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Blocked pathway causes a stir

Original post made on Aug 18, 2010

The city is looking into complaints from residents after a homeowners association decided to block off the only path through the neighborhood to Rengstorff Park, the Senior Center and downtown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 1:29 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by lindaLoo
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I very much appreciate the Mountain View Voice's prompt response to and the city's investigation into the pathway blockage at Ryland Towne Court. I do hope there will be an equally swift resolution.

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Posted by Patrick Grant
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Seems the rule of Adverse possession applies, even if it is not part of the city plan. Consult a real estate attorney, but since the use was continuous and visible over 7 years and public was granted free unrestricted access with no attempt to restrict, no one can close it off, except perhaps by a public hearing. Again, ask a lawyer. That was the case on many beach accesses across private property some years back.

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Posted by Linda
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 18, 2010 at 5:58 pm

The blocked pathway at Ryland Towne Court interferes with my access to the train station, visiting neighbors and shopping. I am very disappointed to no longer have the access this pathway provided. I hope something can be done to remove the plywood and open up the gate.

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Posted by mark
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Well maybe if some people could be responsible and not vandalize the area the homeowners association would not have blocked it. I would have done the same. Every one looks the other way when these crimes are done. Now everyone wants to whine how they have to walk farther.A little exercise is good for you.

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Posted by Bill Michel
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:24 am

The only vandalism I ever saw was the *occasional* graffiti. I live
on Ortega and was a *regular* user of this passageway as it gives
much better/more direct/nicer access to "points south" for cyclists, compared with
California St. (i.e. College-Chrisanto-Escuela-Villa). My understanding
is that when facilities are created which create more pedestrian
traffic, crime actually *decreases*, since criminals like it when
they're not "disturbed" by passers-by.

This is a tremendous loss.

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Posted by lindaloo
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

Mark writes "Now everyone wants to whine how they have to walk farther.A little exercise is good for you."

Please. This isn't about "walking a little farther". It is about impeding access to and for those of us that do walk and bike. A busy, four-lane road is neither safe nor pleasant to walk along.

I understand well and sympathize with the issues of vandalism and security. I live nearby in a similar complex and definitely do not "look the other way". In our neighborhood, we also experience occasional litter, graffiti from people passing through. However, plenty of others walk and bike through because it is the safer, quieter route.

Yes, taking the pathway away robs the entire pedestrian and bicycling community.

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Posted by phm
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Thanks again to The Voice for reporting on this. I don't use the walkway thru Ryland Townhomes often but it's sure convenient when I do walk downtown. I used to work next to an office complex with a nice cafeteria. There was a fence around it and a gate between my workplace and this complex. One week a year the gate would be locked to establish the owner's property rights. The other 51 weeks we could go through and patronize the cafeteria to the benefit of all. Perhaps a similar arrangement would work with the Ryland community.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm

The second commenter has it right. You can't legally block a route over your land that's been in active use for a long period of time, even if it's private property.

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Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

The recorded subdivision map for the development does not specifically dedicate a pubic right-of-way for this pathway [reference: Tract 9340, Santa Clara County Map Book 739, pages 16-18]. There is an existing 10' pathway easement beside 104 College Avenue. On Tract 9340 shows that easement, but it "dead ends" into the common area of the townhome development. The map was signed in 2001. I used to work with the surveyor who signed it.

Hopefully the original written conditions of approval for Tract 9340 stipulate that the pathway should remain open. If so, it is surprising that it didn't get mapped. It is a very safe pedestrian route to Rengstorff for a lot of people. I discovered it when looking for a lost cat. The path is even marked on Google maps. I hope that it will be reopened.

What is the timeline for adverse possession? I should probably know that.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 22, 2010 at 12:08 am

If the City truly wants to "connect communities", it should start by fixing it's own sidewalks. They are terrible. Public Works doesn't even have a plan for inspecting them.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

How would all of you feel if the tables were reversed and this was your property that people insisted they were intitled to? I bet you'd feel completely different.

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Posted by marc
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 22, 2010 at 9:32 am

i vote to close it.... let the whinning begin..... i have to walk to far blah blah blah.

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Posted by walker-biker
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Tom, you are misinformed. The city does have and executes a plan for regular sidewalk inspection and replacement. Go down to City Hall, Public Works, and talk to the guy. Like most departments in our well managed city - this one operates on a priority basis. If a sidewalk has a discontinuity that could be a hazard (liability to City) it goes higher on the list for repair or replacement. I have had the sidewalk in front of my property 'automaticly' fixed when trees started to push it up. I have seen a sidewalk in a park replaced (asphalt starting to open cracks) just before I was going to call the Parks Department.

So Tom - do your civic duty and report the problem (in specific detail) to Public Works or The Parks Dept!

Matt - thanks so much for your research and the specific details!!!!

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Walker-biker : No I am not mistaken. My attorney has filed a legal writ of discovery to obtain all information regarding this from the City. The City does not have what I speak of.

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Posted by Property Owner
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm

The title should be, "A Few Complainers Cause A Stir". How big an issue is this really. The way around on public streets is hardly an inconvenience. I too would love to cut through a lot of exclusive properties and backyards.

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Posted by marc
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm

i still say close it......

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Posted by le dude
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

So an anonymous resident of The Crossings, claims he or she uses this shortcut and "would never dream of walking to any of those places if my only choice were to walk along California Street" and everyone is supposed to cater to this complaint. Sounds like some twisted form of blackmail by a spoiled brat. I would tell her or him, fine then, have it your way and don't walk anywhere. Your loss.

Like this comment
Posted by CalTrain Passenger
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm

It would be extremely helpful if this pathway was available again. I commute using the CalTrain and usually carry heavy bags. I relied on the pathway to make my walk home shorter and safer.

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