Cities to study big trail extension

With Sunnyvale and Los Altos finally stepping up to extend the Stevens Creek Trail closer to the Stevens Creek reservoir, the City Council approved a bit of money Tuesday to help study the trail extensions.

The city will now contribute $5,000 to the $100,000 study, which will determine the feasibility of extending the trail from Mountain View High School to the city's southern border and beyond.

Council member Laura Macias was the only member to vote against the funding.

"We have spent $33 million on the trail," Macias said. "We did receive $11 million in outside grants. That's for our 4.75 miles. Cupertino has done .75 miles. I'm so glad they (Sunnyvale and Los Altos) are on board, but I am not sure why we are being asked to sponsor it. I am really torn on this."

Other members agreed with Aaron Grossman, director of Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail, who said the benefits to Mountain View were worth $5,000. "The trail won't continue without this feasibility study," he said. "We will benefit to some degree. Our people will use the trail."

Council member Tom Means, the city's trail representative in meetings with the other cities, said there was a piece of property on the east side of the creek that could be used to connect Mountain View High School to the city's southern border. From there, Sunnyvale and Los Altos would continue the trail to Cupertino. Avoiding the difficulties in finding space for the trail along the creek, Los Altos had previously studied using city streets to make the connection but is now moving away from that, Means said. Sunnyvale has taken the lead in conducting the study.

Eventually the trail would connect to Stevens Creek Reservoir, where numerous trails cover the hills.

The $5,000 for the study came from a $50,000 city fund from the Valley Transportation Authority to help start such projects.


Posted by the sooner the better, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Many people drive cars to work instead of bicycling because they are afraid of getting hit by cars. Unfortunately, way to many bicyclists are killed by cars in our area, even in marked bike lanes. The Stevens Creek Trail is certainly the single most popular car-free bicycle commuting route in Silicon Valley. There are numerous employers along the route, including downtown Mountain View and high-tech companies like Google. The trail is also easily accessible from many Mountain View neighborhoods.

Extending the trail into Cupertino will give many more neighborhoods and employers access to this route. The sooner they can get it done the better. I would love to see Apple and Google connected by a car-free bicycle trail. Every bicycle commuter on the trail is one less car contributing to congestion, pollution, and high gasoline prices.

Posted by MV High Extension Still needed?, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I'm all for connecting Mountain View to Cupertino and I second the previous poster: the sooner the better.

However, if the feasibility study shows that the connection needs to be done on the SunnyVale side, I hope the City will re-consider the MV High extension. As in that case, it wouldn't be much more than an expensive trailhead (and quite frivolous as the existing Sleepy Avenue trailhead is not that far and pretty safe to bike to from MVHS); and there are many other parts of the City that could be use trails/bike lanes/bike boulevards/parks....

Posted by sooner the better, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Are NIMBYs trying to block trail access to the high school? What are the issues? Are they willing to hold up the entire trail because of those issues?

Posted by MV High Extension needed?, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm


Where do you see a NIMBY issue?

If the MV Cupertino connection goes via SunnyVale, what's the point of the extension to MV HS?

Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

More bike trails are good for everyone. I applaud the city council for chipping in on the expansion study. It's things like this (walkable downtown, being able to bike to work) that improve the quality of life in our city.

Posted by sooner the better, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The point of connecting the trail to local schools is so that kids can ride their bikes directly to school. Some people cannot figure that out? Why would anyone possibly be opposed to this? I am sure that a direct and car-free route will encourage more kids to ride their bikes to school.

Posted by MV High, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Shoreline Blvd is the boundary for MV High on the north side of El Camino. As such, many kids from the north side of El Camino use (or would use) the trail, especially if it went directly to the school. True, riding a bike from the Sleeper trailhead to MV High isn't nearly as dangerous as riding on Grant Road. However, in the mornings, there are many speeding motorists (kids and parents driving to school, and adults driving to work), so it would be safer to continue the trail to MVHS. Note that many MVHS students are already using the trail.

Posted by Mv High Extension needed?, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

@Mv High

It's not clear the students from North El Camino would change their biking pattern. As it would mean going over HW 85 twice (i.e. longer route and with 2 bridges to climb vs. shorter and flatter ride).

You also have to consider the cost vs. benefits. That extension would cost millions and there are many other students who could benefit from safer biking at other schools throughout the City.

Posted by steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I need to remember to not vote for Macias next time. What's the deal with not pitching in $5K to a $100K study? As a Mtn View resident, I benefit HUGELY if this trail is extended south. For her to refuse to pay a token amount to help with the study is nuts. We should be encouraging Los Altos, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Cupertino in every way we can to make this a regional trail.

Have you tried riding your bike on a road around here? Even with bike lanes, it's a scary experience. The trail is wonderful, and we need to make it go as far and wide as possible.

Posted by MV High Extension needed?, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:05 am

@sooner @mv high

The MV High extension has an estimated cost of $13M.

Couldn't we use that money to improve biking for the many kids who have much more dangerous route to school (crossing ECR, Shoreline, Miramonte, Grant, San Antonio...) ?

Posted by MV High, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

@Extension Needed

Why do they need to be mutually exclusive? Also, the $13M wouldn't come from a pot of expendable $. Much would be in grants, etc. Perhaps those would be applicable to other uses, but maybe not.

Posted by MV High, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

@ Extension Needed

Addendum. Perhaps you could explain how you would go about making the El Camino / Grant intersection safer for bikes...I'm not picturing an inexpensive (if any) solution.

Posted by MV Hifh Extension Needed, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:23 pm

@MV High

They certainly don't have to be exclusive but the decision to fund one or the other or both should be based on a cost/benefit analysis and based on actual data such as:

How many kids would actually ride on that extension (knowing that their ride will be longer and hillier than it is today)? How many kids would be left with unsafe routes to school where they have to ride along or across busy roadways?

Since you seem very assertive about the need, maybe you've done that analysis already and would care to share it?

Posted by MV High, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

@ Extension Needed

I have not done a full cost/benefit...I'm just a resident weighing in. The cities will also not likely do a cost/benefit analysis. Right or wrong, that's just not how decisions like this are usually made. In this case you can't even quantify many of the inputs. (The cost of a lost life, projected # of injuries avoided either way, # of new riders who might use a trail if it comes nearer to them, etc). At this point, it's not an either/or.

I'll grant that kids might not want to hop over 85 twice. But there may be new riders (students and others) who are more drawn to a trail that avoids City streets.

Still would like to hear your cost-effective suggestions for making the El Camino / Grant intersection safe for bikers.

Posted by MV High Extension Revisit?, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

@MV High

Likewise, I am just a resident, an avid cyclist and parent. That makes me a strong supporter of Stevens Creek Trail but also of having more kids biking safely to school.

I am also not an urban planner but we have some commissions in the City.

I feel that the City should pause before building that bridge going to MV High and ask BPAC how best to use that money in order to provide safer biking to the maximum number of kids.

I guess I'm also a taxpayer, trying to get the biggest bang for the buck :)

Posted by sooner the better, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm

If crossing Hwy 85 twice is too complicated, can we push for a more direct route? That may save money at the same time.

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