Thu10302014

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Trail study examines alternate connections


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

A policy group, part of the Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study, opted to examine additional route options beyond residential streets such as Fallen Leaf Lane.

The Stevens Creek Trail Joint Cities Feasibility Study may be expanding its efforts in more ways than one, according to one member of the Los Altos City Council.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins told the Town Crier that the study’s policy working group agreed May 13 to consider a wider array of trail connection alternatives between Mountain View and Cupertino. The study is an ongoing effort to determine potential trail alignment options by the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Bruins said the policy group – which comprises one publicly elected representative from each city and one Santa Clara Valley Water District member – will look beyond potential trail alignments closest to the Stevens Creek Corridor. Bruins noted that the wider search may include re-examining Fremont Avenue and Foothill Expressway, among other possible routes through Los Altos.

She said the policy team chose to broaden its search after feedback from residents at public input meetings showed less than desirable support for a trail connection along residential streets.

“The results so far indicate that we need to open it up and go wider,” said Bruins, Los Altos’ representative on the policy group.

Bruins also noted that the group won’t consider a Class I trail option that would require Los Altos to reclaim up to 18 feet of public right-of-way that has been built up with landscaping, retaining walls and residential driveways over several decades. That scenario was a source of concern for some Los Altos residents, including members of the Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA).

Reached by the Town Crier, FLLNA member Ross Lappin said the group remains opposed to “any kind of trail” connection along Los Altos residential streets.

“There is no good answer for running that trail down a residential street,” he said. “It just won’t work if they want to put in a full-blown trail.”

Lappin added that the study’s expanded trail connection search was a step in the right direction, noting that FLLNA would be “tickled pink” if a trail along Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and portions of Foothill Expressway was considered. Those roads, according to Lappin, are included in a preferred route outlined in a 2008 Los Altos-commissioned feasibility study – and one favored by FLLNA.

Citizens group expands

Bruins said the policy team agreed May 13 to expand a separate citizen advisory group for the study by one resident per participating city. The citizen group – which is assisting in the development of a trail connection concept – currently comprises two residents from each city.

Part of the expansion, Bruins added, includes lifting a previous restriction prohibiting those within 500 feet of the creek from participating in the group.

“Some Sunnyvale and Los Altos residents felt that it was unfair,” she said of the 500-foot restriction, put in place by previously elected representatives of the policy group. “That rule is typically applied to elected or appointed officials only. … The current (policy) group was not comfortable with the previous body’s decision.”

Residents interested in applying for the citizen working group can find more information by visiting the city’s website at www. ci.los-altos.ca.us. The application deadline is June 7.

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