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.