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News
Contra Costa Times
Published Thursday, July 19, 2001

Bike trail wins Pleasanton OK

  • Opponents cited loss of privacy, but proponents argued it would mean increased safety for students

    By Melissa Moy
    TIMES STAFF WRITER


    PLEASANTON -- A new bicycle trail along the Arroyo Mocho Canal that will wind its way to Hart Middle School received a mixed response from the public during a discussion this week.

    The council, however, approved the trail in a 4-0 vote; Councilman Matt Campbell was absent.

    The standing-room-only discussion at Tuesday's City Council meeting lasted two hours as residents debated the benefits and disadvantages of such a public trail.

    Some argued the need for more public trails and said Hart students would benefit from a safer Hopyard Road crossing. They would go underneath Hopyard and then around and over the canal instead of across Hopyard at a nearby stoplight.

    But some neighbors of the proposed trail cited a loss of privacy if more joggers and cyclists passed their homes.

    In the mid-1990s, the city was authorized to receive a federal grant of $232,000 for this project. The city must continue submitting plans to use the funds.

    Nine-year-old Trent Jones of Pleasanton urged the council to approve the trail. "My family, friends and I enjoy cycling as a fun way of getting around Pleasanton," he said.

    Public trails are safer than streets, Trent said. He and his father, Joseph Jones, often use the Iron Horse Trail in Dublin.

    Planning Commissioner Mary Roberts also supported the trail. "I have concerns for the sake of the kids (safely) getting to school. This is really, really important."

    Although residents from Sunol and Livermore also testified in favor of the trail, most objections came from Pleasanton. Some neighbors asked the council to consider building the trail north of the Arroyo Mocho.

    "We appreciate the privacy," said Pleasanton resident Stu Whitmore. The new trail would be one of "the first encroachments" near private property, and more public access would likely be allowed as far as Santa Rita Road, Whitmore said.

    Councilwoman Kay Ayala said Pleasanton was the "weakest link" among communities that are connecting trails and opening access along the Arroyo Mocho. Ayala said this trail is a step toward Pleasanton's contribution. "I am definitely a supporter of the trail system," she said.