L.A. ChungWritten by
Raising the spectre of "packs of bicyclists" swarming down Fallen Leaf Lane, residents jammed a meeting Tuesday night that was held to get input on the Los Altos portion the Stevens Creek Trail.
More than 140 people turned out for the session at Grant Park, apparently spurred by visions of loss of street parking and 2,700 users a day on the street portion of a recreational trail that begins at San Francisco Bay in Mountain View and would extend to Cupertino.
"I am worried that Fallen Leaf Lane would lose the rural ambience that we have now," said David Horine, a longtime resident who lives adjacent to the street. "I would rather see it on Grant Road."
His comments were similar to most of the residents, who ran the gamut of 30-plus years in the neighborhood to a woman who purchased her home two months ago.
Los Altos officials had purposely been focused on only one of a half-dozen routes proposed for the extension of the Stevens Creek Trail that would bring it from Dale and Heatherstone streets in Mountain View to Cupertino, passing through either Los Altos or Sunnyvale. Public meetings have been held over the past year over different aspects of the trail, for Cupertino, Los Altos and Sunnyvale.
Residents of Fallen Leaf Lane, and anyone within 500 feet of that route had received mailed notification of the meeting, which was intended to get feedback from Los Altos residents specifically.
In a version of the classic "Not in My Backyard" refrain, some suggested that the path be built along the steep banks of the creek, which in Los Altos, literally fall inside private property owners' boundaries. Property lines run to the middle of the creek on both sides (Sunnyvale and Los Altos) along that portion.
"I've lived along the creek for 19 years," said Sara Johnson. "You're talking about my backyard."
Some residents spoke in favor of keeping the route in the mix of those being considered. One person suggested several official north-south routes along the stretch between Fremont Avenue and Homestead Road—Grant Road, Fallen Leaf Lane and Newcastle Drive in Los Altos and Belleville Way and Bernardo Avenue in Sunnyvale—because it would spread out the usage.
Connie Marrioti, who said her property runs along the creek, urged creativity.
"My vision for Fallen Leaf Lane is to imagine a miniature version of Fremont Avenue," she said. It wasn't an accident that it had a verdant median of trees and pathways on either side for bikes and pedestrians, she said. She suggested to the city in 1978.
The proposed routes will be included in a feasibility study designed to sort out which route would best serve the community and neighborhoods involved.
Kevin Jackson, a Sunnyvale resident asked residents to be open to that study and not pass judgment before it had been done.
The next steps include an Aug. 1 meeting of the Citizens Working Group and and Aug. 12 meeting of the Joint Cities group. Comments made during the meeting will be integrated into the discussions.
Patch will update this story later Wednesday.