City foots $600K bill for Stevens Creek Trail repairs

Water district plans to fix and reopen trail by end of the year

A long-awaited fix to Mountain View's popular Stevens Creek Trail is finally on the horizon, with construction slated to begin this summer on an eroding, weather-beaten portion of the trail that has been out of commission for more than a year.

And while the Santa Clara Valley Water District is in charge of designing and managing repair work on the creek bank and re-establishing the trail, the city of Mountain View will be on the hook for costs related to the trail itself. City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to pitch in $595,000 in construction costs.

Troubles on the problematic trail segment between El Camino Real and Yuba Drive span back to January 2017, when a major storm system and a specific weather event that water district staff refer to as the "President's Day storm" caused severe erosion that rendered the trail dangerous and unusable. Erosion unexpectedly worsened during the summer months, and by August a portion of the paved trail had collapsed, threatening nearby private property.

The city, in the interim, has guided thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians who rely on the trail daily as a commute path and recreational space onto a newly-constructed detour through adjacent private property, but even that temporary solution has been fraught with problems. It debuted in June 2017, only to be shut down two months later for emergency repairs to the creek bank. The detour was reopened in November but now faces closure again for the final, permanent fix later this year, pushing bicyclists and pedestrians onto surface streets.

The water district's construction plans call for repairing and rebuilding the creek embankment previously shored up during emergency repair work last year, as well as building and realigning the now-missing portion of the bike and pedestrian trail. The contract was awarded to PMK Contractors, LLC for just over $1.1 million, and water district officials are hoping to defray most of those costs through grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES). Staff from both agencies visited the trail to inspect the damage in August 2017.

The city of Mountain View, which pays specifically for trail-related costs, is expected to foot $595,000 of the bill, of which $177,000 will go toward paying for the emergency shoring work along the creek bank last year. The city is also pursuing FEMA grants for repair work last year as well as the upcoming construction, and is eligible to receive up to $239,000 in reimbursement.

Stevens Creek Trail has grown in popularity over the years as an important commuter corridor as well as a recreational path through the city, shifting from a tree-filled winding trail in the south to an open bayside path further north. Trail counts from 2015 show that more than 2,000 bicyclists and pedestrians used the trail during morning commute hours, and it was dubbed an "extremely important" resource by Google officials who urged the water district to move fast on creek trail repairs last year.

Once construction begins, bicyclists and pedestrians will lose access to the temporary detour and will need to travel along El Camino Real and Yuba Drive in order to accommodate construction access. Although specific dates are not available, construction is expect to begin this summer and will finish by the end of the year.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


15 people like this
Posted by commuter
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2018 at 10:25 am

This is a heavily used commuting route. Fixing and improving it is way cheaper than expanding Shoreline Blvd or other roads. I'm surprised the work is taking this long. January 2017 was a long time ago. Why wasn't this fixed last year?

18 people like this
Posted by Hooray
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2018 at 11:06 am

Hooray is a registered user.

Great to hear that this is happening. It's a great trail for commuting and weekend leisure. I wish it extended even FURTHER southwards into Cupertino!

37 people like this
Posted by Coolness
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2018 at 11:25 am

I saw the signs posted recently on the trail. Great news!

3 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 2, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

On a related note, I rode on the Stevens Creek Trail underpass beneath 101. All of the lights are off. There was a "helpful" construction sign indicating that the lights were off. I didn't see any workers addressing the problem.

It seems like the bike trails are not top priority.

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Scott Lamb is a registered user.

commuter: I agree that the trail is much cheaper than Shoreline. Given that they made a temporary repair at considerable cost, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they do care. There must have been some valid reason they couldn't do the permanent repair sooner.

3 people like this
Posted by Hallelujah (...but)
a resident of Willowgate
on Jul 2, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Hallelujah (...but) is a registered user.

Pleased with the news, of course. And Mountain View costs are trivial. But...

Can anyone imagine Highway 17 being shutdown for six month repair after a land-slide? So, it is possible to fix Stevens Creek Trail in a few days rather than six months.

Why not?

214 people like this
Posted by Awesome!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2018 at 7:07 am

So glad MV realizes what a wonderful thing the trail is.
Open Open Open!

Now if we can get the Crystal Springs dam road opened again. That's been multiple YEARS.
The joys of needed multi-agency cooperation are the reasons why some things take so long...for those who didn't know.

Like this comment
Posted by Don't hold your breath
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2018 at 8:33 am

If repairs progress similar to other repairs on trails such as Permanente Creek, expect it to take two to three times as long as predicted with long patches of no activity.

36 people like this
Posted by Love me some SCT!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Reading some of these posts it looks as if Winnie the Pooh's donkey friend Eeyore is online today. Hahaha :)

Once they put in the "New" detour through the trees it was essentially fixed in my book. The short term detour around to Yuba was 100% usable, but kind of a joke with the way you had to come in/out on ECR.
It'll be nice to get things officially buttoned up though. Yah!

52 people like this
Posted by SWAN song
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 5, 2018 at 9:34 pm

SWAN song is a registered user.

Yes, I think the city is going as fast as they can. This is controlled by the Water District, as I understand, and if you think back to year's rainy season, our trail is far from being like Highway 17 being closed. There were massive problems throughout the county. This was like some side street being closed, in a neighborhood with a workable alternate route. The Water District initially ranked this way lower, so kudos to the city for getting it bumped up the priority list. I know the work has to be timed around the rainy season, there's a threatened species in the creek, and even government has to get tons and tons of permits and environmental review, so my understanding is that this is moving really fast, considering.

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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Squid ink paella & patatas bravas: Barcelona natives bring Spanish tapas to Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 3,751 views

Lights Out! Foods to Snuggle With in the Dark
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 2,046 views

Premarital and Couples: The "Right" Way to Eat an Artichoke
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,581 views

What did you learn last week?
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 978 views


Race Results Are In

Thank you for joining us at the 35th annual Moonlight Run & Walk! All proceeds benefit the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday fund, supporting local nonprofits serving children and families.

Click for Race Results