After 12 years, it is a travesty that Stanford continues to dodge its commitment and spin the facts in an elaborate attempt to confuse the community. A review of the history of the 2000 general use plan agreement (the GUP) between Stanford University and Santa Clara County is in order.
In 2000 Stanford agreed to construct a multi-use trail, designated C-1, on Stanford land in Santa Clara County in exchange for 5 million square feet of new campus development. Rather than honor its obligations and while building its newly granted entitlements to increase campus development, Stanford spent five years lobbying the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors that the C-1 Trail should be in San Mateo County, mostly in the right-of-way of Alpine Road.
I was a Menlo Park City Council member in 2000 actively involved in the discussion of the mitigations for the university's expansion, and I know that a trail along Alpine Road was not a consideration included in the GUP. However, it soon became clear that Stanford had no intention of ever allowing public easements for a trail on Stanford land, even for groups like Mr. Sweeney's Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders.
By 2006 Stanford's relentless efforts had paid off; the C-1 Trail had become the responsibility of San Mateo County. Three times the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors rejected Stanford's proposal to build a multi-use trail next to Alpine Road, in part for safety reasons. It violated well-established design standards for locating combined pedestrian and bicycle facilities within a few feet of a heavily traveled arterial road, populated largely by car and truck traffic generated by Stanford construction and growth.
The $10.3 million that Mr. Sweeney thinks should be used to supplement his already generous on-campus recreational opportunities has now returned to Santa Clara County. Residents of both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties experience the loss of recreational opportunities caused by limiting public access to the Dish and the negative effects of unending Stanford expansion in both counties.
It behooves the Santa Clara County supervisors to fund recreational improvements with this money that provide the widest benefits to local residents, including but not limited to, the Stanford Leaseholders. I urge the supervisors at their Aug. 7 meeting to direct these funds for the completion of the Bay Trail in Palo Alto and to partially fund the bicycle-pedestrian over-crossing of 101 at Adobe Creek.
For years the region has endured the impacts of Stanford's twice-a-day employee commute traffic, two world-renowned hospitals, a regional shopping mall, disruptive sports events and the heavy use of local public roads for dangerous construction vehicles. The entire region deserves genuine mitigations. Thinking regionally is appropriate when one realizes the extent of Stanford's footprint on the Peninsula.
Steve Schmidt is a former mayor of Menlo Park