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Trail work on Alpine Road to begin soon

 

The next six months will see limited access to the hiking trail that runs along Alpine Road from Portola Valley's border with Ladera west to Arastradero Road, according to a statement from the town.

In an agreement that obligates Stanford University to pay as much as $2.9 million for the project, the town has engaged contractors to reroute and resurface parts of this mile of old, cracked and often bumpy asphalt; add a pedestrian bridge and some new landscaping; and stabilize the creek bank.

(In a related development, the section of the trail between Arastradero and Westridge Drive will be closed until June 3 so that workers from Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. can relocate a utility line, the town said.)

Stanford's paying for the trail upgrade fulfills one element of an otherwise contentious 2006 initiative that will allow the university to proceed with plans to develop open space on the Santa Clara County side of San Francisquito Creek, which forms a boundary with San Mateo County.

Residents of the unincorporated neighborhoods of Ladera and Stanford Weekend Acres flatly rejected the university's offer -- good until December 2013 -- to spend $8.4 million to improve the rough and mismatched sections of Alpine Road path from the intersection with Junipero Serra Boulevard to the Portola Valley border.

Confronted with the notion of a smooth, wide, speedy -- and traffic-inviting -- bikeway instead of their uninviting, untrafficked and meandering passage, Ladera and Weekend Acres residents rejected it out of hand. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the Committee for Green Foothills backed them up.

If the San Mateo County-based parties hold to their position beyond the deadline, Stanford's agreement with Santa Clara County has the $8.4 million going to that county's Parks Department.

As for the Portola Valley portion of the trail, Stanford will deposit money with the town as needed to pay for the work, thereby relieving the town of any upfront costs, Public Works Director Howard Young has said.

The town will post signs along the trail as needed to advise walkers and bikers of upcoming closures, and the dirt trail on the north side of Alpine Road will remain open and available, the town's statement said.

For more information, call the Public Works Department at 851-1700, ext. 216, or send e-mail to towncenter@portolavalley.net.

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