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Los Altos Hills Stanford trail dealt blow

Los Altos Hills Planning Commissioners got cold feet last week over the proposed marriage of a town trail to one belonging to Stanford University.

Despite a favorable staff review and the university’s offer to pay for the $1.19 million project, commissioners voted 4-0 against the project March 3, citing excess additional pedestrian and bike traffic.

Stanford offered to upgrade and merge a trail along Page Mill Road with one parallel to Arastradero to comply with a county-mandated trail master plan.

“We’d be joining two hugely popular areas and bringing people through entries to our pathways system,” said Los Altos Hills Planning Commissioner John Harpootlian. “I don’t believe that the town residents signed up for the sort of increased traffic we would expect to see.”

Harpootlian said town staff didn’t have traffic estimates.

Stanford spokesman Larry Horton said the school would be “fine” if the trail doesn’t happen, and the mere offer to upgrade complies with county requirements.

Sue Welch, a member of the Los Altos Hills Pathways and Open Space committees, who said the groups didn’t have a chance to review the project, estimated 90,000 visitors at nearby Arastradero Preserve.

According to a staff report, the project includes building a 70-foot bridge across Matadero Creek and striping bike lanes along Page Mill, Arastradero and Purissima roads.

The city council is scheduled to review the recommendation 7 p.m. March 17.

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