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Stevens Creek Trail Gets Unanimous Forward Move Vote by Council Vote

A compromise bridge and trail alignment plan was successful at the City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Thanks to compromise between numerous stakeholders concerned about the future of Stevens Creek, the historic Stocklmeir orchard, and Blackberry Golf Course, the Cupertino City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night for a bridge and trail location to move the Stevens Creek Corridor Project forward.

The vote was good news on many fronts, including for the public, which in about two and a half years will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted walking and biking trail from McClellan Road to Stevens Creek Boulevard along a stunningly-restored section of Stevens Creek.

The new section of trail will take walkers and bicyclists from the current trail end by the 7th green of  the golf course to the 8th green, over a bridge, through the eastern side of the Stocklmeir orange orchard by the creek, and past the homestead to Stevens Creek Boulevard.

At a March 15 meeting City Council members threw out several bridge location and trail alignment alternatives, trying to find a way to keep neighbors, golfers, environmentalists, and historians happy. Keeping the project within budget was another factor, as some alternatives cost more than others.

Residents of The Meadows housing development pointed to a 2005 Council decision to keep the trail at least 100 feet from homes. At least two proposed bridge locations would violate that boundary.

Environmental groups wanted the trail at least 50 feet from the creek to protect the riparian habitat; the compromise trail alignment would for the most part respect that boundary, except possibly along one small section.

The Cupertino Historical Society wanted the orchard protected as a potential future “legacy farm” for educational purposes; the agreed upon plan appears to accomplish that goal.

Golfers may see a slightly narrower fairway for the 8th hole, city staff said Tuesday. However, Public Works Director Timm Borden said the city’s golf course consultants have found a way to reconfigure the course slightly to improve that section. The work would be done during irrigation work already scheduled to coincide with creek restoration efforts next year.

Key to Tuesday’s decision was between city staff and the Stocklmeir Task Force, a community group working to protect the Stocklmeir orange grove and homestead--sandwiched between the golf course and The Meadows housing development--for future generations.

The task force includes representatives from The Meadows, the Cupertino Historical Society, environmental and trail groups, and others. At the March 28 meeting the group weighed all the options and decided the compromise, also known as the “baseline alternative,” was the best choice.

Earlier on Tuesday night Mayor Gilbert Wong officially presented an award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for Phase I of the Stevens Creek Project to Project Manager Gail Seeds. The award was for the Outstanding Park and Recreation Project in California, 2010.

“This is our great honor and a great motivation to make Phase II just as wonderful,” Wong said before the presentation.

Pam Marino April 07, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Big issue, Dave, is how would a trail advance from Stevens Creek Boulevard to Los Altos? Private homes back up snugly to Stevens Creek along that stretch. Any ideas?
Sean Sullivan April 08, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I still can't imagine any possible route by which the trail would even advance from Sunnyvale to this location (McClellan Ranch Park). There are houses all along the creek in Cupertino....
Pam Marino April 08, 2011 at 11:28 PM
I seem to remember years ago someone official said it couldn't be done. Instead users would have to go up Stevens Creek Blvd. to Foothill, then down Foothill to I think Homestead, but not sure exactly where. The idea was to pick up the trail at the creek in Sunnyvale.
Susan April 10, 2011 at 01:58 AM
The route was referred to as “Area A” during the trail feasibility study in 2001/02: Head west, cross Foothill, enter the Hammond Snyder House driveway (last house before Permanente Quarry), then head north toward the DeAnza Knoll. After that was TBD. The biggest issue with the HSH driveway is crossing the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, which will first require permission from the railroad, and either a tunnel or bridge. Given the list of other creative mitigation measures to make this cement truck route safe for pedestrians/bikes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Mary Avenue footbridge ended up being the designated route.
Pam Marino April 10, 2011 at 02:53 AM
Thanks, Susan. I seem to remember that route now.

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