a bike helmet is absolutely a good idea, and not wearing one is absolutely a bad idea.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Is this trail open 24/7 or do they prohibit access after sunset like in so many Palo Alto public parks?

Are the trail tunnels and bridges covered with graffiti yet?

I'll try to find time to check it out this weekend.

Is it my imagination or do cars really pass much closer to me when I'm cycling with a helmet on vs not wearing a helmet?

Like this comment
Posted by Guest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Did MV's bike/ped. bridge over 101 cost more than $10 million?

Copy it.

2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Copy it."

Palo Alto would never stoop to copying a good solution from someone else. Everything Palo Alto does has to be unique even if it costs far more than a proven solution from somewhere else. And, if you disagree, just give one example where Palo Alto had adopted a solution/design/concept proven elsewhere.

Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Clearly I read the post. I was tryin to make a point about being less judgmental. Ultimately it's up to the adult rider regardless of opinion.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

Mountain View and its Steven's Creek Trail is AWESOME. If I start in the Baylands at the Interpretive Center I can ride or walk if I wanted to over 20 miles all the way into Mountain View and now into Sunnyvale I guess. The Mountain View part is pleasant and shaded and well maintained.

Palo Alto should be ashamed of the mess we have out at the Baylands which to a large extent is due to:

1. Stink from the outdated sewage treatment center.
2. Neverending noise that you cannot talk above from the Palo Alto Airport and the airplane and helicopter operation.

We in Palo Alto also seem to do the best to make the place look like crap as well. It's a completely unpleasant assault on the sense when we are blessed with a most amazing resource - waterfront land that we just do not have the will or the intelligence to take advantage of.

There is something completely dysfunctional about the vision out city government has for this community. They are not serving the people of Palo Alto by ignoring our Baylands.

Like this comment
Posted by Not a NIMBY
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

"Palo Alto may have started this bike-friendly trend 40 years ago, but Mountain View has long since passed us ...."

Places become nice, this then attracts affluent people who then become NIMBYS, and the place shuts down. Eventually it turns to crap and the NIMBYS move on to the next nice place.

2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In Palo Alto the quest for the perfect solution, which never exists, is the enemy of the good solution. Mountain View has mastered reaching good solutions while Palo Alto continues its endless quest for perfect solutions.

Like this comment
Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Mountain View also cares more about their trees than Palo Alto.
It is not even close anymore.

In Mountain View on several sidewalks where tree roots had caused the concrete to buckle they replaced the concrete and preserved the trees.
That kind on thinking does happen in Palo Alto anymore.
We have urban forest management on the cheap and also biased towards
saving Oak trees over all other trees.

Thanks Mountain View for the beautiful Redwoods and Gynkos on Middlefield.

Like this comment
Posted by danielle
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

it's up to the adult rider not to wear a helmet if they want a brain injury

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

@ commuter: Seriously?...You want bike paths and separation to Foothills Park?

Page Mill is a mountain road west of 280. It is not a thoroughfare or city street. The amount money required for property acquisition, grading, removal of hillsides, shoring up the downsides ... astronomical.

Like this comment
Posted by Chip
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Chip is a registered user.

PA spends insane amounts of money on studies, proposals, consults with "experts," etc. Next comes spent time comparing, evaluating, debating ad infinitum, contemplating the image, etc. PA isn't some special snowflake which needs to make an architectural statement every time they satisfy residents' needs.
One way to speed things up would be to reduce the disproportionately large number of councillors relative to population. The concentration of council members living in the northern part of town may affect the urgency (or lack of) with which mid-town & southern residents' concerns are addressed.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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