The university will begin construction later this month on the new and much-anticipated Stanford Perimeter Trail, which will eventually stretch from Junipero Serra Boulevard to Quarry Road.
The Stanford Perimeter Trail is part of a comprehensive proposal made by the university in partnership with Palo Alto to create a set of hiking and biking trails connecting recreational areas in the foothills to those in the Palo Alto Baylands. The plan, called "Stanford and Palo Alto Trails Program: Connecting the Bay to the Ridge," received the endorsement of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 2012.
The 3.4-mile Stanford Perimeter Trail eventually will run along Junipero Serra Boulevard between Page Mill Road and Stanford Avenue; Stanford Avenue between Junipero Serra Boulevard and El Camino Real; and El Camino Real between Stanford Avenue and Quarry Road.
It is designed to provide connections to the Stanford Stadium, Town and Country Village, Palo Alto Medical Center, Stanford Shopping Center, El Camino Park, Palo Alto Transit Center, the Palo Alto trail system and other destinations. The Stanford Perimeter Trail also will directly link to the Matadero Creek Trail, which runs along Page Mill Road and offers scenic views of San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
"This is an exciting project and a big win for both Stanford and Palo Alto," said Larry Horton, former senior vice president for public affairs. Although Horton retired last year, he has stayed involved with the Stanford Perimeter Trail project to ensure its completion.
"After a few months of construction inconvenience," he said, "we will have a new connector trail, more and better parking, safer conditions for people and bikes and access to new recreational opportunities."
The Stanford Perimeter Trail work beginning in May will focus on pedestrian and bike pathways on El Camino Real between Stanford Avenue and Quarry Road. The work will create a new or upgraded trail with shoulders where possible and improved intersection crossings.
Among other planned enhancements, the Junipero Serra Boulevard portion of the Stanford Perimeter Trail work will create, for instance, new bike corral parking for 50 bikes at the intersection with Stanford Avenue. On Stanford Avenue will be bike lanes on both sides of the roadway, green bike lanes to increase safety and a new surface for Stanford Avenue with marked traffic bumps to reduce speed. Most work on the trail will be done this summer, finishing by late October.
Also beginning later this month will be construction of 33 new parallel parking spaces along Coyote Hill Road. The new parking, which will be built on county land, is designed for hikers who frequent area trails.
As work on the plan progresses, the university also will create formalized, back-in angle parking between Junipero Serra Boulevard and Raimundo Way and parallel parking on the north side of Stanford Avenue east of Raimundo.
Construction work has been scheduled so that most of the work on Stanford Avenue can be completed while schools are out for the summer. In addition to the work near the Stanford Avenue gate for the Stanford Perimeter Trail, several other unrelated construction and maintenance activities are planned in the vicinity of the Stanford Dish: A potable water line will be constructed in the vicinity of the Alpine Gate, the road between the Alpine Gate and the Dish structure will be repaved, and protective fencing will be installed in sensitive California tiger salamander areas.
For safety reasons, the university plans to close the Dish for a month beginning in July. To minimize the time period that public access to the Dish area is restricted, all construction activities in the Dish area have been scheduled simultaneously during a one-month period, anticipated to be July 13 to August 16. The nearby Matadero Creek Trail will remain open and will be accessible from the new parking spaces along Coyote Hill Road.
SCRL, school praise
The perimeter trail work and parking improvements have earned the praise of Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders (SCRL), who have long advocated for increased area recreational opportunities and for improvements to Stanford Avenue.
Jim Sweeney, president of the SCRL board, said the Stanford Perimeter Trail proposal makes "great strides toward completing a well-planned, integrated set of recreational facilities that would allow walking, jogging and bicycling connections from the Bay to the Arastradero Preserve."
He added, "As an integrated package, these improvements would be used regularly by a wide spectrum of campus residents, by residents of our neighboring cities and by others who visit Stanford to use its recreational facilities, including people from many different age groups – from children to the elderly."
Parents of students attending Nixon and Escondido schools also supported the trail and other improvements on Stanford Avenue.
"The advantages are huge," said Audrey Gold, a parent volunteer at Nixon School on Stanford Avenue. "It provides safer biking and walking options for students and parents."
A website including project information, a construction schedule, a parking map and educational materials on back-in parking is available at perimetertrail.stanford.edu. Visitors to the site can sign up for email notification about upcoming construction, ongoing progress and such related impacts as road closures, parking changes and noise.