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Santa Clara County delays decision on Palo Alto bike bridge

Original post made on May 22, 2012

Santa Clara County supervisors hit the brakes Tuesday morning on a proposal by Supervisor Liz Kniss to spend $5 million on a bike bridge over U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto, opting instead to delay the decision on the project until August. ==B Related stories:==
• [Web Link Kniss' plan for new bike bridge meets Stanford resistance]
• [Web Link Palo Alto could get $5 million for new bike bridge]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10:37 AM

Comments (27)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

Councilman Schmidt, the only thing the council needs to move forward on is setting some financial priorities and work toward balancing the budget and funding the essential, vital needs our city requires in the areas of public safety and infrastructure.


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Posted by stall stall stall
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Stanford promised this project 11 years ago. Since then all we have gotten is stall stall stall.

If Stanford really wants to build a project closer to campus, then open the tunnel under I-280 that everyone was expecting in the first place. I am sure that all user groups will be happy with that.

If the I-280 tunnel is unacceptable to Stanford for whatever reason, then this Hwy 101 bridge is the next best thing by a huge margin. All the other proposals are petty in comparison.

Don't waste your money on a petty project. The Hwy 101 bridge will be a huge benefit to Palo Alto as a whole and Stanford is part of the Palo Alto community (whether they want to be or not).


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Posted by Stanford Resident
a resident of Nixon School
on May 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Love the comment that Stanford is a part of the Palo Alto community -- except when it comes to using Foothills Park....


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Posted by stall stall stall
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I see plenty of Stanford people using Palo Alto parks. Plenty of Stanford people live in Palo Alto and regularly use Foothill Park. I'm sure that Stanford could work something out so that campus residents could use Foothill too, if Stanford thought that was important.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As much as some people would like to have this $8-10 million bridge it is NOT Stanford's responsibility to either pay for it directly or to agree that this is an appropriate use of the funds which Stanford provided to the county. The Stanford funds provided to the county were MUTUALLY agreed to be used for improvements which would be used to reduce "the adverse effect on recreational opportunities for existing or new campus residents and facility users that will be caused by the housing and academic development approved by the GUP, which will reduce the availability of recreational facilities, while increasing the demand for such facilities." This bridge does not meet ANY of those criteria.

Many keep looking to Stanford to solve all of the problems created by the city's fiscal irresponsibility and the city's failure to adequately fund infrastructure improvements and upkeep but neither are Stanford's responsibility.

The Kniss bridge is a bridge to nowhere.


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Midtown
on May 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

When Stanford allows me and my family to use its facilities, including all the recreational ones, I will gladly be willing to discuss Dr. Lee's ranch, which Palo Alto bought (now Foothills Park)with no help from Stanford or surrounding towns, even though PA asked for it...but was summarily rejected.

Here is a compromise: All the entities that want access to Foothills Park agree to pay back PA the entire cost of the park, including interest and maintenance, over several decades. This should easily close the PA infrastructure deficit.

I mean, really, how do you think PA pays for these kinds of things, if not by sacrificing its own infrastrucure?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Stanford's willingness to allow Palo Alto and other residents to wander its campus and use the Dish Trail (all paid for with no help from Palo Alto) doesn't seem to be enough for Joan et al.

Joan - how about letting us use your yard for a picnic next weekend?


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Posted by for shame on stanford
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm

........and Palo Alto pays for Stanford students in our Palo Alto Schools. Now that the Stanford Hospital expansion has the okay of Palo Alto Stanford appears greedy by making this move. We can card all the Stanford associates that want to make a crossing at the 101 to the baylands and charge them a luxury lane fee. This is just a negotiation ploy by Stanford so they get a compromise and cost us all more.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Palo Alto pays for Stanford students in our Palo Alto Schools."

Wrong, all of those students live in homes that pay property taxes (including school taxes).

Stanford is simply asking that the County live up to the terms of its agreement. Shame would just ignore that agreement.

Perhaps 'shame' would care to join the picnic in Joan's yard next weekend.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 23, 2012 at 12:15 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Thank you, Peter Carpenter, for your wonderfully astute comments!


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Posted by SOS
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2012 at 7:26 am

Does the county forward stanford property taxes to Palo Alto to fund Palo Alto schools and does the County agreement say the funds will be used for improvements to benefit stanford campus soil. What a great agreement for someone to offer funding for recreation and use it for Stanford improvements one street away and very smart.



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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Does the county forward stanford property taxes to Palo Alto to fund Palo Alto schools "

Each County collects all the property taxes and then sends the legally determined amount to each of the eligible public entities. School taxes go to the school districts, not to the cities in which all or part of those school districts exist.

"does the County agreement say the funds will be used for improvements to benefit stanford campus soil."

The Stanford funds provided to the county were MUTUALLY agreed to be used for improvements which would be used to reduce "the adverse effect on recreational opportunities for existing or new campus residents and facility users that will be caused by the housing and academic development approved by the GUP, which will reduce the availability of recreational facilities, while increasing the demand for such facilities."


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

Bike bridge to the baylands. I look it at this way, you get on your bike to head to work, you go over the bridge to either head north or south. The other eay is you head down traffic filled streets or make traffic filled street more for bikes. Get rid of the parking lane, traffic lane add bike lane and keep parking lane. Or just keep things the same and have everyone drive again


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Posted by Janet
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

Peter Carpenter needs to get a job. He monopolizes all of the comment sections in all the on line newspapers


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Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on May 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

I am glad to see that this worthless project has been delayed and hope that further discussion will recognize that its a waste of precious resources, that is a complete waste of our money


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

I'm taking names and WILL remember them come election day. VOTE OUT THE SCOUNDRELS!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Herb Borock
a resident of Professorville
on May 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

The money should be used to implement the original trail proposal of the Stanford Open Space Alliance to provide a direct correction from the campus residential area to the Arastradero Preserve and then continuing to Foothills Park using the Dish trail system.

Many Stanford residents believe they should be entitled to use Foothills Park. It is now legal for anyone to hike into Foothills Park from the Arastradero Preserve that would be accessed from the trail through the Dish area originally advocated for by the Stanford Open Space Alliance. If any hikers returning from Foothills Park to the Stanford campus arrive at the Dish area after it is closed for the evening, those hikers can always return on the S-1 trail that the Stanford Open Space Alliance agreed to after saying that the San Mateo County trail that has since been rejected was the more important of the two trails.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by party girl
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

Party at Joan's backyard!


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Posted by Stanford resident
a resident of Stanford
on May 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

Maybe it's the nature of on-line discussions, but I am shocked by the hostility towards those of us who live on the Stanford campus. I thought we were better neighbors than this. We pay our taxes, volunteer in the schools and other community organizations, spend our money in Palo Alto businesses and generally don't cause much crime. We work on campus, so our cars aren't parked downtown during the day. Why such hostility?


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Midtown
on May 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hey Folks, Foothill Park IS open to non residents, so please scratch this gripe from this discussion:

Web Link

In 2005, the City Council had to agree to open Foothills to through hikers to secure $2 million from the California Coastal Conservancy and Santa Clara County to purchase 13-acre Bressler property, which was subsumed into the Arastradero Preserve.

By co-opting a utility road and constructing a new trail, those links were completed in September 2007.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I am shocked by the hostility towards those of us who live on the Stanford campus."

It is simply envy and schadenfreude (enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others).
Without Stanford Palo Alto would simply be another Gilroy and realizing that make some of the insecure people even more insecure.

And remember that Stanford was founded in 1891 and Palo Alto only came along in 1894 so perhaps there is also some sibling rivalry.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

I'd suggest Gilroy MINUS the Garlic Festival.


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Posted by bill g
a resident of Barron Park
on May 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

So many comment on this thread without paying attention to what the terms and conditions are for the use of the Stanford funds which Peter has so clearly defined. Why?

A bike bridge will benefit at least a few hundred at most out of 80,000 residents and students from Palo Alto and Stanford. How is this cost effective? Liz just wants to get reelected to the PA Council and spend more money without considering revenues as she did when a council person. Ugh.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's Funny
a resident of Stanford
on May 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

If you're shocked about the hostility toward Stanford residents, then your not paying attention. I've owned a home on campus for 21 years.

I love Palo Alto, I have many, many friends in Palo Alto, but I will never understand why some Palo Alto people who are mad at Stanford, the CORPORATION, like to take it out on faculty families. We're professors who can't afford a house in Palo Alto -

Did you know that Palo Alto Rec doesn't give Stanford kids "resident" status for registering for anything unless the kid goes to PAUSD. If you have a kid who attends a place like Charles Armstrong for dyslexia, then suddenly that kid is treated as a non-resident, and then that kid loses first chance at camp/class, even though some of Stanford homeowners property tax goes to supporting Palo Alto infrastructure? It's nice that they punish kids with disabilities.

You probably know that If you own a home on campus, you aren't allowed in Foothills park because you're not a resident - but surprise -did you know Stanford WEST people are - it's only home owners who aren't allowed.

Do you know why part of campus is assigned to Gunn, which is further away and requires a dangerous bike ride? Apparently the rational for this is from long ago, when PAUSD decided to split Stanford kids based solely on the ridiculous belief that the "smart kids" should be equally distributed. Who cares about safety?

And now are you surprised to learn there is quite a spike in the number of campus homeowner kids who are migrating to private school? (mostly in the Terman/Gunn). Anecdotally, safety is a factor. If you have to drive anyway, why not look at private school?

There used to be a bus that ran from Nixon to Terman - I don't know if it still does, but it was upwards of $600 a kid. PAUSD sends your kid to a place where it isn't safe to bike, and then they want to make you pay for a bus? Meanwhile the other group of kids on campus merrily bike down N. California, under the tunnel and off to Jordan.

Did you know that when PAUSD needs a bond measure to pass for schools, they suddenly LOVE Stanford homeowners - they need educators to vote for education - so they specifically target the campus community.... it's fine, but then why treat campus kids the way they do?

Did you know as a Stanford homeowner you PAY for Palo Alto Police/FIre - but you're not eligible to VOTE on any issues relating to them?

Did you know that if you attend a Palo Alto City Council meeting on any subject broader than Palo Alto (High Speed Rail, for instance), and you make the huge mistake of letting someone know you own a home on campus, in my case saying hi to a friend, a you will invariably be told by someone that your not welcome at community meetings in Palo Alto?
If you care about the community, then you need to care about Palo Alto, and if you care enough to attend, why told to get lost? (That is, until their kid needs a tutor, and then it's all about knowing a Stanford prof who has a grad student who tutors on the side.....)





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 24, 2012 at 12:43 am

That's Funny,

We really looked forward to moving here and living in what we assumed was a very enlightened city. The first wake-up call was learning we couldn't go to Foothills Park, though that's where the wildlife center released a critter we found injured on our property. It was pretty much downhill from there!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I'm sorry, Nora. The Palo Alto I used to live in (& Stanford, as well) was more easygoing, less hostile, more symbiotic w/Stanford in an enjoyable way. It doesn't seem necessary to me to have this hostility, but I'm not up on all of the justifications for it being that way.

When the baylands park at Cooley Landing is ready, I hope that you & yours cross town to enjoy it (& of course, get here safely!). Along the way, you can always check out the Collective Roots' school garden at the edge of the baylands - it's breathtaking.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's funny
a resident of Stanford
on May 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

to Nora,

Concentrate on the positives - The whole Stanford/Palo Alto Ire is run by a few mean people. There are mean people everywhere in the world. My point was/is to list some of the stupid barriers - but don't let those barriers get to you.

We've love living here -

Put your kids in private school, or go the Ohlone/Escondido/Connections/Paly routes. If you're stuck at Nixon/Terman/Gunn then you can ask for a transfer based on safety for middle school /high school - one lawyer ought to do it - it would be a very interesting test case. Or sell your house an move to the other part of campus - if you're kids are young that might be the best option. Smile at everyone and make sure you get out and meet lots of families. Skip SCRA, where people complain a lot, and opt for a fun club that suits your family. Stanford can be very claustrophobic - get off campus and you'll be fine.

You have two choices on Foothills, let it fester and you will feel angry, or let it go and spend your time enjoying all the other amazing parks in the region. Also, half the time there isn't anyone at the Foothills station and you can just drive right through. Or, you can ask to go with a friend from Palo Alto - they , too, will be disgusted you can't get in.

I kill them all with kindness and it works every time!











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