News

Fixed-up Bay Trail links MV, Sunnyvale

Trail upgrades, paid for by Google, will continue into next year

Getting around Mountain View's bayshore just got a lot easier. Last week, local politicians and top brass from Google gathered near the windy wetlands to celebrate a new stretch of resurfaced trails, designed to help improve access to the Baylands north of Moffett Field.

The resurfacing project, paid for by Google to the tune of about $2 million, marks the latest improvement in a decades-long effort to link the San Francisco Bay's trail system between Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The smooth, even surface extends about 4 miles, from Stevens Creek Trail to Carl Road in Sunnyvale, skirting closely alongside properties owned by NASA Ames, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. military.

At a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, May 20, Rep. Anna Eshoo told attendees that it took an enormous amount of hard work and dedication to complete the trail, which finally links the "two most important cities in the area" together. While plenty of agencies played a role in pulling the project together, Eshoo commended former Sunnyvale Mayor Julia Miller for spearheading the effort to build the contiguous trail 19 years ago.

"This is a gift for future generations," she said.

Opening the trail was a Herculean effort involving more than a dozen agencies, including the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NASA Ames, the 129th Air Rescue Wing and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Several private companies besides Google were involved in the creation of the trail, including PG&E, Cargill Salt and Lockheed Martin.

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Miller, who now serves as a member of the El Camino Healthcare District, told the Voice that she made it a top priority to build out the trail and bridge the "Moffett gap" that prevented commuters and residents from traveling into Sunnyvale from Mountain View along the Bay Trail. The effort hit an unusual snag, Miller said, when a munitions bunker maintained by the 129th Air Rescue Wing was located too close to the trail and had to be moved for safety reasons.

In 2010, the multi-agency effort finally hit a breakthrough and was able to bridge the Moffett gap, resulting in 25 miles of contiguous trails from East Palo Alto to San Jose -- the longest stretch in the entire Bay Area, according to Laura Thompson, project manager for the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Taking bolt cutters to the fence that once blocked the trail was just the first step. The bayside pathway connecting Mountain View and Sunnyvale was contiguous but hardly a smooth ride. Miller described the trail as an uneven dirt path with potholes and overgrown vegetation. As the trail saw more use by bicyclists, Thompson said, it became increasingly difficult to traverse -- particularly during the wet winter season.

Resurfacing the roughly 4 miles of Bay Trail was no easy feat, and took years to accomplish. Thompson said the improvements required extensive collaboration with the nearby property owners to squeeze in a trail through some of the tightest spots along the path.

"Lockheed (Martin) actually moved a fence inward to make room," Thompson said. "There's not a lot of right-of-way to work with there."

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Linking the network

The new and improved Bay Trail bordering Mountain View and Sunnyvale is part of a larger effort to build, connect and improve a 500-mile trail system spanning the entirety of the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Trail Plan, which was adopted by ABAG in 1989, has been humming along for the past few decades, with 350 miles of trail now built.

The only trouble is that all of the proverbial low-hanging fruit is gone. ABAG President Julie Pierce explained at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the last 150 miles include some of the hardest and most expensive segments, similar to the Moffett gap. The recent resurfacing project by Google, Pierce said, will serve as a good example of what a public-private partnership can achieve along the most challenging parts of the shoreline.

Anyone who would like to test the newly improved trail is going to have to wait a while. The 4-mile stretch will be closed from May 23 to June 4 in order to finish improvements on the last 1,000 feet leading to Stevens Creek Trail. When the trail does reopen, residents can get on the trail through the entrance points near Crittenden Lane in Mountain View, or Carl Road in Sunnyvale.

The next step, after fixing the link with Stevens Creek Trail, will be to head further south, improving the next 2 miles of Bay Trail to the border of Santa Clara, Thompson said.

Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Fixed-up Bay Trail links MV, Sunnyvale

Trail upgrades, paid for by Google, will continue into next year

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:03 am

Getting around Mountain View's bayshore just got a lot easier. Last week, local politicians and top brass from Google gathered near the windy wetlands to celebrate a new stretch of resurfaced trails, designed to help improve access to the Baylands north of Moffett Field.

The resurfacing project, paid for by Google to the tune of about $2 million, marks the latest improvement in a decades-long effort to link the San Francisco Bay's trail system between Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The smooth, even surface extends about 4 miles, from Stevens Creek Trail to Carl Road in Sunnyvale, skirting closely alongside properties owned by NASA Ames, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. military.

At a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, May 20, Rep. Anna Eshoo told attendees that it took an enormous amount of hard work and dedication to complete the trail, which finally links the "two most important cities in the area" together. While plenty of agencies played a role in pulling the project together, Eshoo commended former Sunnyvale Mayor Julia Miller for spearheading the effort to build the contiguous trail 19 years ago.

"This is a gift for future generations," she said.

Opening the trail was a Herculean effort involving more than a dozen agencies, including the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NASA Ames, the 129th Air Rescue Wing and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Several private companies besides Google were involved in the creation of the trail, including PG&E, Cargill Salt and Lockheed Martin.

Miller, who now serves as a member of the El Camino Healthcare District, told the Voice that she made it a top priority to build out the trail and bridge the "Moffett gap" that prevented commuters and residents from traveling into Sunnyvale from Mountain View along the Bay Trail. The effort hit an unusual snag, Miller said, when a munitions bunker maintained by the 129th Air Rescue Wing was located too close to the trail and had to be moved for safety reasons.

In 2010, the multi-agency effort finally hit a breakthrough and was able to bridge the Moffett gap, resulting in 25 miles of contiguous trails from East Palo Alto to San Jose -- the longest stretch in the entire Bay Area, according to Laura Thompson, project manager for the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Taking bolt cutters to the fence that once blocked the trail was just the first step. The bayside pathway connecting Mountain View and Sunnyvale was contiguous but hardly a smooth ride. Miller described the trail as an uneven dirt path with potholes and overgrown vegetation. As the trail saw more use by bicyclists, Thompson said, it became increasingly difficult to traverse -- particularly during the wet winter season.

Resurfacing the roughly 4 miles of Bay Trail was no easy feat, and took years to accomplish. Thompson said the improvements required extensive collaboration with the nearby property owners to squeeze in a trail through some of the tightest spots along the path.

"Lockheed (Martin) actually moved a fence inward to make room," Thompson said. "There's not a lot of right-of-way to work with there."

Linking the network

The new and improved Bay Trail bordering Mountain View and Sunnyvale is part of a larger effort to build, connect and improve a 500-mile trail system spanning the entirety of the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Trail Plan, which was adopted by ABAG in 1989, has been humming along for the past few decades, with 350 miles of trail now built.

The only trouble is that all of the proverbial low-hanging fruit is gone. ABAG President Julie Pierce explained at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the last 150 miles include some of the hardest and most expensive segments, similar to the Moffett gap. The recent resurfacing project by Google, Pierce said, will serve as a good example of what a public-private partnership can achieve along the most challenging parts of the shoreline.

Anyone who would like to test the newly improved trail is going to have to wait a while. The 4-mile stretch will be closed from May 23 to June 4 in order to finish improvements on the last 1,000 feet leading to Stevens Creek Trail. When the trail does reopen, residents can get on the trail through the entrance points near Crittenden Lane in Mountain View, or Carl Road in Sunnyvale.

The next step, after fixing the link with Stevens Creek Trail, will be to head further south, improving the next 2 miles of Bay Trail to the border of Santa Clara, Thompson said.

Comments

Uri
Willowgate
on May 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm
Uri, Willowgate
on May 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Fantastic! I can't wait to ride it! It's a beautiful route but last time I took my son in the bike trailer on it he said it was "too bumpy". He was right!


Rich
Blossom Valley
on May 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm
Rich, Blossom Valley
on May 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm

How useful an addition to this article would a map be?


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm
Local Guy
Sylvan Park
on May 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm
Local Guy, Sylvan Park
on May 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Hey Rich,

If you're heading towards the bay on the Steven's Creek trail go towards the end of Shoreline, cross over the last bridge to your right, turn left on the old gravel road then take the first right again down to the newly redone stretch.

If you're coming from the Sunnyvale side you can start from the small parking lot adjacent to the Sunnyvale water treatment plant to the left of the recycling center as you head in off Caribbean Way (you can follow the green signs from there that say "<-Bay Trail"). Head out along the path that swings right after you enter it (actually the second right, not the first one with sort of a gate) then turn left on the first path you come to. There you'll be.

It's a nice getaway for those of us into an easy peaceful ride. Roughly an hour's round trip from either side.


Reader
another community
on May 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Reader, another community
on May 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm

@Rich:

The city offers a number of bike maps of their website:

Web Link

At some of the downtown street fair events (especially during the summer), there's a table where they hand out bike information, including free printed maps (the one with the hyperlink name "Bike Lanes Map" on the city website). Sadly, that map does not offer any information on bordering bike paths outside the city limits).

The map that Greg Davis hyperlinks to does not yet reflect the new paved surface (which as the article says is not open yet to the general public).

Here's Map 6 from the Bay Trail site:

Web Link

which covers Bedwell Bayfront Park (Menlo Park) to Alviso. Again, this map does not reflect the new pavement.


Local
Sylvan Park
on May 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm
Local, Sylvan Park
on May 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

It was open for a while but will be closed for those further improvements until June 4th. I would suspect, and as the article implies, to finish up that last little bit between the bridge over Steven's Creek to the part they had resurfaced before. Too bad it will be closed over the Memorial Day weekend though.


resident
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 26, 2016 at 7:08 pm
resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 26, 2016 at 7:08 pm

Really great to hear about local employers stepping up when city governments can't get the job done. A couple of other local bicycle routes that really need fixing are the Adobe Creek Trail under Hwy 101 near San Antonio Road (currently closed 6 months every year) and the San Francisco Bay Trail between East Palo Alto and Facebook. City governments have been talking about fixing these safety gaps for many years, but lots of talk has amounted to no real progress. These routes will be heavily used by employees trying to get to work as well as for recreation by city residents.


Bill McFarland
Willowgate
on May 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm
Bill McFarland, Willowgate
on May 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm

I'm glad to hear they're going to improve the trail from the water treatment plant to the landfill. That stretch is in far worse condition than the Moffett Field stretch ever was. Very bumpy. Yet I ride it all the time to get to Alviso and the slough loops there plus Drawbridge. Great exercise and being out in nature!


PA Resident
another community
on May 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm
PA Resident, another community
on May 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Definitely need to improve bike routes from Palo Alto to Google, Shoreline, etc. Rengstorff and San Antonio are not bike friendly or safe. The tunnel which is closed each winter after the first rains prevent safe southbound bike usage from South Palo Alto.


Observer1
Registered user
Waverly Park
on May 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Observer1, Waverly Park
Registered user
on May 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Thank you Google! This is a win for Google, and for the entire community.


yogi
another community
on May 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm
yogi, another community
on May 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

This has been a great accomplishment. I hope this is not typical of infrastructure projects, in which there are no or little funds and plans to maintain this link? No doubt vegetation will start growing again on the trail, and the trail will become rough and bumpy especially after the winter rains and use by service vehicles. (Just ride the levy trails north of Shoreline in PA.) That being said, it can't be worse than the prior conditions.


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