Palo Alto could receive $4 million to help build a much-needed pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Highway 101 at Adobe Creek if Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss gets her way at next week's board meeting.
The overcrossing is actually one of six projects that should receive a portion of the $10.4 million Stanford University paid the county to offset the loss of recreational facilities caused by its expansion, according to a four-page memo Kniss sent to her fellow supervisors Friday.
"This would constitute a new recreational opportunity of the highest order," Kniss wrote about the proposed Adobe Creek bridge, which would provide year-round access to the Palo Alto Baylands.
Kniss, who represents the north part of the county, is also in favor of funding projects to complete a 26-mile segment of the Bay Trail between Redwood City and Alviso, develop a bicycle and pedestrian corridor next to Matadero Creek in Palo Alto, and construct trails along the perimeter of Stanford.
In addition, the board should use the pot of money to extend the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail and build a boardwalk at Alpine Pond in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, according to the memo.
The county, which issued a call for projects in August, received 15 applications from six agencies. County counsel reviewed them and determined that 10 qualified or partially qualified for funding. The six projects favored by Kniss were among those that
On Tuesday, the board will review the qualified applications and decide which ones to fund.
The $10.4 million is intended to mitigate the loss of recreational facilities for existing or new Stanford University residents and facility users due to development on the campus resulting from the county's approval of a general use permit in 2000, according to a report by Deputy County Executive Sylvia Gallegos.
The money was initially offered to San Mateo County to improve parts of the Alpine Road Trail that border the university, but that county's board of supervisors ultimately turned it down.
"The qualified proposals are, as a group, very strong, and it is difficult to choose between them. However, I believe that the projects that I recommend are the most regionally significant, best meet the criteria for this fund and deliver the most recreational 'bang for the buck,'" Kniss wrote in her memo.
"This recommendation is a compromise -- no jurisdiction would get everything it asked for."
Projects that are eligible for funding but didn't make Kniss' list involve converting Spring Down Pond in Portola Valley into a vernal pool with paths and benches, building a pedestrian and equestrian trail along Fremont Road in Los Altos Hills, and adding trails to the Mindego Gateway and Red Barn picnic areas in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
While those projects are worthy of praise, they don't provide the same kind of regional benefit as the others, according to the memo.
Kniss also had kind words for projects that were disqualified by county counsel, such as a joint request by Palo Alto and Stanford University to make Park Boulevard and Arastradero Road more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
"In particular, the Park Boulevard and Arastradero Road projects will be especially important in creating and maintaining safe and healthy bicycle and pedestrian connections in the Palo Alto-Stanford area and in the region," Kniss wrote. "I especially regret that we cannot fund these projects from this particular fund."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider a recommendation from Supervisor Liz Kniss to spend $10.4 million in recreation funds on six projects, including a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Highway 101 at Adobe Creek in Palo Alto.
WHEN: Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Board Chambers, County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose