Tonight: meeting in Ladera on Stanford hiking trail


A public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club as the communities in Ladera and Stanford Weekend Acres consider the future of their hiking and biking trail.

The trail, on the south side of Alpine Road, is inconsistent in width and quality as it runs from Ladera's border with Portola Valley east to the intersection of Alpine and Junipero Serra Boulevard.

The Thursday meeting, organized by the San Mateo County manager's office, will be the first of five. A walking tour is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, and another evening meeting for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. The Ladera Oaks club is located at 3249 Alpine Road in Ladera.

Two evening meetings to report back to the community are set for Thursday, Sept. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 4, also at Ladera Oaks.

The meetings will revisit a controversial topic: a proposal by Stanford University, first made in 2006, to spend $8.4 million to upgrade and repave the trail and shore up the bank of San Francisquito Creek. (In a related development, Stanford is well along in a $2.8 million project to repave and reroute the one-mile section of trail that continues into Portola Valley.)

The trail project is connected to the university's plans to develop open space on the Santa Clara County side of the creek. If San Mateo County continues to reject the proposal, the $8.4 million will go to the Santa Clara County parks department.

An outside observer might find the trail's Ladera/Weekend Acres section hard to love. It merges with the roadside in places. The paving is old, bumpy and cracked. There are holes as well as spots overlain by layers of dust. But a unanimous San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, echoing residents galvanized by the prospect of a "suburban sidewalk" through their semi-rural community, rejected the university's offer in February 2008, and again in 2010.

Some community residents have spoken in favor of the project, and Stanford's offer is good until December of this year, according to the county.

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Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

A hiking trail that is effectively a sidewalk on a major road is really not much of a hiking trail. Stanford got away with a ridiculous proposal on this one.

Like this comment
Posted by PV resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

A biking and hiking and walking trail that greatly improves what is there today, not paid for by public funds, is an excellent proposal. Stanford should be commended and the local goverments should take advantage.

Like this comment
Posted by sidewalk
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

The proposed design is too narrow and has too poor sightlines around corners to be safe for bicycling (even very slow bicycling). Call it a sidewalk instead of a trail and everyone will be happy.

Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm

They should move Alpine Road to the west, into the hillside, which would move the roadway farther away from the neighbors in Weekend Acres. It would also allow for more space for a hiking trail, and make the bike lanes along Alpine Rd. much safer for everyone. Look at the lanes as they are now that they've been restriped - they don't leave much room in places for bikes and cars to peacefully coexist on that road.

Stanford did a fantastic job reconfiguring the intersection at Sand Hill/Santa Cruz/Junipero Serra/Alpine. They can do the same for all of Alpine Rd.

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Posted by US
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

The current amount is 10.2 million dollars because it includes the cost of making the bad turn in front of Weekend Acres safer for bikes doing the "Loop", cars, Weekend Acres residents AND those on the recreational trail. There's no way San Mateo will ever pay to cut back the hill, and no reason Stanford would ever have to let their property be hacked into by San Mateo. Hopefully we can make it safe to park for hiking up the back of the "Dish" at the same time.

Sidewalk? Hardly. What they should do it remove the SIDEWALK on the north side of Alpine Road underneath 280 so perhaps no more bicyclists will die there.

Stanford will SPEND money in San Mateo. We're going to turn down money so that we can all pay for these needed changes later? Let's make ALPINE ROAD SAFE!! Perhaps San Mateo will use this as a good time to reduce the speed to 35 mph!!

I'm sure that there are still people miffed that they can't hike through Stanford to the foothills, but that decision has been decided. You can still hike on their property, but only according to their rules. THIS path would be used by more people than any hiking trail would have been used. Getting to the foothill trails by bike will be a safe breeze.

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