New detour ahead for Stevens Creek Trail


Walkers and pedestrians tired of detouring off Stevens Creek Trail and onto city streets can celebrate after Mountain View City Council members agreed Tuesday night on a temporary path through a neighboring hotel property.

For months, bicyclists and pedestrians traveling along Stevens Creek Trail have been banned from the trail segment between El Camino Real and Yuba Drive. Powerful rain storms in January caused a portion of the bank to collapse into the creek, leaving only a small area between the trail and a steep drop. The city closed off the small length of trail on Jan. 13 because it posed a safety hazard.

The plan, which council members approved unanimously at the April 18 meeting, sets aside $175,000 to build a fenced, asphalt bypass through the Extended Stay Hotel property east of the damaged creek bank, giving trail users a way of circumnavigating without being steered onto busy city streets. The existing detour directs people onto westbound El Camino Real and Yuba Drive, hardly an ideal path for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to Bruce Hurlburt, the city's parks and open space manager.

"It's not the best detour in the world because you're putting folks in the wrong direction, sometimes on the sidewalk," he said.

Councilwoman Pat Showalter, who lives near the southern end of the trail, said she's had to use the existing detour, and that new bypass is a much better option.

"The (detour) we currently have is very awkward and kind of scary, so I'm really happy to see this alternative put together," she said.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is in charge of permanent repairs to the bank and restoration of the trail, but relief isn't expected anytime soon. No schedule for bank repairs is in place, and water district staff are still studying the problem and designing repairs to the creek bank, according to Mike Fuller, public works director for the city. The water district will need to do the repairs during the dry summer months, Fuller said, so it's a question whether the repairs will be made this summer or next summer.

The detour will be 10 feet wide wherever possible through the hotel property, to keep the size of the trail consistent, but it will narrow and split about halfway through in order to prevent tree removal. The city will be granted a temporary trail easement at a cost of $20,000 for one year, with the ability to extend use of the property on a month-to-month basis.

The city awarded the $129,000 contract to construct the path to O'Grady Paving without going through the traditional bidding process, citing a city charter section that allows the public works to move quickly on projects that are of "urgent necessity for the preservation of life, health or property."

As long as there are no major weather-related delays, the detour should be ready to use by the end of June, according to city staff.


8 people like this
Posted by Amy R
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Thank you so much for the update MV Voice! I was about to contact the city to ask when the trail would be fixed as I don't feel safe on the Stevens Creek Trail re-route that I use almost every day. There are several instances in which I've almost been hit by a bicycle or a car on the re-routed path.

Huge thanks to the MV City Council for approving this temporary fix. But, why not use the funds to permanently fix the area of the trail that slid into the creek? If the revised detour isn't going to be ready until the end of June, why not focus on fixing the trail permanently instead?

8 people like this
Posted by jimmy
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm

If they're willing to spend 175K on a detour, I'm guessing the permanent fix is a long long way off.
It will probably involve multiple agencies with the location.

13 people like this
Posted by Kathy Thibodeaux
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Thank you city council. The current detour is unsafe and unpleasant. The new temporary approach will be a huge improvement.

Like this comment
Posted by Ron Wolf
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Too bad that the Hotel asked for compensation rather than taking the opportunity to provide a public benefit for a problem caused by a natural disaster (even if it's a relatively minor disaster). OTOH, perhaps this inconveniences the hotel in some tangible way? However, as a user of the trail, I'm grateful that MV City is working on this and that the current detour will soon be a thing of the past.

2 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 5, 2017 at 8:16 am

the hotel probably has to do it this way to protect its property rights. Much easier if there is legal documentation that this easement is temporary. $20,000/year doesn't sound like they'll make much of a profit on it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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