Work starts on closing 'a critical gap' of Bay Trail

Fifteen years in the making, new segment expected to open in summer 2020

Ravenswood Bay Trail project partners and funders gathered to celebrate the start of construction on the Ravenswood Bay Trail on Oct. 11. Photo courtesy Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Construction has begun on a new segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail in the Ravenswood Preserve near East Palo Alto.

"The new trail will close a critical 0.6-mile gap in the Bay Trail between University Avenue and Ravenswood Preserve," the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District said in a statement. "Benefits of the project include improved access to nature and outdoor recreation for local residents and new commute routes for cyclists."

Workers will restore habitat and salt marsh wetlands around the area will be enhanced as part of the project, including refuge islands that will help shelter endangered Cooley Marsh wildlife such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and a shorebird called the Ridgway's rail.

The project is east of University Avenue, south of the abandoned Dumbarton rail line, north of East Palo Alto's University Village neighborhood and west of the existing Bay Trail segment in the Ravenswood Open Space Preserve in Menlo Park.

The preserve will be accessed by a new stretch of sidewalk along University Avenue, leading to a raised boardwalk, a bridge with an overlook and interpretive signs.

"This is truly a celebratory moment, as today marks a major milestone nearly 15 years in the making to close a critical gap in the Bay Trail — one that was first envisioned in 2005 to connect multiple communities and cities to their local Bayfront parks and open spaces," Ana Ruiz, general manager of the open space district, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday. "For this short but mighty trail segment, it took more agencies and organizations than I can count on my 10 fingers to receive the approvals and funding support necessary to reach the start of construction."

The district estimates the cost of planning, designing, engineering, permitting and building the 0.6-mile Ravenswood Bay Trail at about $5 million.

"The trail is anticipated to open in the summer of 2020, if work can be completed in the narrow construction window constrained by seasonal restrictions for sensitive wildlife species in the area," according to the district.

More information can be found here.


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12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Hard to believe that a half-mile bike path took 15 years to build. I'm sure it will be busy with people biking from Palo Alto to Facebook and the Dumbarton Bridge, but those were all important commuting destinations 20 years ago as well (when Sun Microsystems was located at the current Facebook site).

12 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 13, 2019 at 7:39 am

Celebratory moment!? It's just a 100 yard boardwalk, the rest of the 0.6 trail is already there and will just be repaved! Why don't you connect the end of that stretch with the Don Edwards Preserve trail to reach the West parking lot of Dumbarton Bridge? It would make the commute of people biking across Dumbarton Bridge much shorter!

Like this comment
Posted by dollarbin
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm

dollarbin is a registered user.

Hooray! As much as I enjoy visiting the goats on Runnymede St., it will be far preferable to avoid EPA city streets on my commute between Mountain View and Newark.

Like this comment
Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 15, 2019 at 3:21 pm

@John: I'm guessing here, but what you are proposing (which i would prefer as well) would require access on SFPUC land. The Hetchy Hetch pipeline crosses the Bay there and is exposed above ground. As it is a critical water source for the area, they probably don't want any hikers near it for security reasons.

Like this comment
Posted by dollarbin
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm

dollarbin is a registered user.

I think John's idea would be nice too. Even better would be if when they rebuild the Dumbarton rail bridge, they put a nice wide bike/ped path on it so we can bike directly from Ravenswood to Willow Street in Newark and/or The Don Edwards Visitor Center for those commuting to and from north of 84.

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