Alto Daily News - May 10, 2004
Trail Aims to Bridge 85 'Divide'
By Mark Helfen Daily News Correspondent
Stevens Creek Trail is an inch closer to completion. The Mountain View
City Council will discuss the environmental impact report covering the
completion of the trail at its May 18 meeting. The proposal is for a
1.7-mile extension to the existing trail, starting at Yuba Drive, crossing
under El Camino Boulevard, crossing Highway 85 twice, and ending adjacent
to Mountain View High School. The city will release a 200-page response
to public comments at the end of this week.
to Helen Kim, the city's project manager, the draft has been circulating
for 18 months. The city answered 57 comments. A full copy of the report
is available at the Mountain View Public Library. "It's not a project
yet," said Kim, until the report is certified by the council. The
plan is for the council to meet next month to vote on certification.
The proposed path roughly parallels Highway 85. An undercrossing would
be built at El Camino near Highway 85, with a Highway 85 overcrossing
near the intersection of Dale and Heatherstone, and another near Mountain
View High School. No property would be condemned by the city for the
trail. Neighborhood access points would be near the intersection of
Heatherstone and Dale, at Continental Circle adjacent to the old Emporium
store, and at Sleeper Circle where there is an unused parcel of land.
Additional parking would be build at the trail end next to the high
trail will bring several benefits to the city, said Mayor Matt Pear.
"Its a good recreational resource, connecting to the Bay Trail,"
he said. The Bay Trail is a recreational path that will circle the San
Francisco and San Pablo bays when complete. Used by hikers, joggers
and bicyclists, about half of its 400-mile planned length is done.
For Kim, connecting the apartments on the east side of Highway 85 with
the rest of the city is a big benefit. "It unites the east and
west sides of the city. All the schools are on the west side, with apartments
on the east," said Kim. High school students would be able to walk
to school without having to deal with traffic. "It will allow bicyclists
to get to and from their place of work," said Pear. The trail will
also help bicyclists and pedestrians who cross between the east and
west sides of Highway 85 to stay off busy streets. "Highway 85
is the great geographic divide," Pear said.
objections raised in the report were in three categories. "This
is going through a wildlife corridor," said Kim. "People are
concerned about native wildlife and vegetation." Pear stated that
the plan was designed to have minimum impact on the area, with no damage
to the tree canopy over the creek, which is home to steelhead trout.
Pear also listed concerns from the public that the trail was wide enough
to allow access by fire and police vehicles. There were security concerns
from homeowners on the opposite side of Stevens Creek. Kim said that
there were already people who illegally camp in the creek area. "Our
experience in constructing earlier parts of the trail is that bringing
a constant flow of legal users actually improves security," said
Kim. Los Gatos had a similar experience with its trails.
When the report is certified by the council, the next step is to do
the engineering and design, which the city will pay for, Pear said.
After that, the only thing needed to complete the trail is paying for
its construction. Kim didn't have a cost estimate. "It isn't designed
yet," Kim said. But it will be an expensive project. Who's got
the money? "That's a good question," said Pear. "This
is a very expensive recreational amenity for us to be building. The
funds are not lined up yet."