Below is a Letter to the Editor we sent in to the Mercury News and Palo Alto Weekly about Stanford University’s recent announcement they are halting work on the Page Mill/S1 Trail.
— Holly Van Houten, Executive Director
As the former director of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, it was my great pleasure to attend Wednesday’s night of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District where a trail connecting Los Trancos Open Space Preserve to Palo Alto’s Foothills Park was approved. Together with the trail opened last fall linking Foothills Park to the Pearson – Arastradero Park, this new connection will create a significant piece of a long sought after regional trail linking the San Francisco Bay Trail to the Bay Area Ridge Trail when it is built later this year.
By way of contrast, Wednesday’s paper carried Stanford University’s announcement of stopping work on the Page Mill/S1 Trail (“Campus halts work on trail”) due to a lawsuit filed by my new organization, the Committee for Green Foothills. This is an unfortunate and totally unnecessary action that denies the community access to a trail they have been owed for 5 years, ever since Stanford got approval to add 5 million square feet of new facilities.
Our lawsuit addresses only the northern trail known as the C1 trail, a project that was included at the last minute without considering alternative alignments, studying environmental impacts, or considering the public’s comment. Our lawsuit simply asks Santa Clara County and Stanford University to follow the environmental laws on this trail. We’re asking for them to exercise good governance.
Even better if Stanford would decide to be a good neighbor. The University has the opportunity to participate in creating a great regional trail system linking the popular dish trails up to the City’s Arastradero park, providing the needed link in the Bay-Ridge trail connection, but that isn’t the choice they’ve made. It is time to do the right thing, follow the law, and create real recreational trails that will benefit Stanford and its neighbors.
Holly Van Houten