Stanford given approval to improve Arastradero Trail in Los Altos Hills

The Los Altos Hills town council accepted a $1.05 million offer from Stanford to improve the town's portion of the C2 trail – known as the Arastradero Trail. Stanford was required to offer to pay for improvements to the C2 trail in Los Altos Hills as a result of a 2006 agreement between the university and Santa Clara County.

Stanford University Map of proposed Arastradero Trail

Map of proposed Arastradero Trail (click image to enlarge)

Stanford hopes to soon begin improving a hiking and biking trail along Arastradero Road under the auspices of Los Altos Hills as a result of a decision recently made by the town's council.

The Los Altos Hills town council approved a 2-mile portion of the C2 trail that begins at Purissima and Arastradero roads and extends to the Palo Alto border at the Arastradero Preserve. The trail, also known as the Arastradero Trail, is part of the Santa Clara Countywide Trails Master Plan.

The project will include the addition of full-sized bike lanes, a 5-foot-wide unpaved walking path along the south side of Arastradero Road and renovation of existing walking paths behind the park-and-ride lot and along Page Mill Road to the Arastradero intersection, where a protected pedestrian crosswalk will be added.

Los Altos Hills designed the trail with the advice and assistance of Stanford. Los Altos Hills' actions are in response to Stanford's offer of $1.05 million to design and construct the trail. Los Altos Hills has requested that Stanford construct the trail, and Stanford has agreed to do so.

"The C2 trail that has just been approved by the Los Altos Hills town council has been a very long time in the planning," said council member Ginger Summit.

Workable solution

"Los Altos Hills has had this section of Arastradero from the 280 underpass to the Page Mill/280 intersection on our Master Path Plan since its inception in the early 1960s as a primary link between two sections of the town," Summit said.

"Through the years, this stretch of narrow road has become increasingly congested with commuter traffic, bicycles and hikers, creating a very dangerous challenge," she added. "With the Stanford involvement, at last we have been able to find a workable solution that addresses the safety concerns of neighbors, pedestrians, equestrians, bikers and the auto traffic."

Stanford has worked with Los Altos Hills staff, citizens groups, the planning commission and council to improve the trail since 2006, according to Larry Horton, senior associate vice president for public affairs. Discussions between Los Altos Hills and Stanford were postponed while a lawsuit brought by the Committee for Green Foothills was litigated. Discussions resumed in 2010 after Stanford won that court case.

"Completing the Los Alto Hills segment of C2 allows connection to the Arastradero Preserve and the open spaces along Skyline," said Charles Carter, Stanford director of land use and environmental planning.

County requirements

Stanford was required to offer to make improvements to the C2 trail in Los Altos Hills as a result of a 2006 agreement between the university and Santa Clara County. That agreement is related to the university's 2000 General Use Permit (GUP) agreements with Santa Clara County.

Building portions of two trails – the C1 and S1 trails in the Santa Clara County trails plan – was among more than 100 conditions contained in the GUP, which is Stanford's long-term land-use permit from Santa Clara County. The GUP governs land use on more than 4,000 acres of Stanford land within Santa Clara County.  Stanford's offer to pay for construction of a third trail, the C2 trail, was included in the 2006 agreement with Santa Clara County.

In May 2011, Stanford opened the new Matadero Trail, which is S1, to the public along Page Mill Road, satisfying part of its requirements. That trail connects Page Mill Road and Foothill Expressway to Arastradero Road, offering broad views of San Francisco Bay to recreational hikers.

Stanford also paid for improvements in Portola Valley and worked collaboratively with city staff to design and improve that portion of the Lower Alpine Trail, which is part of C1.

Also as part of the Stanford–Santa Clara County agreement, Stanford offered $10.4 million to San Mateo County to upgrade the Lower Alpine Trail along Alpine Road. That offer was rejected by the County Board of Supervisors in December 2011. The $10.4 million was paid by Stanford to Santa Clara County in January 2012, and its use is currently under consideration.