Town Square

Post a New Topic

Stanford unveils plans for perimeter trail

Original post made on May 24, 2013

Stanford University officials won praise for plans to build a biking and pedestrian trail leading from El Camino Real to the Dish on Thursday night. But enthusiasm for the Stanford Perimeter Trail was tempered by a parking proposal residents and cyclists said will only increase a traffic nightmare along Stanford Avenue.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 24, 2013, 9:54 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Brian
a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

YES on building a parking lot on the Dish side of Junipero Serra. It would be much less dangerous and easier to control.

Posted by Biker to the dish.
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

If you do that, please include bike parking!

Posted by agree
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

I agree with Brian. Move the parking to a safe location across Junipero Serra. Reckless drivers and reckless parkers on Stanford Ave are refusing to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, despite the painted bike lanes on that street.

Posted by Keith Marshall
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 24, 2013 at 11:26 am

At 10 yrs old we seldom worried much about traffic. Riding our bikes from N Pastoria in Sunnyvale from our 1 acre farm to Steven's Creek reservoir was just another day of hiking, fishing and sliding down the spillway.

While we were seemingly oblivious to all the changes going on around us (the year 1962, older lovers of nature and those influential saw that if care and preservation efforts were not employed immediately this magnificent Valley of our would give way to industry and commerce not sparing a single tree.

Born right here in the valley in 1952 when dirt roads still prevailed, now 60 years later, I can still find dirt trails through this incredible landscape all the way to Stevens Creek Dam. Many things have changed since 1962, of course no more sliding down the spillway for me, but conserving, keeping and expanding the trail systems remains one of our most significance contributions to our children, grand kids and the amazing wild life corridor.

The proposed extensions of the trails in this region maintains the vision of many of our parents and even grand parents. Each time we carve out time, space and money to preserve just a bit more of this immensely beautiful valley, we work out the details, get parking issues resolved and assist in balancing the most difficult task of harmonizing development and nature.

I cherish our heritage and applaud vigorously that these beautiful areas remain accessible and we gain an up close and personal connection through the trail systems. The trails are an exemplary display of man working with nature.

Well, I will close for now, another trip near the wilds for me and mine as we're off on yet another hike on these trails so long kept safe and treasured by many.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 24, 2013 at 11:55 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Interesting. First someone demands that they must be given the right to walk and ride through your private property. And then they demand that YOU also provide them with parking on your property so that they won't have to ride and walk very far to get to your property.


Posted by Nevertheless
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm

In spite of everything, I think it is a splendid idea, and cannot wait to bikeride on it!

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

@ Peter: And don't forget the complaints when Stanford paved the trails, required people stay on the trails and prohibited dogs.

@ Keith Marshall: Thanks for bringing back all the great memories from growing up in this area!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

It used to be possible to park on Junipero Serra Blvd. How about removing the Stanford Ave parking and return parking to Junipero Serra?

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

This path is Stanford's idea and primarily benefits Stanford residents. What Palo Alto demanded is a path from Junipero Serra to the Arastradero Preserve. That would have far more general benefit. We are still waiting for that.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I think there's an error in the article. It reads: "Drivers backing into the spaces would also stop traffic. The cars would have to cross a bike lane on the north side to access the parking, residents noted."
Actually, wouldn't the cars have to cross a bike lane on the SOUTH side to access the parking. No cars should ever be crossing the north bike lane if I understand the diagram correctly. The diagram does say that the back-in parking is on the south side but doesn't give a clear idea of whether Junipero Serra is at the top or bottom of the picture.
If it's supposed to be back-in parking only, it serves only traffic coming of Junipero Serra. What about traffic coming from campus or El Camino? What's to stop them from driving directly into the angled parking? Double yellow lines? Perhaps that will work, especially if the campus police ticket everyone who pulls in directly. But I've seen some pretty strange driving behavior here as people vie for every available space and with 15 fewer spaces, I'd wager we'll see a lot of tickets before people figure it out.
Which raises the question of where the 15 cars that no longer have spaces will be expected to park. Most mornings when I park here I often find that all 55 parking spaces are taken and the overflow is parking along Stanford Ave east of Raimundo. Will parking here continue to be allowed here?
I wish the article provided a link to the full plan so we could get a better idea of what is being proposed. The verbal description is hard to follow even though I'm pretty familiar with the area.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Scratch that last paragraph. I just found the link to the "Stanford Perimeter Trail".

Posted by Reluctant Cyclist
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

The plan looks good, but the most glaring need is a way to cross 280 on bike or on foot. Page Mill, Alpine, and Sand Hill are all very dangerous. The only safe way to cross is south on Arastradero, which is pretty far away for most of us.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I always get a chuckle out of artists' conceptions. That depiction of the parking situation is pretty accurate regarding how today's full-sized vehicles wedge themselves into spaces designed for subcompacts.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

10 years ago, Stanford promised to build a public trail along Page Mill Road, under I-280, to the Arastradero Preserve. I hope the city is still holding them to this promise. Just say no to convoluted routes that take hours longer to walk.

Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 25, 2013 at 7:20 am

Seems to me that the new trail should encourage more people to walk to the Dish - a parking lot will just increase the number of people driving to the Dish. If a parking area is added it should be designed to benefit "disabled" people not the general population and the cost of parking there should be enough to cover its cost - both development and ongoing maintenance.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2013 at 7:58 am

If they want to encourage people to walk to the Dish, they should install toilets there. Walking there takes an hour from El Camino, then walking around the loop takes another 2-3 hours. A lot of people drive there because they can't last that long without toilets.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 25, 2013 at 8:01 am

How is it dangerous? Is there any data suggesting that pedestrians are injured? What's with the nanny state, we can walk on a street on the north side, many people do it daily successfully. Angled parking is a bad idea. And why cut parking on Stanford, you need more parking not less! Currently you have to park in surrounding neighborhoods to walk. And let's be honest, the dish is a waste of time. Nothing there but concrete. Sad what people in the bay area think is living. Get some perspectives, go overseas, natural places of beauty don't get over developed with concrete and parking lots. Ask yourself why aren't streets in Atherton widened with footpaths? Oh right rich residents want quaint streets - aren't pedestrians at risk there? Seems with Stanfords logic, all of atherton needs to be developed.

Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 25, 2013 at 9:23 am

The walk from El Camino to the entrance to the Dish is barely over one mile - a nice flat shaded 15-20 minute stroll.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 25, 2013 at 10:16 am

Google Maps says El Camino to the Dish is 1.5 miles uphill. If you can stroll it in 15 minutes, you are in way better shape than my kids, and we regularly walk the dish for family exercise.

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

When are we going to see bike improvement for those hardcore cyclists that ride from home to work and then right back to home.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I could be wrong about this, but isn't Stanford only obligated to build the perimeter trails? I don't think the settlement included anything about parking access/requirements.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Stanford did agree to build a direct trail from campus to the Arastradero Preserve. The trail has to be accessible and useful to the general public, not just Stanford residents.

Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Direct trail to Arastradero Reserve - I assume that would have been along Alpine Road, but that plan was rejected by the fools in San Mateo.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Direct trail to Arastradero Preserve was supposed to be along Old Page Mill Road, south of campus. The trails were all supposed to be in Santa Clara County; Alpine Road is in San Mateo County.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I believe what San Mateo County rejected was "improvements" to the existing trail along Alpine Road. I don't know that path's current condition, as I normally bike on the roadway proper, at a speed unsuitable for mixing with pedestrians and joggers.

It may be stretching the term "direct" to Arastradero Preserve, but the route planned for a Class 1 Multi-Use Path, designated C-2, is all the way along Arastradero Road from practically Gunn High School up to the preserve, using the non-interchange I-280 undercrossing at about the midpoint. Also around this midpoint is a junction with the recently completed S-1 path that goes down to the Page Mill/Junipero Serra end of the Stanford Perimeter Trail subject of the article at the top of this thread.

Anything more direct would entail the more adventurous Page Mill/280 undercrossing. Then again there is that obscure tunnel under 280 just downhill from the dish, leading to the dam at Felt Lake, which backs up right against the Arastradero Preserve . . .

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm

The intent of the agreement was a route suitable for families with children to use to get from El Camino to Arastradero Preserve, in a reasonable amount of time, not a day-long journey.

Posted by Phil
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 29, 2013 at 12:14 am

Every time Stanford trails are discussed someone makes incorrect assertions about the "intent" or expectations of the original trail agreement. If you look at the agreement it specifies the county trail map as a starting point. For S1 this would have followed Old Page Mill, crossed the Freeway at Page Mill (way too dangerous), then gone through the private housing area near Liddicoat Circle. Stanford suggested the current route over the hill to the Arastradero Rd underpass, while the Stanford Trails organization and others proposed going much deeper into the Stanford land to use a cow tunnel to Arastradero Preserve. Stanford agreed to a compromise (to my knowledge first proposed by the College Terrace Residents Association) that would have followed Old Page Mill and then used state land along the 280 Freeway for a short distance to get to the cow tunnel and on to Arastradero Preserve. This would have been the most direct route to Arastradero Preserve, but it failed to get support from advocates of a trail deeper into Stanford land, and Los Altos Hills residents along Christophers Lane opposed that route (which would have been between their property and 280). Without united support, the state rejected the idea of allowing the use of land along 280. So we ended up with the longer route and missed a chance for a fairly direct route to Arastradero Preserve. But there never was any real agreement or realistic expectation for Stanford to follow a route that deviated much deeper into their academic preserves, no matter what or the Committee for Green Foothills hope might happen.

The C1 trail is a different story and should have been built on the Santa Clara County side of the creek as the county trail maps showed. It seems like the Santa Clara Co. supervisors caved too easily on that one, but at least now the money that would have built C1 will be used to make connections between the S1 trails, the dish network and other trails in Palo Alto.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 29, 2013 at 3:48 am

@Phil, thanks for the details. I wasn't aware of that second cow tunnel under 280, which I guess is hidden in the trees on the Google Maps satellite view about 2000 feet north of Page Mill. C'est la vie.

A PA Online editorial from Feb 2008 refreshes my memory on the C1 trail . . . Web Link

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

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

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 12 comments | 3,290 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 27 comments | 2,392 views

Pacifica’s first brewery closes its doors
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,109 views

Holiday Fun in San Francisco- Take the Walking Tour for An Evening of Sparkle!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,959 views

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,558 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.