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East Bay Regional Park District to start Pleasanton Ridge shuttle runs May 4

Original post made on Apr 18, 2013

People who are unable to hike all the way up and down Pleasanton Ridge will be able to get alift up to the top as part of a pilot program being offered by the East Bay Regional Park District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:21 PM

Comments (42)

Posted by Ridge Hiker, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

When, how and who approved this? I know of so many people opposed to this because of its effects on the environment and on us hikers. Can you imagine the dust that these vehicles will kick up? Which access road are they using? Hopefully not Golden Eagle!


Posted by AnnaS, a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

Everyone who is capable to hike 4 miles can make a 1.5 miles hike up to Pleasanton Ridge also. This shuttle will negatively affect hikers, runners, bikers and people with dogs, not to mention wild animals there.
It looks like the goal of this shuttle is not to improve people's access to the park, but to kill the park.


Posted by Kay, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

Tried the number listed above and it doesn't work...

I'm just trying to understand if the shuttle will run on the SAME trail as the many hikers, dogs, kids, etc or if it is planned to go up a different route? Anyone know?


Posted by Vineyards, a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

This is absurd! Who approved this? Is there no oversight to prevent frivolous programs that change the very nature of this pristine park?


Posted by Monika, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

"...We have spent a lot of time and money to acquire and improve the park so people can appreciate its beautiful views and trails...What good is it if people can't use it..." -Carol Severin, a regional park board member from Castro Valley who has pushed for the shuttle.

Not the best solution...Pleasanton Ridge is already one of the most popular hiking/biking destination in region appreciated by many for it's beautiful views, wilderness and "out of city" feeling. Adding shuttle bus on a dusty trail surely will keep lots of those people, looking for a quiet and pleasant hiking trails away from here...


Posted by Happy Trails, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

Ridge Hiker - I believe the entrance at Golden Eagle is part of August Bernal Park and not the EBRP district land. Upside is I don't believe they will be running shuttles from Golden Eagle, downside is Golden Eagle will become more crowded then it already is.


Posted by avidhiker, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

This is absolutely absurd! I hike the park every week, sometimes several times each week. It is heavily used off of Foothill staging area and I love to see people getting out to enjoy themselves, to hike and be healthy. But I also love to make an investment of time and energy to get out to the northern end of the park where I might not see another person for hours to enjoy the peace and quiet of it all. This will really ruin it if I see a van full of people who can't hike to the top, but who CAN hike 9.2 MILES back?????? Excuse me, but it seems to me that anyone who can hike 9.2 miles can definitely hike up that ridge like the rest of us! This is a bad idea and will ruin my image of how the park district is serving the residents. I can't believe that they cut the number of naturalists who are based in the Pleasanton area and are instead spending money on frivolous programs for people who can't hike further than 9 miles? I may have to find another place to hike -this infuriates me! I would rather see the park district invest in naturalists again and have more hikes with them - I learn so much whenever I attend one of their programs. I thought their new slogan was "Healthy People Healthy Parks." How does driving people around in vehicles serve this goal or fit this image?


Posted by suku, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Wow, it's out there that we see mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats - where there isn't so much traffic from humans. Where are they supposed to go? We don't see as much wildlife near the Foothill Road staging area. I wish parks were set aside as refuges for wildlife and that human recreation didn't always have to be the priority in making management decisions. I guess there isn't room for wild places in the Park District anymore... This is the "pilot" program - be forewarned, van shuttles will be hitting YOUR favorite wild park next!


Posted by Kurt Kummer, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

It's very surprising that EBRPD would do this. Last year they held a series of public meetings to ask for Pleasanton residents' feedback about the future of Pleasanton Ridge, and never once was this shuttle idea mentioned.


Posted by Kyle B., a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 20, 2013 at 1:24 am

So the first dumbass mountain biker that comes barreling down the hill @ 20 mph. & kills himself by running into one of these "shuttles" will probably put an end to this ridiculous plan as well as put the city of Pleasanton into a lawsuit that will make the ABAG & Linn suits pale by comparison.

Yeah, really good idea fellas.


Posted by RAKA, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Apr 20, 2013 at 5:20 am

I just read in one of the comments about the board member who said something to the effect of "what good is it if people can't use it?" Well, if she ever hiked up there, she would know that people DO use it -people hike, ride their horses and their bikes up there so they can GET AWAY FROM IT ALL! And also, there is a lot of value to open space whether people use it or not - to watersheds, to viewsheds, to wildlife corridors, to rare and endangered plants and animals. Not every square inch has to be trod upon by the masses to be "useful." There should be space for wild things in the East Bay. It's one of the things that draws people to live here and you would think a park district board member would understand that!


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

Okay, calm down! I would be one of those hikers who am so amazingly appreciative of this opportunity that I am thrilled beyond belief. Yes, I hope they have considered the impact on the environment first and foremost. Regards to your hikers, I am a hiker also, but with two knees with torn cartilege, I can no longer make that extensive and sharp incline to access the top of the ridge. It's my ridge, too and I SO miss those heavenly views and the enjoyable/rigorous hikes.

Managing the 4-9 miles of hiking is not the problem. It is managing the now insurmountably steep access.

What audacity you have to think this experience is meant only for certain "hikers". If there is a will, there is a way.

Bravo for testing this idea for those of us who have been limited in recent years.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

Just for the record, my husband disagrees with me on this one, so after I posted the above comment and expressed it to him, he shook his head in shame. I tried to compare it to people who go helicopter skiing. What's the difference besides far too many gold coins, I ask. I want my knees back, I miss hiking in heavenly places, should I be relegated to the tar and pavement of the flatlands below??? Maybe it is time for "sherpas for hire" to tote some of us damaged folk up to the elevations we long for.

For now, I am desperate to sign up for the shuttle. Given all of these posters, I'll be the one wearing a ski mask! ;-)


Posted by 2 bad knees, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

To Mary - I share your grief about worn knees. I have undergone multiple operations on my knees and cannot do the things I used to do and I do miss that. However, just because I am no longer able to hike Half Dome does not meant that I want to be shuttled up there. It diminishes the accomplishments of those who are making it up there on their own. I will never see the top of Mt Everest - even with good knees I was never in that kind of shape - but it doesn't mean I want to hop in a helicopter and buzz around the peak taking pictures while many valiant climbers make that arduous journey. Not every place has to be reachable by every human. I enjoy the hikes I can do and appreciate them so much more at this point. I am content to know that these wild, hard to reach places still exist and hope they continue to. I agree with the person who commented that some places should exist for wildlife to live without constant disruptions from humans.


Posted by joseph, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm

What is she talking about being elitist? At least she can walk 9 miles down pounding downhills, which, by the way, my orthopedic surgeon says is MUCH more taxing on the knees than the uphills. What about those of us who can't walk 9 miles or 4 miles? Can we have a tour of the whole thing? Or is this for only the semi-gimpy folk and not people who have true mobility issues? Also, what about low income and fixed income folks who can't afford to pay?


Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

There is no mention of this in the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park Northern Area Interim Land Use Plan at all under trails or recreation. Who made this decision? It wasn't brought up in the public meetings.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

Hey people, this isn't just about Pleasanton Ridge. If this is a pilot program designed to get people out to remote and inaccessible sites in the District, then watch out Mission Peak, Ohlone Wilderness, Las Trampas, Del Valle, Black Diamond Mines, Briones, Redwood, Garin, etc. It won't stop here.
If folks want to get this in a more public venue, then post something on the park district's facebook page so that more than just Pleasanton Residents will know about this. There is a board meeting that you can attend next week as well at their main office in Oakland and I think the advisory council is meeting this week too. Perhaps it can be part of their agenda. More discussion is needed before something like this is implemented that has much broader implications than three rides up the ridge.


Posted by Curt Gordon, a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Apr 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

East Bay Parks, what are u thinking? You require bells on our bikes to warn hikers and cyclists that we're coming around the corner so as to avert disaster. Will the shuttles be blasting their horns? Nice.


Posted by David M., a resident of Las Positas Garden Homes
on Apr 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

This idea is absolutely ridiculous. What about the hikers and bikers who will be using the trails these shuttles will be barreling up and down? Are they expected to throw themselves out of the way when a shuttle passes them? Public interest? Ha! Just by looking at the comments section there is obviously a lot of dissent among the public and if the district knows what's good for it it will listen to everyone's opinions. I for one will be severely disappointed with the park district if this plan goes into effect.


Posted by JT, a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:02 am

Soon we will be driving those people up the hill AND down the hill. There will be bus stops. There will be wheelchair ramps and "accessible" trails built. There will be bathrooms and water fountains built. There will be emergency telephone boxes with blue flashing lights. There will be defibrillators, universal language hazard warning signs, handrails, yellow rubber bumpy pad thingies at each trail intersection. Because you can't invite people up there and them not provide for their needs.

And who will pay for this? That $10 shuttle ticket will eventually be waived for the elderly and the low income and the disabled, so we will see a user fee for each person to enter the park. Bah.


Posted by Mitch Fidziura, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:12 am

Since I hike the Park lands approximately five days a week, I can assure everyone that the land is being well used by a variety of people. Hikers, bikers, joggers; numerous people can be found in the Parks every day of the week. If the purpose of the shuttle is to make the land more "usable," it's a failed attempt.


Posted by another hiker, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

JT of Stoneridge has it all right! Loved the post.
It is absolutely correct that you can never make all things on earth accessible to everyone -- it just cannot be done. Nor should it.
I am not able to hike half dome due to knee surgery, should they install an elevator so that I can enjoy the views to which I might feel entitled? Just because we cannot take extraordinary, and unneeded, measures to allow every person 100% access it does not mean that we are actively keeping certain people out. Get a grip. Life is not fair and not everyone is a winner all of the time. Stop helicoptering and don't allow this forced accessibility to destroy the ridge.
It's a terrible idea and everyone needs to let EBRPD know that.


Posted by hiker and biker, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

The fine people at EBRPD may or may not read these discussions - however their website allow emails to be posted (Web Link). Or you could also contact Anne Kassebaum ( (510) 544-2552 akassebaum@ebparks.org) and do the same. Today is Earth Day (as EBRPD reminds us on their facebook page): do what is good for the Earth and voice your opinion.


Posted by Longtime Park User, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

I have been using the parks for my whole life. I rode my horse in Redwood and Anthony Chabot Parks in the 1960's, when you rarely saw a hiker. From then on there were more and more forms of recreation that the horse people had to share the trails with. From the horseman's point of view, the hikers were unwanted, for various reasons that I won't take the time to get into. Then from the horseman and hiker's point of view, the mountain bikers were unwanted. Now from the horseman and hiker and mountain biker's point of view, the vehicles are unwanted. Every group of people enjoying the parks, from back in the day, have had to get used to something new to get more people out to the parks. How is it different for a van to drive slowly and carefully up a hill, than a Park Ranger or Park Police vehicle, driving up the hill for safety or maintenance. Everyone wants to just enjoy the parks. Yes, if there were vans leaving every 5 minutes to go up the hill, that would be bad, but three in a day is tolerable. So, for all you people complaining about these vans, I'm coming from the day when you hikers were unwanted and I got used to it and the Parks are still beautiful. And if it weren't for Park District employees like Hulet Hornbeck, Dick Trudeau and Pat O'Brien, we wouldn't even have all these beautiful parks to enjoy in the first place. Our hills would look like what Dublin Hills are becoming! Please give it a chance. I would love it if my Mom were still alive and I had a way to take her to the top of Pleasanton Ridge.


Posted by Kris, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Forgive me, limited access to what i can read here, but is there a charge for the shuttle? if not, eventually there will be for upkeep, etc. i think it is about money. a shuttle? really its Pleasanton.. not Disneyland.. personally I think that it needs to be left alone for hikers, bikers, family hikes and nature. everything is about $$$$ bad idea.


Posted by Pleasanton Neighbor, a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I do not see a problem with the van 3 days a week. Plus, I need it to go back down with (not up).

The fee should NOT be waived for seniors or low-income. These people get better medical benefits (on us the taxpayers)thru Medicaid than what most of us do with our private medial insurance. In fact I have to wait to when I retire to get my bad knee replaced because I cannot afford it on my insurance but have to wait for Medicaid. That is why I need the right down the the ridge.


Posted by another hiker, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

for Pleasanton Neighbor -- that is the point of a lot of us. The ride is up only, not down. It is harder on knees to walk down (as you know) than up.
Stupid idea all around.


Posted by Penny , a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

There are many places people can go out for a hike that is not as steep as some of the trails on Pleasanton Ridge. I am with the majority of the comments made above! Outrageous! Who gave approval for this? Really? A shuttle for those out of shape? And don't give the "bad knees" as a reason... hiking down hill is harder on the knees than hiking uphill.. Real STUPID idea!!!


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Ayn Wieskamp is the EBRPD Director for Ward 5 (which includes Pleasanton Ridge). Please email her at awieskamp@ebparks.org and tell her what you think.


Posted by hiker, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

How about a Gondola to the top and then chair lifts along the ridge! Yes, I'm kidding.... or am I!!


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm

What a pathetic group of whiners....."my trails, my views, my serenity, my hills" --

What I would really like to see is a beautiful restaurant near the top, facing East with wide windows overlooking the Amador Valley, and a nice parking lot. I think my 90 year old mother who helped pay for "your hills and trails" would also like to once again see the beauty of the valley from the ridge. I think a trailhead for a ridge loop route that is ADA compliant would also be nice, reachable by automobile (or shuttle) that ends at a combination viewing area and parking lot. A little house with one of those people in their Smokey the Bear hats to collect the fees from ALL who access the park would also be nice -- no more freeloaders with hiking sticks -- everybody pays.


Posted by AnnaS, a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

For Arroyo from Another Pleasanton: you would like to see a beautiful restaurant and a nice parking lot? Good for you, you already have it at Stoneridge mall, Livermore outlets or other shopping malls in the area. I, as I believe other members of "pathetic group of whiners" would like to see deer and wild turkeys. We would prefer cows to cars and a smell of our kids sweat to a smell of cheep restaurant food. So, let's stay in the places we like and not interfere with each other's interests.


Posted by SFlash, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:44 am

Very sad to hear this. So little open space without cars to enjoy left.


Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

Another really bad idea foisted upon us by our government officials. The parks are not only for humans: roads, bus stops and exhaust fumes are not what we want on the ridge. I think the fundamental problem is that most people who know how to think have jobs, kids, and responsibilities. The people who don't know how to think are the ones who have time to sit on committees and get involved with local politics. There are a number of exceptions, but for the most part our local governments are filled with people who can't think. Let's stop providing plastic bags in our grocery stores, and let's start sending vans and buses up to the ridge. Stupid.


Posted by LB, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

not wise, East Bay Regional Park District. who came up with this idea!!!!! ok, there are about 30 people signed up so far, I am glad it costs $10 -12 per person, so, let see if they have another 30 after few weeks or months.


Posted by Trish, a resident of West of Foothill
on Apr 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

You've got to be kidding! What a waste! Most of the people who might benefit from this will not be using it, period, and this is just a waste of our tax dollars not to mention the distraction, noise, and impact to the wild life living there!

Who on earth makes these decisions!?

Those would-be hikers who are for the 'shuttle', chances are you are perfectly able to build up stamina and improve your health over the course of a wellness program and eventually make it to the top and when you do, you will truly appreciate the effort you put into it.

I've been chronically-ill from Lyme Disease that, by the way, I contracted through a tick bite right here on the ridge in the recent past. During my worst days I was not able to hike the ridge and I knew that I needed to get better and work on my health - and take responsibility for my disease so that I can enjoy some of these life's pleasures. Guess what! I can do it now and I feel blessed to be able to do so. I never expected any special treatment or never did the thought that a shuttle could take me to the top ever entered my mind.

We are a society of enablers and now we want to 'nanny' those who 'won't' make it up the ridge without whining... give me a break. Some people will just not be able to climb the ridge, period, for whatever reason. Get over it!


Posted by Disheartened Reader, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

There are many ways to express your views and what you want to say nicely without offending others or putting other people down. Just write that you like the idea or you don't like the idea and why. Maybe even include a suggestion of compromise or a new idea. But don't use derogatory words to describe the other writers in this forum, whose opinion doesn't agree with yours. I would like to think that our town is mostly inhabited with well educated people with class.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

" The people who don't know how to think are the ones who have time to sit on committees and get involved with local politics."

Sure, Chemist. Kind of like the people who have time to comment over and over on Pleasanton Weekly forums.


Posted by Sarah P, a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

We put in several gondolas in Alaska, and they work just fine, and it didn't take unthinking people who tend to get involved in politics and sit on committees to do it, either. An even better idea might be to grow the free enterprise system by letting freedom ring while having a private helicopter company transport freedom loving patriotic taxpayers who want to spend their hard-earned money on the ride up to the top of the ridge and maybe, say, on Tuesdays allow citizens to hunt from the helicopter because American gun owning sportsmen and women need to have their constitutional liberties stretched in the way George Washington and the other founding fellas originally intended. ps I support Miller!


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

JT - you're right about the uphill downhill issues, however it is not true in all cases and I am an example of that. Due to my injury, the pain on incline is far more of a problem than on decline, and doesn't fit the 'normal' pattern.

Most of you (all?!) seem to believe it has something to do with the providing of extra equipment for access and elude to eventual "handrails" "handicapped access", etc.

WHY then is it okay to have installed metal handrails, ropes, and lined pathways on Halfdome? Didn't someone say "If you can't make the climb then it wasn't meant for you?

There is worry over shuttle buses barreling down the pathways, althought here is already worry over bikers doing the same. Who hasn't been run over by a biker on the flats who can't seem to stay in their lanes or follow traffic rules as others must.

But this isn't an issues about bicyclers (I digressed), its an issue about access. No barreling down the roads, just two simple trips a day, 2 days a month.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

(Okay, I'm going to become the most hated woman about town!) But a few more thoughts.

Diminishing anothers accomplishments just because others need assistance?! Give me a break. Talk about a low self esteem issue from this modern generation.

Regards to the worries over the emergency lights, water stations, rest areas, have you seen the trash and crap left behind on some of the grandest mountain climbs in the world? Major accomplishments but only with major help.

Just saying ...


Posted by Mary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 10:01 am

But really, there is nothing like an impassioned discussion. Isn't that particularly true of the privileged. Everyone having the best or correct or narrowest or ONLY viewpoint.

In the meantime, I'm going to submit to surgery and rehab on one knee, and begin a regimen similar to suggested above to rebuild my leg strength (and hopefully pain mitigation).

I'll reconquer those hills and I'll be on your heels! ;-) And you better watch out. Not one bike best run my down or kick dirt into the air, and not one fast hiker best make me feel less than I am, because we don't want my feeling of accomplishment hindered by others.


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